Why That Rogue One Ending Isn’t Really Dark And Depressing, According To The Film’s Editor

Rogue One Ending Vader

Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! If you haven't seen the latest Star Wars film, then we highly advise you to turn back now!

If you have seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, then you already know that it features one of the most brutal endings of any movie in the entire Star Wars saga. Not only do Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and the rest of our heroes perish while capturing the Death Star plans, but we also watch Darth Vader tear through a squad of Rebel soldiers while trying to get the plans back. Despite the fact that many have hailed it as a dark finale, Rogue One editor John Gilroy recently told us that he doesn't see it that way. Gilroy explained:

Most films don't end on a dark ending because usually what happens if you do that is people walk out of the theater and they're glum and that's not what you want. We sidestep that in Rogue One because, first of all, their deaths have so much meaning. It's a very noble self-sacrificing death on their parts. But from there we go to Vader overtaking the ship and having this incredible action sequence, which is earned. Star Wars fans loved that. Without even trying, that sort of changes someone's mindset a little bit. All of a sudden, you moved to what Vader's doing and then finally you're moving to Leia.

Although Rogue One: A Star Wars Story technically ends on a somewhat tragic note for our main heroes, John Gilroy seems to think that the final minutes of the movie do quite a bit of work with regards to lightening up the overall tone of the film. We watch our heroes die in pretty grisly fashion, but their sacrifices ultimately mean something profound in this universe. From there, the intense Darth Vader action scene and the real promise of hope for the future by Princess Leia lead us into the credits with the assurance that things will work out in the end. That abrupt shift to familiar and optimistic Star Wars concepts allows the film to end the way it does while not necessarily feeling as dark as it may initially seem.

John Gilroy went on to mention that Rogue One's position within the Star Wars mythos also went a long way towards lightening up the ending. Most franchises would never have the opportunity to work like this because they tend to use direct continuity, but the design of the Star Wars mythology allows Rogue One to get away with it. The deaths of Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor become significantly less depressing because Rogue One's ending isn't an ending at all; it's the beginning of A New Hope. Gilroy elaborated:

Also, and this is unique to this movie, the fact that this movie literally touches the very first one which is going to happen fifteen minutes later, you have your kind of downer ending but it's not a downer at all because it leads to the first movie. Somehow we escaped the stigma of that.

What do you think of John Gilroy's comments on Rogue One's ending? Do you deem it a dark conclusion for a Star Wars film, and if so do you like it that way? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is currently in theaters.

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.