Rogue One nearly featured an unlikely Star Wars alien with the Rebel Alliance. Writers Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz revealed this news during a recent live Q&A session. A lot of people are trying to figure out ways to stay productive and keep people entertained while everybody stays indoors, which has led to a lot of fun interviews and live events with directors, writers, and actors over the past few weeks. Now, we have some more insight into one of the darker entries in the Star Wars franchise.
As for the unlikely alien who nearly joined the Rebel Alliance in Rogue One, the species goes all the way back to A New Hope. Chris Weitz wanted to place a Tusken Raider with the Rebels, but ended up getting into some trouble with Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo. Apparently, the Tusken Raiders don't ever leave Tatooine, so Weitz was not able to include one of them in the movie and he learned something at the same time. Their iconic look would have been a nice nostalgic addition to Rogue One, so it's understandable why Weitz wanted to include them.
Rogue One co-writer Gary Whitta talked about one of the many challenges about writing for the Star Wars franchise. "Coming up with names for Star Wars is really hard," says Whitta. The writer went on to say, "When George Lucas was coming up with these things, he just liked the sounds of them. Something is either Star Wars-y or it's not. You kind of know it when you hear it." While that does sound like a challenge, it also sounds pretty fun at the same time.
Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz also noted that they almost made Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) a double agent who was secretly working to benefit the Empire. "He was always meant to be compromised," Weitz revealed. "In Gary and my versions, he was severely compromised..." Whitta agreed by noting that Andor was a "double agent." The Rogue One story would have found him ditching his Empire roots to fight for the Rebels once he learned that they were making weapons to destroy planets. In the end, it's probably for the better that they did not go with this part of the story.
A lot of changes were made to the Rogue One story throughout the development process and then later in reshoots. Tony Gilroy was hired to direct the reshoots and rework aspects of the story, which earned him a screenwriting credit. Like a lot of Star Wars movies, Rogue One was seen as controversial at the time of its release, though many fans have warmed to it over the years. Now, a lot of people consider it to be one of the best from the latest batch of movies put out under the Disney umbrella. Diego Luna is even returning to play Cassian Andor in the Rogue One prequel Disney+ series. The Q&A session with Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz can be watched below, thanks to the IGN YouTube channel.