If you’ve seen the latest Star Wars movie, then you know how Rogue One ends. If you haven’t seen it, then welcome, because I’m about to spoil it for you so hard (so go see the movie right now).
Seeing as how Rogue One was set up as a prequel before the OG Star Wars movie, A New Hope, we always knew how it was going to end:
Though the odds against them might be great, those scrappy and resourceful Rebels manage to steal the plans for the Death Star, so later on down the road Luke Skywalker can blow it up.
We saw that heist happen during the movie (and it was hella heart pounding), and some of us might have correctly guessed the final outcome for this group of Rebels. Even though they’ve stolen the plans for the Death Star, it is still an operational battle station and destroys the base on Scarif. Everyone dies, including our heroine, Jyn.
Buuuuttttttt that might not have always been the outcome. Earlier this summer, we learned that Rogue One was going through some reshoots — nothing to worry about, big-budget movies go through reshoots all the time. However, after seeing the movie, and looking back at the trailers for Rogue One, it appear as if lots of stuff was changed before it hit the big screen. The ending might have completely changed too, and maybe in some alternate Star Wars flash-sideways, Jyn and Cassian are alive and well.
Here’s how the movie we see up on the big screen ends: Jyn and Cassian break into the archive (Chamber? What was that place even CALLED?) where the Empire is holding the Death Star plans on literally a floppy disk. The power cuts out, so Jyn has to manually go in and pull out the drive, and Cassian follows her. Meanwhile, in the control area, K-2SO is holding off stormtroopers, but can’t hold them off forever; he’s shot one too many times, and this droid powers down for good.
Then Director Krennic shows up, shoots Cassian (how dare you), and he falls, presumed dead. Jyn manages to escape upwards, and climbs through a vent in the ceiling so now she’s on the very top of the radio tower, where the Empire obviously keeps the controls for their satellite. Krennic shows up, tries to shoot Jyn. Then Cassian shows up, actually shoots Krennic. Jyn puts the Death Star plans into the satellite drive, and it’s beamed up to the Rebels high above the planet.
So now try and explain how the trailers for Rogue One showed Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO running through the base on Scarif.
They never ran with the Death Star plans. They never made it out of the archive chamber, because immediately after getting the plans Jyn went up — and also K-2SO was gone, and Cassian was injured.
There’s another moment from the same trailer that has this trio now running outside, dodging AT-AT fire as they race across the sand. Ummmm, there’s no way that scene could have happened in Rogue One, either (and even more interesting, it appears as if the satellite tower is in front of the group, and they’re running towards it. They’re not even in the building!).
It’s not like these moments are “deleted scenes” and will end up on the Rogue One DVDs. Instead, they’re moments that never even come close to happening in the movie, because they’re no longer part of the story. And that’s what leads me to believe that originally, Rogue One had a completely different third act.
Clearly, at some point in the original Rogue One script — and obviously a part that was filmed — Jyn gets the plans outside, and now it’s a mad dash to upload them to the Rebellion. Cassian is never shot by Krennic, and K-2SO gets to continue being sassy. Might this suggest that in this Star Wars flash-sideways, they all make it out ALIVE?
Maybe, maybe not. There’s another scene suspiciously missing from the film where Jyn goes head-to-head with a TIE-fighter. The final Rogue One film sets up for this, and has Jyn walking down the platform and everything, but no TIE-fighter appears. WHO was even in this TIE-fighter? Probably not Krennic, he doesn’t seem like the pilot type. Know who loves TIE-fighters? Vader.
Unfortunately, unless Disney and Lucasfilm decide to get really talky, we’ll never know the story of these alternate-reality Rogue One scenes, let alone how they fit into the movie. When the reshoots happened, clearly things were scrapped and changed to the tragic ending we know now. All these moments above simply point to a much different path towards the finale, and who knows, maybe everything all along always lead back to the same conclusion. These Rebels were never getting off of Scarif.
…or maybe in one flash-sideways they did, and we can spend the rest of our lives thinking about Jyn and Cassian (and K-2SO) together forever, blowing up stuff.