The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still six months away, but Disney and Lucasfilm are putting the pedal to the floor when it comes to renewing faith in it. After reports of reshoots sprouted, many had reason to worry about the film, which is being directed by Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards. Part of restoring hope in the project is letting some information slip out, including Darth Vader’s role in the film. Spoiler alert – he will be in it.
Rogue One is the first Star Wars movie set outside the main saga, which centers on the Skywalker family’s exploits. The film is about a group of Rebels, led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who steal the plans to the Death Star before A New Hope.
Here’s a look at what we know.
Darth Vader Will Be Voiced by James Earl Jones Once Again
While it’s OK for video games to feature voice actors who do a good job of impersonating James Earl Jones, it’s necessary for a big-budget film to enlist the man himself. Entertainment Weekly confirmed that the 85-year-old actor will voice Vader again.
Even though it’s been 33 years since Vader was last seen in Return of the Jedi, Jones has been busy playing the character whenever Lucasfilm asks him too. Most recently, he voiced Vader on Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels series. Even though Vader will only briefly be in Rogue One, you still need to have Jones deliver his lines.
Jones voiced Darth Vader in all thee Original Trilogy movies and initially didn’t want to be credited for his work. His name was later added to the credits for A New Hope, though.
David Prowse was the man in the Darth Vader costume for all three original films. He’ll be replaced by several different tall actors.
Vader Isn’t As Well-Known in the Galaxy at This Time
During the period before A New Hope, at least in the new Star Wars continuity, Vader isn’t well-known by the Rebellion and he’s even a myth within the Empire. It’s why, in Rebels, the main characters weren’t that familiar with Vader when they first encountered him. This will be the case in Rogue One as well. Rogue One takes place about 19 years after Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith.
“Within the Rebellion, it’s not commonly spoken about,” Edwards told EW. “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.”
Ben Mendelsohn’s Character Is Another Rival for Vader
Ben Mendelsohn, who starred on Netflix’s Bloodline, plays the ambitious military officer Director Orson Krennic. He’s trying to get in the Emperor’s favor, even though he knows Vader is the main No. 2 in the Empire.
The new continuity has made a point of giving Vader rivals within the Empire. In the Marvel Comics series Darth Vader, the Dark Lord has had to face a challenge from the scientist Doctor Cylo, who created potential replacements for Vader as the Emperor’s apprentice. The point of the Darth Vader series, which will be ending at Number 25, was to show how Vader regained his reputation after the destruction of the Death Star. He eventually becomes so powerful that he gets the Super Star Destroyer Executor, which we see in The Empire Strikes Back. The entire series was written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Salvador Larroca.
“I think I’ve said this in interviews, but you always know the final shot will be Vader aboard the Executor, you know, on the bridge, ready to go after Luke,” Gillen told IGN in May. “I mean, you know that, because that’s where you want to see Vader, his rise to even greater power.”
The Reshoots Were Always Part of the Plan
In another Entertainment Weekly report, Edwards said that the reshoots so many were worried about were more or less always planned. The team behind the movie always knew they would have to go back and do more work before making the final edit that we will all see on December 16. Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), who also worked on Godzilla with Edwards, was brought in to help with new dialogue and second unit directing. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy also insisted that the “war movie in the Star Wars universe” idea that was teased is still alive.
Another part of the rumors was that Lucasfilm had already screened the movie for test audiences. However, this wasn’t true. It was only screened for those within the Disney organization.
“I’ve seen Rogue One,” Disney President and CEO Bob Iger told The Hollywood Reporter this week. “I’ve seen not only an edited picture but I’ve seen significantly more footage than was even in that picture. That’s actually going to be a fine film.”