You knew he couldn’t stay away forever. With the massive expansion of the Star Wars universe currently under way now that Star Wars Rebels has premiered and Star Wars: Episode VII is deep into production, we’re going to visit that familiar far, far away galaxy quite a bit in the near future, and there will be some familiar faces along for the ride. The most notable of these are, of course, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo, but the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and many others, will show up from time to time in various places, and we’ve got one more huge name to add to this list. James Earl Jones is going to voice Darth Vader once again.
Maybe the greatest movie villain of all time will appear in the animated Rebels, but this is definitely a weird situation for Vader to make his triumphant return, as he’s not slated to materialize in a future episode or anything like that. According to Variety, the Jones-voiced Vader will show up in a scene that will be added to a rebroadcast of the Rebels premiere, “Spark of Rebellion,” later this month.
According to the report, ABC will air the full, hour-long episode that 6.5 million of us watched on the Disney Channel last weekend, on October 26, only this time it will include a scene with Darth Vader. This is a moment apparently intended to help flesh out the character of the Inquisitor (voiced by Jason Isaacs), who is the primary big bad in the series, though he only shows up at the very end of the premiere.
Jones hasn’t voiced Vader since Revenge of the Sith back in 2005, but he will return to the role, picking it up from Scott Lawrence and Matt Sloan, who have lent their sound-alike voices to video game versions of the villain. I’m curious to know how they got him to come back. We’ve heard that Vader shows up in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII in flashbacks, so it will be interesting to see if this means Jones is back for those appearances as well. You have to hope so, hearing anyone else’s voice, no matter how similar it sounds, just won’t be the same.
Rebels is set in the time between Sith and A New Hope, and as the Galactic Empire tightens its oppressive grip on the galaxy, pockets of resistance spring up, forming the core of what will become the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy. The series follows the adventures of a group of insurgents made up of the young, brash con artist Ezra Bridger, who just so happens to be gifted in the ways of the Force, a Jedi named Kanan, a pilot named Hera, the tough guy Zeb, trigger happy Mandalorian Sabine, and a sassy little astromech named Chopper. The series has already been given a second season.
Star Wars Rebels begins its weekly run on Disney XD this Monday, October 13, and the augmented premiere, Darth Vader included, airs on ABC on Sunday, October 26 at 7:00pm. Cue the Imperial March