Classic Star Wars antagonist Darth Vader will be making a reappearance in November’s spin-off, Star Wars: Rogue One. The news was confirmed in an article by Entertainment Weekly, following endless speculation whether one of the icons of the saga – and arguably the focal point of all 6 films until The Force Awakens – was returning to the silver screen. Actor Spencer Wilding (who also appeared in Batman Begins and Guardians of the Galaxy) will be playing the masked villain, in one of his biggest roles yet. Vader will be portrayed as a “black masked enforcer” to an Imperial officer portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn. This means that Darth Vader may be shunted into a mere supporting role for the first time in a Star Wars movie.
Rogue One is a prequel to the original Star Wars saga, but Darth Vader is the only confirmed main character set to return. The story will focus on a plucky young upstart fighting the Empire.
The announcement of Darth Vader could signal the beginning of the massive hype machine that surrounded last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where most cinemas ended up selling out of seats just hours after tickets went on sale. However, it remains to be seen whether Rogue One, a spin-off, will be able to emulate the wild success of the main event, as it may suffer from being the little project among the sea of giant new main-line Star Wars movies. Will the return of Vader put people in the cinema? Probably. But the question of whether Rogue One will flop or go straight to the top is still up in the air.
Words by Gabriel Rutherford