Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was almost a drastically different story, that would have had ripple effects even into upcoming Star Wars projects. In a recent interview with IGN, Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz revealed a shocking secret that would have changed a major part of the film.
Originally, Cassian Andor was set to be revealed as a double agent inside the rebel army working for the Empire. “He was always meant to be compromised,” Weitz explained. “In Gary and my versions, he was severely compromised.” Whitta added. “He was a double agent.”
Rogue One Changes
Why would the loyal Rebel spy have been working as a double agent for the Empire? According to Weitz:
“For a long time, he was working for the Empire. I think this was a rationale that I added in, was that he had lost people who had been killed by Saw Gererra. And all he wanted from the Empire was the go-ahead and the ability to kill Saw Gererra, rather than Galen Erso.”
It looks like Cassian would have been a similar character at his core, fighting for a cause that he believed in and holding onto that cause to justify his actions. Loyalty would still have been his motivation in this alternate Rogue One, but that shift in backstory would have changed everything.
Weitz continued: “And that kind of transmogrified along the lines – post-me and Gary – into a Rebel intelligence officer who had done terrible things. And here he chooses not to.”
The change would add an even deeper layer to Cassian’s feelings about his past actions. The final iteration of Cassian was a man with a dark past in which he did the wrong thing for the right reasons, who now wanted to do the right thing for once. Previously, he would have been a man who betrayed everyone and everything he knew, then went through the realization that the people he works for are the actual villains. Cassian would have likely felt he needed to go on the suicide mission to redeem himself in the eyes of not only the rebellion and Jyn, but himself.
“He was a rebel soldier who was secretly working for Krennic,” Whitta elaborated. “But then, as he grew closer to Jyn and realized that the Empire had built this weapon, he’s like ‘I never signed up for this! I didn’t sign up for killing planets!’ He has a change of heart, and flips to the Rebel side. But that’s after he’s exposed as a spy. And at that point, in the third act, he has to win Jyn’s trust back.”
Cassian’s final confrontation with Krennic would have changed from a soldier facing his enemy to a spy going against his former handler. This change of heart would have added Cassian to the list of former Empire soldiers who go against orders to save innocent lives, similar to Finn during The Force Awakens. The obvious difference being the former storm troopers who chose to escape the Empire had been stolen and conscripted as children and Cassian was not.
Cassian’s need to avenge his family would have blinded him to what the Empire was really up to. Once Cassian realized the truth, his entire world would have flipped making him question everything. Cassian needing to win Jyn’s trust back would have made the tension even higher during that final mission. The hug at the end would have had an added element of forgiveness as well.
“That was all fun, that was all interesting. I think they actually shot some of that stuff early on. But I think this version ended up being more nuanced and more interesting.”
The fact that some of those scenes were shot shows how many changes happened with Rogue One during production. This twist would have not only changed the plot of Rogue One, but it would also have obvious repercussions for the upcoming Disney+ Cassian Andor series.
Diego Luna will return in the upcoming series, reprising his role as Cassian Andor, and will be joined by his droid K-S20, voiced by Alan Tudyk. The series will be a prequel (for obvious reasons) about Cassian Andor’s time as a Rebel spy. With the series following Cassian, it’s no surprise that espionage will be a major part of his story. It looks like the series will be an origin story for Cassian, looking back at when he was a child during the Clone Wars, based on character descriptions.
The series would look very different if Cassian was in fact a double agent working for the Empire. The shift would have added a layer of tension throughout the series as Cassian tries to move up the ranks of the Rebellion to find a way to get to Saw Gererra. But he would also need to always be on guard so no one learned his secret. It also would have shifted our perception of K-S20, a reprogrammed Empire droid.
Which version of Rogue One do you prefer? Are you looking forward to the Cassian Andor series? Discuss in the comments below.