"Director Gareth Edwards has revealed that he wanted to show a completely different side of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story…"
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director, Gareth Edwards, opened up to Empire Magazine about his focus and ideas for the film. In the interview, Edwards talks at length about his desire to show a side of Darth Vader not usually seen in Star Wars films.
Edwards focused his thoughts on the bacta tank scene from Vader’s castle located on the planet Mustafar. Star Wars fans will remember that Anakin Skywalker nearly died on the lava planet during his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, which makes his choice for the location of his castle, all the more chilling.
Harkening back to that moment in Empire Strikes Back when we see a brief glimpse of the back of Vader’s head while he sits in his meditation chamber, Edwards wanted to convey a vulnerable side of the Sith Lord, by using the bacta tank scene in that same way.
"I love the idea of showing that he’s vulnerable as well. Vader’s very, very bad, and so you try and just glimpse something of him that gives him some humanity, or it makes you empathise with him. Just seeing those scars and realising that he’s, you know, an amputee, and just reminding you of that before he does all his stuff, it makes you torn, I think. He’s just such a rich character, in so many ways."
I do love that Edwards decided to keep this scene in Rogue One, but I do wish he would have shown a bit more of Anakin/Vader in the bacta tank, revealing more of that nearly limbless torso just floating in the liquid.
Edwards also revealed that he invited Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director, Peter Jackson to come watch that final Vader scene, where he carves a path through the rebel soldiers.
"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."
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That scene was perhaps the greatest on-screen display of Darth Vader’s brutal aggression and mastery of the Dark Side of the Force, that has ever been shown. I agree with Edwards here, that scene will indeed be hard to top, no matter what he does with the rest of his career.