If you’ve seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you know that its ending is actually quite shocking, especially for a Star Wars movie that’s at least somewhat marketed at children. Okay, so it’s not surprising that the Rebels successfully retrieve the Death Star plans in the end, but you knew that was going to happen before you even bought your ticket.
No, what’s truly astonishing is that all the heroes die: Jyn, Cassian, freaking K-2SO, they all bite it, prompting many a parent around the globe to question whether it was a good idea to bring little Johnny to see the newest Star Wars or not. Well, those same parents may be made even more upset by the revelation that the film’s original script didn’t call for the mass butchering of all its heroes.
Speaking with Empire this week (that for some reason has been taken down) director Gareth Edwards explained how the first draft of the script was quite a bit different from what made it on screen and that the main characters weren’t always supposed to die:
The very first version, they didn’t. In the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that. ‘They’re not going to let us do that.’ So I was trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that and there was this feeling of like, ‘They’ve got to die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?’
We thought we weren’t going to be allowed to but Kathy [Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm] and everyone at Disney were like ‘Yeah it makes sense/ I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope.’ And so from that point on we had the license.
I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’ And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it.
In other words, if Disney execs can’t find a place for a character in a future movie, they’re as good as dead. And yet, they couldn’t find a way to kill off at least one character in Captain America: Civil War …
(For the record, I love that the script changed and all the characters went out in a blaze of glory because it was a bold move that was totally unexpected — heck, Gareth Edwards never thought he’d actually get away with it!)
Hopefully Empire puts the full 20 minute interview back up because Edwards also talks about the process of putting Tarkin in the film, as well as the reshoot process.