Everyone is anxious to see more of Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. After the imposing Sith Lord made his presence felt with a brief "KOO-KEH" of his breath and a shot of the back of his jet-black helmet framed in silhouette, fans went nuts, making reaction videos that caught the attention of the Star Wars Show team and more. Such is Vader's true power: that of popularity. He can show up for just a moment and completely change the game, as he has on Star Wars Rebels, as he did in the Rogue One trailer, and as he'll continue to do in his admittedly limited role in the full film.
Now playing card manufacturer "Cartamundi USA" (which, yes, sounds close enough to Ki-Adi Mundi, a Jedi Master and Council member from the Prequel era to chuckle about the coincidence) has posted the first images of their new Rogue One themed playing cards. The standard deck of cards using its four suits and numbers 2-9 plus face cards have a new key art image on the back of each card (and the front of the box) that shows Jyn Erso and her crew, while in the background looming over them are the new stormtrooper variants, the Death Trooper and Shoretrooper, as well as a standard Imperial Stormtrooper. But there in the image they released to promote the cards is Darth Vader on the 9 of diamonds.
The image isn't anything revolutionary - it's just a shot of Vader, slightly hunched over, in his full suit. A couple of TIE Strikers, the new class of TIE fighter in Rogue One flank Vader, while the Death Star fills in the background like a ghostly moon, cleverly part full image, part blueprint. The red eyes that were present in Vader's helmet in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope but not in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back are a nice attention to detail, since this film takes place just before A New Hope.
The Death Troopers, meanwhile, aren't just the King cards (oh man Vader's gonna be angry at that), but they're specifically listed as "Elite Bodyguards," which gives us a new idea of their function; perhaps they're present specifically to make sure that Director Orson Krennic, recently confirmed as a key member of the Death Star Project, can enter and leave a battlefield unharmed, and not meant to be shock troopers as originally speculated?
Either way, it looks like these new playing cards will give us some good close-up looks at the characters when they're released at the end of this month, long before the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story release date of December 16, 2016. It also looks like each will have four unique pictures for the various suits, as shown with two different versions of the Death Troopers. Click on the images in the gallery below for closer looks at the released cards.