[UPDATE: Wilding has posted to his Facebook account clarifying the reason why he was unable to attend the Fandomfest event. As it turns out, Wilding says he has not been cast in the Han Solo anthology film.]
The actor who played Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Spencer Wilding, apparently also joins the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo spinoff. The film directed by Ron Howard will introduce Alden Ehrenreich as the younger version of the scruffy-looking nerf herder and will be set before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
The iconic supervillain was first played by David Prowse in the original trilogy but both iterations were voiced by James Earl Jones. While Wilding's part in Rogue One was very limited, it provided fans one of the most iconic scenes in the Star Wars franchise with the Sith's terrifying hallway murder sequence. And it would definitely be great to see him reprise the role for another go, should the Dark Lord make an appearance in the offshoot.
The news, oddly, has come out in an announcement posted on the official website (h/t StarWarsNews.Net) of the Fandomfest event Louisville, KY, where Wilding was supposed to make an appearance. Apparently, the actor had to skip this year's outing of the convention, "as he will be filming the newest film in the Star Wars Universe. Spencer will be coming back next year." Obviously, the only Star Wars film that is currently in production is the Han Solo spin-off as Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi wrapped principal photography months ago.
It is important to note, however, that there is no confirmation of Wilding reprising Vader for the second time despite the supposedly heavy Imperial presence in the prequel movie. The actor has also taken other varied roles in other Disney properties like the “Mean Guard” in Guardians of the Galaxy which could easily be the same case with this one. Further, the Star Wars series franchise has a tradition of bringing back actors in their movies to play different roles, case in point: Warwick Davis.
If the production, nonetheless, eventually decides to bring Vader out and make just the smallest cameo, Wilding's portrayal of the character will fit well in the narrative timeline. Since the Han Solo film and Rogue One are both set before Prowse's iteration, the build, power and agility of the Sith should be somewhat the same in the movies, helping with LucasFilms' penchant for actor continuity as evident with Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Anthony Daniels (C3-PO).
Despite the directorial kerfuffle that had the Han Solo anthology film's original helmers fired and replaced, filming seems to be going more smoothly now in London. New director Howard has continued to tease the film with social media posts to hype up fans again about the recently troubled production. On top of Ehrenreich, who takes over the role made iconic by Harrison Ford, the film stars Donald Glover (young Lando Calrissian), Woody Harrelson (Beckett), and Emilia Clarke.
- 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
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019