'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' marks the return of Darth Vader

The man in black is coming back: Darth Vader will appear in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the stand-alone film that focuses on the rebellion before Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker connect in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”

The confirmation comes via Entertainment Weekly, which devotes its current issue to a first look at the Gareth Edwards-directed film.

"Darth Vader kind of looms large over the plot even when he's not necessarily on screen, because the new villain played by Ben Mendelsohn, he's trying to fulfill the wishes of the emperor and he's got kinda Vader looming in the background over his shoulder," to make sure he gets the job done, EW writer Anthony Breznican told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.

It’s not clear who plays Vader, who in the original “Star Wars” trilogy was voiced by James Earl Jones, 85, and embodied by 6-foot-5 actor David Prowse, 80. However, the cast does include lead actress Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Genevieve O’Reilly and Forest Whitaker.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is set to open Dec. 16.

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Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ

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