The Return of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is just under a month away from its release and fans couldn’t be more excited. One of the biggest anticipations is the return of the villainous Darth Vader. What will his role be? We take a closer look at the Sith Lord’s part in the upcoming spin-off movie. Read on for more!


Darth Vader, one of the most recognizable characters in cinematic history is set to return to the big screen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Vader has captivated audiences over the years with his iconic look, voice, and ruthlessness.


We’ve taken a look at the rise and fall of Vader in many articles here at SWNN before, now let’s take a look at the fascinating story of how Disney was able to bring back one of the most iconic and popular Star Wars characters in the world. I’ll spare you with the backstory on Vader, since most of us reading this most likely know his story.


Darth Vader Melted Helmet


A burned out shell


During the events of last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we see Kylo Ren in his personal chambers on Starkiller Base. We feast our eyes on the melted helmet of Darth Vader, probably snatched from his funeral pyre. As we gaze upon this symbol, Kylo has the following dialogue:

Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.


Of course, there’s one thing that has always bugged me about Kylo Ren, and that’s the fact that he really doesn’t seem to know who Darth Vader really is. We know that Luke seemed to have failed at teaching Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) and the darkside took over and sent him down the misguided path he takes. But does he really know the ultimate path that his grand-father took and who he really was?


Some of the answers are slowly being revealed in Disney’s animated series Star Wars: Rebels. However, most fans seem to want to know what role  Vader played during the time of Death Star I and how he eventually became the most feared man in the galaxy. Why is Vader sent on the mission to capture the stolen plans seen in the original Star Wars film? There are so many questions that seem to spin through my mind all of which are unanswered.




The Return of the legendary Darth Vader to the big screen


As early as July of 2015, evidence of Darth Vader’s return to the big screen was found via Devin Faraci of Birth. Death. Movies. A “good source” told Devin that Darth Vader would appear – onscreen – but that he wasn’t expected to play a large role.


Rumors slowly ran rampant that he would return and that actors were being looked at for the iconic role, but for months no one could prove it. Then, according to Flickering Myth, British actor Spencer Wilding appeared to have secured the iconic role as the man who will fill the boots once filled by actor David Prowse. Other reports mentioned that a plethora of actors play the Vader body in in the new film. It’s important to remember that this is still UNCONFIRMED at this time.. We’re still tracking this one.




Over a year later in an interview with EW, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was asked about which characters from the original trilogy may turn up alongside the new heroes and villains. After a momentary hesitation, Kennedy officially spilled the beans and gave fans what they wanted to hear:

“I think we can talk about Vader…”


Kennedy went on to say that Rogue One has to make careful use of Vader:

“He will be in the movie sparingly. But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”




Then the news that James Earl Jones would be back at an incredible 85-years-old, for a cameo role in Rogue One pretty much cemented the reality of it all. Jones originated the voice role in the original Star Wars, all the way back in 1977, and recently reprised the character for Disney XD’s Star Wars: Rebels.


Now, we’re only just under a month away from the release of Rogue One, and fans couldn’t be more excited to see the man in black return. Being that the film is set prior to 1977’s A New Hope, fans were hoping that Vader would show up in the film, especially since the movie is about stealing the plans to the Death Star. In the recent trailers, we catch a bit more than a glimpse of the Sith Lord.




In Rebels, Vader is a bit of a legend who lurks in the background while awaiting direction from the Emperor. Star Wars Rebels creator/producer Dave Filoni has said that he doesn’t want to “take up too much of Vader’s time.” moving forward and that “it’s really an elected decision to not have Vader around because, as we get closer to A New Hope” and he wants “to serve as that story.”


More recently director Gareth Edwards spoke about Vader’s presence in Rogue One:.

“Within the Rebellion, it’s not commonly spoken about,” “Within the Empire, there is the culture of knowing of the existence of Darth Vader. There’s definitely an underlying feeling that there is a power – a dark power – available to the Empire and that if you overstep your mark, you will suffer the consequences.”


Vader’s presence in Rogue One has been largely downplayed because he is not the focal point of the film. The Sith Lord’s recent background in ‘Rebels’ and now ‘Rogue One’ seems to serve only as the “Muscle” or the “Fixer” until he takes control of things after the events in “A New Hope” and becomes the official “Hand” of the Emperor.




Darth Vader’s role in Rogue One


With Vader in the background, the central villain and chief antagonist in the film is Orsen Krennic’s character along with several other militaristic members of the Empire who eventually witness the firepower of the Death Star. The Empire is filled with backstabbing leaders who conspire to move through the ranks. Producer John Knoll brought this up at Celebration:

“There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire.” He said. “With people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other, there’s not a lot of loyalty there.”


Possible Spoilers




Our source is telling us that the reason Vader shows up in Rogue One for the pivotal scene that Kathleen Kennedy talked about earlier in the year is to confront the Director. The seen involves Vader and Imperial Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) having a heated exchange shortly before the Death Star fires upon the holy city of Jedha.


“He meets with Krennic to discuss the reason why they shouldn’t force their hand until the right time”




At this point we are not sure whether or not the Emperor sent Vader, although it’s highly likely that is the case. It seems that Krennic goes against the warning and eventually it leads to his own downfall. For the most part, this seems to match up with what director Gareth Edwards said in and interview with USA Today back in October.

(Krennic) “hits a brick wall in the hierarchy where they won’t let him in the club and it’s going to turn into a them-or-us situation: either Krennic or Tarkin and the others.” Edwards said.

We believe that this is where Krennic ends up failing.


While there’s no guarantee that Disney or Lucasfilm has any interest in bringing Darth Vader back for the Han Solo: A Star Wars Story film. One has to wonder if Rogue One became hugely financially successful if that’s possible.



Rogue One hits cinemas in December.



+ posts

34 thoughts on “The Return of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • November 18, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Please no Han Solo appearance. Vader needs to be used sparingly, and where it makes sense (say, involved in the secret development of the largest freaking weapon ever devised), or else it risks shrinking the universe necessarily.

  • November 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Maybe a certain stormtrooper accompanies a group of troopers that land on a planet with Vader and, like Finn, Han is one who defects. I’m not steeped in Han’s EU backstory, but wasn’t he an Imperial flat-foot of some sort? Maybe a Kashyyyk landing to enforce the Empire’s will. If it was done right it could be great. If done wrong it could be tedious and boring. Vader shouldn’t be the focus of the story at all, but he could be commanding the assault.

  • November 18, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    “Of course, there’s one thing that has always bugged me about Kylo Ren, and that’s the fact that he really doesn’t seem to know who Darth Vader really is. We know that Luke seemed to have failed at teaching Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) and the darkside took over and sent him down the misguided path he takes. But does he really know the ultimate path that his grand-father took and who he really was?”

    from the Force Awakens novelization:

    “Snoke: Kylo Ren, I watched the Galactic Empire rise, and then fall. The gullible prattle on about the triumph of truth and justice, of individualism and free will. As if such things were solid and real instead of simple subjective judgments. The historians have it all wrong. It was neither poor strategy nor arrogance that brought down the Empire. You know too well what did.”

    Ren nodded once. “Sentiment.”

    “Yes. Such a simple thing. Such a foolish error of judgment. A momentary lapse in an otherwise exemplary life. Had Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment — had the father killed the son — the Empire would have prevailed. And there would be no threat of Skywalker’s return today.”

    • November 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Did Luke tell people what happened on the Death Star? (Sorry if that’s a stupid question.)

      • November 18, 2016 at 10:07 pm

        According to the Bloodline novel basically no — the only people he told were Leia and Han. Leia says at one point she’s not sure if Han even told Chewie.

      • November 18, 2016 at 11:41 pm

        Yeah he keeps quiet about it which makes sense. The last thing the New Republic would want to know is that the only remaining Jedi in the Galaxy in so far as they know who was in addition powerful enough to defeat Darth Vader & The Emperor just so happens to be the son of Vader. Throw in that one of the leaders of the New Republic just so happens to be the daughter and you can see how people would not be so quick to take them in. Give Bloodline a read if you get the chance, it is great supplemental reading to give you an idea of the status of our heroes in the galaxy 6 years before The Force Awakens, and the reveal of the Skywalker lineage is a major part of it.

        • November 19, 2016 at 1:54 am

          I’m in the middle of Tarkin right now. I’m just curious as to how Snoke knows of the events that transpired in the throne room. I guess we all are.

          • November 19, 2016 at 2:56 am

            EXCELLENT question!

    • November 19, 2016 at 12:18 am

      I can see why they didn’t include that in the movie as it would have really forecasted Han dying and taken all the dramatic tension in their moment in the bridge.

    • November 19, 2016 at 2:55 am

      I’m not sure I agree with the Supreme Leader there… even if Vader had killed Luke, or disabled him, Death Star 2 would still have been blown up, destroying Vader and the Emperor (and whatever remained of Luke).

  • November 18, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I like this characterization of Vader. It fits the established continuity well. I also like the fact that Kylo & Hux idolize different facets of the Empire. So much so, that they can’t see the obvious flaws in their plans.

    A single powerful villain will always attract defiant heroes. I think Luke recognizes a similar problem for superheroes…

    Hux, a fan of the Empire, builds/commands an ultimate tribute to their ultimate expression of power. He can’t see the obvious flaw with the “build a bigger fortress” strategy.

    I think that these flaws make the villans interesting.

    Also, I’m stuck in an airport and extremely bored…

  • November 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    It’s interesting because the drama in Vader comics from Marvel is that he fas failed the Emperor concerning the Death Star. This movie could develop on that mistake.

  • November 19, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Menacing Vader standing around making threats is cool and all but if Vader doesn’t take out his lightsaber and kills some Rebel scum in this movie I will be VERY upset.

  • November 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

    gonna give these guys the benefit of the doubt that vader will be doing more than dropping in for a chinwag with krennic.

    • November 19, 2016 at 2:52 am

      I really hope so – it’s such a good opportunity to use him, even “sparingly” in an action scene. Preferably against the Rebels, not just Krennic.

      • November 19, 2016 at 3:51 am

        Fingers crossed!

    • November 20, 2016 at 10:09 am

      As shown by the trailers and as many have speculated Vader’s role in Rogue One is most likely overseeing the Death Star’s constructions..

      We know going off of the trailers he will have more than one scene with Krennic so he won’t be a short cameo((this article only describes one of their encounters, most likely the one seen in the trailer where he talks about the power being immeasurable))

      I expect Vader too kill Krennic as he holds him accountable for letting the Rebels take the plans. With this Vader will become a prominent player, most likely having a short action sequence and of course an encounter with our protagonists.

  • November 19, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Pretty sure they’ll preserve the integrity of the character by featuring him very seldom.

  • November 19, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I’m calling it now: He will get less screen time than Captain Phasma did in TFA.

  • November 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I hope we’ll see Vader enter the Tantive IV, but now from Vader’s perspective.

  • November 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Devin Faraci is a douche. Just sayin’.

  • November 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Vader and Luke are the essence of Star Wars to me. I love that he’s back and I hope we get to see him use his powers at his peak. Impressive….most impressive

  • November 19, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Vader’s appearance will be very much like Luke’s in TFA, or even like his appearance in the SW Holiday Special (SPECULATIVE SPOILER ALERT). You see a glimpse of him during the movie, hovering in the background, waiting for someone to screw up. In the last 2 minutes of the movie, he shows up, and after an impassioned speech by Krennic, gives the Director a lightsaber enema for letting the rebels get away with the Plans. Vader then turns to a subordinate, tells them to alert the Devastator to his arrival, off he goes to chase rebels, yadayadayada fade to black.

    Everyone is so focused on Vader. Anyone think Princess Leia might get a cameo?

Comments are closed.