If you’ve seen Rogue One by now, you’ve probably noticed a lot of the moments featured in the trailers didn’t actually make the final cut of the movie. We even published a whole run-down of all the lines and shots that are nowhere to be found in the finished product — suggesting that the film originally had a much different ending (Felicity Jones’ contract corroborates this). And according to Gareth Edwards, that’s definitely the case. (This article focuses on the end of the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, SPOILERS abound.)

The Rogue One reshoots, which undoubtedly tinkered with the final act, were a subject of intense scrutiny months before the movie even came out, but as Edwards tells it, the ending of the original script wasn’t even shot. In a recent interview with Empire, which has since been taken down (via io9), Edwards was asked whether the somewhat grisly ending of the movie (most, if not all, of the main characters die by the time the credits roll) was always intended. As it turns out, the original finale was completely different:

The very first version, they didn’t. 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.

It’s a very dark move, especially for a Disney property, but it suits the overall tone of the film itself. Where the core Star Wars episodes show the impact of war on our main characters, Rogue One shows us the war itself, in all its deadly glory. After all, in Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma tells our heroes, with a far-off look in her eye, that “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.” It would feel like a cop-out for the original Death Star plans not to come with a high price.

Rogue One is currently in theaters.

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