Early ‘Rogue One’ Draft Featured Darth Vader Killing a Major Character
The following post contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, obviously. Continue reading at your own risk.
Even before those highly-publicized reshoots, Rogue One went through several story changes during development, which isn’t unusual for the majority of films, especially big blockbusters. Just yesterday we learned more details about the original, somewhat happier ending to the flagship installment in Lucasfilm’s A Star Wars Story series, but that was far from the only change made during the scripting stage.
In the days leading up to the film’s digital release, Entertainment Weekly is sharing a series of scenes that didn’t make it from script to screen. That includes a particularly dark moment involving Darth Vader, who has what is easily the most intense (and downright terrifying) scene in the film. Screenwriter Gary Whitta says the iconic villain was always meant to only have a couple of scenes in Rogue One, though that second scene was initially written to be a bit longer — and somehow even scarier.
As Whitta explains, had they stuck with the happier Rogue One ending — in which Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor survive — Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), though physically injured, would have also survived and been rescued by Imperial forces. Whitta admits that Krennic’s survival was “a bit of a reach,” which is why it was never filmed. But in that version of events, Krennic, badly beaten and worn from battle, is taken to the Star Destroyer for another encounter with Vader. Instead of receiving the praise he thinks he deserves, Krennic is Force-choked by Vader in a callback to the original trilogy. As Whitta describes it, “Vader kills him for his failure.”
That scene might have been cool, but it required too many narrative gymnastics to get there; instead, our final vision of Vader is the horrific sequence in which he slaughters a bunch of Rebel soldiers. Whitta says that scene was added later, after Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy were brought in to work on new drafts of the screenplay, but it was based on a similar idea he had early on. “It’s actually my favorite thing in the film,” Whitta says.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available for digital purchase and rental this Friday, March 24. It hits Blu-ray on April 4.