Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had some high profile cameos, including Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia. However, it turns out that the movie could have featured even more classic characters had screenwriter Gary Whitta and others working on the spinoff not reigned themselves in.
As tempting as it clearly was to add even more familiar faces in a film set between the prequels and original trilogy, Whitta reveals that Lucasfilm played a role in talking to the writing team to ensure that these fun cameos and winks and nods weren’t ultimately hurting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by retreading old ground.
“We did have some other characters. But the reason why they’re not in the film is because any time we did something like, where I’m wearing the fanboy hat and not the professional writer’s hat, someone would come along and say, let’s not do that character again. We don’t have to be winking at the audience all the time. The number one mandate we got from [Lucasfilm] was to show things we have not seen before. Don’t show us the stuff we’ve seen already. Show us some new stuff.”
The writer was reluctant to name names, but did confirm that many were replaced by new creations, instead. Interestingly, one such character was changed at a fairly late stage, as Admiral Ackbar was dropped thanks to his Star Wars: The Force Awakens cameo and replaced by someone else entirely.
“I always loved Admiral Ackbar. I wanted to have him in there, but J.J. Abrams got to him first. We didn’t want to use him again after The Force Awakens. So Ackbar became Admiral Raddus. You will see those little evolutions.”
Outside of Ackbar, Whitta flat out refuses to spoil any other cameos, but it’s interesting to think what might have been. Regardless, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did such a great job with its new characters that it not being bogged down by unnecessary cameos is no bad thing. Still, these remarks are sure to get fans talking about who was dropped from the 2016 release, and if you have any theories of your own, feel free to share them in the comments section below.