It’s official, Darth Vader will be appearing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December. While it has been rumored a widely believed that everyone’s favorite Sith lord would make an appearance in this prequel to A New Hope, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that this is in fact the case. Continue reading below for more details.
It comes as no surprise that James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as the iconic voice of Vader since he has been performing that duty on episodes of Disney XD’s animated Star Wars: Rebels recently. How much Vader are we getting in Rogue One and what exactly is his role and reputation at this time? Kennedy provided the following information.
Kennedy says Rogue One has to make careful use of Vader. “He will be in the movie sparingly,” she says. “But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”
As Rogue One unfolds, Vader is still a background player in galactic politics. Vader is the muscle. The fixer. And also… the breaker, when he needs to be. The Empire’s grip on the galaxy is beginning to be pried open, and the Death Star is how Emperor Palpatine intends to maintain his dominion over the star systems rising up against him.
The Rebels are barely familiar with Vader. Even within the Empire, he is more legend than everyday presence. “Within the Rebellion, it’s not commonly spoken about,” says director Gareth Edwards. “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.”
I like that there’s going to be very limited use of Vader in the film. While it’s tempting to use one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time in large quantities, it would feel forced and wouldn’t really make sense in the narrative at that time. As Edwards’ comments suggest, Vader was close to the Emperor at that time and was only brought out when the situation truly required it.
They also discussed Vader’s relationship with the main antagonist of the film, Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Orson Krennic. There’s apparently a lot of back-stabbing going on behind the scenes of the Empire with everyone trying to move up the ranks. Here Krennic sees that Vader is the Emperor’s right hand man and also that the Emperor is the only person Vader takes direct orders from. So he’s envious of the position, but also very intrigued by what binds those two.
The main antagonist of the story is Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Orson Krennic, an ambitious Imperial officer with Machiavellian tendencies who is eager to secure a place at the Emperor’s side. “There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other,” producer John Knoll says. “There’s not a lot of loyalty there.”
In other words, Krennic and Vader aren’t friends. They’re barely allies, and Krennic is understandably threatened by the Sith Lord. “Vader doesn’t really play by the rules,” says Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s chief of story development. “He’s present in the military structure, but he’s not beholden to it. He’s not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine.”
Hopefully Vader is used very sparingly and mainly to establish Krennic’s character and the state of the Empire at this time. I would hate to have such a great villain overused (for example, if he were to be shoehorned into the events of the Han Solo stand alone movie where he clearly doesn’t fit at all), but it will be incredible to see him brought to life once again on the big screen with the voice of James Earl Jones (goosebumps). What do you think? Are you excited to see Darth Vader on the big screen once again? Do you like the plan of Lucasfilm or would you prefer more or less of Vader?
Also check out descriptions of all the characters in Rogue One and additional details about Forest Whitaker’s character and his ties to Clone Wars.