Given the fact that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, many Star Wars fans believed Darth Vader would be featured in this story, which was eventually confirmed by the footage released leading up to its December 16 release. Last week, director Gareth Edwards explained that the ending of Rogue One didn't originally feature Darth Vader's epic lightsaber battle, which was shot just a few months before the release of the movie. Today, we have even more details from writer Gary Whitta, who revealed that his initial draft of the script featured Darth Vader killing a key character.
Entertainmlent Weekly caught up with Gary Whitta, who was promoting the Star Wars spin-off's Digital HD release on March 24, with the Blu-ray and DVD release following on April 4. The writer was the first brought on to tackle the script, receiving a story credit for his work, along with John Knoll, while Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy received screenplay credit for their work that came after Gary Whitta's original draft. The writer said way back in December, just days after Rogue One hit theaters, that his script originally featured Nerf Herders, but they were cut out of the story. In this latest interview with EW, the writer went onto say that Darth Vader was still used sparingly in his version of the script, and that he had initially envisioned a scene where Darth Vader killed a bunch of Rebel soldiers, but it never made it into his story.
"Vader is in the movie as much as he always was. He only had two things in the film. He was on Mustafar and then in the battle at the end. The rampage where [Vader] murdered everybody wasn't me. That got added later. I had pictured early on Vader murdering all these Rebel soldiers but I never wrote it into the script. It was an idea that stuck around after I left and they ended up finding a cool way to use it. It's actually my favorite thing in the film."
The writer also shed some light on another bonus scene involving Darth Vader that was ultimately dropped from the story. In this earlier version of the script, both Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) escaped from Scarif with the Death Star data tapes. The villainous Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) also survives the Death Star blast, which scorched this tropical planet and destroyed the Empire's weapons facility. In this early version of the script, Krennic found shelter from the blast, and he would later be rescued by Imperial forces. Gary Whitta revealed that he wouldn't have survived for long, though, since his idea was to have Darth Vader kill Krennic, in what has been speculated to be an epilogue to the primary story.
"They tore him out of the rubble and they brought him back. When they're going over the ruins, he somehow survived. It's a bit of a reach, which is why it isn't in the finished film. He survived the blast and they pulled him up and brought him to the Star Destroyer to report to Vader. He's all beat up, his cape's all torn up and stuff, and he thinks he has survived."
The writer added that Krennic would have been "force-choked" to death by Vader, "for his failure." The Imperial forces were said to also recover "valuable artifacts belonging to the Empire's special weapons division". In the end, Director Krennic is killed in both the original and the final version of this story but not by Vader. Although there are likely some fans who would have loved to see Krennic killed by one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history. Instead, fans got to see Darth Vader strike down several Rebel soldiers in the now-iconic lightsaber battle towards the end of the film. As we impatiently await the Digtial HD, Blu-ray and DVD release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, take a look at EW's preview below, where director Gareth Edwards and others discuss seeing Darth Vader on set.