Have you ever seen the original on-set clips of Darth Vader’s scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope before his voice was dubbed James Earl Jones? Instead of the deep, bass-rumble voice we all know and love, Vader was originally voiced by David Prowse, the actor who physically played the character. And no offense to Mr. Prowse, but that crap is hilarious!
Jones’ famously timbrous voice on the other hand was just perfect for the Dark Lord of the Sith, and has become one of cinema’s most recognizable icons. And it’s officially coming back! After being rumoured for months, it’s now finally been officially confirmed that not only is Darth Vader indeed showing up to menace the Rebels in upcoming spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but that the 85-year old James Earl Jones himself – or at least his voice – will be returning to bring the character to life.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told EW though that this will most definitely not be the Darth Vader show though.
“I think we can talk about Vader… He will be in the movie sparingly. But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”
Director Gareth Edwards also went on to explain that at this stage in the Star Wars timeline – Rogue One is set right before the events of A New Hope – Vader is not that well known but more a mythical boogeyman than anything else.
“Within the Rebellion, it’s not commonly spoken about. 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.”
Speaking of suffering consequences, Edwards and the rest of the crew at Lucasfilm recently had to suffer some consequences when it was discovered that the movie was undergoing extensive reshoots. Rumors about the reason for the reshoots spun out of control, with some suggesting that it was to overhaul nearly half the movie and tonally bring it more inline with JJ Abrams’ uber successful The Force Awakens, instead of the gritty war story we had been promised.
But much like Disney and Lucasfilm later clarified, Edwards also told EW that the reshoots were nowhere close to the big deal people were making it out to be, and they were only scheduled for as long as they were because of lack of cast availability.
“I mean it was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit… There’s lots of little things that we have to get, but it’s all little things within the preexisting footage.”
“Obviously, you’ve got to work around everyone’s schedule, and everyone’s on different films all over the world, and so it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare. That’s why I think it’s been blown out of proportion a little bit… It’s funny, making a film stops you believing anything you’ve ever read on the Internet.”
Kennedy also confirmed that Rogue One will indeed be the war movie fans were promised, which will be unlike any Star Wars movie we’ve seen thus far.
“There’s nothing about the story that’s changing, with a few things that we’re picking up in additional photography. I think that’s the most important thing, to reassure fans that it’s the movie we intended to make.”
“One of the things we’re doing with these Star Wars stories is embracing the uniqueness of the different genres, and we’re very deliberately leaning into the various styles of directors that we’re approaching so that each of these movies will very intentionally have a very different tone and style from the saga films. Gareth has shown a stylistic preference that’s much more handheld, visceral, inside-the-action kind of feel.
He does a lot of handheld, intimate, close-up work. That’s not something you’ve necessarily seen in a Star Wars movie before. And we brought in [cinematographer] Greig Fraser, to shoot it, who had done Zero Dark Thirty. So a combination of Greig and Gareth has been, I think, fantastic, and it just gives it a really unique style.
I’d definitely describe it as: It’s got dark tone.The studio has been very supportive of that. I mean, the sort of tone we were going for when we started was the tone you have in films like The Empire Strikes Back. And that’s not in any way been compromised.”
What may change though, are some of the very familiar Star Wars tropes – like the famous opening text crawl – that have always been part of the franchise. As the first of these standalone spinoffs, Rogue One has the opportunity to make a new template though going forward. Kennedy just isn’t ready to share what that template will look like yet.
“We talk about that all the time. It’s something that we’re right in the midst of discussing even now, so I don’t want to say definitively what we’re doing. The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the ‘saga’ films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [stand-alone] Star Wars Stories separate and apart from the saga films. So we’re right in the middle of talking about that.”
Along with the Darth Vader news and discussions on the reshoots/tone, EW have now also released a whole new batch of images for the film. Check them out in the gallery below.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed. It is scheduled for release on December 16.
Last Updated: June 24, 2016