Star Wars' Kiwi editor Jabez Olssen goes Rogue to secure memorable Darth moment

Born in Dunedin, Jabez Olssen has helped edit high-profile movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogies, The Lovely Bones ...
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Born in Dunedin, Jabez Olssen has helped edit high-profile movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogies, The Lovely Bones and now Star Wars: Rogue One.

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS: A Kiwi has been revealed as providing the inspiration for one of Star Wars: Rogue One's most memorable scenes.

Near the end of the film, Darth Vader is seeing cutting a swathe through Rebel Alliance troops with his lightsaber, in a last-ditch attempt to stop the Death Star plans falling into the hands of the Rebel's leaders.

It was a crowd-pleasing moment involving one of cinema's greatest villains and it was only there thanks to an 11th hour brainwave from and the persistence of Rogue One's New Zealand-born editor Jabez Olssen, director Gareth Edwards has told American film website Fandango.

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He says the film's original climax never had Darth Vader on Princess Leia's ship, instead he would be finally seen pursuing a blockade runner. "And then Jabez was like, 'I think we need to get Darth on that ship', and I thought, 'yeah, that's a brilliant idea and would love to do it, but there's no way they're going to let us do it'. "

The problem was they were only a few months from release and reshoots would be costly for an already rumoured to be in trouble production.

Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has credited Kiwi editor Jabez Olssen with providing the inspiration for ...
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Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has credited Kiwi editor Jabez Olssen with providing the inspiration for the film's Darth Vader-infused finale.

"Kathy [Kennedy, the films executive prodUcer] came in and Jabez thought, f.. it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene."

Born in Dunedin, the 41-year-old Olssen has previously worked on The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, The Lovely Bones and The Adventures of Tintin, earning a Bafta nomination in 2003 for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. One of three editors on Rogue One,  he started working on the project about a week before shooting started in July 2015.

Speaking to US website ProVideoCoalition recently, Olssen, a Star Wars fan himself, says he was thrilled to work on the film.

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"I won't be alone in being in this industry because of the effect that Star Wars had on me. Just to turn up at Pinewood and watch the first camera tests that had been shot and to see Darth Vader standing on the bridge of a destroyer and all these amazing creatures that were built, I just immediately wanted to tell everybody I knew, but I knew I was going to have to wait two years before they could see it.

"Anyway, if I never get to edit anything ever again, I can still say that I've edited scenes with Gollum in them and I've edited scenes with Darth Vader in them so, I'm good."

Rogue One is due to be released on DVD and Video in New Zealand on April 5.

 - Stuff

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