Rogue One wasn’t the perfect movie, but it definitely satisfied Star Wars fans as a fun, thrilling, and even tragic, piece of the puzzle that was missing between Episodes III and IV. One of the last memories from the film was Darth Vader ominously appearing on a Rebel ship as they try to get the plans for the Death Star into safe hands. Vader, obviously, tries to stop them. He mows down an entire hallway of good guys, but fails to get back the data (of course he fails, otherwise Star Wars would never have existed in the first place).
However, Vader’s now-iconic scene was never in the original script. In fact, director Gareth Edwards told Yahoo! that it was a complete afterthought and they barely had time to get it made and shoved into the film.
[Darth Vader] arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner. And then [editor] Jabez [Olssen] was like, ‘I think we need to get Darth on that ship,’ and I thought, yeah, that’s a brilliant idea and would love to do it, but there’s no way they’re going to let us do it. It’s a big number and we had, what, like three or four months before release. Kathy [Kennedy] came in and Jabez thought, fuck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two, we were at Pinewood shooting that scene.
It may sound like a long time, but trying to get an entire scene filmed, edited, and through post-production just four months before Rogue One‘s release date must have been an incredible task. If you believe the various reports, Rogue One was actually changed a lot during the course of its production, with script re-writes and various extra scenes filmed. Even the ending was apparently re-done entirely, with one rumor stating that Darth Vader originally showed up on the beach of Scarif to kill off the reunited heroes. Frankly, we think the ending they eventually decided on was much better.