He reveals while the initial vision for the film had been of the sacrificial ending fans saw in theaters, the writers weren't too sure Disney would let them get away with it.
To play the 7-foot-tall and very snarky Kaytoo, Tudyk would don 13-inch stilts while filming scenes for the movie, which centers on the robot and his Rebel buddies such as Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) stealing the plans for the Empire's super-weapon, the Death Star. "I think they've got the hardest task, I think, out of all the films that I heard about that one is probably the greatest challenge", Edwards said, before proclaiming, "They're gonna knock it out of the park, but I wouldn't have had the balls to do that". In the happier ending, the Death Star is still about to destroy Scarif, but rather than have our heroes disable the planet's shielding and upload the data, Jyn and the Cassian character managed to flee down the beach with data tapes in hand, as seen in earlier marketing material.
The current run of Star Wars films are in the awkward phase of transitioning between the old and new, but it seems Lucasfilm's grand plan is to eventually tell fresh new stories with all new characters. Jyn and "Cassian" escape with the plans Scarif via a Rebel ship. The two rebels would jettison in an escape pod - just like C-3PO and R2-D2 in the original Star Wars. "The pod looked like just another piece of debris", Whitta said. 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.
This post contains discussion of the end of Rogue One, a movie which came out in December. "We always felt that it was the right thing to do, that these characters make the ultimate sacrifice", he explained. "It's a Disney movie.' And yet, they were fully supportive of it, and it's actually one of the coolest things about the film". We've seen plenty of Darth Vader, stormtroopers, and the Millennium Falcon throughout the movies. When they finally chose to let the heroes succeed in the mission but fail to return, they had to get the okay from Disney/Lucasfilm brass, says Whitta: "We told them, we feel they all need to die, and [Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] and everyone else said to go for it".
Rogue One hits digital download March 24, followed by Blu-ray on April 4.
"The fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn't be this hard", said Whitta.
"I never believed that they would let us kill off all the characters in the film".