‘Rogue One’ Writers Reveal Movie’s Alternate Titles and Characters
Rogue One famously underwent many changes through the course of production. We once did a whole lost of things that appeared in its trailer but didn’t show up in the finished film. There were shots, there were lines of dialogue, and even maybe an entire action sequence or two.
We’ve known learned some of the changes that the film went through before production, thanks to a recent live watch-along of the movie conducted by its writers, Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz. They revealed (via ComicBook.com) that before the movie was known as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, they considered many alternate titles. They included Dark Times, a reference to an Obi-Wan Kenobi line from the original Star Wars, and Shadow of the Death Star, which certainly applies to the story of the movie but would have given away a bit more of the plot than Lucasfilm typically prefers to do with its marketing.
Whitta also discussed the thinking that eventually led them to Rogue One:
At one point, John Swartz, who was one of the creative executives on the film had a list and we all kind of voted on the ones that we liked....One of the things that occurred to me, I went back and looked to all the previous films, and this continues to be true even with the sequel trilogy now being completed, the titles of Star Wars Saga films are always either three words or four words long. They just all are. So it occurred to me that one of the ways we could differentiate this movie from the rest is we had a title that was only one word or two words long. So like Star Wars: Rebellion, Star Wars: Rogue One, let's do a title that's shorter so that even from the title of the movie you know this is something that doesn't necessarily conform to the unwritten rules of the Saga films.
According to The Playlist, Whitta and Weitz also discussed the ways the characters evolved during the writing process. Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso was originally conceived, according to Whitta, as “Rebel soldier” and at one point she was going to be “a deserter ... 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.” There was also a version where Jyn’s mother would have secretly been a Jedi in hiding.
Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, meanwhile, was originally a spy in the Rebels working for the Empire. “He has a change of heart and flips to the Rebel side,” Whitta revealed “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.” The stuff about Cassian is particularly interesting since his character will return, as the lead in his own Disney+ series. Will the film reveal that Cassian once worked as an Imperial spy in the Rebels? Knowing what was originally developed for the character, that wouldn’t surprise me.
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