Rogue One was a near perfect Star Wars tale, but one major character’s absence could have made the film even better.
As the dust from Rogue One’s smash box office success settles, and we await its arrival on DVD and Blu-Ray, it’s time to take a look back at one glaring mistake the film made: using Darth Vader in two scenes. Vader’s two scenes in the movie, one mediating a dispute between Krennic and Tarkin, and the other wrecking shop on a group of pitifully outmatched Rebel troopers could not have been more dissimilar. One was an incredible, pulse pounding scene. The other seemed beneath Vader. And one scene’s absence would have made the other’s that much better.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
Total transparency, I thoroughly enjoyed Rogue One, but even in my original review I noted that there was something off about Vader’s appearance on Mustafar. From his physical appearance, to his involvement in mediating Krennic and Tarkin’s power play, Vader seemed completely out of place. Yes, it was fun to see Vader hanging out back on Mustafar where he was originally disfigured by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, but the scene seemed largely superfluous. Vader doesn’t seem like the type to care who was running what, so why even have him in that scene?
On the flip side, we have Vader’s heart stopping appearance at the film’s climax. Vader smashing those poor, helpless Rebels was so magnificent most of us started cheering for the bad guy who was slaughtering a group of our heroes. But consider, how much more perfect that scene would have been had it been Vader’s only appearance in the film. If Vader becomes a force only mentioned in the movie, and not seen, his sudden and brutal participation in the Battle of Scarif would have been all the better.
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Gone would have been the administrator Vader we saw on Mustafar, replaced with the pure force of devastation that was Vader at Scarif. Our only impression of Vader would have been that of pure, unbridled violence, not settling the petty squabbles of two his subordinates like a soccer mom deciding who gets the last orange slice. In a movie that made so few missteps, this could have pushed it even further into the rarefied air of perfection. Oh, what might have been.