If you want to stay as SPOILER free for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as you did for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then perhaps you should turn away right now! We're going to be discussing a key character in the movie that was featured in the original trilogy, as well as the prequels. In fact, you could say the entire Star Wars story up to this point hinges on his backstory. Yes, we're talking about Darth Vader.
While it's been said that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be the first live action movie to not follow the Skywalker storyline, that isn't entirely true. We've heard before that Darth Vader has a role in Rogue One. But now, Making Star Wars is calling it a substantial one. And that Darth Vader will be set up for future spinoffs. The story isn't his, by any means, but it sounds like he may be getting his own side story that is crucial to the plot.
It is said that a 'Darth Vader Dream Team' is being assembled. The costume to be seen on screen is nothing like the sleek, refined, skinnier version we saw at the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The costume appearing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is being meticulously recreated to match the Darth Vader seen in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Inside sources claim that the costume is very close, and that the filmmakers, including director Gareth Edwards, are extremely happy with the outcome. Brian Muir, the original sculptor on the first Darth Vader costume, is said to have returned with his team.
Perhaps even bigger news is that James Earl Jones will return to reprise his voice role as Darth Vader, something he recently did on the Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels. This will be the Darth Vader we know from the original trilogy. With one small catch. Their will be a new person playing the living embodiment of Vader this time around.
It isn't known if James Earl Jones has recorded his lines as Vader at this time. And while his arc in the story is said to be important, it isn't known how much screen time he will actually get. He will be in a few scenes, and is considered a 'prominent player'. It's assumed that he'll have a bigger role than Princess Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO had in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The idea is that Darth Vader chasing the stolen plans in the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope is a continuation of what we see happen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Some even speculate that the movie could end with Princess Leia preparing the plans for R2-D2. But none of this has been confirmed in anyway.
The one takeaway from all of this is that Disney and LucasFilm definitely want the original Darth Vader to have a presence in upcoming Star Wars movies beyond just this first spinoff. Will Darth Vader make his presence known in the first trailer? We'll have to wait and see.