Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a movie that was one of the biggest gambles the franchise had taken since the original Star Wars. It was the first film outside of the main saga to be made, and nobody knew quite what to expect. As it turns out, nobody was quite sure what to even call it.
Rogue One A Star Wars Story writers Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz recently joined IGN for a quarantine viewing of the film and revealed that there were a lot of different title ideas floating around during production. While Rogue One was apparently an early title under consideration, it wasn't the only one. According to Weisz...
There was one point at which we were kicking around titles for this, right? Rogue One was a good choice eventually, but one of them was Dark Times.
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi refers to the Empire taking power as the "dark times" so a title like that would certainly have worked. It tells the Star Wars audience exactly where in the history of the galaxy this movie will be taking place.
Even those weren't the only titles being considered. As Gary Whitta explained, he was intentionally looking for a title that did not fit the traditional Star Wars title structure. The fact that Rogue One was such a different Star Wars movie was something that everybody involved clearly ran with, and the writers even wanted the title to reflect those differences. Whitta explained...
I went back and looked to all the previous films, and this continues to be true even with the sequel trilogy now being completed, the titles of Star Wars Saga films are always either three words or four words long. They just all are. So it occurred to me that one of the ways we could differentiate this movie from the rest is we had a title that was only one word or two words long. So like Star Wars: Rebellion, Star Wars: Rogue One, let's do a title that's shorter so that even from the title of the movie you know this is something that doesn't necessarily conform to the unwritten rules of the Saga films.
However, what's potentially most interesting about the title that was eventually chosen, is that the writers didn't actually know during production what the movie was going to be called. Apparently, since the script for Rogue One went through a few different hands, each previous writer was basically out of the loop once their work was done. Gary Whitta didn't know the movie was being called Rogue One: A Star Wars Story until that title was officially announced by then Disney CEO Bob Iger. Whitta goes on...
They don't tell you these things either, that's how I found out. When Bob Iger announced it at a shareholder's conference I went 'Oh, that's my title.' That's how I found out.
Rogue One was meant to be the first of many Star Wars Story films that dealt with aspects of the galaxy far, far away that weren't directly part of the Skywalker Saga. However, only Solo: A Star Wars Story was produced after Rogue One. Now it seems that the current plan for those additional Star Wars stories will come in the form of Disney+ television series.
Perhaps we'll get more of these sorts of stories with the new Star Wars movies that we know are coming.