Darth Vader has long been rumored to make an appearance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and now a new leak from some of the film’s tie-in merchandise seems to confirm that not only will the iconic Sith lord return to the silver screen in the upcoming film, but he also may play a larger role than originally thought.
Vader’s return was first suggested last year, as the Inquisitr previously reported, when sources purportedly working on the production revealed that Anakin Skywalker would once again be a part of the larger Star Wars saga. The time frame of Rogue One and its subject matter almost made it a certainty that Vader would need to be involved in at least some capacity, as it takes place shortly before A New Hope, when he is at the height of his power in the Galactic Empire. When we first see Vader in the original Star Wars, he is hot on the trail of the Death Star plans, which are set to be stolen in Rogue One.
— Dave Prowse (@isDARTHVADER) May 19, 2016
While it is only natural that Vader would be tied to the story of Rogue One for these reasons, it was originally thought by fans that he would appear in only a small, corollary way, as a hologram or simply to direct the film’s main villain. More recently, reports have suggested that Vader will be realized in a very different manner than fans are accustomed to, actually wading into the throes of battle. While unconfirmed, those reports have suggested that the Darth Vader set to appear in Rogue One will be more violent and ruthless than he has ever been shown to be in the past.
Now, fans have some seeming confirmation that Vader will actually appear in Rogue One, and play a key role in the film’s plot. A leaked “visual story guide,” meant to be released in conjunction with Rogue One, has revealed not only the names of certain characters and new ships appearing in the movie, but also conceptual artwork associated with the film. On one set of pages, it depicts the movie’s key characters in a panorama, as the Guardian reports. Towering above the cast of Rogue One in this image is none other than Vader himself, his face turned upward as the Death Star hovers behind him.
— Marshall Julius (@MarshallJulius) May 18, 2016
The placement of Vader’s image, between and above the Rebel and Imperial forces, suggests to fans that he may play a central role in Rogue One‘s story. According to Making Star Wars, Welsh actor Spencer Wilding will be the man inside Vader’s suit for the film, while James Earl Jones will return to provide the Sith lord’s voice, just as he did in the original Star Wars trilogy.
New Rogue One concept images pic.twitter.com/PQP18YhbmO
— Film Hype (@FilmHyp) May 17, 2016
The leaked guide, while marked “Not Final,” also provided fans with the names of Rogue One‘s key characters. Ben Mendehlson plays Imperial Director Krennic, while Diego Luna’s character is apparently named Captain Cassian Andor. Alan Tudyk’s droid character is named K-250, while Donnie Yen portrays Chirrut, a martial arts expert. Jiang Wen and Riz Ahmed, meanwhile, play Baze and Bodhi Rook.
Fans will also find within the leaked pages of the guide that the Tie Striker will be joining the Imperial forces lineup, while the much-loved AT-AT walkers return to terrorize a new Rebel base. The guide is expected to make its way to store shelves on January 24, just a month after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters.
[Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP]