Speculation: Has a Massive Spoiler Concerning the Mysterious “Bacta Tank” Scene in ‘Rogue One’ Been Revealed?
As our very own Grant Davis pointed out in a recent article, we may now have some more insight to the mysterious “bacta tank” scene from the first Rogue One trailer. Read on for more…
When the shot shown in the title image above was seen in the first Rogue One teaser, speculation on what we were actually looking at started to roll in from rabid Star Wars fans from every corner of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Many fans have made mention of the similarities between the large capsule in the center of the frame and a bacta tank (a medical rehabilitation capsule used in the galaxy far far away to promote the healing of serious injuries). The first of these tanks was seen in The Empire Strikes Back after Luke’s encounter with the wampa and his subsequent rescue by Han Solo (above). In the Kanan: The Last Padawan comic, both Kanan and his master, Depa Billaba, were also seen in a similar healing tank (below).
Because of these similarities, several fans have concluded, or at least theorized, that the glowing cylinder seen in the brief shot of the trailer is in fact a bacta tank, although this has not been confirmed by anyone at Lucasfilm. The presence of the red clad Imperial guards and the kneeling acolyte in the foreground seem to suggest that someone of great importance may be within the tank (if that is indeed what it is).
In a recent behind the scenes video focusing on the creatures of Rogue One, a brief shot of actor Ian Whyte, who plays the alien Moroff, is seen running in the bottom half of his suit towards the camera. The possible spoiler here actually sits in the background of this shot, and fans are starting to get super excited about the implications.
Just behind the actor and to the right, you can see the naked torso of a bald human character (above image) with a breathing apparatus, similar to the one Luke wears in the bacta tank on Hoth. He also looks as if he is in some sort of stasis as he appears to be in an unconscious state. Also, if you look a little further to the right, you will notice a concept image on the board of the figure (below image). It is clear from the image that the character here is intended to be without his limbs, and the similarities to a character that is very familiar to Star Wars fans has not gone unnoticed.
I believe that we are actually looking at the body of Darth Vader himself, stripped down to everything that remains of the body that was once the famed Jedi knight, Anakin Skywalker. But what could this mean for Rogue One? Time for some speculation…
So, if the prop in question is actually the body of Darth Vader in stasis, and he is actually within the capsule that we see in the trailer, how does he get there and how does this play into the film?
Could it be that the injuries Vader received from his former padawan Ahsoka Tano in the season 2 finale of Rebels have taken their toll on the Sith Lord, and we find him at the beginning of Rogue One in a state of healing? It should be noted that Vader has not made an appearance on Rebels since his epic duel with Lady Tano.
We know that the film will be taking advantage of flashbacks for exposition of important plot points and backstories. Could this be a flashback scene to Vader’s condition closer to the time of Revenge of the Sith? We know from the opening words of the Lords of the Sith novel (see excerpt below) that Vader eventually grew to embrace his armor and the constant pain of his disfigurement, as it gave him strength. Yet, perhaps there was a time in his life, in the early years following the Clone War, when Vader sought to be free of his imprisonment within the suit that relieved him of his constant pain and suffering.
(from Lords of the Sith):
Vader completed his meditation and opened his eyes. His pale, flame-savaged face stared back at him from out of the reflective black transparisteel of his pressurized meditation chamber. Without the neural connection to his armor, he was conscious of the stumps of his legs, the ruin of his arms, the perpetual pain in his flesh. He welcomed it. Pain fed his hate, and hate fed his strength. Once, as a Jedi, he had meditated to find peace. Now he meditated to sharpen the edges of his anger.
He stared at his reflection a long time. His injuries had deformed his body, left it broken, but they’d perfected his spirit, strengthening his connection to the Force. Suffering had birthed insight…
…Once, he’d found the armor hateful, foreign, but now he knew better. He realized that he’d always been fated to wear it, just as the Jedi had always been fated to betray their principles. He’d always been fated to face Obi-Wan and fail on Mustafar—and in failing, learn.
The armor separated him from the galaxy, from everyone, made him singular, freed him from the needs of the flesh, the concerns of the body that once had plagued him, and allowed him to focus solely on his relationship to the Force.
It would appear that in the early years following Order 66, Vader would have desired to find healing and be free from the armor that he found “hateful” and “foreign”. Perhaps he underwent a series of treatments in attempt to heal his broken body, before eventually coming to embrace his condition. Whatever the case, the medicine does seem to have done him some measure of good, as the tissue on his torso seems to have healed tremendously from the last time we saw his charred flesh.
So, if Vader is in fact seen in a bacta tank in Rogue One, why is he there? Is this is a result of his battle with Ahsoka? Does he receive further injury in Rogue One that forces him to seek medical attention? Or is this just a glimpse at the ongoing therapy that Vader has subjected himself to over the years since his dismemberment and abandonment by Obi-Wan?
The “injuries received from Ahsoka” scenario is probably an unlikely reason for Vader’s time in the tank as this would require a lot more explanation to the general audience, most of which have no idea that Anakin ever even had a padawan. While the scenario is still possible, I think the flashback scene idea is most likely. Even if this speculation is true, we still don’t know who the mysterious cloaked figure is in the shot, so there is still much more to be revealed about this scene when the film hits on the 16th. What do you think? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.