Darth Vader's Castle Finally Appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
After the better part of four decades in comics, video games and concept art, Darth Vader's castle finally made it to the big screen in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For those paying attention, there wasn't much to surprise here. The design was in keeping with McQuarrie's original art, while the function was incredibly close to how Bast Castle had been described; Vader was shown healing in a bacta tank, waited on by a cloaked attendant, and confronted Director Krennic in an imposing viewing room.
What is striking is that this was the first time where the idea of Darth Vader's castle and lava had been put together to place it on Mustafar (confirmed in a companion book to be chosen by Vader due to its personal connection to his dark side power). There had, admittedly, been few opportunities since Revenge of the Sith to do so, but given what we know of George Lucas' Star Wars plan, this lines up well with the originally intended meaning.
How Darth Vader's Castle Has Been Changed In The Comics
Rogue One wasn't the end of Vader's castle, at least in terms of the overall canon. It was alluded to ahead of its big screen appearance in Star Wars Rebels, with Tarkin planning to take Kanan there, and has been the subject of Rebellion attacks in both VR experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire (which will surely be expanded upon in the upcoming Vader Immortal) and young reader comic Tales from Vader's Castle.
Much more impactful is Fortress Vader, the fifth story in the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic run. This saw the creation of Darth Vader's castle and explained a lot of key details. It was designed by long-dead Sith Lord Momin (his spirit was survived in a mask), with Vader intended to tap into dark side energy on Mustafar so he could somehow save Padmé; in a key step of his furthering darkness, he failed.
Darth Vader's Castle May Have An Important Future In Star Wars Canon
It may have taken forty years, but Darth Vader's castle is now at the forefront of Star Wars canon. It was a standout location in a $1 billion-grossing movie and has been returned to more times than pretty much any other new canon addition. With connections to both the prequel and original trilogy - and a character that remains the series' major icon despite being killed in 1983 - it's not hard to understand why. It's a monument to Darth Vader, in-universe and out, and thanks to the mythology has ties to a time long before Anakin Skywalker and can stand for decades after his death. That it was percolating for so long is really credit to that.
The future of Fortress Vader is already in motion. While the comic arc is over, it's sure to play a background part as it continues, while the Vader Immortal VR is set to run for multiple episodes. The real breakthrough would be having an impact on the sequel trilogy era, either through Star Wars 9 or the inevitable expanded material that will be greenlit once the Skywalker Saga is over, but even without that, it stands as an example of how so much of the Disney Star Wars era is influenced by ideas right at the core of the originals.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019