Rogue One Director Reveals Vader's 'Walk of Death' Was a Late Addition

In spring 2016, reports began to circulate that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was in trouble when Disney ordered a number of reshoots for the film. Disney and director Gareth Edwards were quick to address the rumors, as the reshoots had been planned all along. As it turns out, though, those re-shoots resulted in the creation of a fan-favorite moment.

One of the film’s most iconic sequences was not part of the original screenplay, but was in fact suggested by film editor Jabez Olsen as “Rogue One” was being cut. Director Edwards told Fandango that Darth Vader wasn't meant to try and board the rebel blockade runner at the end of the film, and that Olsen came up with the idea during the editing process.

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In the original version, "he arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner,” Edwards revealed. “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,” the director continued. “[Lucasfilm president Kathleen 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.”

Some fans have praised the scene, which depicts Vader's wrath in the airlock leading to the Tantive IV, as one of the greatest moments in the "Star Wars" cinematic canon. Edwards, who calls the scene “The Walk of Death,” is somewhat nonplussed about that: "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.” He adds that “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.”

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Elaborating on the collaborative nature of the scene’s development, Edwards also said that he asked the stunt team for its input on the scene: "They 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, and I wanted to stick to what Darth does in the original trilogy."

Directed by Gareth Edwards from a script by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker and arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD April 4. “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” the next main “Star Wars” film, arrives in theaters on December 15, 2017.

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