Last week IGN hosted a fan viewing of Rogue One along with the film’s writers Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, and the two offered up some interesting facts about the film that haven’t been detailed before. Among them are different titles for the film, insights into cut narratives, as well as influences on its scenes from other directors.
Below you will find the key reveals from the two Rogue One writers, or you can just watch the movie along with them using the embedded player after the break.
Apparently, the opening of Rogue One is modeled after the opening of Inglorious Basterds. “Gareth and I talked a lot about how much we loved the opening of Inglorious Basterds, if you remember that with the French farmhouse,” said Whitta. “This scene was very much inspired by that. Krennic is basically the Cristoph Waltz Nazi in this movie coming to interrogate the poor innocents who have to hide this girl.”
Other possible titles included “Dark Times,” “Rebellion” and “Shadow of the Death Star.”
It Did Have an Opening Crawl
Whitta said, “The way the movie opens is really one of the first interesting questions that [director] Gareth [Edwards] and I had: Should there be an opening crawl? I did write one. You’ll never see it but I did. I wrote more than one. Back when we were still experimenting with the idea of maybe doing one. But one of the things that we arrived at fairly early on in the process is that it was OK to liberate ourselves from the traditional storytelling language of Star Wars. And a lot of the visual tropes — the iris wipes, the opening crawl, things like that — we felt like the standalone movies had more license than the saga films to do something a little more different.”
Jyn’s Other Roles
At one point, Jyn was going to be the person who discovered the Death Star and had to tell the Rebels about it. But she had other roles too as Whitta explains below.
Whitta said, “At one point Jyn was already a Rebel soldier. We toyed with various other possibilities — that she was a deserter, that she was a Rey-like scavenger, but obviously you can’t do that once you learn what the other hand of the Star Wars universe is doing.”
Jyn’s Mom Was a Jedi
Whitta said in regards to how Lyra was originally written: “In the original version — and the kyber crystal was like the last tiny piece that was left — she was a Jedi in hiding. It was one of the first things that got killed, and rightly so. That was kind of a vestige of me as a fanboy wanting to feel like we were checking all the Star Wars boxes. I remember saying… this is going to be the very first Star Wars movie that doesn’t have a lightsaber in it. … Of course, it ended up not being true! We have an amazing lightsaber sequence at the end of the movie.”
Cassian Was a Double Agent
At one point Cassian was a double agent who wanted revenge on Saw Gerrera for the deaths of his loved ones.
Whitta said, “In a very, very early version of this, he was a Rebel soldier who was secretly working for Krennic. But then as he grew closer to Jyn and realized that the Empire had built this weapon, he’s like, ‘I never signed up for this. I never signed up for killing planets.’ He has a change of heart and flips to the Rebel side, but that’s after he’s exposed as a spy. And at that point in the third act, he kind of has to win Jyn’s trust back. That was all fun and interesting. I think they actually shot some of that stuff early on. But I think this version ended up being more nuanced and more interesting.”
Dantooine as the Rebel Base
At first, Dantooine was going to be featured, but due to timelines and budgets it got cut in favor of just having it on Yavin 4.
Whitta said, “Originally you saw the Rebel base is actually on Dantooine. And you see the Rebels evacuate Dantooine and move to Yavin 4. But it didn’t really accomplish anything in the story aside from a nod to Star Wars fans, ‘Hey, remember Dantooine?’ … But it didn’t move the story forward and it would’ve cost a ton of money.”
Borr Gullet Was a Memory Trader
At one stage, the Bor Gullet was a memory trader that fed on people’s grief, so Jyn was going to have to trade the memories of her childhood for intel.
Mustafar Not Named to Keep Vader a Surprise
The writers explained that Mustafar didn’t get a title card in an effort to keep some mystery to it, as well as to keep the Vader bath scene a surprise. Whitta added more on that moment below.
Whitta said, “This is a LEGO set! I can’t believe something I came up for in this film is a LEGO set now. I was like… Where does Vader go when he’s not working? He’s got to go somewhere. Where’s his crib. What does he do on his day off? And Gareth loves that scene in The Empire Strikes Back where you just get a glimpse of the back of Vader’s head. So [we were like] let’s take that and try to blow it out to do a more powerful version of it. And I really liked the idea that Vader is so physically ruined and so destroyed and so damaged that every now and again he has to completely take off all the armor and take what’s left of his body and put it in this bacta tank to kind of heal and regenerate. … And I love the idea of seeing him almost like a fetus in a jar, because it reminds us of just how little is left of him physically.”
Scariff Name and Shuttle Designation
The name Scariff came from Starbucks messing up Gareth Edwards’ name on his coffee cup, and the shuttle name of SW0608 is based on Weitz’s kid’s name and birthday.
Tusken Raider Rebels
There was supposed to be a Tusken Raider in the Rebellion, but he was cut after Pablo Hidaldo said they’d never leave Tatooine.
Vader Beach Scene
Whitta explained that at one stage he had written a scene in which Vader storms the Scariff beach to clear a Rebel blockade.
“I originally pitched a version of that Vader scene in the hallway which was actually out on the beach on Scarif. Jyn and Cassian had gone up in the tower and the Rebels had kind of bunkered around it to prevent anyone from following them up. And the word got up to Vader on the Star Destroyer, ‘We can’t get up to the tower because the Rebels have blockaded it.’ And Vader says, ‘Put me on that beach. I’ll open the door for you.’ And he goes down there and just straight-up murders every Rebel on the beach. And that would’ve been a cool scene, but again, it never really got past the pitch process. I never wrote it. But I love the fact that the idea of that scene made into the movie in the hallway, which I think works better because it’s more contained. It’s more claustrophobic. You’re trapped in that room with him and I think that’s more scary.”
Leia Take 2
It was revealed that Leia was supposed to be at the Rebel scrum earlier in the movie, but they kept her out to save her reveal for the very end.