We’ve known for a long time that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story underwent some significant reshoots which reshaped the entire final act (and perhaps as much as half of the movie), but surprisingly, it’s now been revealed that the film’s best scene wasn’t even included in the original cut.
In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re talking about Darth Vader brutally slaughtering Rebel soldiers as he attempted to recover the stolen Death Star plans. Believe it or not, there was actually a point when the Sith Lord never even boarded the ship. We can’t say for sure, but perhaps that’s because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a totally different ending where at least some of the team managed to survive their mission.
Regardless, here’s what director Gareth Edwards has to say about this big moment for Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and how it was added:
“He arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner. And then Jabez was like, ‘I think we need to get Darth on that ship,’ and I thought, yeah, that’s a brilliant idea and would love to do it, but there’s no way they’re going to let us do it. It’s a big number and we had, what, like 3 or 4 months before release. Kathy [Kennedy] came in and Jabez thought, fuck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it.
“Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene […] [The Stunt team] came up with a whole shopping list of ideas. 70% we used, and maybe 30% felt a little too extreme. They were things you hadn’t seen him do before. […] It just felt right; it felt like the right thing to do. It really is just the greatest hits of Darth; that corridor. And we really didn’t want to do anything you haven’t seen him do so it didn’t throw people off. We kept it to what had been established.”
Long before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released, there were rumours of a scene featuring Vader taking out Rebel soldiers, so perhaps another version of this was shot at a different stage in the movie which had to be removed for story reasons, or because it was too violent for what Disney and Lucasfilm were looking for.
Either way, it’s fair to say that this sequence making the final cut was for the best, as it wasn’t just one of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘s best moments, but arguably a highlight of the entire franchise.