Fans who attended Star Wars Celebration Europe in-person got one extra bit at the end of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story panel that no one streaming at home got to see. With about 90 seconds of brand-new footage, the 4,000 people packed into the Celebration Stage auditorium saw new action shots, a bit more of K-2SO, and new shots of the imposing black-armored Death Troopers in action.
But the real thrill for those in attendance came at the very end of the trailer, when it went dark, and all you heard was the tell tale breath of everyone's favorite Sith Lord. The lighting came up slightly, showing what appeared to be a console of some sort, glowing red - and in the reflection of the console, the silhouette of Darth Vader appeared, and the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. While the trailer hasn't been released outside of that room yet, director Gareth Edwards spoke with Comicbook.com and other press immediately following the panel. After talking about his experimental way of shooting - often building 360-degree sets so they could shoot from any angle and make the worlds feel more alive, Edwards told Comicbook.com how he found that particular shot.
“That was born out of all the experimenting we were talking about. You don’t go, ‘I want this, this is the shot I want.’ They built the whole set, they had a reflection, Vader went in there and we’re looking at the reflection going, ‘That’s fucking cool!’” Edwards said with a laugh. “So as we’re filming, we’re like, go down, go down, and just playing around, and things happen that you wouldn’t have asked for. That was a great example of it. I would’ve never picked that shot, but then it’s in front of you and you get excited about something, and he’s such an iconic – he’s the most iconic character in all of cinema, potentially. To hear everyone cheer when they saw his silhouette, you feel like, ‘that is worth everything.’”
The director recognized "the gravitational pull" of a character like Darth Vader, and admitted to the assembled press that "it was a process to figure out how to pepper that in, in a way that feels right." While he was obviously excited to get to contribute new stories for that particular villain, he didn't want it to be "a karaoke number or just winks and fan service." Instead, he focused on building this particular world and story and group of characters, then dropping in someone like Vader once that's more well-established.
"Hopefully, the goal, is that you come to the film for all the reasons we love Star Wars, and you get sucked in, and care about the new people, and then as you’re in the midst of all that, familiar things start to pass by," Edwards said. That echoed Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy's earlier statements that Vader, while present in this film, is used fairly sparingly for maximum dramatic effect.
Darth Vader returns to live-action on the big screen, once again voiced by James Earl Jones, in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16, 2016. No public release of the second teaser trailer has been announced yet.