Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a memorable Darth Vader scene, and writer Gary Whitta revealed how The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson reacted to it.
In a tweet yesterday, Whitta reflected on the time Jackson saw an early version of the film. “I still remember vividly Gareth excitedly showing me the first cut of this,” tweeted Whitta. “No music or VFX, wires still visible, but even in that nascent form, it was clear that it was going to straight-up murder audiences. As I recall, Peter Jackson was on set that day also losing his shit.”
Rogue One was released in 2016 and begins with Galen Erso, a former scientist who lives with his wife and his daughter Jyn on a farm. He’s taken away from his family by Imperial Director Orson Krennic for them to use his engineering skills to produce the infamous Death Star. Jyn makes it her mission to steal the station’s plans for the Rebel Alliance and teams up with other resistance fighters to stop the Empire.
The Darth Vader scene came towards the end of the film, and it was the villain’s first movie appearance since Disney purchased Star Wars. It took place in the hallway of a Rebel ship where he’s cloaked in darkness, then the light from his red lightsaber reveals his form in all his fearsome glory.
Vader cuts a vicious swath through the Rebel soldiers who are trapped by the powerful Sith Lord. Because these troopers aren’t Jedi and can’t hold their own against such a force, audiences knew that they were doomed from the start, and it’s considered by many as one of the best Darth Vader scenes of all time.
Peter Jackson is renowned for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which had many moments of magical music and amazing VFX, and from Whitta’s retelling, the proto-scene was enough to impress the director without the post-production bells and whistles.
The return of Darth Vader has already been confirmed in the upcoming Disney Plus series Obi-Wan Kenobi, where Hayden Christensen will be returning to the role he played in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.