Now that we know Darth Vader will be in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the question on everyone’s lips was: just how much will the legendary Sith Lord be used in the film?
Well, according to a new report from Entertainment Weekly, just a little bit (rather disappointingly).
“He will be in the movie sparingly,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told EW. “But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”
According to EW, Vader is still a bit-part player in the Empire at this stage. They describe him as ‘muscle, the fixer,’ so don’t expect him to dominate the story quite like how he did in the original trilogy.
“The Empire’s grip on the galaxy is beginning to be pried open, and the Death Star is how Emperor Palpatine intends to maintain his dominion over the star systems rising up against him,” they write.
“Within the Rebellion, it’s not commonly spoken about [Vader],” says director Gareth 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 and that if you overstep your mark, you will suffer the consequences.”
With Vader playing a secondary role in the Rogue One narrative, that leaves Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Orson Krennic as the main antagonist, an ambitious Imperial officer intent on moving up in the world.
“There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other,” producer John Knoll says. “There’s not a lot of loyalty there.”
Important story element: Krennic and Vader are not friends.
“Vader doesn’t really play by the rules,” says Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s chief of story development. “He’s present in the military structure, but he’s not beholden to it. He’s not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine.”
It seems the heavy breathing will remain very much on the periphery of Rogue One…