November 14, 2017
'Star Wars' Director Gareth Edwards On 'Rogue One's' Iconic Darth Vader Scene

Before the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there were fears that it might struggle to match up to the previous instalments to the Star Wars universe, especially because it was introducing a number of brand new characters into the mix.

These fears proved to ultimately be unfounded, as it was met with superlative reviews to the tune of 85 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, while it also grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. All of which proved that it had just about the same allure as previous installments to the franchise.

It was aided in this quest by the addition of several classic characters from the Star Wars canon, which included Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa, Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, while the digital likenesses of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher were used to bring Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia back, courtesy of the assistance of actors Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila, and a whole heap of special effects.

Gareth Edwards on the Darth Vader sequence
[Image by Lucasfilm]

But it's safe to say that the most impressive cameo in Rogue One came courtesy of none other than Darth Vader himself. Actors Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous replaced David Prowse in the physical performance of the character, with the iconic James Earl Jones once again provided the voice.

While Darth Vader appeared in just two scenes, the first of which was him threatening Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic, it was his final sequence in the film, which saw him boarding a command ship and then killing several rebel soldiers, that was the most memorable.

Director Gareth Edwards has now been discussing the sequence in more detail, admitting during a recent appearance at Bafta Cymru, which Wales Online attended, that it was the final scene that they shot on the film. And Gareth Edwards recalled that he could see that the scene worked just because of the reaction from the cast and crew present.

"The final scene was the last thing we filmed and we spent about three days on it because we wanted to get it right. And as I looked around the set at the crew as we shot the tunnel scene, their mouths were just open and I knew then it was kind of cool."
Gareth Edwards also admitted that there was a special man in attendance during the shooting of the Darth Vader scene, as he invited the Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson to watch filming.

Gareth Edwards talk Rogue One conclusion
[Image by Lucasfilm]

This was actually the second occasion that Edwards had invited the King Kong and Lord Of The Rings director to the set, but he couldn't make it on the first occasion. It turned out to be a stroke of good fortune, because the second time around, they were shooting Darth Vader, and this invitation proved to be too much for Peter Jackson to turn down.

"At the time we were filming, Peter Jackson was in London and I invited him down to set, but he couldn't make it. Then just on the off-chance I emailed him that day we shot the Darth Vader entrance scene. He came down almost immediately. When he arrived he asked me 'what are you filming?' and I said to him 'just watch.' I was just hoping it would be good. And it seems to be! It's the scene that everyone is talking about."
Gareth Edwards previously discussed Peter Jackson's presence on the Rogue One set with Empire Online, revealing that the Kiwi director timed his entrance just right, while also admitting that it will probably ultimately prove to be the highlight of his career.
"I was there, about to shoot that scene, and I thought, 'ahh, you know what, screw it', and I just wrote an email saying, 'Peter, about to film Darth Vader if you want to come, it's happening now', and he's like, 'I'll be there in half an hour!' And then he perfectly timed it, he walked in literally for that shot where it goes from darkness to the lightsaber turning on. Whatever I do in my career, whatever happens next, it's gonna be hard to top the honour of getting to direct that scene."
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]