For most actors — and, just, people in general — getting a part in a Star Wars movie seems like a dream. It’s the kind of opportunity that makes an actor sweat about getting their lines right in their audition tapes, or send videos of, say, 14 different versions of the character to the director to show their range. Riz Ahmed, who played cargo pilot Bodhi Rook, was maybe a little overly enthusiastic during the audition process.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
If you didn’t already guess by the Star Wars news this week, Rogue One was almost very different. Ahead of the film’s digital video release on Friday, Entertainment Weekly has been dropping tons of exclusives about the spinoff that could’ve been. We learned that Darth Vader almost killed off a major character, the film’s original happier ending, then another crazy alternate ending, and a backstory for Jyn’s mom. Today brings news not of a scrapped scene, but a scrapped character.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be yours to digitally purchase (or rent, if you still like to give things the ol’ test-drive first) this Friday, and to celebrate, the filmmakers are really leaning into all those reports of reshoots and story changes by sharing unused plot points and alternate endings — like the somewhat happier conclusion Jyn Erso & Co. had in an earlier draft of the script. Today’s additions to the pile of discarded Rogue One ideas include an interesting backstory for Jyn’s mom and an even crazier alternate ending.
Even before those highly-publicized reshoots, Rogue One went through several story changes during development, which isn’t unusual for the majority of films, especially big blockbusters. Just yesterday we learned more details about the original, somewhat happier ending to the flagship installment in Lucasfilm’s A Star Wars Story series, but that was far from the only change made during the scripting stage.
When pals asked, “What was your favorite part of Rogue One?” and I responded, “The part at the end when they all died,” it sounded like a bitter joke. But it‘s true — the choice to take advantage of the film’s stand-alone nature by concluding with the cast’s noble, obliterating sacrifice was a bold and decisive storytelling choice that helped distinguish Gareth Evans’ film from the rest of the franchise. The characters meant more in death than they ever did while living, and the selflessness of their risky suicide mission attests to the power of the human spirit in wartime. But this was not always the game plan.
Now that we’ve thoroughly put the matter of Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi to bed, Star Wars Rebels is gearing up for Season 3's hour-long endgame. See for yourself in the first trailer, as Thrawn makes his final strike on the Rebels, a familiar face returns, and a few Rogue One baddies come out to play.
The final few moments of Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One are jam-packed with surprises. First Darth Vader storms onto the scene wielding his red lightsaber, which the director revealed was a last-minute addition. Then Princess Leia suddenly appears to acquire the Death Star plans. Not everyone was a fan of the CGI-created Leia – some of us here at ScreenCrush found the visual effects to be a but creepy – but most importantly, Carrie Fisher gave the scene her blessing.
One of the most exciting, gasp-worthy moments in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place in the film’s final moments. In the scene – spoiler alert – a red lightsaber slices through the darkness and Darth Vader emerges onto the ship. He demolishes a pack of rebel soldiers before a blockade runner escapes and delivers the Death Star plans to Princess Leia. It’s one of the best scenes in the film, but it almost didn’t happen.
When all was said and done, the biggest movie of 2016 in the United States was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the only film of last year to gross more than $500 million domestically. Director Gareth Edwards managed to do something not even George Lucas had accomplished: Make a well-liked Star Wars prequel.
Star Wars fan fervor has understandably moved from Rogue One to The Last Jedi, but can Star Wars Rebels swing the needle back? Yet another of the Star Wars Story players is making their animated return, as our first clip from “Secret Cargo” sees Genevieve O’Reilly back in her Rogue One role.