Warning: spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are ahead!
The events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story culminated in an epic battle on and around the planet Scarif. On the surface, Jyn Erso's troops and some X-Wings kept the Empire distracted while she and Cassian Andor seized the Death Star plans. Out in space, Rebels ships were waging an assault on the Imperial forces around Scarif. Part of that attack included a Hammerhead corvette ramming into a broken-down Star Destroyer so it would crash into another Imperial battleship, and the force of those two ships subsequently took out the shield gate protecting the planet. It was a key victory in the battle, but some Rogue One fans have wondered whether the Hammerhead's crew died in the process. Almost a month after the movie's release, it's been revealed that's not the case.
During an interview with EW, Rogue One producer John Knoll discussed the thought that went into determining whether the men, women and other alien life forms aboard the Hammerhead would make it out alive, specifically by getting off the ship on life on escape pods. Eventually an animation of the pods being launched was created, but director Gareth Edwards found it distracting. However, the VFX team was still able to sneak in an indirect reference to the crew. Knoll explained:
The last shot you see of the Star Destroyers crashing down through the gate --- it's a very subtle thing, and it would probably be hard to tell this -- but the lifeboats are all gone on the Hammerhead. It's my story that the Hammerhead crew got into the life boats and made it out.
While no one aboard the Hammerhead was a major Rogue One character, the ship was integral to the Battle of Scarif. had it not plowed those Imperial ships into the shield gate, Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor would never have been able to transmit the Death Star plans off the planet, and the space station would have remained the ultimate power in the universe. Unfortunately, things don't get any better for the Hammerhead crew. Longtime Star Wars fans know that escape pods have to eventually land somewhere, so the only place for these people to go was on Scarif. John Knoll continued:
Our story was that they made it down to the surface of Scarif, and were standing around the beach going, 'You know what, it isn't so bad here!
Sadly, it was bad down there, because eventually Grand Moff Tarkin ordered the Death Star to destroy the Imperial base on Scarif after it had been compromised, wiping out anyone in its vicinity. While it's possible that some of the escape pods were able to land elsewhere on the planet, it stands to reason that the Empire would have eventually tracked those Rebels down. So even though most, if not all, of the Hammerhead crew didn't perish aboard the ship, their luck didn't improve afterwards.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still playing in theaters across the world. Click here to read our review of the movie.