We know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a very different movie once upon a time. We've learned in great detail how the ending went through changes. However, it turns out the beginning was once very different as well. We've just learned that an early draft of the script would have created a very different version of Lyra Erso, the mother of Felicity Jones' hero Jyn. While Lyra was always going to die in the opening of the movie, her death was originally going to happen for a very different reason. Early on, she was a Jedi and Krennic was there to carry out Order 66. According to director Gareth Edwards...
Our instinct told us that we wanted a scene where Jyn is orphaned because of what Krennic does, which sets her on her path of being a child of war. The problem was that the second you make her mom a Jedi you spend the entire movie questioning whether Jyn is a Jedi or not. Eventually, we came up with the idea that her father should have designed the Death Star. That became a stronger way into the stealing of the Death Star plans. We let go of the mother being a Jedi, and she became just a rebellious mom.
As much as the Death Star was going to be a key part of the film's plot, it seems that the original plan wasn't for Jyn Erso to have a father that worked on the project at all. Instead, the idea was for Director Krennic's target to be Jyn's mother. The opening sequence, according to Entertainment Weekley, would have had a direct connection to the Star Wars prequel trilogy as Lyra Erso was a Jedi in hiding following the Empire's order to exterminate them.
As Gareth Edwards explained, the issue was that with a mother who was a Jedi, the expectation was that fans would be wondering about Jyn's Jedi ability throughout the entire movie. Since there were never any plans to make Jyn a Jedi, that was viewed as a distraction and eventually, the writers decided to follow Galen Erso and his work with Kyber crystals and the Death Star. Apparently, Jyn's father was always written as some sort of scientist, which meant that when the setup changed, so did the character that was the focus of it.
It seems to have been something of a catch-22. The reason for making Lyra Erso a Jedi was partly due to concern that fans might not be attracted to a Star Wars story that didn't have Jedi in it. However, since the story wasn't going to deal with that overall, the addition ended up becoming a problem. Luckily, the concern was unwarranted, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story works just fine without and Jedi characters.
What do you think of this change? Should Lyra Erso be a Jedi or was it better to leave the Jedi out entirely?