Good News For ‘Star Wars’ Fans — James Earl Jones To Return As The Voice Of Darth Vader In ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

It was good news today for Star Wars fans, as James Earl Jones announced that he will return as the voice of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, according to the ABC.

James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy back in 1977, as well as the 2005 prequel film, Revenge of the Sith. He has also lent his voice to the Darth Vader character in episodes of Disney XD’s animated Star Wars: Rebels. Many other actors have imitated Jones’ booming voice over the years for various games and cartoons, however there is no substitute for that voice.

The 85-year-old actor has not given much else away about the new film for the globally-loved franchise, but apparently the actors who will play Darth Vader are yet to be chosen.

Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s president, has revealed that a range of larger-framed actors would play the character of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and that Darth Vader would be used in the movie “sparingly.” His part will be held for key strategic moments with Jones’ booming voice taking hold of the cinema.

“I think we can talk about Vader,” Kennedy said. “He will be in the movie sparingly but at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”

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The rest of James Earl Jones’ part in the Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is being kept under lock and key as further details of Darth Vader’s return in the much-anticipated side-story film are yet to be disclosed.

The good news for Star Wars fans is that we do know the film will center on the Rebel spies mentioned in the text at the beginning of film Episode IV: A New Hope and that it is set in a time where Darth Vader was less of a threat and more of a background enforcer.

Director Gareth Edwards said the power of Darth Vader is growing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and that the film will be similar to that of a war film.

“Within the Empire, there is the culture of knowing of the existence of Darth Vader. There’s definitely an underlying feeling that there is a power – a dark power – available to the Empire and that if you overstep your mark, you will suffer the consequences.

“It’s the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It’s complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie.”

In the new Star Wars film, Darth Vader still exists outside of the hierarchy that rules everyone else in the Empire, according to Lucasfilm’s Kiri Hart.

“Vader doesn’t really play by the rules…he’s present in the military structure, but he’s not beholden to it. He’s not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine,” Hart said.

Lucasfilm’s has also let fans know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be set roughly 19 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first stand-alone Star Wars film that does not have an episode number attached to it and could be a sign of more films to come, which is only good news for fans. Kennedy explained that the stand-alone films will not crossover with the films of the sequel trilogy.

“George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the ‘Star Wars’ saga. Right now, ‘Episode VII’ falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the stand-alone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it’s a roadmap that George made pretty clear.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will star Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, and Jonathan Aris. It is set to come out on December 16, 2016, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios.

[Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images]