One of the all-time best scenes in the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, takes on a slightly different meaning after watching Rogue One. A Lucasfilm exec teased the connection weeks ahead of the stand-alone Star Wars story’s release, but with Rogue One now in theaters, we can take another look for a sense of how the movie’s events anticipate those in A New Hope.
Remember this scene from A New Hope? It’s one of the movie’s most memorable, in which Darth Vader shows the gruesome extent of his abilities.
Pablo Hidalgo, who works at Lucasfilm as a creative and story development executive, tweeted a frame from it in late November as a hint to fans. It would take on new significance once Rogue One was out, Hidalgo teased.
An important scene worth a rewatch in the coming weeks for several reasons. pic.twitter.com/NgpTTFnwjm— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) November 26, 2016
That led fans to theorize what the connection could be, even before they’d seen a lick of Rogue One. Some of the scene’s relevance to Rogue One is obvious, as Darth Vader and his fellow high-ranking members of the Empire openly discuss how the plans for the Death Star have been stolen by rebellion forces. That plays out in Rogue One, which focuses on the group of rebels who make it their mission to swipe the weapon’s blueprints.
(Be warned, there are plenty of Rogue One spoilers to follow from here on out.)
Star Wars fans also looked at the empty chair at the table in the scene from A New Hope and thought they knew who should fill it. That seat may have belonged to Orson Krennic, a Galactic lieutenant who strove to complete the Death Star project, only for it to destroy him and the rebels who set out to take it down at Rogue One’s end.
But the most meaningful new interpretation is that of Darth Vader’s faith in the Force. He uses the spiritual energy to choke Admiral Motti, who criticizes the Sith Lord’s “sad devotion to that ancient religion” during a tense moment.
That’s why this scene — and its most quoted line, “I find your lack of faith disturbing” — is so well-remembered. Watching Rogue One, however, adds shades to the importance of the Force and Darth Vader’s continued allegiance to it. As we discover, the main weapon of the Death Star is powered by a sacred Jedi crystal. Galen Erso, father of lead hero Jyn Erso, designed the weapon of mass destruction to use Kyber crystals, which can be felt by those who are sensitive to the strength of the Force.
When Darth Vader says that the power of the Death Star is insignificant to that of the Force prior to getting into blows with Admiral Motti, he means it. The Death Star is not “the greatest power in the universe,” as the non-believing members of the Empire claim; the Force is. Darth Vader says as much, but now we know just how true that really is.
You won’t need to rewatch Rogue One to make sense of this scene’s new context, but here’s a good reason to go do that anyway: Darth Vader uses his classic choking maneuver in one of the new movie’s biggest appeals to nostalgia. It’s just one of several fan service moments Star Wars diehards in particular will appreciate.