Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is arguably one of the best things to come out of the franchise since Disney purchased Lucasfilm. Opinions on the sequel trilogy films, both individually and collectively, seem to vary wildly. Most people are down on Solo: A Star Wars Story, though certainly not everybody. However, Rogue One has box office success, strong critical response, and a seemingly generally positive feeling from fans. Although it turns out that a number of other titles were explored for Gareth Edwards' blockbuster.
Rogue One was the first film to act as more spinoff than sequel to the existing trilogies. There are no Jedi to be found and a distinct lack of lightsabers (though when one does show up, it's pretty impressive). Even the title was something unique in the franchise, and now writer Gary Whitta has revealed some alternate titles that he suggested, that would have been part of a much more traditional title structure. Check them out in the tweet below.
While I'm pretty sure Star Wars: The Rise of Whitta was meant to be a joke, the other three are honestly solid titles for a Star Wars movie. The other two options here beyond the one that was eventually chosen are Rebellion and Shadow of the Death Star. This last one sounds exactly like a Star Wars movie. Although, Whitta says that's exactly why he pitched Rogue One as the title so strongly. In a follow-up tweet, he says that because this movie was something different, it should have a different sort of title. And the two-word Rogue One name would help differentiate it from the trilogy titles, so many of which were four words long.
This likely did help separate Rogue One and make it appear like the unique film in the franchise that it was. The addition of A Star Wars Story following it, rather than putting the Star Wars name up front likely did a lot of that heavy lifting as well. The title made it clear the movie was still taking place in the galaxy, far, far away, but would not be a part of any previous, or at the time ongoing, trilogy.
It was the first attempt at expanding the Star Wars universe beyond characters named Skywalker, and all signs pointed to this being a successful idea. The movie made a lot of money and it reviewed well. Unfortunately, the second attempt at a Star Wars Story, an origin story movie for Han Solo, did not fair quite as well. And the concept appears to have now been abandoned.
Now Lucasfilm has shifted to using Disney+ series to expand the galaxy, with two successful seasons of The Mandalorian and several more shows, including series dedicated to Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the way. We will be getting another Star Wars movie in Rogue Squadron from Patty Jenkins, which feels like it will fit the mold of the Star Wars Story, but isn't using that name. At least, not yet.