WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY AHEAD.
As many bloggers, fans and moviegoers have already pointed out, a lot of the footage from the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teasers, trailers and television commercials wasn’t in the theatrical cut of the film. So much, in fact, that many have speculated about whether or not the massive reshoots were to blame. In either case, director Gareth Edwards revealed in a since-deleted podcast interview with Empire magazine that the original ending described in the script was wholly unlike what audiences were treated to over the weekend.
“The very first version, they didn’t. In the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that. ‘They’re not going to let us do that.’ So I was trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that and there was this feeling of like, ‘They’ve got to die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?'”
“We thought we weren’t going to be allowed to but Kathy [Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm] and everyone at Disney were like ‘Yeah it makes sense. I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope.’ And so from that point on we had the license.”
While this apparently more uplifting ending was never filmed, large swathes of an otherwise different third act were staged during the production. One of the more prominent unused sequences included additional scenes from the beach assault, in which Jyn Erso (equipped with the stolen harddrive), Cassian Andor and K-2SO race across the sand with their fellow rebel troops.
Though these shots didn’t make it into the final cut, they featured prominently in Rogue One‘s advertising. Even the above “K-2SO Featurette,” which landed on the official Star Wars YouTube page Tuesday morning, includes a behind-the-scenes look at the crew filming this beach sequence. As Edwards explained elsewhere in the interview, marketing chose to use the scrapped footage anyway as they determined it conveyed the “feel” of the film:
Seeing as how the unused footage (and its related unfilmed ending) featured main characters who were actually dead, it seems marketing may not have actually understood the “feel” of Rogue One.