Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set to become the biggest cinematic event of 2016. Any movie set in the same universe as the original Star Wars will inevitably get this treatment. A massive opening weekend at the box office is expected for the movie, which despite being a standalone anthology movie will carry a lot of appeal as a bridge between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
The main character who is bridging the gap in Rogue One above all others is Darth Vader, who will make his return to the big screen in a limited role as he oversees construction of the Death Star. The cast even feels like Rogue One, which will tell the story of the group of rebels who steal the Death Star plans, feels mostly like a prequel to A New Hope, which begins its story soon after the plans are stolen. The name Star Wars alone will be enough to sell millions of tickets, but Vader’s return certainly help’s the movie’s broad box office appeal.
Advance sales ahead of Rogue One’s premiere should be just as lucrative. Lucasfilm kicked off Cyber Monday by announcing that advance tickets for Rogue One are now available wherever tickets are purchased. Select theater chains like AMC, Regal, and IMAX, are offering special promotions which can be found at StarWars.com. Lucasfilm also released a new, Vader-centric TV spot for Rogue One via the Star Wars Canada YouTube page.
The spot puts all of the emphasis on Darth Vader and the Empire as his unmistakable breathing noise lurks throughout almost the whole clip. There’s also a handful of fresh glimpses at Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her band of rebels battling against Imperial forces in the form of alien mercenaries and giant AT-ACT walkers, before hearkening back to Vader with a snippet of the Imperial March. The spot feeds into the movie’s overriding narrative of a small group of heroes taking on the massive, unstoppable Empire.
Vader is not expected to play a major role in Rogue One; much like his breathing in the TV spot, he will mostly lurk in the background as Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) leads the Empire in building and preparing the Death Star. There have been hints that the Force-devoted Vader will clash with the blue-collar Krennic as part of Rogue One’s narrative, but the Sith Lord’s role in the plot will be largely inconsequential as Krennic acts as the movie’s primary antagonist. One of the shots in the promo seems to depict Grand Moff Tarkin from behind, observing the Death Star construction, so that classic antagonist may have a role to play as well.
Darth Vader’s return to the big screen is certainly one of the most highly anticipated moments of Rogue One, but it appears that the movie will put more emphasis on the new characters. The producers surely don’t want to cheapen Vader’s appearance by making his role too prominent, but they also wouldn’t want him to appear without consequence. His power struggle with Krennic will likely be a significant factor in the Empire’s efforts to build the Death Star and stop the rebellion. However large his role is, Vader alone should be enough for Rogue One to sell plenty of tickets.