For Star Wars fans, playing the "What If?" game can lead to fun and unusual places. What Princess Leia end up with Han Solo if she and Luke Skywalker weren't twins? What if Padmé Amidala hadn't fallen in love with Anakin? Or, most interestingly, what if the Rogue One heroes didn't die at the end? That's the one that often gets me because of the unique way in which Rogue One is situated in the Star Wars timeline. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta opened up about an alternate Rogue One ending where there was at least a shred of hope for the heroes in the initial scripting stages.
The events of Rogue One feed directly into the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope meaning that those characters could have only had one of two possible fates: they lived or they died. Of course, they had to died if only because their characters were not included in A New Hope or the successive two installments, all three of which were made thirty to forty years ago, respectively.
I'll admit, I find it incredibly intriguing that a different path was imagined for Jyn Erso and Cassian. It could be inferred that her role as a Rebel soldier contributed to Jyn surviving the final Rogue One battle in this original ending, which is again, interesting when considering what the screenwriter was thinking.
If she and Cassian did survive, I could only imagine that their survival wouldn't have shifted the original Star Wars timeline too much. That said, it certainly would have meant that there would be heroes that never got their proper due or even mention in the original Star Wars trilogy; to be fair, that's a pretty glaring pothole.
Whitta also told EW that there was no mention of Bodhi, Chirrut, or Baze in the first drafts; the primary heroes were simply Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO. To me, that's the wildest part. What kind of movie would Rogue One be with only half of the team we know and love? Not half as good, I suspect.