Rogue One continues to dominate the box office following its opening weekend (another $18 million on Monday, helping to push Disney over a record $7 billion year), so let's keep talking about it).
The Original Original Ending
Director Gareth Edwards tells Empire that very early on in the script stage of Rogue One, the main characters didn't die. Here's why (via io9):
it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that...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. I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’ And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it.
The Return of Saw Gerrera
One of those characters who dies in Rogue One is Saw Gerrerra (Forest Whitaker), a guy fans knew of before this movie because he's in the Clone Wars animated series. Now he's about to return to the small screen in younger form for two episodes of Star Wars Rebels. Check out a behidn the scenes video about his return, voiced by Whitaker (via Entertainment Weekly):
And speaking of Gerrera, below is some concept art showing how different he could have looked, and underneath that is a more familiar alternate design for the new droid K-2SO. Check out more art, including a different look for Orson Krennic at /Film.
Star Wars Rebels Cameos and References
Speaking of Gerrera and Rebels, there are a lot of other connections between the series and Rogue One, including references to characters like Hera Syndulla and appearances on Yavin 4 from the droid Topper, seen below, and the spaceship The Ghost, further below. For more Rebels Easter eggs, head over to Entertainment Weekly.
More Easter Eggs
Speaking of concept art, below is an old drawing by Ralph McQuarrie of Darth Vader's castle, as it was to make an appearance in the original trilogy. We got to finally see it in Rogue One. Underneath that is a glimpse at George Lucas's 1973 outline for what became Star Wars and also inspired the religious order in this movie called The Guardians of the Whills. Find additional cameos, references and more at /Film.