Monday, August 15, 2016


Quite a long time ago – 2005 to be precise – in a Galaxy far, far away, we last saw Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, as he stood at the side of his master Emperor Palpatine watching the construction of the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon. This was at the tail end of the last “Star Wars” prequel film, “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”, and the last we saw anything new production-wise of one of motion pictures’ most celebrated villains. It was believed that with all episode numbers of the saga filled in by the prequels, there was really nothing left to tell of 20 th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s iconic space opera on the big screen.

Then came the big surprise of The Walt Disney Company buying the “Star Wars” franchise, and then the major whammy of “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” which continues the story of the old heroes with a new generation for new movie audiences. What’s more, before starting work on an Episode VIII, Disney and Lucasfilms has put together a brand new story prequel, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Now here comes the knockout punch: Darth Vader returns in this film.

A second trailer released for the film, which was aired during NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, gave a brief teaser of a second or two showing the Sith Lord with his back to the camera looking at a monitor display. There were no lines, but Vader’s iconic breathing was all that was needed.

Regarding questions as to how he is still alive after dying in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, that’s because “Rogue One” takes place before the events of the first ever “Star Wars” film (Episode IV: A New Hope) which came out in 1977. The trailer, as detailed in The Telegraph, paints an intimidating picture of the Galaxy coming slowly but surely under the crushing grip of the Empire, but a Rebel agent, portrayed by Felicity Jones, is set to volunteer for a daring and possibly high-mortality mission to end the Empire’s reign of terror.

What the mission is could well be what was detailed in the opening text of Episode IV, about the Rebel spies managing to steal the plans for the Death Star, “an armed space station with enough firepower to destroy an entire planet”, as the scroll goes. And the trailer visuals drive home the feel of the first film and the original trilogy that comes across as a love letter of undying fandom for one of the greatest franchises in movie history.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla” 2014) and starring Jones, Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, and Alan Tudyk, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” comes to theaters this December.

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