How Much Darth Vader is There in Star Wars: Rogue One?

Director Gareth Edwards hangs out with us at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 and talks about Darth Vader's role in Rogue One: A Star Wars story.

Star Wars Darth Vader Wallpaper

Although it has yet to be released publicly at the time of this writing, during Star Wars Celebration a second brand new teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was played for attendees. And we were there.

You can read details about the teaser here, but the biggest takeaway from it - in addition to it being a better trailer than the first one - is that it concludes with the reveal of Darth Vader. Appropriately so, he's not shown in full form. Instead, his silhouette and vague details of his costume are seen in a reflection as the camera pans upward over a shiny floor, with something bright red behind Vader as we hear him breathe. It's not a surprise, but as one of the most iconic film characters of all-time, it was no less exciting. But how much is Vader actually in Rogue One?

As the show floor came near its conclusion on the first day of Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, we had the opportunity to spend time with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards at the massive Propel booth - a company that's a leader in the consumer drone field who unveiled a lineup of upcoming "Battle Quads" based on the original trilogy variants of the Millennium Falcon, TIE Advanced X1, T-65 X-Wing, and 74-Z Speeder Bike.

Here we saw two displays of the Quads in action, blasting lasers at each other and choreographed to two infamous Star Wars locations, the original Death Star (trench run included) and the forest moon of Endor. And afterward, we spoke with the very passionate and funny Edwards about the vehicles and of course, the movie he's here to promote. How does Edwards and the creative team find the right balance in how much to use Darth Vader in Rogue One?

Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 - Gareth Edwards at Rogue One Panel
Gareth Edwards at Rogue One Panel during Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016

"He’s got such a gravitational pull, the second he shows up you just get sucked into Darth Vader. So it was a process to try and figure out how to pepper that in in a way that felt right. When I read the first document, which is 'this is what we’re thinking of doing' I was like 'Oh my god, they’re going to do that film? Geeze.' And at the time I thought they must have sent it to hundred other people and I accidentally got it by mistake. Then I realized they were going to do it, and I was like 'I could never live with myself to be two years from then and it’s coming out and this is happening and there’s some guy here going 'yeah, so we filmed in 360' and I’d be going 'God damn I could have been doing that!' So you have to do it…and I’ve forgotten the question."

We asked again if it difficult to figure out how much to use Darth Vader in the film...

"Sure. So hopefully, it was like… I got pulled into making the film through my love of the original films, but then what was a clear conversation that happened early on at Lucasfilm is that we’re doing new things here, this is not a karaoke number or just pure winks and fan service. That’s not going to make a good film. This has got to be characters that you care about and there’s an opportunity to create new people and events that pull you in, so hopefully the goal is that you come to the film for all the reasons that we love Star Wars and you get sucked in and start to care about the new people and when you’re in the midst of all that and that’s going on, familiar things start to pass you by, you start to remember 'Oh yeah, oh yeah' but the film should exist on it’s own terms.

If all these films are ever just 'And here’s that character you love, Yay! Here’s that other character you love, Yay!' all the time, that’s all they’re doing then they’re not really doing what George did - he tried to find stories that were about something, that were saying something, that you keep in your pocket forty years later, that stay in your head and are still affecting you."

Excited to see Darth Vader squashing the Rebellion in its early days, when there are no Jedi to stand up against him? Share your thoughts in the comments!

More: Star Wars Celebration: Rogue One Costumes & Props Image Gallery

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. 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, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
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