Upon release, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” surprised audiences with an unexpected and instantly iconic final scene. But it almost never existed!
If there is one sequence that will have marked the spectators in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it is the charge of Darth Vader, at the very end of Gareth Edwards’ film. In a smoky corridor of a rebel ship, the Sith Lord faces, alone, soldiers tasked with conveying the Dark Star’s plans to Princess Leia.
Relentless, invincible, ruthless: the ancient Jedi demonstrates his powers in a deluge of deflected blasters, crushed bodies and deadly lightsaber “boots”.
This scene, the conclusion of which perfectly links Rogue One to Episode IV, recalls why the character remains the greatest villain in the history of cinema and clearly remains THE great moment of this derivative film. But who slips into the dark suit of the Sith Lord?
In the original trilogy, the British David Prowse lent his impressive stature to the character. As for his cavernous voice, we owed it to the American comedian James Earl Jones.
For Rogue One, David Prowse, born in 1935, was obviously no longer able to physically embody Darth Vader. No less than 3 actors therefore had the honor of camping the latter in Rogue One! First, Spencer Wilding (1.99m) plays the Sith Lord in the “quieter” scenes where the character appears.
This Welsh actor and stuntman is used to roles requiring an imposing physical presence. He notably worked on Game of Thrones (he was one of the white walkers of the very first episode), Clash of the Titans or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (he was the werewolf). More recently, we could see it in Men In Black International and Hobbs & Shaw.
A second actor had to take over from Wilding to shoot the final sequence of Rogue One. This is Daniel Naprous, stuntman in Game Of Thrones between 2012 and 2019. This colossus is a specialist in action. He has notably participated in stunts for feature films such as Troy, Munich, Prometheus, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or Jurassic World 2.
A scene absolutely not planned
Note that if Naprous had to succeed Wilding, it is because this outcome was not planned at the start. The sequence was therefore part of the reshoots organized by the production to add elements to the film, as editor John Gilroy confided:
“What has been added – and this is a fantastic addition – is the action scene of Vader, when he boards the ship and slaughters all these rebel soldiers. It’s a scene that was conceived quite late. “.
If the background of the sequence does not fundamentally change between the original version of the script and the final film (the delivery to Leia of the plans sent from the planet Scarif), the form on the other hand has therefore been completely redesigned, Vader passing from a status from omnipresent threat to that of armed and deadly arm: “It was a really strong choice and something the fans longed to see.”
Director Gareth Edwards says the idea came during editing, spurred on by Chief Editor Jabez Olssen:
“Jabez tells me, ‘I think Dark has to be on this ship’, and I was like yeah, it’s brilliant and I would love to do it, but there’s no way they’ll let us do it. It’s a big scene and was what, three or four months from the release. Kathleen Kennedy (president of Lucasfilm, Editor’s note) arrived and Jabez said to himself ‘shit, he pitched his idea and she loved it’. Suddenly in a week or two we were in Pinewood shooting this scene“.
Finally, James Earl Jones, 88, the iconic voice of Darth Vader, once again lent his stamp to the Sith Lord in Rogue One.
In French, several actors will follow one another for the voice of Vader: François Chaumette in A New Hope, Georges Aminel for The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi (then Saïd Amadis in the modified version of 2004). In Rogue One, he is voiced by Philippe Catoire, already the voice of the character in derivative video games released after 2013 and the Rebels series.
These 11 actors played Darth Vader: