It's safe to say that in the decades since Star Wars' initial release, Darth Vader has become one of the most iconic fictional villains of all time. But, as it turns out, that reputation can have surprising effects on even the biggest of Star Wars fans - including Gareth Edwards.
The director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story revealed during a recent Reddit AMA that he had some unexpected emotions while working on Vader's scenes in the film. While Vader was played by character actor Spencer Wilding and stuntman Daniel Naprous in the film, the knowledge of that did not stop Edwards from being impacted by working so closely with the popular character.
"You kind of get nervous." Edwards revealed. "Even though you know it's an actor inside, once that helmet goes in, it's DARTH!"
Edwards continued to say that these emotions did impact his technique when directing those scenes. "And as strange as it seems, it's really hard to tell him what to do, no-one tells DARTH what to do. So you find you have to talk with the actor and figure it all out before the helmet goes on."
While Edwards was ultimately able to get his way with Vader's scenes - even drastically changing his 'Walk of Death' months before the film's release - he admitted that he still felt slightly intimidated.
"Once he's in character," Edwards explained. "Darth is in charge, and if you screw up the shot, he is not that forgiving."
This isn't the first time that someone involved with Rogue One has expressed this feeling towards the character. Diego Luna's various colorful descriptions of meeting the villain went viral amongst the franchise's fans during Rogue One's press tour.
"I arrived to London," Luna explained during an interview with Good Morning America. "And the producer goes like, ‘Oh, Gareth, go meet him. He’s doing a camera test. I arrive, and he’s like, ‘We’re going to have so much fun.’ And he’s in front of a monitor, and I start listening [and hear Darth Vader breathing]."
"And I just went like, ‘Oh no, oh no,” and I could see Gareth face - he had the same expression, you know? We suddenly went to 6-year-old kids, and we turn around and there he is, Darth."