While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is bringing in huge box office returns both domestically and in foreign markets (my review will be following shortly), there’s quite a bit that didn’t make it into the final film. A new book “The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” by Josh Kushins highlights the art of the film and showcases concept art for many sequences that got scrapped along the way.
The following images and descriptions come from Coming Soon‘s review of the book, although they were only able to post the promo images. According to their article there’s many more fascinating pictures throughout the book that make it a worthwhile purchase for any die hard fans.
A Different Squad
ILM head honcho and Rogue One story writer John Knoll’s original 7-page treatment was titled “Destroyer of Worlds” (after the famous passage quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer from the Bhagavad Gita). In it, Jyn Erso was a rebel commander and K2SO was a RA-7 Imperial protocol droid, but it also featured bizarro world versions of the rest of the squad, including a rebel pilot named Ria Talla, team members Dray Nevis and Jerris Kestal, as well as a pair of aliens called Lunak and Senna. Krennic was an Imperial spy within the team, and the plot was much more espionage and intrigue than the final film.
Under director Gareth Edwards, the character of Jyn evolved from merely being team leader to the emotional center of the film’s story. Her family makeup simplified, as her mother was supposed to have been a Jedi in hiding (which would help explain why she gave Jyn a Kyber crystal necklace) and she also had a younger brother she had to protect. Galen being an engineer forced to help complete the Death Star remained intact.
Drop Ship Dropped
As originally envisioned, the hero ship for the film was going to be not unlike The Ghost on Star Wars Rebels, i.e. a Millennium Falcon-sized ship with living quarters that housed a smaller, helicopter-sized drop ship. Ultimately it was decided to simplify and merely have the drop ship, which forced them to change course with their designs to something that harkened back to an X-Wing split down the middle.
Saw Gerrera’s covert lair on Jedha had a lot more to it. At one time, his prison cells resembled catacombs built around skulls, he sat on a throne, and he even had a beat-up X-Wing at his disposal. Also, the octopod psychic creature Bor Gullet had a few alternate designs, one of which had him on a set of mechanical legs, and another of him colored red and encased inside an egg-shaped helmet.
A Whole Cut Laser Sequence
There was a whole cut sequence on the rocky planet Eadu where the hero ship has to shoot out a laser light grid on the canyons in order to navigate through them. The idea was inspired by a trip Gareth Edwards and concept artist Matt Allsopp took to Area 51 in Nevada, where they were followed by a security car that emitted a similar type of light grid on the surrounding valley. Hopefully the deleted scene will make its way into the Blu-ray!
Vader’s Lava Pit
Darth Vader’s castle on the planet Mustafar was inspired by concepts originally developed by Ralph McQuarrie for The Empire Strikes Back. While the castle bears a good deal of resemblance to McQuarrie’s drawings, they left out a Sith Cave amid a lava field that had always been a concept of George Lucas’s. Production designer Doug Chiang hints that while we don’t see it all right now, we may catch a glimpse in future films. There was also a long hallway with scary Sith reliefs carved into the volcanic rock that Krennic was supposed to walk down that was never used.
Scarif Goes Off-The-Grid
The Imperial paradise planet of Scarif had originally been mocked up to show that the Empire has really ruined the landscape, with deep holes bored into the planet along with a grid carved in that resembled a circuit board.
That wasn’t the only change made to the Empire’s presence in the film. There was also a mountain planet whose sole purpose was to house the inner dish for the Death Star. It was also thought that the Shield Gate ring would be used to dock star destroyers. There was also a giant Antenna Ship, whose purpose is unclear in the book despite how cool it looks.
Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe is for many the breakout character in Rogue One, and while his weapon of choice in the film is a primitive wooden staff (and yes, occasionally a laser bow), at one point Chirrut was designed to be packing a large handgun rather than his samurai-like appearance. Let’s hope he pops up again in other films, like the Han Solo spin-off, so we can learn more about this Guardian of the Whills!