‘Star Wars’: Rogue One Director Knew He Couldn’t Introduce Darth Vader Too Early — ‘You Have to Be Really Careful How You Use Him’

In the Star Wars universe and beyond, Darth Vader will forever be known as one of the most iconic villains of all time. His intimidating black suit, red lightsaber, and frightening mechanical breathing all played an enormous role in crafting the persona that terrorized rebel soldiers and fans at home. But his ominous demeanor and scene-stealing presence can also be a tough thing to work around.

In Rogue One, director Gareth Edwards had the unique challenge of trying to introduce Vader to the film without throwing off its pacing and development. According to Edwards, because Vader is such a huge character in the Star Wars franchise, fans can sometimes have the tendency to forget about everything else happening in the movie once they see him. 

Darth Vader is arguably the most memorable character in ‘Star Wars’

Darth Vader's helmet
Darth Vader’s helmet | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

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With so many original characters in both trilogies and beyond, it’s hard to pinpoint the one that stands out most to fans. However, based on his importance to the story and fans’ reaction to his development, Darth Vader is arguably the most popular (if not the most important). 

Vader is a central figure in the entire Star Wars saga and arguably its most popular because of his connection to the storyline. Without him, there is no battle with Luke, his son, in the sequel trilogy, and there’s also no prequel trilogy at all. His dramatic fall from grace as a Jedi is one of the most powerful stories in modern cinema and not one that viewers will forget any time soon. 

‘Rogue One’ finally showed fans Darth Vader’s true power

Although previous Star Wars films gave fans small glimpses into Vader’s power as a Sith, Rogue One gave viewers an in-depth look at Vader’s true power. Films in the Star Wars sequel trilogy had fewer technological advancements and a relatively small budget, so George Lucas was rather limited in terms of what he could do to showcase Vader’s force abilities and lightsaber skills.

In the prequel trilogy and later films such as Rogue One, CGI and other special effects gave Star Wars producers more freedom to produce dazzling sequences with Vader. In Rogue One, Edwards relies on stellar choreography, advanced special effects, and cutting edge cinematography to give viewers an amazing final scene where Vader decimates a rebel crew in a matter of seconds. 

The ‘Rogue One’ director carefully planned Darth Vader’s reveal

Because Vader is such an iconic figure in the Star Wars franchise, many viewers gravitate to the films solely to see him. He steals every scene he’s in, and Edwards was well aware of this as his crew produced Rogue One. According to an interview on the Star Wars Youtube page, he had to be careful about when he revealed Vader and didn’t want to do it too soon.

“As soon as you put him in a scene, that’s all you want to see,” Edwards said. “It’s like really hard to come back from that, and you have to be really careful how you use him because if you bring him in too early in the film, you sort of just want Vader for the rest of the movie.”