“They all need to die”: Rogue One’s Alternate Story Almost Saved Us From the Most Depressing Star Wars Ending

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had an alternate ending where Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor survived.

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SUMMARY

  • Star Wars screenwriter revealed he had an alternate story to Rogue One where there were survivors.
  • The plan did not push through but the initial goal to kill off everyone still happened in the final cut.
  • Gareth Edwards felt proud of his work and did not think Disney has ever made a film like Rogue One.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story almost gave fans a different ending, but at some point, changes had to happen to deliver the best treatment of the story. The creative team behind the film always intended to end the film with a bang, and that’s to kill off the entire Rebel team.

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felicity jones in rogue one a star wars story
Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

In the early days of drafting the script, the writers had a different idea where they concocted an alternate narrative. However, they seemed to fear that Disney might not like it because it might be too dark and gruesome.

Rogue One Was Supposed To Let Jyn Erso and Cassian And/Or Survive

diego luna felicity jones in rogue one a star wars story
Diego Luna and Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars screenwriter Gary Whitta told Entertainment Weekly that they originally planned to kill off everyone in Rogue One, but some would have to survive.

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We told them, we feel they all need to die, and [Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] and everyone else said to go for it. We got the ending that we wanted.

In the early version, some of the main heroes lived through the final battle. As it called for a happy ending, the question was if everyone survived. “I didn’t say everyone made it off. Jyn did survive. Cassian also survived. There were a lot of casualties on both sides, in both versions of the scripts.”

The first draft remained on paper, and none of the early plans made it to production. Whitta said it was a struggle to keep everyone alive. “We decided they should die on the surface [of Scarif,] and that was the way it ended,” he stated.

We were constantly trying to make all the pieces fit together. We tried every single idea. Eventually, through endless development, you get through an evolutionary process where the best version rises to the top.

The theatrical ending to Rogue One remains one of the saddest Star Wars stories ever, with Jyn and Cassian making their way to the shore where they have seen the blast from the Death Star. As the two embraced, the explosion consumed them. No one survived the catastrophe.

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Rogue One Director Called The Tragic Ending “Responsible Storytelling

felicity jones diego luna in rogue one a star wars story
Felicity Jones and Diego Luna in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Director Gareth Edwards reflected on the tragic ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story via SlashFilm and how no Disney movie has ever made a film like it. He was quite proud of his work.

I remember when they did the first announcement of the cast of the film on stage, and behind them was every main actor who was in the movie. There’s like nine of them or something, and I was just thinking, ‘Oh my God, every one of those characters is going to die.’

He remarked, “I don’t know another Disney film that does that. I’m quite proud of it.” For the filmmaker, it is called “responsible storytelling, because it’s a massive war, and war is not a great thing.” In wars, indeed, the chances of survival are quite low.

Fans almost had a happy Star Wars ending with the initial script of Rogue One, but the reactions to the final cut definitely proved that the audience could also love a sad one.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available to watch on Disney+.

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2041

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.