Since Rogue One first hit theaters and took control of the box office, we've been learning bits and pieces about the production that hint at a vastly different movie than the one we saw in the final cut. It's enough to make you wonder just how different that original Rogue One treatment could have been.
The Ending Was Much Different
First, we know that big everyone-dies ending wasn't in the original script. In an interview with Empire that's since been removed from the publication's site, director Gareth Edwards was surprisingly candid about the changes.
Via Gizmodo: "The very first version, they didn’t [die]," he said. "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 Prologue Was Probably Longer
At the beginning of the film we learn Galen Erso is on the run from the Empire and living as a farmer. While the trailers included a shot of the Erso homestead in flames, that part was never in the movie, leading us to believe that prologue was probably a little more long-winded at some point.
The Speeches Got Cut
When it came time to start cutting the fat, it looks like Gareth Edwards decided his characters were just talking too much. Saw Gerrera clearly had a speech in the trailers he didn't deliver in the final cut. It's the one where he seems to be warning Jyn to choose her sides carefully in the coming fight, and based on his bald(er) appearance, he might have been telling it to a younger Jyn.
A key Jyn sequence was also cut. In the trailers, she's escorted into Rebellion headquarters in handcuffs and read her list of offenses to which she quips, "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel." That's all gone now.
The Fight on Scarif Was Probably Longer
As if broadcasting the plans to the Death Star wasn't convoluted enough (master switches, dish alignments, shield interference, etc.), the trailers seem to suggest that the whole business was even more complicated. In one shot (GIFed above), Jyn and Cassian could be seen running through the Imperial base on Scarif holding the data cartridge with the plans for the Death Star. In another shot, they could be seen running toward those AT-ACTs with the same cartridge.
Bodhi Rook's Role Was Smaller
In an interview with Vulture, Riz Ahmed talked about how Bodhi evolved over time, and he says he started out in a much different place. "I've got to be honest, the character was a different character at that point. He had a different name and a different relationship to the rest of the team, and he really evolved once I signed on and once I started shooting, even. They decided to start expanding the role and introducing him earlier and he became more integral to the story and the rest of the team. It's interesting, looking back, that I signed up knowing nothing, but ultimately I'd sign up for a Star Wars movie to make tea, just to be around that level of creativity."
Was This All for the Best?
Based on what we're seeing here, it seems like we saw the best version of Rogue One. When directors trim down speeches, clarify battles, and cut exposition that's usually a good thing. It keeps the pacing on track and the dialogue more grounded. So unless we hear about a cut scene involving the severed head of Jar Jar Binks (sorry prequel fans), we're going to assume all these changes were for the best. What do you think?