A new cover story for Entertainment Weekly that goes behind the scenes of Rogue One confirms what many fans had already assumed or surmised: Darth Vader will return. Vader, as an important figure in the Galactic Empire, led efforts to get the Death Star plans back in the hands of the Empire while on the Death Star in A New Hope, and for many fans it made narrative sense to have him involved in some capacity. And it appears that Vader will be playing more than just a cameo role.
“Darth Vader kinda looms large over the plot even when he’s not necessarily on-screen because the new villain, played by Ben Mendelsohn, he’s trying to fulfill the wishes of the Emperor and he’s got kinda Vader looming in the background over his shoulder,” Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, who wrote the cover story, told Good Morning America.
Rumors of Vader’s return have persisted for months with Birth.Movies.Death describing the role as not “the main antagonist but he will be working behind the scenes, pulling strings and will appear onscreen.” James Earl Jones, who’s provided the voice of Darth Vader for every major Star Wars film he appears in recently reprised the role in Star Wars Rebels, although he hasn’t been officially confirmed yet for Rogue One.
Entertainment Weekly has also listed descriptions for the main characters of Rogue One including Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso, who Lucasfilm president and Rogue One producer Kathleen Kennedy noted “becomes a kind of Joan of Arc in the story,” as well as the other Rebels who join her mission and the lead villain of the film. The exception to this is Forest Whitaker’s character, whose name was revealed later Wednesday. He’ll portray Saw Gerrera, a character that first appeared in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and is referenced in the recent Star Wars novel Bloodline. He’s now leading a group of Rebel extremists that concern even the Rebel Alliance.
Here’s what we know about the rest of the crew.
Diego Luna will play Rebel intelligence officer Captain Cassian Andor, a combat veteran who plays by the rules and will be a counter to Jyn.
Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen will play what EW calls the “galactic version of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza” as Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, respectively. Chirrut is the more spiritual of the two, a blind warrior who believes in the Jedi (despite not being one himself) while Baze favors blasters. Chances are they might end up being the newest OTP of Star Wars.
Riz Ahmed is Bodhi Rook, a skilled cargo pilot who’s vital to the mission.
Alan Tudyk will voice K-2SO, a droid that’s the opposite of C-3PO in every way and looking for some redemption.
The name of Mendelsohn’s villain is Director Orson Krennic, a commander who’s trying to play the game as much as he’s trying to crush the Rebellion.
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