Aliens V Darth Vader by Guillem H Pongiluppi.
Aliens V Darth Vader by Guillem H Pongiluppi.
Happy birthday to the voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones! The venerated actor turns 86 years old today.
James Earl Jones was already a star of stage and screen by the time he voiced the dark lord of the Sith in Star Wars, and the rest of the original trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. With a Tony award in The Great White Hope in 1969, and on-camera roles in Dr. Strangelove and the film version of Great White Hope (which earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for Newcomer), when his voice emerged from behind that black mask, it was instantly recognizable.
The actor has continued his career on stage, on the small screen, and the big screen, with screen credits across seven decades. Recently, he’s returned to the vocal role of Darth Vader twice. He first came in for Star Wars Rebels season two, voicing Vader across several apperances throughout the season, culminating in a major showdown in the season finale between Vader and his former apprentice Ahsoka Tano. Next, he returned to the big screen as Darth Vader’s voice in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone film in the saga, which is in theaters now, bringing the character full circle. He even got to deliver a pun as Vader!
In the genre entertainment world, Jones is best known (outside of Star Wars) for his roles as the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King and as Thulsa Doom, a villain in Conan the Barbarian opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also made guest appearances on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and The Big Bang Theory.
Happy Birthday to James Earl Jones. May the Force be with you.
Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Marvel has reclaimed the Star Wars comic book mantle from Dark Horse, one they originally held from 1977 until 1986. Since then, the House of Ideas has steadily built upon and integrated their shared universe, continuing the in-canon development of new characters like Star Wars: Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus as well as classic characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia. By far one of their hottest properties since redeveloping their line has been their Darth Vader solo series.
Starting in 2015, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca tapped into the untold tales between Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, exploring the aftermath of Vader’s ‘failure’ to protect the Empire’s first planet killer. Several months ago, Marvel announced that issue #25 would conclude the post-Battle of Yavin chronicle.
In honor of Vader’s popular run, Marvel pulled out all the stops, including variant covers from Adi Granov, Jamie McKelvie, Michael Cho, Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, Kamome Shirahama, John Tyler Christopher, and Cliff Chiang. Marvel CCO Joe Quesada even got in on the action (take a look at more variants here). In addition to the alternate covers, Marvel is also giving fans a sneak peek at the action-packed conclusion to this acclaimed series. Check out the synopsis and get an early look at the interiors, as well as a few more of the variants below:
“It has all been building to this! The epic conclusion to the blockbuster ongoing series! Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s critically acclaimed series comes to a close on October 12th in the blockbuster DARTH VADER #25! It has all built to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids. It all comes to a head in this cataclysmic final chapter. Plus, this oversized issue also contains a thrilling new tale from Kieron Gillen and artist Max Fiumara. Who lives? Who dies? The answers may surprise you!”
The latest round of adventures finds Darth Vader trying to get back in the Emperor’s good graces after that whole Death Star fiasco. Of course as a Sith Lord, he has a few plots cooking on the side as well, including his wheelings and dealings bounty hunter favorites, his subterfuge with Doctor Aphra, and the reveal of Cylo’s diabolical ace in the hole in Darth Vader #24. The final issue will wrap up the swirling subplots, the menacing machinations, and conclude the heady “The End of Games” mini arc with a major bang.
As one of the most fascinating characters in Star Wars mythology, it’s no wonder Marvel chose to further expand on the Jedi hero turned Sith Lord. While the Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars animated series explored more of the elder Skywalker’s trials and tribulations, his early and middle years (glimpsed further in Rebels) show Vader in his prime. Gillen and Larroca’s work has delved into some of the meatiest material, allowing fans to watch the Emperor’s Right Hand recover from one of his worst periods since his defeat at Mustafar by his former teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While it’s always a little sad to see Vader’s latest adventures come to an end, fans only have a short wait until the Dark Lord rears his sleek mask in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December. The Sith Lord’s story, of course, is far from complete. Following the success of his solo arc, it wouldn’t be surprising if the fallen Jedi finds his way into another solo run.
DARTH VADER #25 arrives in comic shops and on digital devices October 12, 2016. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016
Star Wars Celebration 2016 is happening in London now and Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Gwendoline Christie hosted a panel with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, director Gareth Edwards and the cast of the movie, including Felicity Jones, who plays protagonist Jyn Erso. Edwards shared a couple of special treats for fans: a brand new poster showing Rebels rushing into battle with Stormtroopers on a beach as the Death Star looms ominously in the background, and a piece of very early concept art for the movie, showing a Rebel team that looks rather different from the final lineup in the movie, but demonstrates that the war movie feel that we’ve seen in the trailers was present from the very beginning.
Check out both images below:
Based on the concept art, it looks like the plan for Rogue One included an android character and a mixed-gender team from a very early stage, though the final lineup doesn’t include any aliens (at least, not that we know of yet). The team that audiences will meet in the movie consists of Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, Riz Ahmed as pilot Bodhi Rook, and Alan Tudyk as android K-2SO.
The poster shows a scene from what appears to be a centerpiece battle of the movie, which we saw glimpses of in the first trailer for Rogue One. Among the Rebel fighters running towards the Stormtroopers in the poster are the main characters of the movie – you can see K-2SO on the far left, with Cassian and Jyn closer to the water and Chirrut and Baze farther down the beach. During the panel it was also revealed that the name of the planet they’re on is Jedha, and that the battle scenes were filmed in Maldives. Given what we’ve already seen, this battle promises to be quite the spectacle on the big screen.
Although it has yet to be released publicly at the time of this writing, during Star Wars Celebration a second brand new teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was played for attendees, and the biggest takeaway from it – in addition to it being a better trailer than the first one – is that it concludes with the reveal of Darth Vader. Appropriately so, he’s not shown in full form. Instead, his silhouette and vague details of his costume are seen in a reflection as the camera pans upward over a shiny floor, with something bright red behind Vader as we hear him breathe. It’s not a surprise, but as one of the most iconic film characters of all-time, it was no less exciting. But how much is Vader actually in Rogue One?
“He’s got such a gravitational pull, the second he shows up you just get sucked into Darth Vader. So it was a process to try and figure out how to pepper that in in a way that felt right. When I read the first document, which is ‘this is what we’re thinking of doing’ I was like ‘Oh my god, they’re going to do that film? Geeze.’ And at the time I thought they must have sent it to hundred other people and I accidentally got it by mistake. Then I realized they were going to do it, and I was like ‘I could never live with myself to be two years from then and it’s coming out and this is happening and there’s some guy here going ‘yeah, so we filmed in 360′ and I’d be going ‘God damn I could have been doing that!’ So you have to do it…and I’ve forgotten the question.”
“Sure. So hopefully, it was like… I got pulled into making the film through my love of the original films, but then what was a clear conversation that happened early on at Lucasfilm is that we’re doing new things here, this is not a karaoke number or just pure winks and fan service. That’s not going to make a good film. This has got to be characters that you care about and there’s an opportunity to create new people and events that pull you in, so hopefully the goal is that you come to the film for all the reasons that we love Star Wars and you get sucked in and start to care about the new people and when you’re in the midst of all that and that’s going on, familiar things start to pass you by, you start to remember ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah’ but the film should exist on it’s own terms.
If all these films are ever just ‘And here’s that character you love, Yay! Here’s that other character you love, Yay!’ all the time, that’s all they’re doing then they’re not really doing what George did – he tried to find stories that were about something, that were saying something, that you keep in your pocket forty years later, that stay in your head and are still affecting you.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.