SPOILERS for Rogue One ahead!
The uniqueness of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is evident from the very beginning of the film, when it starts without an opening crawl. The movie's very concept, being a standalone film outside of the core Skywalker Saga, is unique as well. But despite the creators crowing consistently that there would be no Jedi in the film, people were still surprised that they followed through, and there really was not a single Jedi.
There was in the original plot of the film, though. As revealed in The Art of Rogue One A Star Wars Story, out now from Abrams books, Jedi were once a part of the Rogue One story.
"For a long time in the story, there were Jedi around, even if only in the background. Jyn's mother was a Jedi," screenwriter Chris Weitz revealed. In the final film, Lyra Erso was dedicated to the Force, and a strong believer in it, but had no Force sensitivity herself.
"But we thought that it would be more interesting to have a story without Force powers, without lightsabers. We could explore a period of broken faith, a galaxy without hope," he said.
That changes the entire feel of the movie, casting a new pall over it.
"There's despair because the Jedi are gone - and with them, for many, even the memory of the Force. That meant our story could be about normal people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps."
Designer Doug Chiang, who has worked on art design for Star Wars films since the prequels, agreed.
"The fact that there's no Jedi is what makes Rogue One so unique. There's beauty in empowering people and in not relying on magic or superpowers," Chiang said. "And yet, there's the underlying mythology of the Force that's still pervasive throughout our story. We needed to find those things that could root Rogue One in the middle, because spirituality is such a huge part of Star Wars."
Thus, we get things like the Kyber crystal that Jyn wears around her neck, given to her by her mother, and the mysterious Guardians of the Whills.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. You can buy The Art Of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Josh Kushins, at Amazon or any book store.
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