In the run up to the home-video release of Disney’s Rogue One—which lands in the US today, on digital platforms like iTunes and Amazon Video, and DVD and Blu-ray on Apr. 4—the film’s cast and crew have been sharing the juicy—and gory—details of what could have been in the film.
The movie, the first ever Star Wars standalone film, which earned more than $1 billion at the global box office, underwent extensive rewrites and reshoots before it debuted last December.
Unfortunately, fans won’t get to see the alternate scenes that didn’t make the final cut in the DVD and Blu-ray release.
Director Gareth Edwards told Fandango that’s because many of the scenes, like the alternate version of the battle of Scarif in which Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is seen in an early trailer running across the beach with the plans to the Death Star in hand, were never completed. Others, like the scene where the TIE fighter rises to confront Jyn on the Imperial tower, were cut from the movie early on, when the filmmakers were still figuring out what the right version would be. And other plans for the film merely existed on paper and never made it into production.
“There’s not an individual scene that you can drag and drop and put on a Blu-ray,” Edwards told the site. “There are little things that would come and go during the process of postproduction, but they’re not scenes. They’re more moments within the scenes or a single shot.”
And there were many, many of those moments in Rogue One.
There was an opening crawl
Fans lamented the lack of an opening crawl, a staple of the Star Wars franchise, after Rogue One’s release. The story, in which the Rebel soldiers steal the plans to the Death Star that Luke Skywalker and the Rebels later use to blow it up, was basically the movie version of the opening crawl in A New Hope.
Edwards revealed during a Reddit AMA this month that the first draft of the script, written by Gary Whitta, did have a crawl and he told Entertainment Tonight last summer that the crawl was axed to further distance the standalone movie from the saga films.
Whitta declined to submit the document for fan inspection.
The evolution of Jyn Erso
Despite her early reluctance in the movie, Rogue One‘s main character Jyn Erso was always meant to be the leader of the ragtag group of Rebels who band together to steal the plans for the Death Star, the early concept art revealed. Her character ended up in a very different place than she started, however.
- Jyn’s mother was supposed to be a Jedi Knight. At one point, Rogue One was going to bridge the gap between the prequel trilogy and the Clone Wars, Edwards told EW. And the movie would have opened with Imperial bad guy Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) arriving at the Erso homestead to kill Jyn’s mother after the Empire gave the order to exterminate the Jedis.
- The Erso homestead was also set ablaze in early trailer footage, which paralleled the destruction of the Lars homestead in A New Hope. Perhaps the filmmakers didn’t want to hammer on that connection any more than the movie already did.
- In early plans for the film, Jyn was reportedly an enlisted Rebel soldier instead of a recruit. “In fact, some of the toys that are sold still say Sgt. Jyn Erso,” Whitta told EW. He has one on his desk.
- Jyn was much snarkier in the trailers than she appeared in the film. In the teaser trailer, she was described as “reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined,” when she arrived at the Rebel base. But her troubled background was mostly written out of the movie. Her killer line in one of the trailers, “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel!” was also cut.
- Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera was seen questioning Jyn about her decision to help the Rebels in the teaser trailer footage. “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do when they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” Gerrera says. That didn’t make it into the movie either.
Riz Ahmed was supposed to play a crazed engineer
Riz Ahmed, who played the defecting Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook, was originally hired to play a different character.
In an early screenplay, Ahmed was supposed to play Bokan, an Imperial engineer who was kidnapped by Saw Gerrera and developed Stockholm Syndrome after years of living with him, Ahmed told EW. Gerrera needed Bokan because he lived on a planet with a strong electromagnetic field, which meant the electronics never worked.
Jyn and her Rebel crew’s ship originally went down on the moon where Gerrera was hiding out. (Part of the reason that Gerrera was never found by the Empire is that he modified his ships to survive in that environment where nothing else could, Whitta said.) Bokan would have helped them repair an old Imperial shuttle found on the planet.
Edwards said Bokan became Bodhi because he thought the evolution of a character, who started with the bad guys but morphed into a hero who dies for the rebellion, would have been stronger if he’d known Galen Erso, Jyn’s father. They named the character Bodhi, which means awakening, for that reason, Ahmed said.
Bodhi’s death was also tweaked in reshoots. In an earlier version, he died during the sequence where he risked his life to plug in the cable. He was shot running into the ship and crawled his way there, where he died, instead of perishing in the explosion, as he does in the finished film.
K-2SO also had a different fate
The re-programmed Imperial security droid was originally modeled after C-3PO, early concept art showed.
He was also slain by the villainous Krennic, in early filming, but that didn’t feel right, actor Alan Tudyk, who played the droid, told CinemaBlend. In the final version, K-2SO dies holding off the Stormtroopers while Jyn and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) retrieve the plans for the Death Star.
Vader had a bonus kill scene
Darth Vader had a different kill sequence in another draft of the script. In what sounds like an epilogue, Krennic would have somehow survived the Death Star’s planet-killing laser and been rescued by Imperial forces. Just when he thought he made it and served the Empire valiantly, an off-screen force—Vader, presumably—would have mercilessly choked the life out of him for his failure.
Whitta, who drafted the initial script that was rewritten by Chris Weitz and then Tony Gilroy, said the scene was cut because it was too much of a stretch to keep Krennic alive, according to EW. The scene where Vader rampages a darkened hallway full of Rebels was added in later by another writer.
There were at least three other ways Rogue One could have ended. This explains some of the footage from the trailers that was missing in the finished movie, which was broken down by Slashfilm.
- The happier ending: In one of the earlier plans, when Jyn was a sergeant in the Rebel Alliance, she and Cassian, who had a different name at the time, escaped onto the beach of Scarif carrying the data tapes instead of transmitting them from the satellite tower. (Bodhi, Chirrut Îmwe, and Baze Malbus reportedly weren’t in this version.) A Rebel ship retrieved them and met up with Leia’s ship from Alderaan. She had come to help, and they transferred the data to her ship. Vader tracked them down and attacked Jyn’s shuttle, but they escaped in a pod just in the nick of time.
- The one with the suicide pact: The creators also considered another ending, in which Jyn and Cassian escape in a Rebel ship and are chased by Vader, Lucasfilm special-effects legend John Knoll told i09. They try to lose him in the traffic around the planet of Coruscant, but they don’t make it because the ship is damaged. So they transmit the plans for the Death Star to Leia’s ship, instead, which just left Coruscant on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan. Vader detects the transmission, and Jyn and Cassian then blow up their own ship to avoid being captured and tortured by the Empire for information.
- And the one with the carbon freezing: Knoll also told i09 there was an even crazier ending in which Cassian’s character was a double agent who ultimately realized he was on the wrong side and joined the rebellion in earnest. But, realizing they wouldn’t all make it, he set off a carbon-freeze bomb on the ship after they escaped Scarif and froze everyone. It was timed to when the ship was hit by Vader so that he detected no signs of life and thought everyone died. The heroes wouldn’t have appeared in the saga films that followed, then, because they were stuck in carbon freeze.