Darth Vader's amazing Rogue One fight scene almost never happened

Saber scene… almost didn’t happen in Rogue One – Credit: Lucasfilm
Saber scene… almost didn’t happen in Rogue One – Credit: Lucasfilm

The action sequence in ‘Rogue One’ in which Darth Vader turns Action Jackson was probably the most thrilling of the whole film for Star Wars fans.

Seeing Lord Vader in combat aboard the enemy ship, red lightsaber in hand, walloping Rebels left, right and centre, was pretty sublime.

But it almost never happened. And when the filmmakers decided to go for it, they had perilously little time to turn it around.

In an interview with Fandango, director Gareth Edwards revealed that it was the movie’s editor Jabbez Olssen’s brainwave, and they didn’t expect it to come off at all.

According to Edwards, in the original cut of the film Vader ‘arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner’, so he never actually boarded the ship.

“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,” Edwards explains.

(Credit: Lucasfilm)
(Credit: Lucasfilm)

“It’s a big number and we had, what, like three or four months before release. Kathy [Kennedy] came in and Jabez thought, f**k it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it.

“Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene.

“Because it was my last chance to do Star Wars, and because you know it’s the end, we really were very careful with it. We storyboarded absolutely everything and tried to have no regrets.”

He goes on: “It’s funny, if you would’ve asked me what are the top five scenes in this film that people will talk to you about when it’s over, I might not put Darth Vader’s scene in there.

“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.”

Those feeling like they really need to see that scene again are in luck. The DVD and Blu-ray is released on April 10.

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