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Rogue One’s Original Ending Would’ve Been Way Worse

For the movie, anyway.

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**Major Rogue One spoilers below.**

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is already different from other Star Wars movies just for the fact that its story is more self-contained. While it deals with events within the continuity of the series, its main cast of characters have a self-contained, single-movie story. Other ways in which it differs from the rest of the franchise weren’t always as certain, and it’s a better movie for the changes that were made.

If you’re still reading after the spoiler warning, I’ll assume you know what I mean: The entire cast of main characters was killed off by the end of the movie—villain, heroes, and all. As much as we may have been rooting for those characters, it was a powerful deviation from the norm for the “good guys” not to make it out unscathed at the end, which served the movie well. That wasn’t always the case in the script, though, according to director Gareth Edwards.

In an Empire podcast episode that was mistakenly published early (which you’ll be able to listen to again on December 26), Edwards explained that he pretty much always wanted to go that way with the real ending, but the original assumption was that Disney would never go for it. So, the script (according to The Verge) had them survive. Then, as Edwards tells it, “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 that was that—the “happy” ending was never even filmed.

That’s especially important for a movie like Rogue One, where the dramatic tension was already a little undercut by the fact that nearly every single person who goes to see the movie already knows the plot to steal the Death Star plans is a success. While we may usually “know” that the heroes of a movie are going to succeed, Rogue One felt a little extra precluded, which made the decision for that success to come at such a high cost really important to the film’s overall impact on the viewer.

(via The Verge, image via Disney/Lucasfilm)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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