Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance got the plans for the Imperial Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
According to screenwriter Chris Weitz, the film almost had a very different, very happy, ending!
It was released a couple of years ago, but if you haven't yet seen Rogue One: warning, spoilers ahead!
Rogue One tells the story of Jyn, the young daughter of the Galen Erso, the engineer to built the Death Star. The movie takes place several years after Erso was kidnapped from his home and forced to build the Death Star. The rebellion enlists in Jyn's help to find Galen so they can find out more about the Death Star.
The group finds out Galen is dead, but not before finding out he added a secret vulnerability to the ship. Jyn and her group obtain the schematics for the Death Star, which provide new hope to the rebellion. However, at the end, despite the group's success, they all end up dead.
As it may have been a couple of years since you saw the film, here's the trailer to refresh your memory:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer (Official) youtu.be
Weitz told CultPopture that the ending of the script looked quite different when he took over the project:
"The version prior to [my involvement] didn't have everyone die. As a matter of fact, it ended with a wedding. I think it was on the presumption that Disney wouldn't allow characters to die with such abandon."
Weitz pointed out that it would have been odd if everyone lived happily ever after, but was never mentioned again in the series.
"I felt it was necessary because nobody ever mentions them or sees them again. But also because we've done this whole sort of theme about sacrifice that it was appropriate that all of our main characters die."
There were further edits to the script made by editor Tony Glroy, resulting in some more pretty significant changes. K-2SO was evidently supposed to die in a completely different location in Weitz's version of events.
Darth Vader appearing in the film was also evidently a surprise to Weitz:
"The Darth Vader kicking ass I cannot take credit for. That was a later invention."
Weitz said he was satisfied with the final theatrical version of the film, despite the difficulties during production.
Rogue One has now become slightly famous for the fact that it kills off all of the main characters, but still manages to be an excellent film.
Many fans were thankful that the original ending was not what made it into film.
@HNEsocial @_ChristopherM Glad it was not that— Chakra Saie (@Chakra Saie)1553193981.0
@FutureBoy @fangirlcantina @garywhitta So much better that everyone died— Fred Cunningham (@Fred Cunningham)1553215472.0
@screenrant @BrazenBaze Pretty glad they didn't. I couldn't stop crying for days. Still though, that Vader scene. https://t.co/TqSuCwwN9v— Mateo Shan (@Mateo Shan)1553182196.0
@digitalspy The ending we got was perfect. Glad they didn’t go the original route— Anthony Creed (@Anthony Creed)1553205239.0
@THR @chrisweitz Rogue One NOT having a happy ending is part of what set it apart and made it among the best Star Wars movies ever.— Edman (@Edman)1553205608.0
Others discussed why everyone didn't necessarily have to die.
@fred_l_c @FutureBoy Some thoughts on main cast dying in #RogueOne 1 rationalization that none of these people ar… https://t.co/eLDo2hSoYv— Tricia Barr #StarWars5050 or we've settled (@Tricia Barr #StarWars5050 or we've settled)1553218120.0
@fred_l_c @FutureBoy 2 One of #StarWars weakest points is its diversity, yet #RogueOne - that touts a diverse cast… https://t.co/eQMFVc7tux— Tricia Barr #StarWars5050 or we've settled (@Tricia Barr #StarWars5050 or we've settled)1553218442.0
Rogue One largely focused on the necessity of sacrifice to bring about change, but the message was almost a very different one. What would the audience have taken away from the film if the original ending was chosen?