As the two year anniversary of Rogue One approaches, I take a look back at Darth Vader’s breath-taking onslaught.
Remember when Darth Sidious was in the middle of killing Mace Windu with Force lightning? The Dark Lord bellowed something that has since stuck with me as a Star Wars fan:
Well, this was never more evident than when Darth Vader’s reign of terror at the end of Rogue One blew audiences away. If it had been anyone else pinned down and outnumbered by enemy forces, you could have kissed them goodbye. But this wasn’t just anyone–it was the Chosen One.
The scene is one of my favorite in all of Star Wars. Actually, it probably is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I took no pleasure in seeing our heroes get mowed down. However, you can bet that the fanboy in me was in heaven, watching one of my pop culture heroes as I’d never seen him before or since.
The onslaught begins with the rebels receiving the Death Star plans. Then, trying to make a get-away, they find themselves trapped behind a stuck door–only to discover that they are not alone. Instead, they’re trapped behind the door with the Emperor’s right hand man, a being so skilled in the ways of the Force that even a bombardment of blaster fire doesn’t phase him in the slightest.
Photo Credit: [Rogue One : A Star Wars Story]LucasfilmA lightsaber is then ignited, emitting an eerie red glow that symbolizes the carnage that’s about to take place. The fear-stricken rebels open fire, but it’s no use–Vader deflects every blast with ease, like Serena Williams would routinely return a serve. He Force grabs a man and slams him onto the ceiling, only to slice his chest and then deflect a blast with his hand.
The rampage is capped off by a poor rebel banging on the stuck door, pleading for help before realizing that his fate was sealed the minute Vader boarded the ship. He manages to pass on the Death Star plans, but is then impaled by the lightsaber.
Unreal. Just unreal.
In my humble opinion, Rogue One is the best Star Wars adaptation that Lucasfilm has produced since Disney took the reins. Honestly, I don’t think it’s close. Vader’s rampage is just the icing on the cake.
See, there are so many aspects of this scene that make it what it is. Here are a few that stand out to me:
1) If Vader’s doing this as a cyborg, what would have happened if he’d been 100% human?
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I’ve often wondered how powerful Vader could have been if he hadn’t been so unlucky on Mustafar. From a Star Wars Theory video that I watched, Vader lost approximately 20 percent of his power after falling to Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith.
Think about that for a second, then watch the rampage again. This guy was at 80 percent strength at the most, and it didn’t even matter. It was like watching Kevin Durant rise up over the defender for a jumper. There’s just no way to defend it, no way to prepare for it. Total dominance, with a seemingly effortless output. Incredible.
2) I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the Vader I always wanted.
The first time I saw this scene, I didn’t quite comprehend what was happening. It was only after it had ended that I realized what had just transpired. We had just seen full-throttle, get out of my way, take no prisoners, Darth Vader.
Sure, we all knew Vader had skills. How many times did we see that Force choke in the original trilogy? What we hadn’t seen, though, was this kind of ability with a lightsaber. Of course, he cut off Luke’s hand and “defeated” Ben Kenobi. It wasn’t until director Gareth Edwards gifted us with this beauty that I realized I’d been wanting this kind of Vader for a while.
3) The rebels had the numbers, but never had a chance.
From the ones I could see, there were about nine rebels, most of them armed. There was only one Vader. Normally, I’d like those odds–but not here.
Try putting yourself in their shoes. You’ve just received the plans that could potentially bring an end to the Empire itself and all you have to do is hand them over to your superior. Easy, right? Wrong. You uselessly fire away at the man barreling toward you, and the closer he gets to you, the more certain your demise becomes. Although the plans eventually got into CGI Leia’s hands, nine rebels got rocked, followed by a couple in the beginning of A New Hope. Brutal.
Vader’s onslaught will always rank highly when I think of the best Star Wars scenes. It’s one of those subtle reminders that Anakin Skywalker really is gone, replaced by the ruthless cyborg that we know so well. Thanks, Palpatine.