A New Zealand film editor was behind the shocking scene at the end of Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, according to director Gareth Edwards.

Edwards told American film website Fandango that the scene in which Darth Vader enters the Rebel ship and opens fire on its occupants was the brainchild of Kiwi Jabez Olssen.

Edwards said in the original version, Vader never boards the ship.

"He arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner. And then Jabez was like, 'I think we need to get Darth on that ship,'" he told Fandango.

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Edwards said he loved the idea but thought it would not be approved only three or four months before release.

Felicity Jones in Rogue One: a Star Wars Story. Photo / Supplied
Felicity Jones in Rogue One: a Star Wars Story. Photo / Supplied

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

Olssen was born in Dunedin and attended South Seas Film & Television School. He worked on the first two Lord of the Rings films, as well as King Kong, The Lovely Bones and all three Hobbit films.

Olssen told US tech website ProVideoCoalition last year he was "thrilled" to have worked on Rogue One, and that the secrecy surrounding the shoot was challenging as a Star Wars fan.

News of extensive re-shoots followed Rogue One up until release, but the film has met with widespread acclaim.