Darth Vader in Rogue One: James Earl Jones Confirmed To Return!

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Yesterday, EW confirmed that Darth Vader would appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; now, more details have been discussed about the villainous icon.

We previously heard several reports that James Earl Jones would be reprising his iconic role as Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but today, Lucasfilm just officially announced his reprisal in a new issue of EW. Jones originated the character in the original Star Wars, all the way back in 1977, and recently reprised the role for Disney XD's Star Wars: Rebels.

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While it's good to know that James Earl will reprise Vader, don't expect to see him a lot in the film. "He will be in the movie sparingly," Executive Producer Kathleen Kennedy explained "But at a key, strategic moment, he's going to loom large."

Rogue One is set shortly before the events of the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, and at that point, Vader is lesser known, so how does he fit in the Empire in Rogue One? "Within the Empire, there is the culture of knowing of the existence of Darth Vader," director Gareth Edwards said. "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."

Vader isn't dependent on the Empire's hierarchy that binds eveyone else: "Vader doesn't really play by the rules," said Lucasfilm's Kiri Hart. "He's present in the military structure, but he's not beholden to it. He's not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine."

While Vader will show up in Rogue One, he's not the main villain of the spin-off film; that role goes to Orson Krennic, an Imperial officer played by Ben Mendelsohn, so how does Vader connect to him? Producer John Knoll says: "There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other. There's not a lot of loyalty there." The power struggle reminds me of Game of Thrones, which is a good sign that Star Wars is exploring more complex story elements instead of just the typical good vs. evil plot.

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For more details about Darth Vader's character, check out the link above.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16.

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