Killing off all of the main characters in a franchise that is built upon a years-spanning cycle of trilogies is a risky move, but Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards says he absolutely doesn’t regret the heartbreaking end of his acclaimed entry into the Star Wars saga.
Rogue One follows a group of unlikely heroes and their all-but-impossible mission to track down and steal the Empire’s plans for the Death Star. The final act of the film involves a suicide mission to the Imperial data bank on the planet Scarif, which culminates in the deaths of the entire team. The film takes place directly before Star Wars: A New Hope and sets up the events of that movie.
Edwards believes that, while tragic, it makes more sense in the scope of the entire Star Wars saga to have the characters perish.
“No, no. I’m really pleased that they all died. As bad as that sounds. They don’t appear anywhere else in the original trilogy, so if they had lived and had any sort of significant story in terms of their lives, it would have been strange for them not to have a fleeting glimpse somewhere in the original trilogy,” Edwards stated.
Edwards‘ choice to go with a more tragic ending than most installments of the franchise certainly did not have an adverse effect on its reception. Rogue One grossed slightly over one billion dollars worldwide and in the five years since its release, has gone on to become a favorite of many fans who appreciate its high-stakes storytelling and war movie atmosphere.
However, Star Wars is still Star Wars, and even an on-screen death doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll never see a character again. Diego Luna is set to return as Cassian Andor in Andor, one of the franchise’s new streaming television series. Andor will be a prequel set five years before the events of Rogue One and will follow his exploits in the early days of the Rebellion. Forrest Whitaker is also set to appear in the series, reprising his Rogue One role of Saw Gerrera.
Filming for Andor began in December of last year and it is expected to begin airing sometime in 2022.