ROGUE ONE Originally Had a Different Ending But Gareth Edwards Got the One He Wanted
If you haven't seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yet, you might want to skip this article because it is extremely heavy with the spoilers as it deals with the ending of the film. If you have seen the movie, then by all means, read on!
The very first version of the script had a completely different ending than the one we ended p seeing in the film. This is an ending of the film that director Gareth Edwards didn't even shoot. During an interview with Empire, the director talks about this ending and why it changed to the ending that he wanted.
Edwards said he didn't think that Lucasfilm and Disney wouldn't let him kill off all of the main characters so in the original script some of the characters lived. He explains:
"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."
The characters in Rogue One had to die, it was the only way that it would have worked. I would have been disappointed if anyone of these characters lived. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the rebellion so that they had a chance to beat the Empire. It was truly a perfect and powerful ending. It's a good thing that Lucasfilm saw eye to eye with Edwards on how the story should have concluded.