jyn erso mother

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first Star Wars film that doesn’t contain a single Jedi character – but that almost wasn’t the case. In a new interview, the filmmakers have revealed that in one of the early drafts of the script, Jyn Erso’s mother, Lyra (played by Valene Kane), was originally meant to be a Jedi knight who wielded a lightsaber in a fight against Ben Mendelsohn’s Orson Krennic in the movie’s prologue.Speaking with EW, director Gareth Edwards teased what the story nearly became:

“The prologue, at one point a long time ago, was going to be the Empire coming to kill the Jedi. And Jyn’s mom was going to be a Jedi…We were witnessing one of those kills and Krennic would be the person sent to do it.

The problem was that the second you make her mom a Jedi, you spend the entire movie questioning whether Jyn is a Jedi or not. Eventually, we came up with the idea that her father should have designed the Death Star. That became a stronger way into the stealing of the Death Star plans. We let go of the mother being a Jedi, and she became just a rebellious mom.”

Well, he’s absolutely right. If Lyra was a Jedi, we would have spent the whole film wondering if Jyn (Felicity Jones) was going to start showing signs of being Force-sensitive. As cool as that prologue might have been with Lyra swinging a lightsaber on the planet Lah’mu, Rogue One is a stronger film because of the way it treats the Force as a spiritual thing that’s in the background rather than a power that’s witnessed by any of our heroes.

Orson Krennic Rogue One

Part of the reason the writers ended up abandoning the idea of Lyra being a Jedi was because they couldn’t quite come up with a way around the fact that Jedi were not supposed to be romantically involved. In that same EW interview, writer Gary Whitta explained, “I can’t fully defend [that idea] because part of the reason why we got rid of the idea was because people would ask questions like that.” That’s the downside to working in a fictional world with so many pre-established rules.

It’s fascinating to consider the ripple effect a decision like this has on the larger Star Wars universe. Lyra Erso plays a key role in Star Wars: Catalystthe book that fills in the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, subtly influencing the events that lead to the beginning of the Rebellion. As a full-fledged Jedi knight, I imagine she would have had a far more overt role in the proceedings.

Ultimately, Whitta said they simply needed to “pick a lane” when it came to Jyn’s parents, and they felt that concentrating on Galen Erso’s (Mads Mikkelsen) involvement of the Death Star would provide better motivation for Jyn moving forward. Instead of a Jedi, the writers “just needed someone who could feel the Force,” so writer Chris Weitz came up with the character of Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), the blind warrior monk who served as a member of the Guardians of the Whills. Most fans agree that Chirrut is one of the film’s best characters, so if this whole decision-making domino effect led to his creation, I’d say it was probably worth it.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives on Digital HD this Friday and on Blu-ray on April 4, 2017.

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