Star Wars fans were first teased with Darth Vader's horribly scarred body when we glimpsed the back of his head in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, but it wasn't until Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith that we saw the full extent of his horrific injuries. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, audiences witnessed Vader on Mustafar, an iconic location for the figure, with concept artist Christian Alzmann sharing a new look at how Vader could have looked when he was in his Bacta tank in his fortress, which would have allowed his body to recuperate from those horrible injuries.
With this image being concept art, it's unclear if such a vision was ever meant to be included in the finished film, but it does offer an ominous interpretation of the medical device that we previously saw in The Empire Strikes Back. Whereas its inclusion in that sequel showed how helpful it could be in restoring Luke after his encounter with the wampa, the red hue of the image reimagines the device as a much more nefarious apparatus.
Interestingly, when audiences returned to Mustafar in Rogue One, we weren't explicitly told we were seeing the famous location, with writer Gary Whitta noting earlier this year that the filmmakers specifically chose not to identify the location as to preserve its mystery.
“The only time they don’t use a title card is Mustafar… I think they wanted to preserve the mystery of that location,” Whitta shared during IGN's "WFH Theater Event."
He also noted his interest in the use of Bacta tanks on the planet.
"Where does Vader go when he's not working? Where's his crib?" Whitta pondered. "I like the idea that he's so damaged, he has to put himself in the Bacta tank to heal what parts of him are left."
Audiences first witnessed the lava-covered Mustafar back in Revenge of the Sith, but its presence in the overall Star Wars mythos has been much more widespread. Various novels and comic books have explored the locale, with audiences getting another glimpse at the planet in the opening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which offered an all-new look at the planet in an unrecognizable form.
Stay tuned for details on the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story prequel TV series.