Darth Vader Is Back: James Earl Jones to Play Dark Lord on ABC
It may not be the “Darth Vader TV special” we heard reports of last year, but James Earl Jones will reprise the voice of iconic villain Darth Vader on the small screen later this month.
A scene with the Dark Lord of the Sith has been added to the end of the hourlong Star Wars Rebels TV movie Spark of Rebellion. The series opener has already screened on the Disney Channel, drawing 6.5 million viewers — you can get a taste by watching the first seven minutes here — but supervising director Dave Filoni has decided to amend it for an upcoming screening on ABC, the network also owned by Disney.
“We wanted to do something special for the ABC broadcast,” Filoni said in a press release. “We’ve added a scene which gives audiences insight into the Inquisitor” — Rebels’ double lightsaber-wielding villain — “and includes a cameo by Darth Vader voiced by the distinguished actor James Earl Jones.”
This is not, of course, the first time Star Wars content has been amended with extra scenes after its initial screening. As fans know, this is a franchise that has a tendency towards revision; witness the “Special Editions” of the original trilogy in 1997, which inserted a scene with galactic gangster Jabba the Hutt into the 1977 movie, and more infamously had bounty hunter Greedo shoot at Han Solo first.
But this addition of Darth Vader may well answer a question fans have been asking about the mysterious Jedi-hunting Inquisitor character. Is Darth Vader his direct boss? And will the tiny band of Rebels on Lothal, the planet that the show focuses its small-scale lens on, really attract the attention of Vader, the Emperor’s right-hand man?
This much was suggested by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo when he introduced the Inquisitor at New York Comic Con last year. “The more successful they are,” Hidalgo said of the show’s heroes, “the bigger bosses they have to fight.”
Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion will air on ABC on Oct. 26. The show has already been renewed for a second season on its long-term home, Disney XD.
Chris Taylor is the author of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, the first complete history of the Star Wars franchise and its fandom.
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