Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One finally has a new trailer, and it features the biggest villain in the history of Star Wars: Darth Vader himself. The clip, which features the first teasing glimpse audiences have had of the character since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, follows in the footsteps of a clip that debuted last month during the Star Wars Celebration fan expo. However, Lucasfilm elected to not release that clip online, using Celebration as an opportunity to launch the film’s behind-the-scenes sizzle reel, instead.
Rogue One takes place just before 1977’s A New Hope, when the Death Star was being built and Vader was in his prime as the Emperor’s galactic enforcer. The timeline allows Edwards to riff on familiar iconography and designs, and from the Rebel Base to the Stormtroopers Rogue One almost looks like it will be a love letter to the ’70s feel of the original — no surprise, given Edwards’ own well-known fandom. The reveal in today’s trailer also echoes the same kind of marketing strategy used for The Force Awakens, when audiences were given their first look at Han Solo in the “Chewie, we’re home” closer in that film’s second teaser.
The return of Vader has been rumored almost since news of standalone Star Wars films first broke. When the Force Awakens production team was gathering the pieces to reconstruct Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, they tracked down the items used to build the original Vader saber as well, and Entertainment Weekly later confirmed the character’s return. Even still, Edwards played coy during his Celebration panel last month, acknowledging that James Earl Jones had come in to record some dialogue for a character in Rogue One, but refusing to confirm exactly who it was.