Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out this past weekend, and it’s pretty good. The film, set just days before A New Hope, sees a group of rebels come together to steal plans for the Empire’s Death Star. With that in mind, plus the fact that this is a side story with characters we’ve never heard of, it’s made pretty obvious that not everyone’s gonna make it out of this in one piece. But the question is, of the various members assembled here, who had the most heroic, or perhaps tragic end of the main cast?
This article contains huge spoilers for Rogue One.
The reprogrammed Imperial droid, voiced by Alan Tudyk, spends a lot of Rogue One’s run time spouting off statistics about the team’s chances of survival, being bad at being sneaky, and getting in a good jibe or two. But he’s also a useful hacker and can blend in before he opens his mouth, which is what helps him, Jyn, and Cassian sneak into the Imperial facility on Scarif and find the plans for the Death Star.
How he dies: While he’s able to get Cassian and Jyn into the Vault, he ends up drawing an entire troop of Stormtroopers to their attention once the Empire realizes what the Rebels are up to. He’s handy with Jyn’s blaster, but he’s also one droid, and quickly becomes overwhelmed. With no other option and sustaining multiple wounds, he smashes the controls to the Vault, effectively locking Jyn and Cassian inside while killing himself. It’s definitely one of the saddest deaths in Rogue One, but it also made the most sense to off him first to show that this wasn’t going to be an easy mission.
“I’ll be there for you… the Captain said I had to.”
5) Jyn Erso
The main protagonist of the spin-off Star Wars movie starts off not really caring about the Rebellion in the first place. All she sees them as is an asset in her efforts to find her father, even while they secretly want Cassian to end him as soon as he’s found. It’s only after her dad has died in her arms that she realizes the full scope of the situation, and goes to Scarif with the other Rebels to grab the Death Star plans and upload them to the Rebellion.
How she dies: Jyn’s able to upload the plans to the Death Star, and even survives a short encounter with Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennec, but she and Cassian don’t die in the heat of battle. Grand Moff Tarkin uses the Death Star on the beach of Scarif, and she and Cassian embrace as the ensuing shockwave consumes them and everyone else on the beach. Certainly tragic, and props to her for transmitting the plans and telling off Krennec with a gun to her face, but also sorta just… there. This is her story, and odds are that she would’ve died there on that tower if Cass wasn’t there to save her. Great view of the sunset, though.
“You know who I am. I’m Jyn Erso, daughter of Galen and Lyra Erso.”
4) Baze Malbus
Rogue One’s freelance assassin doesn’t join the Rebellion out of any noble cause, he and Chirrut just wind up on the same path as Jyn and Cassian on Jedha. After the four of them are captured by Saw Gerrera’s men, they find Bodhi Rook and escape. With nowhere else to go, Chirrut and Baze stay with them, even deciding to see things through and join the Death Star heist on Scarif. While Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO go inside the facility, Baze, Chirrut, and the rebels take the beach to draw attention away from the true subterfuge.
How he dies: After holding his partner Chirrut in his arms as he dies, Baze decides to take the Stormtroopers on the beach by himself. He manages to get a few of them before being taken out by a frag grenade, giving a look at Chirrut’s body as the explosion consumes him. Certainly touching, considering that he ultimately dies to be with his partner, but also awesome for just how he doesn’t look at his own explosion.
“I fight the Empire now.”
3) Chirrut Imwe
Donnie Yen’s blind warrior-monk is first seen on Jedha, drawing attention to himself by making brief contact with Jyn before she’s whisked away. Later on, after Saw’s rebels turn the city into a warzone, he single-handedly kicks the ass of every Stormtrooper with a blaster aimed at him (because this is Star Wars, where being blind makes you awesome).
How he dies: In order to transmit the Death Star plans, someone has to deactivate a signal jammer surrounding the planet of Scarif. Despite being swarmed by Stormtroopers, Chirrut is able to walk through blaster fire while repeating the mantra, “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me.” Right after he deactivates the shield, he’s killed in an explosion and cradled in Baze’s arms as he dies. It’s safe to say that no one else could’ve done what he did, something proven when one Rebel tried to make a go for the jammer before being instantly gunned down.
“I am one with the Force, the Force is with me.”
2) Cassian Andor
The co-lead of Rogue One, Cassian has been a member of the Rebellion pretty much his whole life, and was assigned as Jyn’s handler in the effort to find her father (so he can kill him). While he does have Galen Erso in his sights, he doesn’t take the shot, and that’s partly the reason why he assembles other Rebels to help Jyn go after the Death Star plans. He views the mission on Scarif as the best chance to atone for things that he’s been uncomfortable with doing for the Rebellion.
How he dies: Originally, the film has you think that he’s the second to die when Krennec shoots him inside the Vault. But it turns out that he’s very much alive, managing to kill Krennec on top of the satellite dish and save Jyn’s life. With nowhere else to go, the two head for Scarif’s beach and embrace as the Death Star consumes them. He was probably going to die regardless of if they were able to make it off the planet or not because of getting shot in the gut, but damn if it wasn’t great for him to come in with that last minute save and gets that last minute redemption for past actions. Without him, Jyn would’ve died and Krennec could’ve found a way to stop the transmission, making it all for naught.
“Rebellions are built on hope.”
1) Bodhi Rook
A cargo pilot for the Empire, Bodhi ended up being the catalyst for most of Rogue One’s story. Jyn’s father Galen gave him a message to smuggle away in the hopes that it would reach her (or someone able to get in contact with her). After being captured by Saw on Jedha, he was able to make his escape off the planet as the Death Star destroyed it, later helping Jyn and Cassian’s group find Galen himself. He later joins them and a small group of Rebels on the Death Star heist on Scarif, helping transmit the signal to the Rebellion to ask for air support.
How he dies: In the heat of battle, Bodhi was quickly able to call for help from the Rebels and provide tech support without being noticed by the Stormtroopers. Unfortunately, his luck at being unnoticed didn’t last, and he was quickly consumed by the explosion of a grenade. Bodhi ended up doing the right thing, even when his conscience couldn’t take what the Empire was doing. It was also the one death that couldn’t have been prevented; the others all have combat experience that, in any other instance, could’ve had them walk away from this in a relatively good state. But Bodhi is just a lowly cargo pilot, one for whom death was going to be likely anyway, given that he was unarmed and could’ve been gunned down at any point in the film’s climax.
“This is for you, Galen.”