When building up what eventually became the prequel to A New Hope, the writers and producers had a great wealth of material to work with. In the old Star Wars canon, that time period was full of unique characters with exiled Jedi, daring heroes, and extraordinary villains that were included in books and comics, but never made it to the big screen. Eventually, Lucasfilm went with a set of heroes and villains that were either big screen familiar faces or total newcomers, but new information suggests that might not have always been the case, at least with Rogue One.
I Am Your Father director, Marcos Cabota was recently on the La Fosa del Rancor podcast and shared some interesting thoughts about where Rogue One could have gone and how it could have included the Star Wars universe's coolest Jedi. As it turns out, Cabota had a close friend who was an actor and trying out for Rogue One. When his friend got there, he noticed a familiar name on the early version of the script. A blind Jedi by the name of Rahm Kota was originally slated to appear in Rogue One, but was later written out. Cabota explains.
"In fact, they were talking about a Jedi, who then did not appear in the movie but did appear somehow ... Rham Kota was in Rogue One, I can tell you, he was a blind Jedi. And what do we find in Rogue One? A blind user of the Force ... In the script we had from Rogue One, before becoming Rogue One, it was Rahm Kota."
Rahm Kota is an old Jedi Master who survived Order 66 and is heavily featured in the Force Unleashed videogames. He's a pretty awesome character, who is a Jedi based off of a Japanese Samurai as opposed to the traditional monk-like Jedi origins. Kota can be seen fighting as a rebel against the Empire with his own private army. In the opening of The Force Unleashed, he attacks an Imperial facility in an attempt to draw Darth Vader out, but is attacked by Galen Marek instead. As a result, Kota loses his sight, and is later found drunk in Cloud City, where he's recruited to be Starkiller's mentor on the path to the Light. Unfortunately, the game is no longer Star Wars canon.
The blind Jedi may sound familiar for another reason, as Chirrut Imwe ended up being one with the Force in Rogue One. Though Chirrut is not an official Jedi, he has a strong connection to the Force in the movie. It could very well be that Rahm Kota was never intended to be in the movie and that information that Marcos Cabota's friend saw was just a way of masking the true identity of the character to keep major leaks from hitting the news outlets. The name could have just been a placeholder for Chirrut.
Chirrut Imwe has also been compared to Star Wars Rebels character, Jedi Master Kanan Jarrus, after he lost his eyesight during a battle with Darth Maul in Season 2 of the popular animated series. Lucasfilm could have been digging for characters from the Force Unleashed, but as it turns out, maybe the characters were just heavily based off of the video game, since it's not considered to be official canon anymore. It is quite possible that the character would have been too obvious for certain fans, but the addition of Rahm Kota would have been a very cool tip of the hat to the video game series. You can check out the full interview with Marcos Cabota courtesy of the La Fosa del Rancor podcast.