But for much of Friday's Rogue One panel at the Star Wars Celebration in London there was no sign of the Sith lord. The presentation was an entertaining affair, featuring the film’s entire ensemble, one actor who arrived in full Imperial regalia (Ben Mendelsohn as the evil Director Orson Krennic), new footage, previously unseen art, and a few revelations (like that Alan Tudyk would be playing a wiseacre Imperial droid named K-2SO reprogrammed by a Rebel officer.)
The biggest reaction from the audience came at the very end of the panel, at the very end of a short sizzle reel introduced by Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and produced exclusively for Star Wars Celebration that will never be publicly released. In the reel’s final moment, there’s Vader, red lightsaber in hand. He lets out a trademark exhale, the clip fades to black, and the crowd goes nuts.
‘Rogue One’ director Gareth Edwards; Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy
Yahoo Movies caught up with Kennedy after the event, and she provided slightly more info one the Dark Side artist formerly known as Anakin and how he fits into Rogue One.
“I will say that it’s not a huge role, but to be perfectly honest somebody like Darth Vader stepping into any movie is definitely a big deal,” Kennedy said. “He has a very, very important part in the movie.”
Director Gareth Edwards agreed, though he wouldn’t give anything away: “If it was literally just a scene where you see Darth Vader, I would’ve been very disappointed. There’s some stuff in there that I’m excited about when the film comes out.”
Vader’s voice will be provided by James Earl Jones for the first time on the big screen since a brief moment in Revenge of the Sith (2005). “It’s been phenomenal to have him come back into the process,” said Kennedy.
Rogue One opens Dec. 16. Watch the cast break down their characters: