Lyra Erso's last words to her daughter Jyn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were, "Trust the Force." She shared this piece of wisdom while tying a kyber crystal around Jyn's neck. She studied the Force and the Jedi Order, and in early drafts of Rogue One, Jyn's mom was also a Jedi.
Screenwriter Chris Weitz told Yahoo! Movies as much in December. He said, "Jyn's mother was a Jedi." The information also came up in The Art of Rogue One book; Jyn's mother was a Jedi in hiding from the Empire, which meant her family—Jyn, Galen, and a younger son that didn't make it to the final draft—was in danger. Ultimately, they went in a different direction. Weitz explained, "We thought that it would be more interesting to have a story without Force powers, without lightsabers. We could explore a period of broken faith, a galaxy without hope."
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards offered another Jedi possibility for Lyra in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (EW) recently. In it, Edwards explained to EW that Jyn's mom was going to be a Jedi slain during Order 66: "The prologue, at one point a long time ago, was going to be the Empire coming to kill the Jedi. And Jyn's mom was going to be a Jedi." Krennic would have been the person sent to do it.
Obviously, they didn't go that route—and thank goodness. One of the appeals of Rogue One was how it was the first Star Wars film that didn't have a Jedi or other Force-wielder at the heart of the story. Darth Vader appeared, yes, but he wasn't a primary character. Making Lyra a Jedi would have brought a whole will she/won't she element into play with Jyn regarding whether or not she would exhibit Force abilities. That question racing around would have been a distraction from the mission of stealing the Death Star plans and communicating the cost of being in the Rebel Alliance. Gareth goes into that at EW.
They found a compromise with Lyra, which I quite liked: Rogue One hinted at Lyra being somehow tied to the Force with Catalyst (the Rogue One prequel novel) and the Ultimate Visual Guide filling in those gaps. There, we learn Lyra studied the history and beliefs of the Jedi Order and, through her work with kyber crystals, she became curious and raised her eyebrow at the stories the Galactic Empire spun about what happened during the Clone Wars. She knew Krennic was manipulating Galen and even helped Galen see the truth.
And though it's hard to spot in Rogue One, Lyra wears a red sash. It's a nod to the Church of the Force (Lor San Tekka from The Force Awakens was a member of the group). We don't know if Lyra ever made contact with the organization, but the Church of the Force sect native to Jedha wore scarlet vestments. So, we were able to see Lyra's trust and faith in the Force without her being a Jedi. That information, along with what we heard about the Whills and learned about Baze and Chirrut's past, offers other perspectives on the Force than we would have got if Lyra was a Jedi. And these details that color the background ultimately give us a fully dimensional look at how the Jedis relate to the Star Wars galaxy as a whole.
Plus, there would have been that whole "Jedi aren't allowed to have attachments" business to explain. It's not completely off base to think Lyra would have moved on and formed a family after Order 66 brought the destruction of the Jedi Order, but she would have been rather occupied with being on the run and staying hidden. But if she was killed during Order 66, it would have meant she gave birth to Jyn while she was still in the Order. The only other Jedi we know who had a secret family was Anakin Skywalker.
One more thought: while I don't believe it would have been a smart move to make Lyra a Jedi, I would have loved to see her as the one who built the trap in the Death Star instead of Galen.
Would you rather Lyra have been a Jedi, or do you like the story as is? Sound off in the comments.
Images: Lucasfilm/Disney, DK Publishing
Speaking of Rogue alternatives—here's what the ending could've been: