Posted on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 by Ben Pearson
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped back in December, but the curtain is still slowly being pulled back and revealing more details about exactly how this particular space oddity came to be. We’ve already written a lot about the film’s ending: why it was changed, how Darth Vader’s big moment was a last-minute addition, and even K-2SO’s original ending. But now we’ve learned about even more ways the film could have concluded, and trust me: you’re going to want to know about these.
John Knoll, Industrial Light & Magic’s Senior Visual Effects Supervisor and the originator of Rogue One‘s concept, spoke with io9 and he talked about some of the versions of the movie’s ending that we didn’t get to see. Let’s break them down, shall we?
The Freeze Ending
Let’s talk about the most explosive option first. Knoll explains how one version of his story had Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as a secret double agent planted into the Rebellion by the Empire. Cassian learns that the Death Star is a very real threat, and he has to come to terms with the fact that everything he knows about the Empire has been a lie spread by propaganda. He switches sides and decides to save his new friends’ lives through…unconventional means:
“They’ve got a carbon freeze bomb on the ship and the idea is that he forces everyone into the airlock. ‘I’m going to set this off and you’re all going to survive.’ He sort of times it with one of the hits from Vader’s ship so he blows up the ship and sets off this carbon freeze bomb and everyone is frozen. Then on Vader’s ship they detect no life signs and they think everyone’s dead. And they’re like, ‘Where’s that ship the plans were transmitted to?’ and they go. So I was going to leave our heroes out of the picture. It’s why they don’t show up in Empire or Jedi — they’re stuck in [carbon freeze].”
I have a lot more respect for Kathleen Kennedy and the team at Lucasfilm knowing that they heard this pitch and decided to rework it. Think about it from a studio perspective: sending Jyn and company out into space with a carbon freeze bomb is the perfect way to preserve those characters and potentially bring them back in future movies. Episode IX could end with Rey and Finn discovering that frozen hunk of carbon frozen on a distant planet, and boom – you’ve got yourself an instant crossover set up. The fact that Kennedy and the Lucasfilm Story Group decided it was worth it to ditch this idea and kill everyone off instead speaks volumes about their commitment to telling a powerful, contained story.
One of Knoll’s other options provides more insight into an alternate ending we already knew about: the escape pod ending. In this version, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian steal the Death Star plans but are rescued from Scarif by a rebel ship. Darth Vader gives chase, blasting their ship relentlessly until they can transfer the plans to Leia’s ship. Eventually, Vader destroys the rebel ship, and Jyn and Cassian survive by jumping in an escape pod at the last minute. Knoll’s new information takes the whole thing up a notch. He says the chase between Vader and the rebel ship involved multiple jumps to hyperspace and eventually ended up on Coruscant, the capital of the Galactic Empire:
“And the last jump they do, they try to get lost in the traffic that’s around Coruscant. It’s a giant cloud of ships. Ten-thousand ships coming and going and they’re trying to get lost in that traffic but they don’t make it. There’s still an hour’s flight away from Coruscant and their ship gets damaged.”
That sounds far more exciting than I originally thought, but the problem here is that Rogue One did a pretty good job of keeping a grounded, practical feel for a lot of its action. The final movie’s space fights were some of the franchise’s best, but I can see how adding a chase scene involving ten thousand ships may have pushed it too far. Once you put that many vehicles on screen, it can start to become overwhelming for an audience and the filmmakers run the risk of the heroes getting lost in the digital shuffle.
In Knoll’s planned ending, Jyn and Cassian would have discovered Leia was leaving Coruscant on her diplomatic mission to Alderaan, and they transmit the plans to her ship. But they know Vader has detected the transmission, and rather than face the inevitable torture that would come when he caught them, they decide to stay on their ship and blow it up. That version of the ending may have been a little too bleak, even for a film in which all the heroes die.
What do you think about these endings? Would you have rather seen any of these play out instead of the one that made the final cut?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes to Digital HD this Friday and arrives on Blu-ray on April 4, 2017.Cool Posts From Around the Web: