Remember when the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story first dropped and it was full of sequences of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) running full tilt across the sandy beach? Sequences that — along with dozens of others — weren’t in the final cut of the film? Fans surmised those scenes had met their demise during the extensive reshoots, but that didn’t stop people from speculating on what exactly was removed from the film.
Director Gareth Edwards has hinted in the past that the original ending to Rogue One was much different, even if that was more surprise on his part that Lucasfilm would be willing to go as dark as it did for the film’s ending. But now, SlashFilm has finally tracked down what the original ending of Rogue One was supposed to look like, getting the answer traight from Edwards. t’s a pretty uncomplicated answer: The third act was taking too long.
“[Y]ou can get a sense of this in the early trailers, the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower. In cutting the film, it just felt too long […] one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there.”
So there you have it. It was simply a matter of shortening the runtime. Edwards goes on further to explain why it was crucial to keep the pace of Rogue One going at a steady clip and if the footage might ever see the light of day. You can read the full story over at Slashfilm.