This post contains discussion of the end of Rogue One, a movie which came out in December.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made the bold choice to kill off every single one of the main characters in the final battle to get the plans for the Death Star. Given that the likes of Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor don’t show up in George Lucas’ original films, it made sense, but it was also striking in its grimness.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, screenwriter Gary Whitta, who has a story credit on the film, said he and director Gareth Edwards always wanted to have their heroes bite the dust. But they assumed that the Disney machine wouldn’t allow that, what with its desire for unending sequels and the hope that children don’t leave the theater fully traumatized. “We always felt that it was the right thing to do, that these characters make the ultimate sacrifice,” he explained. “It wasn’t that way in my original script, but again, we never felt that we would get away with it. K-2 always died, but Jyn survived in the very first version of the movie that we developed, and then it was Gareth who kept pushing for it, saying, ‘I feel like they need to die. They need to die.’ Eventually he convinced [Disney and Lucasfilm].”
Whitta said that all parties were “fully supportive” of the incredibly depressing conclusion to the film. (The A.V. Club will have a full interview with Edwards later this week about his concerns with making a movie for Disney about a suicide mission.) The next standalone prequel film in the Star Wars universe is likely to be less brutal. After all, it’s about Han Solo, and we all know what became of him.