As we all know by now, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story underwent a lot of changes from its inception to its eventual release. There were extensive reshoots done mostly by Tony Gilroy, not credited director Gareth Edwards, the film’s ending was changed and many of the shots in the first trailer never made it into the movie. That’s not all though, writer Gary Whitta has revealed that a key character from the film was originally named after George Lucas. Take a look:
Gary Whitta was responding here to a fan on Twitter named Galen, who wanted to know how the writer came up with the name of Galen Erso for Mads Mikkelsen’s character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It turns out that Gary Whitta didn’t have a hand in that. Gary Whitta, who received a ‘Story By’ credit on Rogue One, came up with the Galen character, but his version went by a different name: Walton.
The Galen character in Gary Whitta’s draft of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was called Walton after George Lucas. As Gary Whitta noted, George Lucas’ middle name is Walton, so naming the Rogue One character that was a way to pay tribute to Star Wars’ creator in the movie. That is obviously one of the many changes that took place over the course of the film’s development and production and eventually Walton became Galen.
We’d have to ask one of the other writers on the film or someone at Lucasfilm why they went away from the George Lucas tribute name, but Galen definitely sounds more like a Star Wars name than Walton. No offense to any of the Waltons out there but it sounds a bit out of place in a galaxy far, far away, like walking into a cantina and meeting a Frank or a Steve.
Although it is no longer his first name, Walton may have still made it into Galen’s character. If you look around online Galen’s full name is listed as Galen Walton Erso, indicating that Galen and George Lucas share a middle name and the tribute still exists, albeit to a lesser degree.
However, I haven’t been able to definitively find out if this is the character’s official full name or just something the fans have put on Wookieepedia. It’s possible it was revealed in some of the extended canon like Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel but I'm not 100% sure.
Middle name or first, you can definitely see how paying tribute to George Lucas with Galen Erso would be extremely fitting as the two share quite a bit in common with Galen Erso being the engineer to George Lucas’ architect.
Galen Erso is the engineer behind the Death Star. The Death Star is the iconic structure in this story and it will be the image on the fancy Skywalker Saga box set. Basically, the Death Star is emblematic of Star Wars, which of course is George Lucas’ creation. So it makes sense to name the character that made it after George, who created this entire story.
Moreover, both the Death Star and Star Wars itself became much bigger than their creators could have imagined. And if we’re being honest, neither Galen Erso nor George Lucas was particularly thrilled with all the ways their work turned out and how it was used. George Lucas didn’t create a weapon of mass destruction like Galen, but it’s clear he’s not always happy with what Star Wars has become, although he seems to like Baby Yoda!
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Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.