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Needless to say, this story will contain spoilers for Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. You should turn back now if you haven't yet seen it.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has the distinction of being one of the only Star Wars movies -- heck, one of the only Disney movies -- where the majority of the main cast dies horribly at the end. The first standalone solo story (aka, non-Saga film) to be told by Lucasfilm, Rogue One leads into Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope. Only, it's populated by a slew of characters that we never see if A New Hope. Or Empire. Or Jedi. Why? Because they all die while stealing the plans for the Death Star on behalf of the Rebellion. Earlier this week, we learned that some of the team members almost survived. Today, I learned that K-2SO had a different outcome... one that Alan Tudyk tells me they actually filmed.
I attended a press day for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in San Francisco, where Alan Tudyk and Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel opened up about the process of bringing the droid K-2SO to life. I also asked Tudyk about putting him to death. When we interviewed Tudyk for Rogue One on the theatrical press junket, he couldn't take openly about the droid's dismal fate. That would have been a spoiler. Today, he was able to talk freely about the droid's demise, and he told me that they filmed an alternate death scene for K-2SO. The droid originally died at the hands of chief baddie Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn).
K-2SO has a heroic death in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He is holding off numerous Stormtroopers as Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) are trying to retrieve the plans for the Death Star. It's a shocking moment, because it's one of the first significant deaths for Jyn's team, and it's an indication that all might not end so smoothly for our bang of Rebels. K-2SO takes a few blasts to the chest. He continues to communicate with Jyn and Cassian as his systems fail. Eventually, the blasts overwhelm him.
As Alan Tudyk recalls it at the Rogue One press day, the original ending for Rogue One had Director Krennic pulling the trigger on K-2SO. And they actually filmed the scene, but Tudyk says it never felt right, and that they all thought that K-2SO deserved a more heroic finish, a more fitting demise. The battle with the Stormtroopers in the crowded and deadly corridor was conceived, and the rest is history.
We will have plenty more from our press day at ILM on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, including more from our chat with Alan Tudyk and Hal Hickel, as well as our interview with VFX Supervisor John Knoll. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out on Digital HD on March 28th and will reach Blu-ray shelves on April 4th.