Rogue One: A Star Wars Story almost had a lovely, happy Disney ending, before the filmmakers decided to go with their original, heartbreaking gut instinct.
An early version of the script saw heroes Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) making it off the planet Scarif and director Gareth Edwards has opened up before about how that version of events didn't feel right.
And now screenwriter Gary Whitta has shed a bit of light on how they would have survived their heist in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"A rebel ship came down and got them off the surface," he shared. "The transfer of the plans happened later.
"They jumped away and later [Leia's] ship came in from Alderaan to help them. The ship-to-ship data transfer happened off Scarif.
"They got away in an escape pod just in time. The pod looked like just another piece of debris."
Of course, if you think that all sounds a bit incredulous, then you're not alone: the filmmakers thought so too.
"The fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn't be this difficult," Whitta added.
"We decided they should die on [Scarif] and that was the way it ended. We were constantly trying to make all the pieces fit together. We tried every single idea. Eventually, through endless development you get through an evolutionary process where the best version rises to the top."
Whitta also opened up about the rationale for the film's grim ending, and how they stuck by their guns in order to get the best version of the story made.
"The original instinct was that they should all die," he said. "It's worth it. If you're going to give your life for anything, give your life for this, to destroy a weapon that going to kill you all anyway.
"That's what we always wanted to do. But we never explored it because we were afraid that Disney might not let us do it, that Disney might think it's too dark for a Star Wars movie or for their brand."
Fortunately for Whitta, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy agreed and the story was set.
"We were still scratching the itch that they all needed to die," he added. "Chris Weitz [who wrote another draft] thought we were right.
"They finally went off and fought for it. We told them, we feel they all need to die, and [Kathleen Kennedy] and everyone else said to go for it. We got the ending that we wanted."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released as a Digital Download on March 24, with a DVD release following on April 4.
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