In the ending sequence in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story we get to see Darth Vader revealed once more as an evil demonic villain, through which the corrupting power of the Darkside reigns supreme.
“If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.” Darth Vader
We love villains here in Mordor, all the evil they exude and the complicated pathos that made them monstrous in the first place…. Darth Vader is no exception.
Warning… this post is riddled with spoilers.
We love to hate a well executed villain like Sauron, Voldemort and of course Darth Vader. Lucas created such an iconic villain, dressed all in black leather with cape, a scary Nazi inspired helmet and an evil face-plate, not to mention the creepy breathing apparatus, that reminds us he is more machine than man. I will never forget the moment, sitting in a darkened theater watching Star Wars for the first time and seeing Darth Vader make his first entrance on screen.
All throughout this film and The Empire Strikes Back, we are treated to a truly evil character, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants!
However, by the end of the first trilogy Darth Vader is effectively defanged, turning into the sympathetic Anakin Skywalker once more, after killing the Emperor and saving his son at the expense of his own life. This is the story arc the narrative must take and its an essential part of what makes the story so good, but one can’t help lament the fall of Darth Vader’s evil persona.
And though the Prequel films have their moments, especially in Revenge of the Sith, we never get the real payoff of seeing Vader as we saw him in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The mechanical monstrosity wielding vast powers to control the galaxy. It seemed like the evil Darth Varder, in all his heavy breathing badness, was locked forever in the celluloid landscape of those first two films.
Then along came Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
The character of Darth Vader is finally given a scene, where he gets to unleash the full power of the Darkside and reveal his most murderous intentions. A truly evil villain once more. Everything about this final scene is perfection. The complete darkness, within which he enters the scene. We hear the door opening… and then his creepy mechanical breathing. Brilliant! Finally, he activates his red lightsaber and all hell breaks loose, the poor rebel soldiers don’t stand a chance.
Darth Vader uses Force Rage to try and get his hands on the Death Star plans. He uses Force Deflect with his lightsaber to cast off the burst of fire from the Rebels. He uses Force Push to slam a Rebel soldier up to the ceiling and then with a back thrust of his lightsaber practically cuts him in half. He uses Force Pull to take all the weapons of the soldiers and then slices and dices his way through them.
He Force Chokes another rebel in the tightly enclosed chamber and finally takes out the last fighter with his lightsaber, just after the Rebel slips the plans through the closing airlock door. But Vader is not done yet, just as he cuts through the last rebel he also slices through the closing door like butter. Vader takes out three more of the soldiers in the next and final airlock, as the last door closes. The Alliance Rebel ship detaches, barley escaping. The sense of impeding doom is palpable throughout this scene.
We then see Vader standing in the open airlock flanked by his storm troopers, his cape buffeted by the departing ship, with a final closeup of his inscrutable masked face. The music here is tremendous, giving us the final dramatic strains from Vader’s Theme.
The reason this scene is so important, is because we get to see Vader in the full thrall of the Darkside. In the first trilogy we often hear how powerful the Darkside of the Force really is, however we only get glimpses of it’s use by Vader. Here we finally see Lord Vader in the fullness of his power, unleashing it’s awesome potential in unrestrained devastation.
Now, when we hear Darth Vader say to Luke… “If you only knew the power of the Dark Side.” we understand fully what that means and how embracing the Darkside is almost like a sort of possession, which releases terrible demonic powers within. It truly is frightening and gives all of Darth Vader’s dialogue through these films a deeper more profound meaning.