There was a rumor floating around that everyone in Rogue One dies, earlier this year, and it seemed a bit extreme. The rumor came, in great part, from the fact that the actor who plays Baze, Jiang Wen, seemed to spoil that Chirrut (played by Donnie Wen) dies in Rogue One during the film's panel at 2016 Star Wars Celebration in London. Major, huge, devastating SPOILERS start now, so get out while you can. As it turns out, the worry-warts of the internet and the folks who feared the worst when Wen dropped the hint about Chirrut had a lot to worry about. War is dark and cruel, and as such, the entire Rogue One crew dies in the service of the rebellion (so does Krennic, the bastard, but we all knew that was coming). And no, there are not enough tissues in the world to make it hurt any less.
Of course, the way that it happens is absolutely beautiful. This team of misfits, each displaced in their own ways, come together by something resembling happenstance. When it becomes clear that they could change the fate of the universe and curb the Empire's seemingly unstoppable tide by recovering the Death Star plans from the Imperial archives, against all odds and Mon Mothma's orders, they steal away on a ship and take on what feels like the entire Empire to do something selfless and monumental. In the end, they manage to transmit the Death Star plans, setting in motion the entire plot of A New Hope, down to the part when Luke Skywalker fires a laser into the thermal exhaust port like he was shooting womp rats back home.
But in order to get to the plans, this tiny crew had to fight its way to the door. And while Baze & Chirrut are fierce warriors, K-2SO is a force to be reckoned with, and Bodhi has fully turned against his former Imperial cohorts, they are only a few men, and the Empire's endless forces eventually outnumber them. Of course, each character dies heroically — Bodhi is trying desperately to get the signal link up so that the plans can be transmitted. Chirrut braves the battle field to throw a switch in service of that link. Baze tries to take on a hoard of Death Troopers himself. K-2 is holding off a hoard of stormtroopers while Jyn and Cassian sift through the archives.
But Jyn and Cassian's deaths are dragged out the longest and the ones that seem, up until the end, somewhat preventable. After they succeed in sending the plans to the rebels and begin to escape, Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader decide it's time to show off their shiny new Death Star... by blowing up their own base. Cassian and Jyn escape the base, but don't find a ship in time, so they die, holding each other tightly on the beach as the wave of destruction comes their way.
It's devastating but also fittingly beautiful because of the self sacrifice that the entire crew made in order to keep the hope alive for the rebellion. It's not the outcome I initially wanted for these characters, but having seen it, there's really no other way this story could have ended.
Images: Lucasfilm (2)