‘Star Wars: Rogue One’s’ Darth Vader Casting Revealed

The upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One will take fans to a time before the first Star Wars movie and reportedly show off a younger, more physical Darth Vader. Until today, it wasn’t clear who would be donning Vader’s iconic black mask and cape, and it turns out the answer is a bit of a surprise.

Fans have been speculating for months that Hayden Christensen, who played a young Anakin Skywalker in the much-maligned Star Wars prequel movies, might be reprising his role as Darth Vader in Star Wars: Rogue One. However, according to Flickering Myth, the actor slated to play Darth Vader is a newcomer to the Star Wars universe, but he’s well known to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Spencer Wilding, a British actor who played bit parts in several high-profile films, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman Begins, and Wrath of the Titans, will be the actor taking on the mantle of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Rogue One. Wilding, known for his physicality, played a few small roles in otherwise large films, including some with impressive stunt work like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Reportedly, his performances in those films may just have secured him the part as the iconic Dark Lord of the Sith.

Flickering Myth, a movie blog that has previously had early reports of casting surprises in upcoming films, including an actor in Batman v. Superman, revealed that Spencer Wilding was cast in Star Wars: Rogue One sometime last year. According to their sources, Wilding, not Hayden Christensen, will be playing Darth Vader in the upcoming Star Wars prequel film.

Darth Vader was played in the original Star Wars film by actor David Prowse, who wore the cape, the mask, and wielded Vader’s lightsaber, but Prowse didn’t provide the voice work for Vader. Legendary actor James Earl Jones provided the iconic, booming voice of Darth Vader. According to Cinema Blend, it’s likely Jones will reprise the role in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One and provide the voice for Spencer Wilding’s Darth Vader, but those reports are as yet unconfirmed.

According to Flickering Myth’s source, however, Spencer Wilding will have a speaking role in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One, but it’s likely his voice will either be dubbed over by James Earl Jones or otherwise be replaced in order to match Darth Vader’s electronically synthesized voice.

Cinema Blend reports that James Earl Jones is expected to reprise his role as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Rogue One, but Disney has yet to confirm his return. Still, as fans of the original Star Wars films would be quick to point out, Darth Vader’s physical presence on screen is an incredibly important part of the character, and if Spencer Wilding’s previous work is any indication, he’s a good fit for the role. Although his previous work included smaller roles in big films, Spencer Wilding’s characters in each film were physically imposing and provided a sense of physical presence, a skill that will serve him well when he makes his debut on screen in Star Wars: Rogue One as the Darth Vader of a new generation.

Star Wars: Rogue One takes place before the original 1977 Star Wars film, A New Hope, and details the dangerous work undertaken by Rebel spies as they try to secure the plans for the Empire’s sinister Death Star. The upcoming Star Wars film is the first spinoff film in the Star Wars universe since Disney took over the franchise back in 2012. Rogue One is just the first of many Star Wars films the media giant has planned for the next few years.

[Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images]

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