Bring on the heavy breathing! We discovered plenty of juicy details about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yesterday, including some intriguing character descriptions, plus the confirmation that Darth Vader is set to return. And the Force is certainly flowing strongly, because thanks to Entertainment Weekly we now know that an iconic element of Vader is also making a comeback.
The Dark Lord of the Sith has appeared in all sorts of TV shows, comics and movies, and is endlessly quoted, referenced and imitated. His imposing stature and deep, slow breathing (courtesy of Anakin Skywalker’s brutal defeat on Mustafar) with THAT sonorous voice are integral parts of what makes him such a good villain.
'If Only You Knew The Power Of The Dark Side!'
So it’s great to report that the legendary actor behind his foreboding, resonant tones will once again return to threaten Rebel scum.
This will be James Earl Jones’s most recent foray into the galaxy far, far away, having voiced Vader in the original trilogy and in the animated series Star Wars Rebels. And let's not forget his brief reprisal in Revenge of the Sith in 2005. So you might be asking yourself: If he’s in Rogue One, why haven’t we seen him yet?
It seems that, similar to the sparse use of Luke Skywalker in the promo material for The Force Awakens, Vader is being kept under wraps until a later date, and will only be appearing in small doses, as Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy disclosed:
“He will be in the movie sparingly. But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”
Mysterious, is it not? And even though Rogue One details are still thin on the ground, story developer Kiri Hart and director Gareth Edwards managed to let slip some exciting details about Vader.
‘Leave Them To Me. I Will Deal With Them Myself.’
It turns out that he’s as much a legendary figure in the story of Rogue One as his son is in The Force Awakens. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? According to Edwards:
“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.”
Overall, this is promising stuff. Personally, I think its a good idea to curtail Vader's screen time. We'll be getting to know some new characters in Rogue One, and if the film features a lot of Vader, he could steal some of their limelight.
Furthermore, a good villain only needs a little screen time to leave an impression. Vader is proof of this, since he only features for 12 minutes in A New Hope's two-hour run time! Plus, Vader isn't even the only villain! Jyn and the Rebellion must also contend with Ben Mendelsohn’s antagonist, Director Orson Krennic. And by the sounds of it, Krennic's so devious that he's causing problems even for Vader!
From what we hear, there's no love lost between these two Big Bads. Indeed, both Vader and Krennic are vying for Emperor Palpatine's approval in Rogue One, so we can expect to see political wrangling and Machiavellian gameplay from both evil sides. Though, for his sake, I hope Krennic doesn't get too cocky — if the body count of The Empire Strikes Back is anything to go by! Kiri Hart agrees, saying:
“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.”
'You Do Not Yet Realize Your Importance'
Overall, I'm really glad that James Earl Jones is returning to Star Wars. He's a great talent and remains an essential part of what makes Vader so fearsome and awesome. It would be almost sacrilege for him to not voice Vader in Rogue One.
Disney had better find a way to replicate his voice for future installments. After all, Jones is pushing 90, and he's set the bar as one of cinema's best villains — and most dysfunctional fathers.
Are you happy to have James Earl Jones back as Vader?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]