Rogue One A Star Wars Story - U-Wing Fighter

The U-wing Was Originally Much Bigger

The Rebels’ ship was originally envisioned as a Millenium Falcon-sized thing that could fit a team of people and had a cockpit and living quarters. Like the Ghost on Star Wars Rebels, this ship would fit a smaller, helicopter-sized, ship inside of it. The smaller ship would be used by the group to go down to a planet.

The filmmakers eventually realized they didn’t need both, and decided they instead needed a transport version of an X-wing. Edwards wanted something a kid could draw because we all grew up drawing X-wings and TIE fighters. They tried a Z-wing, a Q-wing, and an R-wing, and eventually settled on a U-wing inspired by a catamaran. Discovering this ship alone took well over five hundred drawings.

Before they came to the U-wing name, they had been developing the vehicle as “Jyn’s Ship.” When the ship finally got approved, the art department celebrated with a party where Lucasfilm art production manager Nicole Letaw made a cocktail called Jyn’s Ship featuring gin.

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Lucasfilm Story Group’s Kiri Hart Suggested Saw Gerrera

Gareth Edwards had the idea to include an extremist side of the Rebellion in the story, but it was Lucasfilm VP of Story Kiri Hart who suggested they use Saw Gerrera, a character originally created by George Lucas for the Clone Wars animated series. Before that, concept art pictured the character almost like a World of Warcraft orc. See here.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera

Chris Weitz Created Saw Gerrera’s Alien Interrogation Creature Bor Gullet

Bor Gullet, a telepathic cephalopod that Saw Gerrera uses to extract information from prisoners, was created by screenwriter Chris Weitz “as a way to get inside Jyn’s head.” He gives us a look at the original intention of the creature, revealing that the Bor Gullet is an “empath, he can understand exactly what you’re thinking, be he also feeds off emotion. He likes things like fear and sorrow and sadness. And joy, too.”

The alien was initially designed as an insect-like creature, but they decided to do with an octopod because “his tentacles could go around people’s necks and heads and into their ears.”

It’s unclear what the Bor Gullet’s original role was in the story, but in the finished film, it is limited to interrogating Bodhi Rook. From Weitz’s description, it feels like the creature originally had a different or extended purpose. Was Jyn interrogated by the creature?

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Pao Was Created For Force Awakens

The alien character of Pao originated as a sketch created for The Force Awakens, a one-off drawing that never developed into anything for that film.

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The Original Ending of Rogue One

Perhaps our biggest look at the original Rogue One ending that didn’t conclude with the deaths of all our Rebel spies comes in a piece of concept art at the end of the book. It shows Jyn landed somewhere, looking at a hologram of the Death Star plans in front of an X-wing that she used to escape Scarif.

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Other Bits I Learned

Here are some other bits I learned about the development of Rogue One:

More than 6,000 pieces of concept art were produced for Rogue One in the year and a half of production.

Gareth Edwards gave the art department a mandate that every scene should have an iconic frame.

The Imperial factory on Eadu came out of Edwards’ request for a James Bond supervillain secret base location.

At one point in the development of the movie, a mountain planet with a hidden base was going to house the inner dish of the Death Star. The idea was that it would rise up out of a mountaintop lake. Thrusters would propel the massive dish through space until its ultimately attached to the Death Star.

Chirrut wears a Jedha pendant of reforged gold depicting the ancient starbird symbol, which was only recently modified by the Rebel Alliance. He was part of the now almost extinct order called the Guardians of the Whills, which were devoted to protecting the Temple of Kyber in the holy city of Jedha.

Jyn’s necklace, which was given to her by her mother Lyra, is a fragment of a kyber crystal from Galen’s research. The stone caught Lyra’s eye when the family fled from Coruscant, and she took it to be a good omen.

The Ultimate Guide tells us that Jedha is speculated to be the origin point of the Jedi Order itself. If that was true, would the first Jedi temple be on Jedha? Remember, Luke Skywalker was thought to have gone in search of the first Jedi temple before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We had assumed he found this temple on Ach-To, but perhaps not? The book also says that some believe the Jedi got its name from the planet, while most scholars believe it to be the other way around.

The planet Jedha is described in the script as “a once-beautiful and ancient city,” and its a “place of pilgrimage for people across the galaxy.” The art department references Jerusalem, Morocco and the plateaus and Wadi rock of Jordan when designing the world. The occupation of Paris during World War II was used as inspiration for the city’s current battle-scarred state. In the middle of the city is the Temple of the Kyber.

Please let me know if there is anything I missed in the comments below. And if you haven’t yet, check out our previous Rogue One coverage:

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