Rogue One: Gareth Edwards on meeting Darth Vader

The director on his first encounter with James Earl Jones for Rogue One

Darth Vader may be an imposing presence, but it’s his voice that lends him his gravitas, which made it such a coup that original voice actor James Earl Jones was willing to return to the role, which the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will see him do.

As director Gareth Edwards tells it, meeting him in person was quite an experience. “We went over to New York. It was at Christmas, and The Force Awakens was out. It was everywhere, so even crossing the road to you passed a shop that’s got Darth Vader in it, and kids have got Vader on their t-shirts.

James Earl Jones returned to voice Darth Vader for Rogue One.

“We went to this sound-recording place, and begin the session, and I was like, ‘You see Darth Vader everywhere, right? Every time you see him do you think, ‘That’s me?’’ And he went, ‘No, not at all, I just see George.’ It’s that thing I did years ago – that little bit of voice work’. He hasn’t watched The Empire Strikes Back or Return Of The Jedi since he did the recording session I’m sure.”

But for all his professionalism, ultimately when faced with the full power of James Earl Jones, the director of the first Star Wars anthology movie ultimately became as much of a fanboy as everyone else.

“Whenever he said a line – ‘Power’ was the one – you would try and stay professional, but he would have his back to us, because he was facing the screen, and we would look at each other and be tearing up!” A lot of the same emotions will be running through fans when this is out in cinemas. Not long now…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released in cinemas on 15 December 2017. Read our full behind-the-scenes feature in issue 126 of SciFiNow, on sale now.