The film’s co-writer Chris Weitz revealed to Yahoo! Movies that several early drafts of the story featured Jedi characters in the margin of the narrative, most notably Jyn’s mother. Which isn’t much of a surprise, considering she gives Jyn a Kyber crystal necklace in the final cut of the film.
“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 … There’s despair because the Jedi are gone – and with them, for many, even the memory of the Force. That meant our story could be about normal people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.”
I’m in total agreement here. Almost all of the Star Wars media to date has featured Jedi of one flavor or another – Anakin and Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are all over Clone Wars (to say nothing of the other Jedi), and even Rebels has Kanan and Ezra. I liked that Rogue One showed how damn hard it was for the good guys to make any headway without a lightsaber on their side.