'Rogue One': Why the Darth Vader Scene Added During Reshoots Was Make or Break

'Star Wars' fans would have left the theater with a very different feeling.
YouTube/Star Wars

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story].

In the days after Rogue One: A Star War Story's release, there was one scene fans couldn't stop talking about — that brut beautiful Darth Vader massacre, which saw the Sith Lord tear through Rebel soldiers as they desperately tried to hand off the plans to the Death Star. 

Now, editor John Gilroy has confirmed the scene was added during the much-talked about reshoots the film underwent to perfect its third act.

"What was added — and it was a fantastic add — was the Vader action scene, with him boarding the ship and dispatching all those rebel soldiers," Gilroy told Yahoo Movies. "That was something conceptualized a little later."

Most of the reshoots were to tweak the third act, and to discover what the original ending may have been, the internet has been dissecting interviews, as well as discrepancies between promotional materials for Rogue One and what actually ended up onscreen.

Director Gareth Edwards has said there was a version of the screenplay where the Rogue One crew made it out alive. But they didn't make it out alive, something surprising for a Disney-owned property. (In the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe, 14 violent, city-leveling movies have resulted in just one Avenger dying.)

Oddly enough, the Vader scene (capped by an appearance from Leia) allows for our heroes to die, and for us to feel OK coming out of the theater afterwards. It's the reason Rogue One's ending feels hopeful rather than depressing — which is a strange balancing act, considering it showed him slaughtering more good guys.

It was also an unexpected jolt viewers weren't expecting, something not teased by the trailers. Vader allowed Rogue One to give fans a gift that's hard to deliver: getting viewers to walk out of the theater feeling as though they've experienced something different. 

I've only felt that way a few times leaving a blockbuster. The ones that come to mind are the end of The Matrix, with Neo doing his Superman thing, Nick Fury wanting to talk to Tony Stark about the Avenger Initiative in Iron Man, and even the The Dark Knight Rises, which despite some flaws, totally stuck its landing.

Sure, seeing which Avenger pops up in the mid-credit scene in Doctor Strange is fun — but we've come to expect tags like that. The Darth Vader/Leia combination elevated the Rogue One to that next level of excitement — and we have the reshoots to thank. 

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