Sunday, 19 March 2017


The original force of STAR WARS evildom: Darth Vader, as seen in ROGUE ONE. 

It was always planned that the STAR WARS saga's most iconic and popular villain would appear in ROGUE ONE, but originally it was only to have been on the strategic periphery of the story telling, a shadowy but imposing third party in the battle of wills and power for control of the Death Star between Tarkin and Krennic. As in the finished film, Krennic, recognising Vader's power and his influence with the Empire, was eager to win over the Dark Lord's support, in scenes originally set on the space station in orbit around Scarif (its sanctuary moon and construction site) before being rewritten and transferred to the fan friendly environment of Vader's new home castle on Mustafar- a further welcome bridging between the Prequel and Classic trilogies, and incorporating the lead-in scene of Vader/Anakin Skywalker in the bacta tank. This was an environment originally likely to have been either within the Death Star or an Imperial Star Destroyer, before being relocated. Wearing prosthetics as Anakin was stuntman/actor Daniel Naprous, of which this scene must have been shot before the Summer 2016 reshoots, as it made the first teaser trailer for ROGUE ONE that debuted in April that year...

As seen in an early trailer, the reflection of Vader (Spencer Wilding) at the Death Star bridge.
Looking at computer graphics, presumably of Scarif.
Krennic has an audience with Vader (Spencer Wilding) at the location.
TOPPS card Rebel Missions Briefing Comic Strip 1 art no doubt based on this deleted scene.

The idea of a castle home for Vader had been conceived early on for ROGUE ONE (as recently confirmed by Art Director Doug Chiang), with an archive visitation of Ralph McQuarrie's original ideas for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK plus other Mustafar designs from EPISODE III, before the concept was seemingly dropped then reappeared as a filming reality for the 2016 re-shoots, with Ben Mendelsohn back as Krennic and stuntman Daniel Naprous now inhabiting the costume for this and the later in the reshoot schedule epic Vader confrontation on the Blockade Runner- a genius idea from the film's co-editor Jabez Olssen to director Gareth Edwards, and quickly given the go order for three days filming by Kathleen Kennedy, recognising its potential to wow audiences- Vader was always to have given chase to the departing Death Star plan custodians at the end of the film but never in such a proactive and murderous way.

ROGUE ONE’s Final Darth Vader Scene Was a Reshoot | Nerdist
Darth Vader's Big Rogue One Scene Barely Made It Into the Film
Star Wars' Kiwi editor Jabez Olssen goes Rogue to secure memorable Darth moment |

On a Star Destroyer, Krennic confers with Vader (Spencer Wilding).
This might be from filming originally linked to Mustafar but the costume looks different to the one seen on film. Perhaps a camera test of some kind.

As to other areas of the film, whether Vader was originally present to watch the earlier destruction of Jedha is unknown, though likely. A scene set between Krennic and Vader on a Star Destroyer bridge was clearly shot, as seen in another early trailer where the former talks about the immeasurable power of the Death Star, clearly using it to further acquire Vader's support. This could be where James Earl Jones unused ADR reply dialogue regarding "power", mentioned by Gareth Edwards at CELEBRATION EUROPE 2016, was to have been used. The idea and tone of this scene was presumably shifted over to the Mustafar location in re-shoots.

Vader on the Star Destroyer bridge, most likely played here by Spencer Wilding.
Gareth Edwards watches shooting of a deleted Vader scene on a Star Destroyer bridge, possibly linked to the film's original ending.

The Vader suit, first worn in the original filming period by actor/stuntman Spencer Wilding, and later in the re-shoots by Naprous, was not from the Lucasfilm Archives but fan built- camera tested by Gareth Edwards and his crew on one of the Starkiller Base sets during production of THE FORCE AWAKENS. Original sculptor Brian Muir returned to create the old/new helmet that would replicate Vader's facial appearance in A New Hope, whilst the overall final appearance of the character was checked over by his original costume designer, John Mollo. For reasons unknown, however, it was decided that Vader's appearance in ROGUE ONE would not fully adhere to the 1977 film's continuity- his inner cloak wrappings not being displayed outside the shoulder armour.

Star Wars Director Reveals the Secrets Behind Rogue One's Final Vader Scene - YouTube

Rogue One Director Admits Filming Darth Vader's Scenes Was Scary

Rogue One almost had a bonus Vader scene



Anonymous said...

There are any information of a scene between Vader and Tarkin on a Star Destroyer?

aficionadofan said...

I am not aware of any scenes being shot for ROGUE ONE with Tarkin or Vader together, sadly. All evidence suggests that scenes with Vader involved with Krennic, or Tarkin with Krennic, were the ones shot.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answer!

Do you have other information about that photo of Vader on the Star Destroyer bridge?

aficionadofan said...

Vader talks to Krennic on the Star Destroyer bridge in a deleted scene from the original cut of Rogue One. We can assume that Vader's presence at the end of the film was also reworked from the alternate pic of him with another Imperial officer on the destroyer bridge. There was no boarding lightsaber battle with the guards originally- this was added late in post production. We can assume that the original Star Destroyer end scene for the original Rogue One cut saw Vader witness/order the chase of Leia's Blockade Runner.