[UPDATE: The Rogue One scene has been pulled offline for now.]
Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduced a bevy of new characters to the franchise canon, many of whom have become new fan favorites. As thrilling as it was to meet Jyn Erso, K-2SO, and the rest of the Rebel band, longtime viewers were perhaps most excited to see classic trilogy villain Darth Vader return to the big screen. From the outset, Lucasfilm made sure to clarify his role in the spinoff would not be very substantial, but they also wanted to make his live-action comeback count for something. It took some last minute brainstorming and a reshoot, but director Gareth Edwards delivered on the hype.
In Rogue One‘s closing moments, when the Rebels are frantically attempting to get the Death Star plans to Princess Leia on the Tantive IV, Vader prepared a boarding party for their ship and laid waste to the nameless Alliance soldiers that stood in his path. It was arguably the first time the full potential of Vader’s powers was realized on film, and the scene immediately became one of the standout moments in Star Wars history. Now, shortly ahead of Rogue One‘s home media premiere, the full sequence has been released online.
Coming courtesy of YouTube channel GEEKZTOR (via Reddit), moviegoers can now relive the carnage (which Edwards dubbed the “Walk of Death”) in all the glory of high definition. You can watch it for yourself above.
Ever since Rogue One premiered, there have been a number of fan-made tributes to this sequence, coming in various forms such as LEGO and 16-bit animation. As fun as it’s been to see those recreations, obviously nothing can compare to the actual scene, which gave many viewers exactly what they wanted when they heard Vader would be featured in the anthology. Though some wished the Sith Lord had more screen time than he received in the final film, it was widely seen as a great way to end the movie – reestablishing Vader as the most feared man in the galaxy and illustrating the sacrifices the Rebels had to make to secure their victories. Many men gave their lives so Leia could get the plans.
Fans were riding such a high after Vader wrecked shop, this brief sequence spurred conversation about the merits of a potential Darth Vader spinoff movie infused with horror sensibilities. Time will tell if that’s part of Lucasfilm’s master plan, but for now, there’s no denying that Rogue One provided the villain with a fantastic set piece nearly 40 years in the making. With Disney looking to move away from so-called legacy elements, this could be the last time Vader graces theaters, and it’s hard to think of a better way to bow out.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits Blu-ray April 4, 2017.