What was the original ending of Rogue One as drafted by Gary Whitta?

Mar 20, 2017
Original script ending for Rogue One

Here's the originally intended ending of Rogue One as told by Gary Whitta 

The filmed ending of Rogue One was perfect.

Our heroes died in a blaze of glory, Vader got to slaughter a few Rebels and Princess Leia got away with the stolen plans to the Death Star.

It was the ending we predicted and the ending many fans wanted. 

It was just perfect. 

Except as writer Gary Whitta has revealed, the film makers all wanted that dire ending but they were sceptical that Disney, a family friendly company, would not let them film such an ending where literally the main AND supporting cast all die. 

So Gary Whitta had drafted a different ending to Rogue One. It went something like this according to Whitta:

"A rebel ship came down and got [Jyn and “Cassian”] off the surface. 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.”

So that's a happy ending of sorts. No mention of Bodhi or the others surviving so perhaps the script offered a glimmer of hope? 

In the original draft, Darth Vader still boarded the Rebels ship and wrecked havoc while destroying Admiral Raddus' ship but only after the data transfer to the Tantive IV. 

In the last moments, the audience would have seen an escape pod separate from the wreckage which could have contained Cassian and Jyn.

Indeed Whitta confirms this was his intention:

"They got away in an escape pod just in time. The pod looked like just another piece of debris.” 

And that sounds like exactly what R2 and C3PO do in A New Hope and what Han and Leia got up to in Empire.... 

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