For months now there has been speculation that Darth Vader would appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. And unlike some of the other theories and rumors floating around, this one passes the sniff test: the timing lines up (the story takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope) and so does the premise (the Rebels are out to steal the Death Star plans). But it’s only now we’re getting ironclad confirmation.
Yes, we will see Darth Vader in Rogue One, as revealed on a new Entertainment Weekly cover.
Entertainment Weekly splashed the big news across the cover of their latest issue. There’s no photo of Darth Vader in Rogue One yet, but we do get a look at the new heroes played by Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Alan Tudyk (he’s the droid in the back there, thanks to the power of mo-cap magic).
While Darth Vader will be on hand to help out the Empire in Rogue One, he’s not the main villain — that’d be the white-cloaked character played by Ben Mendelsohn. And it sounds like they’ll be interacting in some interesting ways. The magazine hints that Mendelsohn is “eager to earn the favor of the Emperor – and avoid the wrath of his black-masked enforcer.”
Darth Vader won’t be the only familiar face returning for Rogue One, as the magazine teases the return of “a few classic [characters].” We already know Mon Mothma will be one of them, since she was in the trailer, and there have been whispers that Alden Ehrenreich could cameo as Han Solo. But are there others? Who could they be?
The “Darth Vader in Rogue One” rumors have been swirling for a while now. Last summer, we heard Vader would have only a small role, appearing “via viewscreen or holo projection or something” as someone pulling the strings behind the scenes. The reports have evolved since then, indicating that Vader could have some serious action scenes, with Spencer Wildling as the stunt performer inside the suit, and get some backstory explaining his changing fighting style. Again, none of that has been officially confirmed until now, but we should know more before too long.
There should be many more details coming about Star Wars: Rogue One as the week progresses. Watch this space.
Although Ben Mendelsohn is playing the main villain in Rogue One, we know that he’s going to have some back-up. Although the size and nature of his role remains unknown, Darth Vader will play a part in the film and Flickering Myth claims to know who will be wearing that iconic suit. Naturally, this is a rumor and you should take it with a grain of salt and so on:
"[O]ur sources are telling us that in fact British actor Spencer Wilding has been cast to play the body of Darth Vader in Rogue One.
Wilding is mostly a stunt actor and has had bit parts in Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman Begins, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Wrath of the Titans. We first heard of his casting last year, but waited for more confirmation on the story before running it."
I can buy this because it’s just dull enough to make sense. Of course a physically imposing and mostly unknown stuntman would wear the Darth Vader costume! After all, David Prowse was cast for his size in the original trilogy, not because George Lucas ever really intended to use his actual vocal performance. Flickering Myth does note that Wilding has been running lines on set, which means Vader will talk in the film, which means someone will eventually dub over him. Will James Earl Jones return to his most iconic role one more time?
One of the highlights of the Rogue One trailer was the wonderful use of music, which led many people (including yours truly) to wonder if this was our first taste of composer Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film. If so, it was one helluva good sign. But now, Making Star Wars is reporting that Desplat has yet to officially sign on to the film (despite his hiring being widely reported) and that Lucasfilm may pursue other options:
"There’s some business issues. At this point there is no contract in place and it is a bit contentious. They’re looking at two other composers for the film should it go another way."
If so, that’s a shame. Desplat is a genius and one of the few modern composers who could carry John Williams’ torch. Plus, he did incredible work with Gareth Edwards before on 2014’s Godzilla. This doesn’t mean that Desplat isn’t composing music for Rogue One, but it suggests that there is some kind of behind-the-scenes tension. We’ll probably hear something official soon enough.
It’s week two of this year’s Star Wars: Force For Change charity fundraising campaign and we have a new Rogue One theme. Now, if you donate a little bit of cash to a good cause, you have the chance to win a Stormtrooper helmet autographed by the Rogue One cast. But don’t take my word for it – Felicity Jones explains the details in the video above.
The 2016 Star Wars Fan Film Awards are happening on StarWars.com right now, so if you have the hankering to make your own Star Wars short film, this is your best possible platform. Awards will be given in categories like Best Animation, Best Non-Fiction, Spirit of Fandom, Best Comedy, Best Visual Effects, and Audience Choice, but the top prize is Filmmaker Select, which will go to the “movie deemed best overall.” This year’s judges in that category are Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, producer John Swartz, and executive producer John Knoll. Everything you need to know can be found in the video below.
The always-useful Star Wars Minute has dedicated an episode to Bevel Lemelisk, the designer of both Death Stars in the original expanded universe. This character no longer exits, wiped out in the Disney canon purge, but it’s still a fun watch…mainly because the character seems more than a little ridiculous. With current rumors suggesting that Mads Mikkelsen‘s character is the designer of the Death Star in the new canon, poor Bevel is probably about to be erased from continuity forever. Pour one out for the man.
Take a good look at that toy packaging above. You’re going to be seeing a lot of it over the coming year. This will presumably be the template that all of the boxes for Rogue One merchandise will follow: TIE Fighters, AT-AT Walkers, and, of course, a prominently placed black armored Stormtrooper (or “Death Trooper” or member of “Death Squad” or whatever they’re supposedly called).
Speaking of things you’ll probably see around quite a bit, that is the official and completely underwhelming teaser poster for Rogue One. To be fair, this exists simply to raise awareness and to start burning the title and logo into the minds of ordinary people. A more colorful poster filled with characters and action will arrive eventually.
Meanwhile, Making Star Wars claims to know the name of Diego Luna’s character in Rogue One: Cassein Willix. Granted, this could be fake placeholder name used to throw people off the right scent (Rey was “Kira” for a long time during the production of The Force Awakens), but we shall see. In any case, I’m personally glad that it’s not a familiar name – the Star Wars universe often feels too small, so the fact that Rogue One‘s characters don’t have direct connections to the main heroes of the saga makes the galaxy feel so much larger.
The trailer for Rogue One offered us our first look at Forest Whitaker‘s unnamed character, but he was shot mostly in close-up so we couldn’t make out much of his costume. However, it did appear to be some kind of bulky suit and Making Star Warshas a few more details about it:
- Whitaker has a “Power Suit” in the film.
- The suit is green.
- It is lumbering in size and sort of evokes a Buzz Lightyear vibe.
- His cape is the same style as Boba Fett’s cape.
For the record, this description was published shortly before the trailer arrived, so the details that do directly connect to what we see on screen lend credence to those that we do not.
Banner Photo Credit: Lucasfilm