From the moment Vader’s blood-red lightsaber cuts through the smoke and the sparks, we know shit’s about to go down, and sure enough, the next three to four minutes is filled with the screams of hapless Rebel Alliance soldiers struggling to contain the galaxy’s greatest threat. Because if Darth Vader was relatively subdued throughout the Original Trilogy – a combination of dated suit mechanics and CGI no doubt limited James Earl Jones and David Prowse’s performance – then this was Vader unleashed.
But it seems things almost panned out differently for the corrupted Jedi. Over on Twitter (h/t Cinema Blend), screenwriter Gary Whitta shared his original pitch for Vader’s entrance, and it sounds every bit as epic.
The version I pitched (but never wrote) had Vader on the Scarif beach single-handedly slaughtering his way through a Rebel blockade at the base of the Imperial tower. The version in the Raddus hallway works much better because it’s so contained, feels more horror than action.
Granted, containing Vader’s money shot within a dimly-lit corridor allowed Rogue One to veer into darker territory – more horror than action, as Whitta so rightly points out – and it’s arguably one of the more memorable scenes from Lucasfilm’s current era of Star Wars movies.
Next on the studio’s radar is the 2019 threequel, Star Wars: Episode IX, which is all set to begin filming in the coming days. The United Kingdom will host J.J. Abrams’ follow-up, and Internet scuttlebutt appears to have identified a possible opening for Lando Calrissian – Billy Dee Williams, not Donald Glover – to make his long-anticipated return.