Intriguing Details on Darth Vader's Role in STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE and James Earl Jones Is Back!

We've known that James Earl Jones would be reprising his role as Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for awhile now, but today, Lucasfilm made it official in the recent issue of EW. They also offer up some additional details on the villain in the film and how big of a presence he'll have.

Vader is described as a background player in galactic politics. He is the right-hand man of the Emporer and is "the muscle. The fixer. And also… the breaker, when he needs to be." Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy explains that Rogue One will make careful use of Vader.

“He will be in the movie sparingly. But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”

Vader mostly operates under the radar, and the rebels are hardly familiar with him. Even within the Empire, Vader is more of a bogeyman-type legend. Director Gareth Edwards explains:

“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.”

Well, we've all seen what happens to people in the Empire that overstep their mark with Vader! It's also explained that Vader does not get along at all with Ben Mendelsohn’s villainous character Director Orson Krennic. They are described as being barely allies, and Krennic is threatened by the Sith Lord. Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s chief of story development says:

“Vader doesn’t really play by the rules. He’s present in the military structure, but he’s not beholden to it. He’s not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine.”

Hart goes on to explain that the volatile and unsettling things about Vader that we saw in the original trilogy will be seen in Rogue One. She then harkens back to the original Star Wars films and talks about the mysteries of character saying:

“When Tarkin says to Vader to ‘release him’ when he’s choking that guy, Vader does it, but not because he has to. He’s just willing to give Tarkin one in that moment. That’s part of what makes the reveal of the Emperor, even in a hologram in Episode V, so cool because you’re like, ‘Oh, wow. Here is the guy that Vader literally bends his knee to. What’s that all about?’”

The report expands on that and what that means for Rogue One, saying "That’s what Krennic is trying to figure out, too: How can he acquire that most-favored status? What is it between the Emperor and Vader that binds them?" I imagine that "most-favored status" is something that he's not going to get. It sounds a lot like the relationship between Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Supreme Leader Snoke. 

The Death Star is the tool that Emperor Palpatine will use to control the galaxy, and Krennic is focused on taking out the Rebel strike force to protect the plans of the Death Star from being stolen, and there's Vader looking over his shoulder and breathing down neck.

Director Gareth Edwards then recounts his experience coming face-to-face with Vader for the first time in real life, saying:

“He’s got more in common with lighting a car than a person, so we wanted to get it exactly right. We had the breathing sound just to inspire everyone. I just got massive goosebumps. I was so nervous to turn the corner and see him. You have to pinch yourself. Everyone became children again, so easy. You just go straight back to being a 4-year-old, like, in a heartbeat.
“There’s all these rules about security on set, but I couldn’t help it. I got my phone out and started taking pictures of him, and pictures of me with him, because I felt like no one would ever believe that I’d met Darth Vader.”

I can't wait to see Vader back up on the big screen in a new story. It's going to be so cool! Rogue One open up in theaters in December of this year!.

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