Before the arrival of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, fans had no idea where Darth Vader lived when he wasn’t Force-choking or slaying younglings. The reveal of Darth Vader’s castle was, therefore, a total shock… but the Star Wars film series may not be done with the location just yet. That’s good news to extended canon enthusiasts who needed no confirmation to see that Vader’s stark, black castle was built a stone’s throw from where Obi-wa Kenobi slayed him in Episode III. The planet is Mustafar, and even if the secret of the castle’s significance is know, the true detail and power of its inner chambers remains a mystery.
Since the release of the film members of the Lucasfilm story group guiding the franchise’s many media platforms has opened up, and in the past even explained the theories behind Darth Vader’s castle lava dam, tying all the way back to a piece of concept art by Ralph McQuarrie for the original Star Wars. Apparently, the designers and storytellers fleshed out Vader’s Castle from history to functionality – and if the fans keep this train rolling, a return to the location to explore its true depths seems highly possible. According to Lucasfilm VP and creative director Doug Chiang, fans just need a little “hope.”
Speaking with Uproxx, Chiang repeated some of the revealed inspirations and thematic meaning behind the castle’s style, location, and function for the permanently-wounded Vader. But he also concluded with reminiscence of the design phase with a thought guaranteed to get fan hopes to skyrocket:
“It’s interesting, we did a lot of history exploration. Why did Vader build his castle here? Why does it look the way it does? Why does he even come here? For us, it was really figuring out that Vader built his castle on an existing structure, which was this ancient lava dam. And he built it here for a very specific reason. It was to come back here to meditate, to rejuvenate, to reconnect with himself. And it became a very spiritual place, and it was all centered around his bacta tank. And that’s where the form language all built around there. And we’ve done quite a bit of exploration of what’s on the inside of it as well, and hopefully that’ll be seen in some other film.”
It’s easy to understand the hope Chiang has, since everyone fond of Star Wars is guaranteed to want to see every single room, floor tile, and lava flow buried beneath the massive structure. And if director Gareth Edwards’s idea f the castle itself functioning as a sort of ‘tuning fork’ for Dark Side energy, there seems no limits to the extended fiction and mythology that could be tied to this key location (to both the past, and possibly the future of the saga).
Assuming that Chiang is intentionally teasing the Star Wars fandom may be taking things too far, but the methods by which the film series could return to Vader’s aren’t hard to concoct. The current Episode narrative includes an antagonist who is particularly intent on all things Vader, so we doubt Kylo Ren would hesitate rushing to this castle on Mustafar mere seconds after learning it was his grandfather’s true home, base of meditation and renewal. What would he find? Merely a dusty series of chambers and a dried out bacta tank… or perhaps the reason Vader built the castle on an ancient structure to begin with?
We’ll leave the theories, speculation, and more creative solutions to the fans (who have proved themselves more than up to the task), and simply share the excitement that Vader’s unforgettable fortress won’t be limited to a single scene in Rogue One.