Geek Tyrant got themselves ahold of the issue of Entertainment Weekly that hits the newsstands tomorrow. I’m going to break this into two posts: one on the Rebel Crew and more news on Darth Vader and his Imperial nemesis in the film Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). I don’t think I can improve on GT’s examination of the news about The Dark Lord of the Sith, but I’ll be popping back in with one concern I have at the end of the piece.
Vader is described as a background player in galactic politics. He is the right-hand man of the Emporer and is “the muscle. The fixer. And also… the breaker, when he needs to be.” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedyexplains that Rogue One will make careful use of Vader.
“He will be in the movie sparingly. But at a key, strategic moment, he’s going to loom large.”
Vader mostly operates under the radar, and the rebels are hardly familiar with him. Even within the Empire, Vader is more of a bogeyman-type legend. Director Gareth Edwards explains:
“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.”
Well, we’ve all seen what happens to people in the Empire that overstep their mark with Vader! It’s also explained that Vader does not get along at all withBen Mendelsohn’s villainous character Director Orson Krennic. They are described as being barely allies, and Krennic is threatened by the Sith Lord. Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s chief of story development says:
“Vader doesn’t really play by the rules. He’s present in the military structure, but he’s not beholden to it. He’s not accountable to anybody, really, except Palpatine.”
Hart goes on to explain that the volatile and unsettling things about Vader that we saw in the original trilogy will be seen in Rogue One. She then harkens back to the original Star Wars films and talks about the mysteries of character saying:
“When Tarkin says to Vader to ‘release him’ when he’s choking that guy, Vader does it, but not because he has to. He’s just willing to give Tarkin one in that moment. That’s part of what makes the reveal of the Emperor, even in a hologram in Episode V, so cool because you’re like, ‘Oh, wow. Here is the guy that Vader literally bends his knee to. What’s that all about?’”
The report expands on that and what that means for Rogue One, saying “That’s what Krennic is trying to figure out, too: How can he acquire that most-favored status? What is it between the Emperor and Vader that binds them?” I imagine that “most-favored status” is something that he’s not going to get. It sounds a lot like the relationship between Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Superman Leader Snoke.
The Death Star is the tool that Emperor Palpatine will use to control the galaxy, and Krennic is focused on taking out the Rebel strike force to protect the plans of the Death Star from being stolen, and there’s Vader looking over his shoulder and breathing down neck.
Director Gareth Edwards then recounts his experience coming face-to-face with Vader for the first time in real life, saying:
“He’s got more in common with lighting a car than a person, so we wanted to get it exactly right. We had the breathing sound just to inspire everyone. I just got massive goosebumps. I was so nervous to turn the corner and see him. You have to pinch yourself. Everyone became children again, so easy. You just go straight back to being a 4-year-old, like, in a heartbeat.
“There’s all these rules about security on set, but I couldn’t help it. I got my phone out and started taking pictures of him, and pictures of me with him, because I felt like no one would ever believe that I’d met Darth Vader.”
That all sounds perfectly cool and I’m excited about it, but the notion that Darth Vader is an unknown quantity that the Rebels don’t really believe in 3 months before A New Hope seems absurd. This is main who personally purged the Jedi and has been, by this point, the Emperor’s nuclear option for two decades. Princess Leia seems extremely familiar with him 3 months after the events of Rogue One’s beginning, and he’s been the main antagonist in Star Wars: Rebels, which is several years before even Rogue One. The only way a man like Vader is an unknown quantity at that point is if he has killed everyone who has ever seen him without them managing to report on the giant tank of a black-clad fellow who was mowing through Jedi and Rebel cells from the moment of his creation. That seems off; but-as I have said-until I have a problem with a finished product, my benefit of the doubt goes to Disney’s stewardship of the project. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled for a December 16, 2016, release.