Entertainment Weekly had the chance to interview Gary Whitta, who wrote the first draft for Rogue One, about what was altered in the film.
In that early “happy ending” version, there was no Bodhi Rook, Chirrut Imwe, or Baze Malbus. Jyn was an enlisted Rebel soldier instead of a street criminal recruited on a spy mission. “In fact, some of the toys that are sold still say Sgt. Jyn Erso,” Whitta says. “That’s who she was, she was a sergeant in the Rebel Alliance. By the time we changed that, some of the toys were already in production. I have a Sgt. Jyn Erso on my desk, even though she’s not a sergeant in the film. She still commanded a strike force with a Cassian Andor-type character (“He was called something different back then,” Whitta notes) and the security droid K-2SO was always a part of the team.”
Whitta goes on to confirm that not everybody died in the original ending:
“I didn’t say everyone made it off. Kaytoo always died,” Whitta said. “Jyn did survive. ‘Cassian’ also survived. There were a lot of casualties on both sides, in both versions of the scripts.”
“A rebel ship came down and got them off the surface,” Whitta says. “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.”
Darth Vader was still in pursuit and began attacking Jyn’s shuttle as the Rebels tried desperately to transfer the information from the data tapes to Leia’s vessel. Finally, Vader was successful in breaching their shields and destroying the craft.
The audience would have been left fearing the heroes were dead. But as Vader’s Star Destroyer ventures off to chase Leia’s Tantive IV, we would have remained focused on the shuttle fragments floating in the vastness of space.
“They got away in an escape pod just in time,” Whitta said. “The pod looked like just another piece of debris.”
Make sure to head on over to EW to read the entire interview. Based on everything Whitta is saying, I am really happy the script did indeed change. I don’t like that Chirrut, Baze, and Bohdi weren’t included in the original ending; that would have been disappointing. It’s also interesting to note that Jyn was originally a Sergeant and not a character on the run. I always wondered why the Hasbro figures had her as Sergeant Jyn Erso, and I’m glad that is now cleared up. Rogue One hits digital platforms this Friday and on Blu-ray April 4th.