Outside of the Episode VII cast and crew, nobody's quite certain who or what is going to show up in the next Star Wars movie. New concept art that's supposedly leaked from the film, though, points to the return of one major character in The Force Awakens, and it's the sort of resurrection that could turn fans' expectations for the next trilogy upside down.
By now, two things should go without saying for this kind of post. First, of course, is that this is all conjecture, with occasionally unreliable outlets posting supposed leaks from even more unreliable sources. Second, which should be even more obvious, is that you should stop reading right about now if you want to roll into The Force Awakens spoiler-free.
Those things said, the last few days have seen an uptick in reports that a major Star Wars character was going to make a surprise return in Episode VII. Namely, one Darth Vader. Last week, a selfie from Warwick Davis showed the diminutive actor in front of what appeared to be a Darth Vader costume on set, kicking off yet another round of speculation that Vader would be appearing in some form or another in The Force Awakens.
Now, though, some purported concept art has leaked via Millennium Falcon, entitled "Vader & Flametroopers." The concept art shows the silhouette of a character that looks remarkably similar to the classic Star Wars villain, as well as the outlines of several Stormtroopers who have apparently set fire to a village.
Does it mean that Vader is a surefire guarantee to make a comeback in Episode VII? That's a bit hard to call. As IB Times notes, Vader could be simply a stand-in for another character in that concept art, as The Force Awakens is already rumored to have its own iconic villain ready to take the screen. It would be risky for J.J. Abrams and crew to simply cast off the legacy of Vader's death in the original Star Wars trilogy just to bring him back for The Force Awakens.
Alternatively, Vader could well appear in Episode VII in the form of a flashback or a vision, and that could explain the new concept art. Given how tight-lipped everyone on the production has been so far, though, it's unlikely that we'll have any real clue what role – if any – that Vader will play in The Force Awakens before the new Star Wars movie takes the screen.
[Lead image via Collider]