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What We Want From Darth Vader's Return To Star Wars

If the rumors are true, sci-fi's greatest villain, Darth Vader, will be returning to the screen in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and that's kind of a big deal. Rather than just a mention or a brief cameo, Vader will supposedly be playing a larger role than initially reported, and with so much screen time, there's a lot that can go wrong. Sources now say that Rogue One will take place around five to ten years before the start of A New Hope, concurrent with the events of the cartoon show Star Wars: Rebels. So will we be getting an A New Hope Vader, or something else entirely? Here's what we'd like to see.

James Earl Jones

Without a doubt, the number one thing that we need from an A New Hope-era Vader is the voice of James Earl Jones. Not to minimize the efforts of David Prowse, the giant man who wore the suit, or Sebastian Shaw, the man who provided the face for the unmasked Vader's Humpty Dumpty head, but Jones is the essence of Vader. You could stick any tall, broad-bodied dummy in the suit and it would be pretty much the same thing. But without Jones, you just don't have a true Darth Vader. Until his name shows up in the credits, this whole Rogue One thing is just fan fiction.

An active fighter

We know that Anakin Skywalker can swing a saber, but as Darth Vader, he doesn't really get into a lot of physical fights. We generally only see Vader engaged in fencing matches with his Jedi son, but it would probably be awesome to see Darth Vader actually slice through a row of Rebels like hot dogs. Vader is a tank that could kill you with one swipe. The man has an energy sword and robot parts, but we never see him use them on any large scale, so perhaps Rogue One's Vader could explain a bit why he doesn't really leverage these awesome things as much as he could in the original trilogy, while leaving a trail of disembodied arms in his wake.

Total Dark Side

This is not the time for Darth Vader to regret turning to the Dark Side, or to have any doubts what he's doing. Yes, modern Star Wars has focused on the struggle of Jedi and Sith alike maintaining their allegiances to their respective sides of the Force, but there's enough whiny Kylo Ren in one film to last us quite a while. Rogue One Vader needs to be absolutely sure about why the Empire's building a planet-eviscerating Death Star, and willing to do anything he can to ensure that it's completed... and that no one gets those plans that reveal a vulnerable exhaust port. If that means a lot of decapitations, so be it.

Lots of Force powers

On film, we've seen Vader choke people with the Force, sense disturbances, and throw his saber like a boomerang, but not too much else. During The Clone Wars, Anakin was shown to have many more Jedi powers than he ever used in the movies, and the now non-canon books revealed even more. If Rogue One does anything right, it'll show Vader using a much wider range of Force powers, reflective of the fact that he was literally conceived by the Force as the Chosen One, instead of just being an old guy who can kinda still do magic tricks. Choking someone is a scary power, but a poorly-chewed sandwich can do the same thing. Give us a powerful Vader.

Always masked

Whatever Rogue One does, don't take off the mask. We don't need even more revisionist Star Wars history twisting the most dramatic scene in Return of the Jedi by giving Anakin another new face. The Hayden Christensen Force ghost was insult enough. This Vader should be invulnerable, without any inconvenient weaknesses or the need to show off his pale ghost face. We already know all of the gross stuff that's lurking under the hood, and despite the appeal of that moment of voyeurism when we accidentally walk in on Vader while he's in his weird incubator without his helmet on, once is enough. Give the guy some dignity if he can't spackle in that head crack.

The Emperor

The man behind the terrible Emperor Palpatine, Ian McDiarmid, is still alive and kicking at the age of 71, so there's no reason not to bring him back to Star Wars as well, especially if his l'il buddy Vader will already be needing guidance. Rogue One makes it seem possible that we could even take it all the way up the Dark Side chain and catch a glimpse of Supreme Leader Snoke, since he's reportedly been around since before the events of A New Hope and Rogue One. It's the perfect opportunity for a clever retcon, explaining why Snoke was so quiet while expensive, moon-sized weapons were exploding all over the place.

Personal fleet of Death Troopers

Rogue One rumors indicate that we'll be seeing Stormtroopers armored in all black, and that they may be called Death Troopers. Historically, the phrase "Death Troopers" has been used to refer to zombie Stormtroopers, and all-black Stormtroopers have been known as Shadow Troopers or Blackhole Dark Troopers. But all of that side-history went out with window when Disney took over the franchise, so expect to see some confusion about what to call these guys in the immediate future. Either way, they look a whole lot like Darth Vader's personal army, not unlike Kylo Ren's knights, or Phasma's personal troops...and that would be pretty cool. Let's see some serious Death Trooper scrapping.