The 'Rogue One' Darth Vader Ending Was A Last-Minute Addition

One of the most exciting moments for Star Wars fans in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story must be the ending sequence, which involves an action scene featuring Darth Vader. Now that the film is finally approaching its home video release, director Gareth Edwards has been talking about some of the more spoilery details. In one interview, thew Godzilla director revealed that the Darth Vader action scene ending was a last-minute addition to the film, and was shot only three or four months before the theatrical release of the movie. Let's dive into the details about how the Rogue One Darth Vader ending came about.

Gareth Edwards revealed in a new interview with Fandango's Erik Davis that Vader's lightsaber action scene at the ending of Rogue One wasn't part of the original plan. In the original version of the movie, the Sith lord never boards the rebel ship:

"He 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, fuck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene [...] [The Stunt team] 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. [...] 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."

So this sequence, which Edwards refers to as "the walk of death," must have been done at the tail-end of the extensive Rogue One reshoots, that took place from early June to mid-August 2016. As you know, the ending of Rogue One was completely reworked, and we'll have more on that in our own exclusive interview with Edwards. Judging from the fan response, it seems smart that they added a moment of Vader action to the film's climax. Of course, some reviews complained that it was purely fan service.

The Darth Vader sequence ends with a shot of the Tantive IV disconnecting from Admiral Raddus' ship, which was shot five months earlier during principal photography. As we've noted in our Rogue One easter eggs, Gareth Edwards cameos as a rebellion soldier who pulls the lever that essentially positions the Tantive IV for where we see it again in Star Wars: A New Hope.