It has been rumored since production began, but today gives us solid confirmation: Anakin Skywalker will appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the familiar black garb of Darth Vader — with 85-year-old James Earl Jones reprising his voice role.
Considering the timeline of events in Rogue One, it makes perfect sense for Vader to show up in some capacity. However, it has been made clear that Vader would not be the main antagonist of the story. That duty will befall Ben Mendelsohn‘s Director Krennic, the Imperial figure in white that we’ve seen in the trailer. Sources have said that there is a rivalry between Krennic and Vader when it comes to gaining favor with the Emperor, so it’s likely that will be a strong motivation for both characters.
There have also been reports that Vader will be fighting in the film due to stuntman Spencer Wildling having a credit as the performer inside the Darth Vader suit. Originally, rumors said that Vader would only be appearing via holograms or viewscreens. It’s likely that this was the initial intention but Disney decided that the most recognizable figure in the entire franchise needed a more spectacular showing.
Vader isn’t the only notable figure that will pop up in Rogue One. We’ve already seen Mon Mothma in the trailer and there are rumblings that Alden Ehrenreich will pop up as a young Han Solo at some point. While Rogue One was sold as something of a new experience in the Star Wars universe, it’s starting to sound more and more like the studio wants to inject some safer bets for more casual audiences.
Regardless, I’d be willing to bet my non-existent savings account that we’ll be seeing a big Vader reveal in the next trailer accompanied by the iconic “Imperial March” tune by John Williams. After the vicious mismanagement of Anakin in the prequels, fans will be chomping at the bit to see some good old fashioned Darth Vader on the big screen again.
This bit of news was revealed by an Entertainment Weekly cover and a bunch more will be disclosed this Friday. I guarantee we’ll be covering that so keep your refresh button handy for later this week.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story releases on December 16.