Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made quite an impact on the 2016 box office even though the film opened in wide release on December 16th. In just two short weeks, Rogue One managed to surpass Captain America: Civil War to land as the second highest grossing film of 2016; adding to Disney's record breaking year. The anthology film introduced a new cast of characters while seamlessly integrating beloved and infamous characters from the originals through a hearty helping of movie magic.
While debates over the CGI resurrection of Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin still rage on, fans were wildly receptive to the return of one of the most iconic film characters to ever grace the big screen: Darth Vader. His presence in the film was kept under wraps for quite some time, but eventually it was revealed that James Earl Jones would be reprising his voice role while the actor in the suit would be portrayed by different actors. Both Daniel Naprous and Spencer Wilding donned the Vader garb for Rogue One, with speculation stating the former was in costume for re-shoots while the latter was the Vader from trailers and that big reveal scene.
At a screening in his hometown of Rhyl, Wales, UK, Wilding spoke to ITV (h/t to CB) about his preparations for the role. Without revealing whether or not he actually made the breathing sounds while in costume (in the way Ewan McGregor revealed he made his own lightsaber sound effects in Episode I), Wilding reflects on the sheer magnitude of Darth Vader as a well-known character. In the interview, he states:
"This character has got so much presence... It's unbelievable. I'm just one small element of Star Wars. It's a massive production, and it takes a lot to bring the magic of that film. It's just awesome."
His excitement is palpable as he recounts the experience. Darth Vader's "introduction" in Rogue One has been so popular that it's received both a LEGO and 16-bit treatment. The character has been released to an entirely different generation, including new action figures and other merchandise.
Wilding went on to discuss the training he put in to ensure he got Lord Vader's mannerisms just right, saying:
"We studied the movements of Darth Vader. We had a trainer who got it bang on. We wanted to keep it 'Darth Vader!' It's every actor's dream. I'm still pinching myself!"
The dedication paid off as Darth Vader's popularity has skyrocketed in the wake of this latest film. Though Rogue One sets up the events of the first film, Star Wars: A New Hope, it is unlikely there will be an additional "sequel." However, with more anthology films in the pipeline, including a Han Solo movie, there's always the potential for more/new Vader to appear in the ever expanding Star Wars universe. Which leaves fans wondering whether or not Darth Vader should have his own anthology film.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018