What It Was Like To Play Darth Vader In Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Darth Vader made his return to the Star Wars franchise in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but, while the voice was the same, somebody new was in the famous black suit. Spencer Wilding took over some of the physical aspects of Darth Vader from David Prowse who handled the role in the original trilogy. However, the actor worked hard to make sure that he was able to present the same character that fans know and love on the screen.

We studied the movements of Darth Vader. We had a trainer who got it bang on. We wanted to keep it 'Darth Vader!' It's every actor's dream. I'm still pinching myself!

The truth is there were actually two actors who played Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous both handled the role at different points. Wilding tells ITV, however, that doing so wasn't simply as simple as putting on the helmet and hitting their marks. The two studied David Prowse's original performance as Darth Vader in order to learn how the character moved around so they could replicate that on screen. It was important to keep the character as authentic as possible.

It's clear that one of the things that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took very seriously was its connection to the original Star Wars: A New Hope. The word was that much of the reshoots that were done were necessary in order to better match the tone of the original film. In addition, the inclusion of characters like Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader himself were necessary because of their connection to the film. It wasn't simply enough to put Darth Vader in the film, however. He had to feel like the same character that we saw before. Otherwise, there was the potential for a serious disconnection if the character went through such a major shift between films.

The character of Darth Vader has become so iconic that it wasn't simply playing the role tat had people on the set excited. Actor Ben Mendelsohn and director Gareth Edwards both got more than a little excited when doing scenes with Vader. Since somebody new was inside the suit, and James Earl Jones' voice hadn't been added yet, they were really just excited to be in the same room with the costume. That's just how iconic the character is. The laundry has people going crazy.

While Darth Vader's return to the screen was a small one, it was still a fairly major experience for fans seeing it on the screen. While we can't imagine how we might see the character again, it would seem unlikely that this is the end for the Lord of the Sith.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.