Long before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hit theaters, there was one big question looming: Would the film feature any Jedi? Would they be ones we know of, or ones we have yet to see on the big screen? Sadly, if you saw the film, then you know the answer to this. There are no Jedi in the film (not even in any cut footage), but things almost were completely different. According to an interview in the book The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the early drafts of the film did feature a Jedi.
The book says that early versions of the script had Jyn Erso’s mother being a Jedi on the run from Order 66. This would have drastically changed the dynamic of her stand against Krennic, and would give more reason to why the Erso family was attempting to hide from the Empire. According to the interview with scriptwriter Chris Weitz, Lyra would have still met her fate at the hands of Director Krennic. She was originally planned to be a Jedi Knight on the run, but they felt that having a Jedi int he film would change the dynamic of it:
For a long time in the story, there were Jedi around, even if only in the background—Jyn’s mother was a Jedi. But we thought that it would be more interesting to have a story without Force powers—without lightsabers.
We could explore a period of broken faith, a galaxy without hope. There’s despair because the Jedi are gone—and with them, for many, even the memory of the Force. We know from A New Hope that Luke Skywalker hasn’t even heard of the Force, out on distant Tatooine. That meant our story could be about normal people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
In the final version of the film, Lyra still believes in the Force. Additional sources have confirmed that she is a follower of the teachings of the Church of the Force. This is the same church that Lor San Tekka is connected with in The Force Awakens. The film is better with the change, because excluding the Jedi from the film allowed the film to relate on a human level more with audiences. There is hardly any supernatural element in it. It also allowed the team to show how formidable of a foe Darth Vader truly was.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still in theaters.
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