After a 33 year break, Darth Vader returned to the big screen last weekend in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Of course, that’s not including the feeble cameo he had in Revenge of the Sith. You’d have been forgiven for thinking that was Anakin’s final appearance in the saga films. However, new details from his recent appearance in the anthology film suggests that his impact will be felt in a future film, possibly 2017’s Episode VIII.
If you’ve seen Rogue One, you’ll probably have noticed the fiery new palace which Darth Vader had moved in to. The Sith Lord first appears in his castle on Mustafar, the planet where he was left to burn by his former mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi. So, just why would he want to set up base alongside the lava which almost took his life?
Well, it turns out Vader’s new mentor forced him to relive that horrific event on a daily basis. Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, the source on all things Star Wars, revealed the reasoning in a new book. In Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, Hidalgo says:
Vader’s personal abode is an obsidian tower on an inhospitable world. It is the Emperor’s design that Vader lives in such an unforgiving environment. Vader’s attendant, Vanee, visits Vader as he meditates within a rejuvenation chamber. The stark, modern structure is built over an ancient castle full of dark secrets.
It’s easy to see why Palpatine would do this. Forcing Vader to relive his pain would ensure he maintained the anger which drove him to the dark side. More interestingly, it seems like this castle has been set up for a return down the line. In The Art of Rogue One, author Doug Chiang gave away a little more. The castle is, “built over a natural cave — a Sith cave deep down below, in the lava world,” He revealed. “We were building worlds, so we always had to keep in mind the broad strokes and the big picture, in case they were needed for the story.”
That quote, along with the dark secrets which Hidalgo mentioned, suggests there’s likely more to come from this location. It does strike you as the kind of place where Kylo Ren would visit. The castle came close to appearing in The Force Awakens, so it could be a key part in the future of the saga. Below, you can see some artwork for the inside and outside of the castle.
We’ll hopefully visit the Mustafar monolith in Episode VIII, on December 15, 2017.