‘Rogue One’ director compares filming Darth Vader to a car


December 16 marked the fifth anniversary of Rogue One, a film that almost every Star Wars fan loved, which says a lot about Gareth Edwards’ movie considering how divisive the sequel trilogy panned out.

There were a lot of iconic moments in Rogue One, and many of them involved the return of Darth Vader. It had everyone at the edge of their seats from the sheer anxiety of what was happening on-screen, and it still stands out today as one of the best Star Wars moments of all time.

Yes, we’re referring to the hallway sequence that had Vader ruthlessly massacring a squad of Rebel troopers as they tried to make their escape on the Tantive IV, straightly leading to the events of A New Hope. You’d think that the mere presence of the fallen Chosen One in his black armor would be enough to terrify everyone, but it seems that there’s more to making Vader appear as menacing as possible when producing a Star Wars film.

Gareth Edwards recently sat down with StarWars.com to reflect on the legacy of his movie, and as you’d expect, bringing Darth Vader back to life inevitably came up at one point in the interview. The filmmaker described the process as “photographing a car,” detailing the tricks that go into making the character into what he is.

“Greig [Fraser] would always say that lighting Vader is like doing a car commercial. He’s got more in common with photographing a car than a human because of all the light reflections and things. [Mimics helmet] We kept looking at these tests going, ‘This doesn’t feel like Vader, does it? What are we doing wrong? It just doesn’t feel the same.’ And we started realizing that normally when you do a shot, you do an over-the-shoulder shot, and you film someone and then you do the reverse when you come around for a conversation. You come around. [Mimics camera rotating] In the original trilogy, when they would come around to do the reverse, the person in the foreground would always feel bigger than Vader, which felt wrong. So they always pull the camera back a little bit and then raise it up so that Vader, his eye-line was always the highest thing in the frame. If you didn’t do that, Vader felt small and not powerful. And so it was all these little tricks that we hadn’t thought of until we started failing at certain things,” He explained.

Darth Vader is set to reappear in the upcoming Disney Plus series, Obi-Wan Kenobi. So, fingers crossed, that show will also manage to get these subtleties right, lest we get a version of Vader that’s underwhelming where he should be frightening.