SPOILERS for Rogue One!
The first sight of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn't of him Force choking some plebe, or even standing menacingly in front of a group of Rebels. Instead, the opening scene for the Dark Lord of the Sith is one of vulnerability: Vader floats, limbless, in a Bacta Tank, the healing unit of the Star Wars universe. He needs it just to survive outside of his suit, though he can never truly heal from the terrible burns and wounds he suffered in his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
"I'm jealous of moments like in Empire Strikes Back where you see the back of [Vader’s] head and you just go, "oh my God, that is so cool," and wanted to try and find something like that in our film," director Gareth Edwards said of the Bacta scene on Empire's new post-release podcast.
He explained that the scene was inspired by Chris Cunningham and the "idea of being in milk" like in Bjork's music video for "All is Full of Love." The thought was to enrich the character, offering some juxtaposition for his later scene where he's all rage and action.
"He’s really a burns victim, and it’s not going to be fun for him when he’s not in the suit – he’s going to be uncomfortable. I love the idea of showing that he’s vulnerable as well," Edwards explained. "Vader’s very, very bad, and so you try and just glimpse something of him that gives him some humanity, or it makes you empathise with him. Just seeing those scars and realising that he’s, you know, an amputee, and just reminding you of that before he does all his stuff, it makes you torn, I think. He’s just such a rich character, in so many ways."
After seeing Vader at his most vulnerable, we're treated to Vader at his most violent at the end of the film, as he shows just how outclassed the average Rebel soldier is to his powers of the dark side of the Force. It makes for an incredibly complete look at Darth Vader, all in less than 10 minutes of screentime.
MORE STAR WARS NEWS: Star Wars: Gary Whitta's First Rogue One Draft Had an Opening Crawl | Rogue One Finished #1 in UK Box Office 2016 | Rogue One's Darth Vader Actor Talks About Taking On the Dark Lord of the Sith | Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Wins Third Straight Box Office Weekend | Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Joint Funeral and Burial Confirmed | 5 Things the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Novel Adds to the Film
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."