Warning: Spoilers Below Regarding Rogue One!
As Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continues to dominate in the box office and continues to receive overwhelming positivity from critics and fans alike, many viewers are continuing to claim Darth Vader as the film’s star. As expected, all viewers can agree that Darth Vader’s final scene in which he was finally able to show his full potential as a violent, dangerous, and intimidating villain on the big screen was beautifully done. However, in addition to his scene as the Rebel-slashing Sith Lord, Vader’s first scene in Rogue One revealed new information viewers had yet to see on the big screen regarding the forty-year-old villain. One of these pieces of new information includes Darth Vader’s home which previously had never been shown or mentioned in a Star Wars film; the castle on Mustafar.
In regards to the scene in which Darth Vader’s fiery castle on Mustafar is shown and viewers can see Vader in his bacta tank, another beautifully done new detail fans loved, new information regarding Vader and the Sith dwell behind the castle’s walls that was not explained in the film. StarWars.com recently spoke with Rogue One‘s production designer Doug Chiang in an interview where Chiang discussed the design of Darth Vader’s home, to which he said:
“Vader’s castle was really fun. When I knew that we were going to possibly go back to Vader’s castle, I loved that idea of, “Okay, lets establish Vader’s home.” The initial idea was, ‘Why would Vader live here?’ In our minds, we started to come up with a little bit of a backstory. That perhaps this place had special meaning for him, and that this is where he comes to meditate and to heal himself. We started with the idea that maybe it should be built around his bacta tank chamber, and he comes back here to rejuvenate himself and also to meditate. So from there, the structure itself grew out from the bacta tank, and there were certain ideas that we tried. We were trying to go for a very iconic shape, and we always love tall towers. Ralph McQuarrie actually drew quite a few small thumbnail sketches [of Vader’s castle] that were very intriguing. They were kind of angular versions of a tower, and I saw the potential of where he was going, and I just exaggerated that quite a bit. One of things we landed on early was this idea of a tuning fork – a twin tower kind of look. And it was really interesting, because then that started to give Gareth a lot of ideas like, ‘Well, maybe the structure is built this way because it is like a tuning fork. It’s tuning the dark side in terms of the energy.’ And then we actually carried that even further to Jedha. The Jedha temple, the tower there, mirrors this but on the good side. So when you see the film, you can start to see, ‘Okay, Jedha had its own tower, which was configured like a tuning tower. Vader’s tower, Vader’s castle, had the same thing but it was made in black, whereas Jedha was white.’ You kind of start to see the good and the bad. You may not really notice it on a first take, but hopefully it’s that foundation of design subtleties that then the audiences, on second viewing, will appreciate. And I always like to build those elements in there because it makes the design more coherent, it makes the film more coherent, and overall it makes the design language very authentic and real.”
Although Rogue One is the first time viewers are able to see Vader’s castle on the big screen, this is not the first time viewers have seen the planet his fortress resides on. Star Wars fans are very familiar with the fiery planet of Mustafar, the setting of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader’s duel at the conclusion of The Revenge of the Sith, the famed battle which resulted in the completion of Anakin Skywalker’s transformation as the cyborg fans have come to love over the years. According to Chiang, an ancient Sith cave resides under Vader’s castle, which he explained in great detail:
“It went back to the original idea of, ‘Well, why would Vader be here?” and there was a series of paintings and sketches that Ralph McQuarrie did, where Luke actually visits Vader in this underground lava cave. I always thought that was such a compelling image, because you have this lava lake inside this cave and there was Vader’s throne. So we took that idea and thought, ‘Okay, well, maybe on the lower levels of Vader’s castle, there’s a more ancient part. That he actually built this castle on a foundation of an ancient structure.’ If you look at the finished design, it has this very strong element of a structure that was there for a purpose, and that purpose was to draw energy from the lava lake. If you look at the design of the base, it feels very much like a dam, and how the lava flows through it, possibly getting energy. And so we thought, ‘Okay, well, that’s the foundation. Maybe even deeper, or underneath that, is an even more ancient part, which is a natural cave where Vader goes to meditate.’ Visually, we’re trying to create a sort of history for the tower. The bottom is the most ancient, the lava lake dam part was perhaps what Vader built his foundation on, and then the tower was Vader’s addition.”
Considering Darth Vader’s extremely positive reception from viewers following the release of Rogue One, the possibility of a Darth Vader centered film in the future is not completely impossible. Many may consider Darth Vader to be one of the most famous villains in cinematic history, and following his excellent screen-time in Rogue One, which was undoubtedly too short, a Vader film featuring his castle and its ancient Sith secrets would undoubtedly not be opposed to. For now, fans can get their Vader fix in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which is currently in theaters worldwide.