Spoilers ahead for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Rogue One has a pretty ballsy ending. While we’ve been conditioned for franchises to keep carrying characters for as long as they’re popular, everyone dies in Rogue One. Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) is killed in the destruction of Jedha. K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) are shot to death; Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) are both blown up; and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) both die when the Death Star blows up the Imperial base. None of the heroes are coming back in a sequel.
And yet, THR reports that of the lead actors, Jones has one sequel option in her contract. While Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and reps for the castmembers both say there will be no sequel for Rogue One, Jones has a sequel option that the studio could exercise if they wanted to bring her back to play Jyn Erso.
So why is that clause there in the first place? We know that Rogue One went through a lot of reshoots, and it’s possible that when Jones signed on to the film, the script had Jyn surviving the mission. However, THR speculates that Jyn could be used in a “a young Luke Skywalker stand-alone in the future.”
However, that’s far more confusing. Rogue One ends right where A New Hope begins, so we’re left to assume that up until this point, Luke Skywalker has been living a boring life on Tatooine. He has no adventures; that’s why he’s all mopey and whiny. He wants to get away from his tedious existence and go join the rebellion. That makes a lot less sense if he went on some adventure with Jyn Erso in the past. If there are adventures to be had on Tatooine, why leave the planet?
While you could do a Jyn Erso standalone movie without Luke Skywalker, you’re stuck with the problem that we’ve already seen her greatest adventure. Setting aside the fact that when we meet Jyn in Rogue One she seemingly wants nothing to do with the rebellion and just wants to be left alone. Even if we’re on some adventure with her that takes place before the events of Rogue One, how can her mission in that film be greater than stealing the plans for the Death Star? Also, her character trajectory would be in the wrong direction. Rather than the uplifting resolution that finds a wannabe loner deciding to fight for something greater than herself, a prequel would leave her disenchanted and disheartened.
Jones may have a sequel option in her contract, but I believe that option came about when there was the possibility that Jyn might be the lone survivor of the mission to retrieve the Death Star plans. Now that the character is dead, it’s probably best to let her rest in peace.