*Warning: This article contains spoilers for Rogue One*
Following the release of A New Hope (1977), Darth Vader became one of the most fear-inducing and unforgettable villains in cinematic history. The Sith Lord was the main antagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy, brutally enacting his evil deeds with a heavy breathing rhythm and unfathomable connection to the Dark Side.
His reputation as an absolute badass was then firmly secured thanks to his subsequent appearances in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), and years later his Force-manipulating aura enriched by the prequels, the backstory of Anakin's transformation becoming one of the highlights in a generally maligned trilogy.
While the original installments introduced Darth Vader, and the prequels added complexity to his personality, #RogueOne performed a different function; placing Vader into the unforgiving backdrop of war in the most uncompromising #StarWars film to date made him appear even more menacing, showing him through the eyes of mere mortals.
- Jedi Or Jedi Not: A 'Rogue One' Character Was Originally Scripted As A Jedi Knight
- In Defense Of Minimalism: Why 'Rogue One' Had The Right Amount Of Darth Vader
- The 'Rogue One' Reshoots Had A Huge Impact On The Film — Especially The Ending
How 'Rogue One' Sheds Light On Darth Vader's Behaviour
A Reddit theory by stormtrooper1701 speculates that those events also explain why the opening scenes of A New Hope are the only time we see Darth Vader seemingly out of control. The masked Sith Lord is always angry, of course, he is driven by anger, but those early exchanges are a rare glimpse at the villain lacking composure, shouting orders and generally losing his cool. And it makes sense.
His callous massacre of Rebel Alliance guards aboard the rebel ship while in pursuit of the Death Star plans was the darkest we've ever seen him — yet he doesn't succeed in his mission by the end credits.
He'd just witnessed the ship leave the battle of Scarif; he saw rebel fighters escape with the military intelligence powerful enough to destroy the Galactic Empire's most valuable tool; but the Tantive IV still managed to escape before he could track down the plans.
By the time he has tracked the Tantive IV in A New Hope, he is fully aware those aboard the ship are trying to hide the plans. Despite his lightsaber-fuelled murder spree, Vader is faced with a Captain who outright denies any knowledge, instead lying by claiming it is a consular ship on a diplomatic mission on course for the planet Alderaan. No wonder he chokes him to death.
Did Darth Vader Know More Than Princess Leia Thought?
The same events add a different perspective to #DarthVader's communication with Princess Leia. In one particular scene, Leia repeats the Captain's claim that the ship is on a diplomatic mission, before Vader sends her away. While it was always obvious Leia is lying, those lies seem even more antagonistic considering the events that had occurred shortly before.
All in all, it's not surprising Darth Vader is behaving the way he does in the opening of A New Hope, with the events of Rogue One adding to the understanding of what he had witnessed before those opening scenes — denial of his accusation would've been seen as an insult by the Sith Lord.
Although Rogue One intended to add life to the opening crawl, its execution has added life to every component of A New Hope, including the film's lead villain. For a prequel movie, that's the ultimate compliment.
Do you think Rogue One has enhanced Darth Vader?