As Rogue One: A Star Wars Story breaks the box office, audiences are also noticing that a few scenes from the trailers have been cut.
This is most likely due to the third act being reshot and recut. According to io9, an interview with director Gareth Edwards and Empire that is no longer available to read explains just how different the third act was before the reshoots.
Most notably, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story originally had a very different ending.
As it turns out, Gareth Edwards told Empire that not all of the main characters were originally going to die at the end:
"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."
K-2SO could have at least survived and showed up in the next Star Wars film! Droids don't age and don't have life spans.
However, the other characters sort of had to die because there was no mention of them in A New Hope. Their sacrifice made the ending that much more powerful.
Sure they could have all escaped and lived as a family happily every after, but this is war. And that kind of ending just doesn't happen during wartime.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."