Lucasfilm recently released the teaser for their first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will reach theaters this December. The film is set before the events of A New Hope, revolving around the team of Rebel Alliance fighters that stole the Death Star plans (and is alluded to in the text crawl). Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens before it, Rogue One introduces a bevy of new characters to fans of a galaxy far, far away – including Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Ben Mendelsohn’s villain, and Forest Whitaker’s grizzled warrior.
As exciting as it is to see fresh faces receive the spotlight in the standalone, many people are interested to see which old ones return. It’s been rumored for a while that famed villain Darth Vader would appear in Rogue One, which makes sense given the timeline. However, the Sith Lord’s involvement has never been confirmed by the studio, and Vader was noticeably absent from the trailer. That caused some to question if Vader will be shown at all, but if the latest report is any indication, he most definitely is in the movie.
According to Flickering Myth, British actor Spencer Wilding is playing Vader in Rogue One. They first received word of his casting last year, and waited for further confirmation before running the story. Wilding is known primarily as a stunt actor, with credits including Batman Begins, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Wrath of the Titans. He was last seen in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy as the prison guard who takes a liking to Star-Lord’s awesome mix tape.
It’s said that Wilding recited dialogue on set, indicating Vader will have a speaking role in director Gareth Edwards’ film. This lends credence to earlier speculation that Lucasfilm had assembled a Darth Vader “dream team” for Rogue One, which of course had James Earl Jones providing the character’s distinct voice once more. While nobody has been able to say for sure if Jones will indeed return, it seems like a foregone conclusion he would. The actor has reprised Vader multiple times on Star Wars Rebels and is a necessity for bringing the evildoer to life. Anyone can wear the suit, but Jones is irreplaceable.
What remains to be seen is how much screen time Vader will receive in Rogue One. A few months back, it was said that he would have a larger part than originally thought, suggesting that he could serve as one of the main antagonists. If their handling of franchise veterans in Episode VII is any indication, Lucasfilm will be smart in how they incorporate their prized villain. It would arguably be for the best if Vader was featured more in a supporting capacity, since Rogue One is not meant to focus on him. The purpose of doing these anthologies is to expand the universe and give fans other characters to care about. Vader’s inclusion should prove to be a major selling point when the marketing campaign truly heats up, but as was the case with Force Awakens, the newcomers will most likely be placed front and center.
The endless speculation about Vader in Rogue One may cause some to get impatient for official word from Lucasfilm, but the studio is in no rush to show all their cards at this juncture. Even before the teaser came out, Rogue One was the most anticipated film of 2016, and many viewers were impressed by what was shown in the trailer. Considering Vader is in the film, he’s obviously being held back until later in the game, perhaps for a big reveal that will only add to the hype. After all, moviegoers didn’t get Han Solo’s classic “Chewie, we’re home” line until the second Force Awakens trailer, so odds are that’ll be the case for Vader’s comeback.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Flickering Myth