Star Wars spin-off 'Rogue One' almost had a 'happy ending'

Ben Arnold
Felicity Jones in Rogue One (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Felicity Jones in Rogue One (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Hard to fathom perhaps, given the pretty gloomy and unavoidable premise of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but the movie almost had a much happier ending.

As was strongly hinted in the very first Star Wars movie, things didn’t end well for the spies who snatched the plans to the Death Star, which allowed Luke Skywalker and his X-Wing squadron to find its weak spot.

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And that was the plot of the Felicity Jones-led prequel, but it might not have all been so bleak, according to writer Chris Weitz.

In an interview with the CultPopture podcast (via THR), he explained that before he came on board to work on the script, things were a bit more upbeat.

(Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
(Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

“The version prior to [my involvement] didn’t have everyone die. As a matter of fact, it ended with a wedding,” Weitz said, though sadly, he does not reveal who ties the knot.

“I think it was on the presumption that Disney wouldn’t allow characters to die with such abandon.

“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.”

The making of the movie was fraught, as had been previously reported, involving re-shoots, re-edits and Tony Gilroy eventually taking over the reigns from British director Gareth Edwards.

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It meant that the plot was extensively re-worked before hitting screens.

“If you imagine the beginning of the second act and the end of the second act kind of swapping places, that would not be an inaccurate way to portray how it structurally was changed,” Weitz continues.

“A lot of the deaths were put in different locations than they were originally put in the script and were originally shot. I’m not sure why, for instance, K-2 died in a different place.”

He also adds that in his version, Darth Vader getting his hands dirty with the rebels came after Gilroy jumped on board.

“The Darth Vader kicking ass I cannot take credit for. That was a later invention,” he said.

“It was just the sense that the rebellion — that something bad was going down and we need to find out about it. There was this developing sense of dread throughout the film.

“I feel great about the final cut. I had no idea what it was going to look like until I sat down at the premiere. It was like watching a movie I had written and a new movie at the same time: I really, really liked it.”

Despite its issues in the making, the movie performed staggeringly well at the box office, making just over $1 billion.