Last month, images from an upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story book leaked online. And while they provided some awesome artwork, they also confirmed what we all assumed anyway. That iconic villain Darth Vader was returning to the big screen. In his glory days, no less. And why wouldn't he? This first Star Wars spinoff takes place leading up to the events of the 1977 original A New Hope, and ends just seconds before that classic adventure begins. Now comes this week's issue of EW. And it's cover, which contains a beautiful new image from the movie, confirms that yes, the Sith Lord is back!
On the cover itself, we get to see Felicity Jones and Diego Luna along with their new droid pal while the iconic At-At looms in the background. The pair are searching for the plans to the first dreaded Death Star, recruited for a mission that finds them infiltrating Imperial ranks to accomplish their goal. This upcoming issue of EW will go in-depth into this first ever big screen Star Wars adventure that does not revolve around the Skywalker bloodline.
The story will explore the fatale flaw that allowed the Rebels to destroy the Imperial base and achieve a small victory. The battlefield heist that played out before Luke and Han's rescue of Princess Leia has become the stuff of cosmic legend, but before now, it has only been told in the opening crawl of A New Hope. The movie is directed by Gareth Edwards, and promises to be a rousing space adventure that introduces never-heard-of characters along with a few classic ones. Including the biggest, baddest villain himself, the man formerly known as Anakin Skywalker.
The EW issue will also offer new background on the retrograde At-Ats and what this Imperial weapon was before getting a snowy upgrade in Empire Strikes Back. These walkers are taller, slimmer and much more prone to takedown attacks. We'll also learn more about the newly introduced TIE Strikers, which also must have not been very proficient, because they were soon discontinued after this spy mission took place.
More of Jyn Erso's backstory will be revealed in this cover story. We'll learn of her past life as an outlaw who clashed with both the Empire and the Rebels before jointing the good fight. She is out to redeem her past wrongs for the betterment of the entire galaxy. We'll also meet her father, played by Mads Mikkelsen. Though his name still hasn't been confirmed, the man assumed to be called Galen is a scientist whose vast knowledge has been sought by both galactic political parties. This expose on the spinoff will also delve further into the full roster of new characters, with an ensemble cast that includes Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, and Alan Tudyk.
Finally, this latest issue of EW will delve into the seedier side of the Galactic Empire and its ranks, seen through the eyes of new villain Ben Mendelsohn. He is described as an 'ambitious officer' eager to win over Emperor Palpatine and avoid Darth Vader at all costs. The filmmakers will also give an uncensored account of the recent reshoots, which are happening as we speak. About that part of the production, Disney CEO Bob Iger says this.
"I've seen Rogue One. I've seen not only an edited picture but I've seen significantly more footage than was even in that picture. That's actually going to be a fine film."
So, get ready for even more candid conversations and quite a new images from the movie as the week continues. EW even promises a complete rundown of what it was like having Darth Vader back on set that first day, and what his return means for the Star Wars universe at large. This Rogue One issue of EW will hit newsstands this Friday.