Rogue One's Surprise Star has to get their own Anthology film
SPOILERS for Rogue One and Everything Beforehand
Like The Force Awakens, Rogue One succeeded despite being under the shadow of an iconic character. Another super-cameo in a Disney backed film wins the day. Continuing from what Black Panther and Spider-man did earlier this year, characters short on screen time but big on impact shine brightly in ensemble films. We have to have this character return in a movie heavily focused around their story. We didn't think there was anything more to explore. We were wrong.
That show stealing character in Rogue One was none other than Darth Vader. He isn’t new by any means to Star Wars. Yet, Rogue One made the character feel fresh. Rogue One teased that there is so much more to the iconic villain yet to explore. He wasn't simply an add-on to sell the movie. The movie certainly had its own story and identity. Vader popped up as a sort of easter egg then kept impacting the story and eventually provided Rogue One one of its most powerful action sequences. We thought he was going to be a cameo until his iconic breathing could be heard and the red lightsaber ignited.
Never before have we seen so much depth of intrigue around Darth Vader. The original films established this mysterious villain, but Lucas never really knew what he had in Vader alone. He always viewed Vader as a shell of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was the real story he wanted to tell, and he has completed that. Now we are starting to see some creative minds take the lead. Those who are huge fans of the original trilogy for what it gave to them, not what they gave to it, are shining through. We're enjoying their visions on-screen.
Never before have we been so close to the power of the dark side Sith Lord. This is the Vader we were looking forward to heading into the prequel trilogy. But, that story was about Anakin. In Rogue One, Vader was dark, menacing, powerful, mysterious, and terrifying. Just like he should be. He didn’t have to kill younglings to do achieve evil. It emanated from him like his breath pushing through the air. This was Darth Vader!
We first glimpse Vader in the mysterious bacta tank scene from the trailers. Many speculated about who was in the tank. It was the broken, burned, and severed body of Darth Vader! This was much better than any of the other speculations out there. The camera starts behind a strange hooded figure. Then, amid smoke, he is revealed partially being held up by some tentacles as the bacta tank drains. He appears unattached from his robotic limbs and vulnerable. There are Red Imperial guards who stand watch. We see very little of Vader, as it should be. He is shrouded in mystery, pain, and suffering.
This scene is incredibly evocative for the character. The pain and suffering he is constantly in must be astounding - emotionally and physically. The agony is clearly what fuels his immense dark side power. Yet, he remains a mad dog on a leash. In the following scene, Vader gives an audience to Director Krennic. Krennic is visibly intimidated by Vader. Their discussion is classic Star Wars with Vader bullying an inferior character who lords over the rest of the galaxy. Yet Vader terrorizes the man who built a weapon that could destroy planets. It’s a powerful notion and it resonates throughout the scene. The scene ends with Vader deploying some evil whit as he plays with the audience choking Krennic for a moment to establish his dominance and then pulling back. Vader showcases his role more fully as the menacing bully of the Empire throughout the galaxy. He is afterall a mad dog on a leash; terrorizing, snarling, and powerful.
The film ends with Vader taking center stage for an iconic hallway scene as he hunts down the stolen Death Star plans in epic fashion. We FINALLY get to see Vader wield his immense power. The prequels showcased Anakin and the power he grew to be for both the light and later the dark side. The original trilogy established the character as a menacing, evil icon. Yet, Vader didn’t reveal his full power in those films in the same way he can now - with the help of modern movie magic. Vader became fully realized in Rogue One and it made the character feel fresh. He deflects multiple blaster bolts marching down a hall lifting. Vader tosses rebel soldiers left and right, choking multiple victims, slashing several. He uses the Force to pull their weapons out of a handful of soldiers hands, all at once. It’s the kind of action fans have envisioned for Vader for decades.
All this Vader awesomeness in Rogue One has us salivating at the prospect of a future Vader heavy solo film. At this point, it has to happen. Could there be an anthology film with his name on it? His story felt like it was exhausted in the prequels and completed in the original trilogy. The Force Awakens is about his legacy. Yet, Rogue One displayed a freshness to Vader and teased so much more narrative real estate. Let’s explore. Let's hear what you think.
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