This post discusses the ending of Rogue One. Stop reading now if you care about that sort of thing and you somehow still haven't seen it.
Three months after it was released in theaters, it's fair to say the ending of Rogue One is no longer a spoiler: Everyone in the Rogue One team dies in the process of getting the Death Star plans.
But that wasn't always the case. In the original treatment and first script, fearing that Disney wouldn't like that dark ending, Rogue One's first writers had two of the crew making a daring escape.
Those two were Jyn Erso — who at this point was a regular rebel soldier — and the character who would later be named Captain Cassian Andor. (They're played by Felicity Jones and Diego Luna in the film.)
"There were a lot of casualties on both sides, in both versions of the scripts," writer Gary Whitta told Entertainment Weekly Monday. "We were constantly trying to make all the pieces fit together. We tried every single idea."
The original idea was that Jyn and her comrade would be lifted off the Imperial planet, which director Gareth Edwards would later name Scarif based on his first name being hilariously misheard by a Starbucks barista.
The transfer of the Death Star plans would take place on that ship, which was pursued and destroyed by Darth Vader. The two rebels would jettison in an escape pod — just like C-3PO and R2-D2 in the original Star Wars.
Speaking of droids, K-2SO still died on the planet in this version. The other members of the crew were different characters in embryo; Donnie Yen's character Chirrut Imwe, and his fellow Force-friendly monk Baze Malbus, did not exist in the original script.
If you think the last-minute escape pod business is derivative and lacks the movie's strong sense of sacrifice, you're not alone. Both Whitta and his successor as writer on the project, Chris Weitz, felt the team needed to die — and that the "writing gods" were making it difficult for them to survive.
Luckily Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy agreed, and Disney did not interfere with what became the darkest ending to any Star Wars movie, Empire Strikes Back included.