Including the one and only Darth Vader
Rogue One is set to introduce Star Wars fans to a whole new set of heroes and villains, but there will still be some familiar faces from the galaxy far, far away to look out for along the way. As audiences become acquainted with new characters such as Rebel fighter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and the Imperial Military’s Director of Advanced Weapons Research, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), they’ll also be able to catch glimpses of a few old favorites.
Here are five returning Star Wars characters to keep an eye out for as the Rebellion attempts to steal the plans for the Death Star.
Played By: Forest Whitaker
First Appearance: The Clone Wars animated series
Role: The Onderonian resistance fighter who was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (before he became Darth Vader) has become a hardened extremist, thanks to his service in the Clone Wars. Now the leader of a resistance group known as the Partisans on the desert moon Jedha, the insurgent mercenary is known for his questionable methods of combatting the Empire. “He’s on the fringe of the Rebel Alliance,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly. “Even [they] are a little concerned about him.”
Played By: Genevieve O’Reilly
First Appearance: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Role: Thanks to her cameo in Return of the Jedi, fans already know that Mon Mothma goes on to become the first chancellor of the New Republic — the government formed during the downfall of the Empire. However, in Rogue One, we will see her at an earlier stage of her command, serving as the leader of the Rebellion. She earned this position by becoming one of the first Galactic senators to publicly object to Emperor Palpatine’s rise to power during the Clone Wars. She will be the one to recruit Jyn Erso to the Rebel cause.
Played By: Jimmy Smits
First Appearance: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Role: Bail Organa is an important figure in A New Hope, but he never appears on screen. Why? He and everyone else on the planet Alderaan are obliterated by the Death Star’s superlaser early in the movie. However, his influence on the Galactic Civil War is still significant. After serving as a Galactic Senator in Attack of the Clones, Organa fought alongside Jedi such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda and adopted Leia Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. He then went on to become one of the leading faces of the Rebellion alongside Mon Mothma, raising his daughter to do the same. Eventually (read: right around the time Rogue One takes place), he entrusted Leia with the mission of transferring the stolen Death Star plans to Kenobi and of course, the rest is history.
Played By: Peter Cushing
First Appearance: Episode IV: A New Hope
Role: As the Empire’s first Grand Moff (a governor of sorts), Tarkin was also the commander of the Death Star — a position he used to demonstrate Imperial power by ordering the annihilation of Alderaan. However, he was killed after stubbornly refusing to believe that the Rebel attack on the first Death Star posed a grave threat to his mechanical marvel. Although Tarkin’s appearance in Rogue One has not been officially confirmed, there are reports that Disney has digitally recreated the late Cushing for a minor role in the film — a theory that seems to be reinforced by the third shot of the “Breath” TV spot.
Played By: James Earl Jones
First Appearance: Episode IV: A New Hope
Role: As (arguably) the most iconic villain of all time, Vader hardly needs an introduction. However, Rogue One will offer a rare glimpse into his life during the 19-year period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The Sith Lord will reportedly play foil to the head of Death Star security, Director Orson Krennic, who doesn’t understand Vader’s methods. “Here is the thing about Krennic,” Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s head of story development, told Entertainment Weekly. “His perspective obviously is that of a person who doesn’t understand the Force. And Darth Vader comes at everything from the perspective of understanding the Force. So that I think is the thing that you see sort of separating Darth Vader from other characters with regards to a super weapon like this.”