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.
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.”
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.