As is expected with a J.J. Abrams production, very few concrete details are known about his upcoming film, Star Wars: Episode VII. Outside of confirmed cast members (including original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher), very little been made official. This has caused fans to resort to following the rumor mill to see the endless possibilities of what the plot will entail and what characters the new additions to the franchise will be portraying in the hotly-anticipated sequel.
Now, Star Wars followers have another rumor to chew on while they wait for word from Disney. According to a report in the Irish Mirror (hat tip to CinemaBlend), wrestler Sheamus will join the expanding roster of actors in the role of none other than... the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.
As is the case with these things, people should take this information with a MAJOR grain of salt, but the man who's the subject of the rumor certainly didn't do anything to put out the flames when he tweeted the following for the world to see:
— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) July 30, 2014
For what it's worth, Sheamus has in fact portrayed Vader in the past, having filled the suit during a promotional tour for Episode I. This rumor comes up because Sheamus was reported to be on vacation in his native Ireland, visiting the area of Skellig Michael, where Abrams is currently filming scenes for Episode VII.Naturally, people came to the conclusion that he must have been there to appear as the iconic villain (played by bodybuilder David Prowse in the original trilogy) in the December 2015 installment.
While it's unlikely that this latest rumor amounts to anything - the character in question will have been dead for several decades by the time the core narrative of Episode VII takes place - it's worth bringing up to serve as a launching point for this discussion. Should Darth Vader be brought back? And if so, in what capacity?
The most plausible way Vader could return is in the form of a flashback. Just last month, it was rumored that Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd would appear as a younger version of the heroine in a flashback sequence, opening the possibility that something similar could be done for other classic trilogy characters. Even though the Star Wars Rebels and novels teams have said that they can't use this device due to the nature of Star Wars storytelling (casting doubt on the reports), Vader could appear in a Luke-centric flashback or vision, as the Jedi Master contemplates his actions after (reportedly) becoming a recluse.
That said, Episode VII will have bigger fish to fry. As fresh talent like John Boyega and Daisy Ridley (among many others) look to leave their mark on the series, Abrams and his crew will have their hands full establishing the new heroes and adversaries of the galaxy. The inclusion of players like Hamill and Ford indicate that some original trilogy nostalgia will take place, but the filmmakers would be best served drawing the line somewhere.
At this stage, it's hard to see what benefit flashbacks would bring to the final product, especially since all of the original characters - including Vader - had fully fleshed arcs in those first three movies. There isn't much (if any) ground left to cover if Abrams goes this route.
There's also a chance that a Vader cameo would be nothing more than a hindrance and distraction for the film. One trap that the prequels fell into was shoehorning classic characters into the proceedings as a form of fan service or marketing ploy, which made the Star Wars universe feel very small indeed.
Star Wars is looking to start anew with this sequel trilogy, and the only way to do that is to charge ahead and move on from the past films. Fans are no doubt enthused to return to the galaxy far, far away, but they're also excited for what the future will hold. Putting the focus on the new characters would help move Episode VII and its follow-ups toward success, since audiences will become sold on the young characters carrying the franchise from this point.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Should Darth Vader make an appearance in Episode VII? Sound off in the comments and let us know.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be released on December 18, 2015.
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