How 'Rogue One' Changed From Its Original Script, According To Screenwriter Chris Weitz

Plenty of movies get changed on the way from the page to the big screen, but few perhaps as drastically (or infamously) as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The standalone Star Wars film went through dramatic changes in the summer of 2016, which saw significant plot points dropped and whole scenes that appeared in the trailer not show up in the finished film. We don't know the full extent of the Rogue One changes, but Rogue One co-writer Chris Weitz is here to enlighten us on what the original film script looked like

In an interview with the Cult Popture podcast (via IndieWire), Weitz spoke about the original Rogue One script that he penned, which would be rewritten by co-writer Tony Gilroy when Lucasfilm overhauled the film directed by Gareth Edwards. Here are a few of the changes to Rogue One.

The Death Star Was Kept a Mystery

The driving force for the plot of Rogue One was the Rebels' plan to steal the Death Star plans. Right off the bat, Star Wars fans were made aware about the looming threat of the weapon when an infromer talks about a "planet killer" the Empire is building. However, Weitz's script was a little more obscure on what the plans at the center of the mission actually were for, choosing to keep the Death Star reveal a mystery until the end:

"It wasn't clear at the beginning of the film that the Death Star was going to be the Death Star. It was just the sense in 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 [original script]."

However, Weitz said executives did not want to keep the Death Star plot a mystery since Star Wars fans would have already known what the weapon was.  "I was pushing for something that had more of a sense of dramatic irony," Weitz said.

The Fan-Favorite Darth Vader Scene Was Added Later

It seems that most of the elements added by Gilroy or Lucasfilm were nods to the Star Wars universe at large, appeasing hardcore Star Wars fans who just wanted to see Darth Vader murder a bunch of dudes. But it worked – Darth Vader's unstoppable slaughter ended up being one of the highlights of Rogue One, something that Weitz acknowledges:

"The Darth Vader kicking ass I cannot take credit for. That was a later invention. That was different...A lot of the deaths were put in different locations when they were shot. I'm not sure why K-2 died in a different place, for instance."

The Story Structure Was Completely Different

"If you can imagine the beginning of the second act and the end of the second act swapping places, that would not be an inaccurate way to portray how it structurally was changed," Weitz said of the main difference between his original script and Gilroy's revisions. However, Weitz doesn't begrudge Gilroy's changes, adding that "I feel great about the final cut." He added:

"I really liked the movie...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."