Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduced a new piece to Darth Vader’s legacy. While the first Star Wars anthology movie poses far fewer questions than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, most of the queries I’ve been getting about Rogue One surround Darth Vader’s castle. We have some of the answers.
This location’s origin is steeped in Star Wars lore, and we already know quite a bit about its new canon backstory (which may include some appearances in future Star Wars projects). Hit the jump to learn more about Darth Vader’s new residence which is introduced on screen in Rogue One.
What Planet Is Darth Vader’s Castle Located On?
The first question I’ve seen a lot of people asking is “where is this planet?” The answer to that question lies in Anakin Skywalker’s tragic history. That’s right; this is Mustafar, the volcanic planet we saw in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The scorching lava world was where Obi-Wan Kenobi had the infamous lightsaber duel with Anakin Skywalker, which resulted in the loss of his limbs and severe scarring all over his body. It was basically the place that Darth Vader was born.
In the Art of Book, original screenwriter Gary Whitta says “the fact that he has chosen to build his mausoleum here is a nod to the conflict in him — that he would go back to this place to reflect on what happened to the man he once was. At the same time, it’s also terrifying, and when he emerges with all of his armor, he’s Darth Vader.”
What Is The New Star Wars Canon Backstory?
In Star Wars: Aftermath, Wedge Antilles mentioned, “After all, didn’t Mustafar hold some importance to the Imperial leadership? Rumors said that’s where Vader took some of the Jedi long ago. Torturing them for information before their execution.” This Imperial installation on Mustafar is Vader’s castle.
A line from the end of season one Rebels, so long ago, was designed to point to a world seen in Rogue One. It's a long game here. :)
— See Ya Next Year! (@pablohidalgo) December 16, 2016
In Star Wars Rebels, it was revealed that the Galactic Empire took control of Mustafar after the Clone Wars and maintained secret facilities on the planet. In the “Fire Across The Galaxy” episode of Rebels, Grand Moff Tarkin takes Kanan to Mustafar to extract information from the Jedi. When asked about the planet, Hera says, “I’ve only heard that name once, from Kanan. He said Mustafar is where Jedi go to die.” This has a brand new meaning now. The mission to rescue Kanan resulted in Grand Moff Tarkin’s Imperial I-class Star Destroyer the Sovereign crashing into the lava fields below.
Pablo Hidalgo’s book Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide provides some more details about Darth Vader’s castle:
“Dark Monolith: 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.”
The Art of Rogue One book reveals that the script described his castle as “a towering, monolithic obsidian fortress of stark, brutalist design.” In the Book, production designer Doug Chiang says that while “we don’t see it all right now, but the idea was that Vader’s castle was built over a natural cave — a Sith cave deep down below, in the lava world.”
Will Darth Vader’s Castle Have A Role In Future Star Wars Projects?
After seeing the film, some fans have theorized that Vader’s attendant becomes Snoke, the leader of Kylo Ren and the First Order as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This seems unlikely at best.
But I have heard that we will see more of this location in the future of Star Wars stories. If that means the comic books, novels or Star Wars: Episode VIII, we don’t know. It has been rumored that some aspect of this film is a set-up for something we will see in Rian Johnson’s eighth installment of the Skywalker saga. After seeing the movie a second time, it seems as if Vader’s castle would be the most likely.
Even the Art of Rogue One book hints that this location may be featured in future Star Wars projects:
Vader’s Mustafar castle in Rogue One would be concepted, designed, and explored beyond even the narrative needs of Rogue One itself. “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,” said [Doug] Chiang.
The above concept art came from the Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book. While it was assumed that it was an early concept for what became Maz’s castle, it now seems as if they adopted it for Rogue One.