The fate of the Hammerhead crew from Rogue One revealed


Thanks to the creators of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we finally have answers as to what happened to the crew of the Hammerhead that rammed the Star Destroyer at the end of the film…

If you watched Rogue One and came out of the film wondering what happened to the crew of the Hammerhead starship that rammed the Imperial Star Destroyer then wonder no more. Just as a reminder, the Hammerhead ship rammed a crippled Star Destroyer causing it to crash into another Imperial battleship, resulting in the two falling into the planetary shield gate over the planet Scarif, which allowed Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor to upload the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance.

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Finally, the creators of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have revealed their fates, and it’s not what you might have expected. Apparently, the filmmakers of Rogue One had been debating the fates of that valiant  Hammerhead crew, for some time, until they came up with a solution.

Executive producer and Industrial Light and Magic visual effects supervisor, John Knoll, told Entertainment Weekly that there were several outcomes discussed:

"“There was some talk about, ‘Hey, is this a suicide mission? Are all these guys going down with the Star Destroyers?’ I started pushing for this idea that maybe in one of the shots we could have all these lifeboats, the escape pods, shoot out of it.”"

One of the outcomes was to have a plume of small objects erupt from the undercarriage of the Hammerhead, as it fell with the two Imperial Star Destroyers to the planet’s surface.

"“We did an animation of that, but Gareth [Edwards, the director] thought it was a little distracting, so we turned that off.”"

However, the VFX team kept fighting for the lives of those brave Rebels by using some cutaway shots to justify an unseen escape:

"“The last shot you see of the Star Destroyers crashing down through the gate — it’s a very subtle thing, and it would probably be hard to tell this – but the lifeboats are all gone on the Hammerhead. It’s my story that the Hammerhead crew got into the life boats and made it out.”"

Knoll says that his story is that the Rebels made it to the planet below, climbed out of their escape pods, and looked around at the sandy beaches and decided to themselves that it wasn’t so bad…and then Tarkin orders the Death Star to fire its laser directly onto Scarif:

"“’Hey, what’s that bright thing on the horizon?’” –end scene."

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You can listen to EW’s Anthony Breznican talk about the visual effects on his podcast:

Well, at least we know the crew survived the initial crash, and they made their way to Scarif’s surface unharmed, until the Death Star fired its laser. Hey, you never know, they may have been out of the blast radius and lived…I mean, Tarkin did make a point to not blow up the entire planet.