Why Does Darth Vader Seem So Much More Powerful In 'Rogue One' Than In 'A New Hope?'
This Actually Makes Sense
People love Darth Vader. And people love lightsaber fights. Some especially love when these two things combined result in them saying, "Oh my gosh! Vader is freakin' sick! What a total badass!" But I digress. What this article is really addressing is the different depictions of Darth Vader's fighting styles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, which take place consecutively in that order.
At the end of Rogue One, Vader massacres a hallway of people with ease, swinging his lightsaber around and using the Force to lift and whatnot. Lots of viewers found him very threatening in this scene. When watching his duel against Ben Kenobi in A New Hope, however, people sometimes fixate on the "slow fighting" rather than latching onto the emotions conveyed by the two longtime friends turned foes. So why the difference in the fighting style? It is actually not as difficult of a question to answer as one may believe.
According to the short story "Time of Death" from 2017's Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Vader and Kenobi are cautious during this fight because they are testing each other's limits. They have had an intense fight on Mustafar 19 years earlier. Fighting alongside each other and against each other, each fighter knows what the other is capable of doing. They are both being careful and calculated in this instance.
This supports another observation that has been pointed out: Rogue One shows Vader fighting rebel soldiers who are not adept at using the Force. Vader does not have to be so careful here; he has the high ground and does pretty much whatever he wants. Kenobi, however, has mastery of the Force. Vader remembers what his former master did to him on Mustafar and does not want to make any of the same mistakes. So when it seems clear that he has a shot of striking at Kenobi at the end of their duel, that is when he takes it, during that moment of certainty.
Of course, in real life, we know that the age of Alec Guinness is a factor of why the fight is as it was in the original movie. Vader had to match Kenobi's pace. Lightsaber duels became more intense as the films progressed. In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader was able to let loose a bit more, as he underestimates young Luke, who is not yet a complete master of the Force. He can swing his blade a bit more and use the Force to hurl objects. And there is also the added layer of the fact that he is fighting his own son and does not intend to kill him, hence the fight not being quite as intense as when he fights the rebel soldiers in Rogue One. In-universe, the changes to Vader's fight style can actually make sense. It all depends on the context of each of the fights that he is in.
Of course, we have not seen the last of Darth Vader fighting Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has teased that there will be a rematch between the two in the upcoming Disney+ miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is slated for 2022 and will see Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their prequel trilogy roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader respectively. Perhaps this will add a bit more to our understanding of the differences between Vader's fights. (Then again, the "rematch" could be completely cerebral, perhaps involving a vision or a long distance Force call. I am probably wrong, but I can dream.)
Written By Steven Shinder
Source(s): Screen Rant
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