June 22, 2016 12:10 PM EDT

After the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story set fans speculating over the identity of a Darth Vader-esque, black-robed figure, it has been confirmed that the original supervillain himself will indeed be appearing in the upcoming spinoff film. The announcement was made on the cover of Wednesday’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, which reads “Darth Vader is back!,” alongside a photo of the film’s heroes: Rebel fighter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and the galaxy far, far away’s newest droid, K-250 (Alan Tudyk).

“Darth Vader kind of looms large over the plot even when he’s not necessarily on screen because the new villain played by Ben Mendleson, Director Krennic…He’s trying to fulfill the wishes of the Emperor and he’s kind of got Vader looming in the background over his shoulder, making sure that he gets the job done,” EW‘s Anthony Breznican told Good Morning America, according to ABC News.

Rogue One is set to hit theaters Dec. 16.

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.

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