It's no secret that Lucasfilm has spent a lot of time with its Star Wars revival so far trying very hard to remind us why we loved this franchise in the first place. The Force Awakens alone featured everything from Darth Vader's helmet to the Millennium Falcon, and Star Wars Rebels has given us the return of everyone from Yoda to Lando Calrissian. One of the keys to this franchise is merging the old with the new, and in some cases just plain trying to make the old new again.
The clearest example of this so far might end up being Rogue One, the first Star Wars "Anthology" film arriving later this year. For this film, director Gareth Edwards will tell us the story of how Princess Leia wound up with the Death Star plans that kickstarted the entire first movie, so obviously we're in for some throwbacks. Exactly how many isn't clear, but a couple of new reports are giving us some intriguing hints.
SPOILERS for Rogue One follow
So, we'd already heard that the film might feature the appearance of Darth Vader. That's not surprising, since he's a key figure in the Empire and central to the Death Star's existence by the time Star Wars rolls around. What we didn't know, though, was just how much Vader would figure in the story. After all, it could just be a cameo, or a reaction scene in which he learns the plans have been stolen and sets off on his mission to apprehend Leia. A new report from Making Star Wars, though, claims that his role will be more substantial, and that he'll actually have action sequences in the film. How do they know this? Well, according to their sources, several suits of armor, including "stunt suits," have been made for Vader's appearance, and sequences have been storyboarded that imagine all the different ways he could take on Rebel soldiers, including "people being dismembered by Vader throwing his sword, levitating bodies to make human shields and so on. The art was more violent than what we’ve seen Darth Vader do on screen before."
This is interesting, since we really never see Vader do anything but one-on-one fighting in the original trilogy (outside of space battles, I suppose). In fact, he often arrives after the battle to survey the damage, surrounded by stormtroopers. In shows like Rebels, though, and in recent Marvel Comics, he's portrayed as a much more active fighter, pulling off amazing feats with the Force, so there is a precedent for this, and seeing a big-screen version of it could be thrilling. This is, of course, unconfirmed, but JoBlo reports that their sources also say Vader's in the movie, and that he'll have a "larger role than originally thought," which lends credence to the action sequence report.
Speaking of JoBlo, their report also unearthed some other tidbits about the film. Apparently, we should expect a new droid, formerly working for the Imperials but converted to work for the Rebels, who is described as a "scene stealer," possibly played in motion-capture form by Alan Tudyk. Also, those rumors about stormtoopers in all-black armor are apparently true, and they'll be referred to as "Death Troopers" (I like it, but there will be "Why weren't they in the original trilogy if they exist now?" questions). Plus, we'll see AT-ATs, a new TIE fighter design and a main character named Cashen, though we don't yet know which character that is.
This is all interesting stuff to chew on, but obviously the real highlight is Vader. In just a few months, we could see our favorite screen villain performing feats of action unlike anything we've seen him do before, and while some might look down on yet another revival of the character, the full might of Lord Vader on the big screen might end up being the best part of Rogue One.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters Dec. 16.