“The version prior to [my involvement] didn’t have everyone die. As a matter of fact, it ended with a wedding,” Weitz shared with the CultPopture podcast. “I think it was on the presumption that Disney wouldn’t allow characters to die with such abandon.”
This ending likely originated from very early concepts for the film, as Whitta himself pointed out to ComicBook.com that he was shocked Disney embraced the idea of all of the characters dying.
“I never believed that they would let us kill off all the characters in the film,” Whitta shared in 2017. “That was our original instinct. The very first meeting with [director] Gareth [Edwards] I remember saying, ‘I kind of feel like they all need to die, but there's no way Lucas ... There's no way Disney'll let us do that. We can't kill everybody. 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.”
Weitz, however, agreed with the practicality of killing the characters as a way to explain their absence from the rest of the saga. The writer noted, "I felt it was necessary because nobody ever mentions them or sees them again. But also because we’ve done this whole sort of theme about sacrifice that it was appropriate that all of our main characters die.”
Many debates have emerged about Rogue One and how the final product differed from earlier incarnations. Editor Tony Gilroy helmed reshoots on the film, leading to some drastic differences between what audiences saw and original plans.