Gareth Edwards opens up about Darth Vader and changes to the Rogue One ending


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a strong entry in the Star Wars saga. It perfectly captured the feeling of playing Star Wars as a kid, and it all hung together well even with some major reshoots and restructuring. Many credit the film’s veteran co-writer Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, the Bourne films) with guiding the film through the reshoots and post to what we have today.

Director Gareth Edwards has been slowly revealing more of the changes made to Rogue One during editing and post-production. While we still don’t know just how much Gilroy did, we have some new details about changes to Rogue One below.

Keep in mind that there are MAJOR SPOILERS for Rogue One after the cut.

In an interview with /Film, Edwards revealed the original rebel transmission plans, and the need to tighten up the finale on the planet of Scarif. They had more running at one point.

I think the main thing that changed at the end…what used to happen, and you can get a sense of this in the early trailers, the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower. In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there. That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression.

Still no idea about the TIE fighter shot from the trailer, but it looks good, don’t it? Maybe it was to help our heroes get down on the ground a bit faster to make their suicide dash.

Of course, there’s also the film’s conclusion featuring Darth Vader going nuts on rebel mooks. It brings Rogue One right up to A New Hope, but apparently that scene wasn’t part of the original plan either.

Over at Fandango, Edwards talked about how the big Vader moment–which he refers to as “The Walk of Death”–came about.

[Vader] 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, f*ck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene.

According to Fandango, Edwards collaborated with the stunt performers to create the various moments of darkside badassery on display.

“They came up with a whole shopping list of ideas,” Edwards told Fandango. “70% we used, and maybe 30% felt a little too extreme. They were things you hadn’t seen him do before, and I wanted to stick to what Darth does in the original trilogy.”

I assume more will be revealed in the coming weeks, and I’m particularly interested in just how much was there from the start and how much was added or altered later. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be out on DVD and Blu-ray on April 4th.

[via /Film, Fandango]
Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.