Last year, Disney announced that in addition to the last three chapters of the classic ‘Star Wars’ saga, the studio planned to release three additional films.  Eventually dubbed ‘Anthologies,’ these films would take place in the ‘Star Wars’ universe and have ties to the original movies, but focus on different characters and storylines.  The first, ‘Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One’ will swoop into theaters next winter, following this winter’s ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,’ the next chapter of the trilogy of trilogies.

‘Rogue One’ focuses on a ragtag group of ordinary Rebels– not a scrap of The Force between them– who must steal the plans to the Death Star, prior to the gigantic space station becoming operational in the first/fourth film ‘Star Wars: A New Hope.’  Though considerably more hype has surrounded ‘The Force Awakens,’ which features the return of original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill (among others), there is some news that may get you pumped for ‘Rogue One’ in a similar fashion.  Another vet from the classic films will be returning in this spinoff… Darth Vader!

Some were hesitant to embrace the idea of ‘Star Wars’ movies set on the fringe of the existing storylines with new “made up” characters.  That was what novels and comics were for.  Where was the emotional investment in new characters that weren’t even dreamed up by George Lucas?

But now, the idea that the stalking Sith Lord will be there to mentally choke a bitch under-performing Imperial officers and cast his imposing shadow over the terrified faces of his Rebel victims should ramp up expectations.

A caveat though, all that is rumored is that Lord Vader will appear.  Word is, that he will not be the major villain of the film.  Expect the Dark Father to possibly remain in the shadows, pulling the strings of a more visible pawn.

Hopefully more information will be revealed at SDCC this weekend.

One sad realization is that 84 year-old screen legend James Earl Jones, for the first time in film, will not provide the heavy breathing voice of Darth Vader.  Jones stated emphatically last year that he would not be returning for any upcoming ‘Star Wars’ projects.  Disney has its work cut out for it, trying to replace the booming baritone.

Does the news that Darth Vader’s ominous form will appear in ‘Rogue One’ make you more intrigued?  What type of role would you like to see him take in the movie?

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ will Force its way into theaters on December 16th, 2016.

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