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Gary Whitta spills details about the original ending to Rogue One

03.20.2017

In case I need to say it, the following will contain spoilers for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. By now we all know about how the reshoots for ROGUE ONE reshaped a lot of the film, particularly the ending, but with so much left on the cutting room floor, if it was even shot at all, there's still plenty to discover about what could have been. Gary Whitta, who penned the original ROGUE ONE screenplay, recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly and spilled a few details about the film's original ending.

As we know, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY came to an end with every member of the team meeting their demise in some fashion or another, but we also know that this wasn't always the case; footage glimpsed in various previews and trailers showed certain characters surviving to take part in the beach battle, but the original ending Gary Whitta speaks of wasn't even shot. The creative team always wanted to kill off the main characters, but they assumed at the time that Disney simply wouldn't allow it, so the first screenplay let a few of the heroes survive the battle.

The Death Star emerges from hyperspace to lay waste to Scarif and protect the Empire’s secrets by destroying the special weapons facility along with the Rebel incursion. But this time there was no last-second broadcast of the plans from a satellite tower. Jyn and Cassian were to escape the surface of the beach world carrying the data tapes.

“A rebel ship came down and got them off the surface,” Whitta says. “The transfer of the plans happened later. They jumped away and later [Leia’s] ship came in from Alderaan to help them. The ship-to-ship data transfer happened off Scarif.” Darth Vader was still in pursuit and began attacking Jyn’s shuttle as the Rebels tried desperately to transfer the information from the data tapes to Leia’s vessel. Finally, Vader was successful in breaching their shields and destroying the craft.

The audience would have been left fearing the heroes were dead. But as Vader’s Star Destroyer ventures off to chase Leia’s Tantive IV, we would have remained focused on the shuttle fragments floating in the vastness of space. “They got away in an escape pod just in time,” Whitta said. “The pod looked like just another piece of debris.”

The creative team wasn't overly happy with this ending, as Whitta said that "the fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn’t be this difficult." After deciding that Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) should die on the surface of Scarif, the team "tried every single idea" as they attempted to make the pieces fit together. Eventually, Whitta said that the "best version" rose to the top.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY will be released on Blu-ray/DVD on April 4, 2017.

Source: EW

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