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Exclusive: We’ve Played Vader Immortal And It’s Very Cool

ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment studio, has finally shared details on Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series, a story set within official Star Wars canon between the first two trilogies that can only be experienced in virtual reality. The news came during the Vader Immortal panel at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

In addition to the Vader Immortal story trailer and gameplay details, it was confirmed that star Maya Rudolph will play ZOE3, a quick-witted droid co-pilot and first mate that players partner with. “Much in the way Alan Tudyk did with K-2SO, we needed somebody for this role that could create a unique character using their improvisation and performance skills,” said writer and executive producer David S. Goyer. “Maya truly was the first person we thought of, right from the very beginning, and her contributions and sense of humor have guided ZOE3 every step of the way.”

The interactive story, a seamless mix if television and video game experiences, was announced previously as a launch title for the Oculus Quest headset launching in Spring 2019 ($399 USD for 64GB) but it will be playable on all Rift headsets, including the upcoming Rift S. ILMxLAB and Oculus had a large and impressive booth on the show floor and where we demo’d Episode I yesterday and chatted with the minds behind it.

Vader Immortal Gameplay Details & Impressions

You’re the captain of the Windfall, a smuggling ship near Mustafar, but you get captured by Imperial forces and brought to Vader because he has chosen you. That’s the starting premise

The segment we played of Vader Immortal Episode I begins in an Imperial interrogation room where a hovering IT-O Interrogator (from A New Hope) floats in the corner while a cyborg Imperial Officer (voiced by Steve Blum who plays Zeb in Star Wars Rebels), missing an arm and half his face (based on a Raiders of the Lost Ark concept), talks to you before Darth Vader enters want walks down a corridor to confront you. There are clips of this in the above trailer.

It’s easily the best digital visual depiction of Darth Vader yet, bolstered by the fact that you’re actually in the room with him, in first-person being confronted by the dark force user who is at first only visible as an intimidating and dark silhouette. Vader’s voice is spot on thanks to actor Scott Lawrence returning for the part after voicing him in Episode III and numerous Star Wars video games.

In first person, the player can only see their hands. It’s up to them to put themselves into the character which is why an age or gender isn’t given. The character is you or whoever you want to be, and in our demo, your first task is to open a puzzle box for Vader. When you do, it impresses Vader and he’s not confident in your power and usefulness to him.

In the next section you’re given a blue lightsaber as training droids float around the room, including behind the player blasting in three-laser busts. With the right timing, and careful observation of sound, players can master dealing with multiple targets and additional large robots who wield their own lightsaber-esque weapons. This dojo sequence is where players will get a workout, but this and the intro with Vader represent only a tiny fraction of what Episode I of Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series will entail since its narrative storyline will run about 45-60 minutes. There are two additional followup episodes coming as well but no details or dates have been revealed on these.

In addition to the main story, the Lightsaber Dojo offers replayability and open-ended play. From a control standpoint, the Oculus Quest headset is wireless and allows freedom of rotation and movement, and in each hand the Oculus touch controllers only require users (at least in the demo) to use their index and middle fingers so it’s a very welcoming learning curve.

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series Story Synopsis​

Set between the events of ​Revenge of the Sith​ and ​A New Hope, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series​ is an original narrative adventure that lets audiences step into the role of a smuggler operating near Mustafar, the volcanic world that Darth Vader calls home. In typical ​Star Wars​ fashion, they’ll soon find themselves in the middle of a grand adventure as they are unexpectedly pulled out of hyperspace — and eventually come face to face with the Sith Lord himself.

Vicki Dobbs Beck (ILMxLAB Executive in Charge) tells us that the goal was to push visual fidelity on the Oculus Quest headset, but more importantly, to give users experiencing the story the freedom of movement without wires. This way they can truly look and move 360 degrees and engage in action sequences where enemies or objects of interest are in front and behind you.

Narrative Designer Mohen Lee, who worked on set for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, tells us that at the time general audiences were beginning to understand VR and Lucasfilm would be teasing Vader’s castle on Mustafar in the movie and wanted to do more. “We wanted to tell a story where the character interactions and meeting iconic characters like Vader is just as engaging as the action moments, so there’s really a balance between story and interactivity.”

The ILMxLAB team worked very closely with the Lucasfilm Story Group to ensure the VR series is entirely within canon, and if you’ve read the latest story arc in the Darth Vader comics by Charles Soule, there are connections to that as well. “We worked very closely with the story group because it was important to us that this could stand as canon story and becomes part of the story of who Vader is,” explains Lee who says they’re “always” thinking about what stories to tell in the future after episodes and 3 wrap up the Vader Immortal series, teasing that players will be able to use force powers in the next episodes, beginning with learning these abilities in Episode 2.

Next: Amazing Photos from Star Wars Celebration Chicago


2019-04-12 12:04:23

Rob Keyes

Star Wars 9 Can Imagine What Would Happen If Darth Vader Didn’t Turn Good

Star Wars Episode IX will end the Skywalker Saga, and through Kylo Ren can show what Darth Vader would’ve done next had Luke not been able to save him. Anakin Skywalker was redeemed by the end of the Original Trilogy, but the story and legacy of Vader lives on through Kylo.

J.J. Abrams needs to do something a bit different in Episode IX, having already delivered a relatively safe Star Wars movie with Episode VII. And with it closing out both the Saga as a whole and the Sequel Trilogy, he also needs to drastically up the ante in terms of threat. Some of that may well be a new danger from “The Beyond,” but it should also come through Kylo Ren, now the Supreme Leader of the First Order.

RELATED: Is Lucasfilm Copying Avengers: Endgame With The Star Wars 9 Title Reveal?

With Anakin redeemed by his son, we didn’t get to see what he was truly capable of. Disney has gone even further than that, with a rebranding exercise painting Vader as something more akin to an antihero. Episode IX, then, can go the other way, and give us a great idea of what would’ve happened had Darth Vader still killed Emperor Palpatine, but for all the wrong reasons.

  • This Page: The Last Jedi Was A Reverse Of Return of the Jedi
  • Page 2 of 2: Will Star Wars 9 Give Kylo Ren Redemption Or Punishment?

While The Force Awakens echoed many of the themes and events of A New Hope, The Last Jedi didn’t quite follow the same rhyming structure. Sure, it borrowed some elements from The Empire Strikes Back, but it also looked closely at Return of the Jedi – and then flipped it on its head. Episode VI ended with Luke managing to resist the temptation of the Dark Side, and help redeem his father, Anakin. Darth Vader turned against his master, reverting back to the Light Side in his final moments.

The Last Jedi has a similar sequence of events aboard the Supremacy. Supreme Leader Snoke takes on the part of Palpatine, Kylo Ren is the Vader figure, and Rey the Light Side hero a la Luke. Kylo Ren turns against his master and strikes him down after his torture of Rey, mirroring Vader’s turn after the Emperor’s torture of Luke. And that’s where the key difference comes in.

In Return of the Jedi, that brought Anakin back to the Light. In Episode VIII, it only serves to highlight how conflicted Kylo is, and ultimately push him further into the darkness. He doesn’t go with Rey to the Resistance or reclaim the name Ben Solo; he asks her to join him in ruling the galaxy, now that the person above them is out of the way. This isn’t a grand moment of redemption, it’s one of realization: that he doesn’t need a master, and can control his own destiny. Snoke was, if anything, holding him back and keeping him down. Free of that, he can be whatever he wants. It’s a canny subversion of the Vader/Palpatine dynamic and leaves Kylo in a fascinating position heading into Episode IX.

RELATED: Luke Was Right: Star Wars 9 Should End The Jedi (& The Sith)

Ever since we first met him, Kylo Ren has been obsessed with his grandfather. It’s even apparent in the trailers for The Force Awakens. He’s gone as far as retrieving the twisted remains of Vader’s helmet, worshipping it like a shrine and promising to finish what he started. And that’s the path he’s now firmly chosen.

To Kylo Ren, Darth Vader is not a hero who turned to the Light at the very end and helped save the day. He’s an extremely powerful Sith, who’d let nothing and nobody stand in his way, and was responsible for years of Imperial rule across the galaxy. By killing Snoke, wanting Rey to rule with him, and installing himself as Supreme Leader of the First Order, that’s now what Kylo can see himself as too. He mimics Vader’s dress sense, fashioned himself a red lightsaber, and has slain his master.

He is, for all intents and purposes, the second coming of Vader, or like an extension of him. The spirit of Vader – the villainous Sith, not the fallen Jedi – lives on through Kylo Ren. He may say “let the past die”, but more than ever he’s looked to continue his grandfather’s legacy. That goes into what we know of Episode IX. Kylo will have fashioned himself a new helmet, but he’ll also have Vader’s helmet again too, and he’s not only going to finish what he started; he’s going to do what Vader couldn’t.

Page 2 of 2: Will Star Wars 9 Give Kylo Ren Redemption Or Punishment?

Going into Star Wars Episode IX, we’re faced with a question that wasn’t really asked before Return of the Jedi: Can the bad guy be redeemed? Back then, Luke fought (or rather, didn’t) for the good that remained in his father. But we’ve already seen that play out in the Sequel Trilogy: Rey went to Kylo sensing the good in him, and instead witnessed him commit murder and then ask her to join him in ruling the galaxy.

RELATED: How Star Wars 9’s Trailers Can Avoid Repeating The Last Jedi’s Backlash

If Vader can be redeemed then anyone can. But will it happen to Kylo? Should it? Only J.J. Abrams and Adam Driver know for sure, but here they do have another, extremely viable option, and that’s to kill off Kylo Ren as the bad guy. And not just any bad guy, but the biggest of the lot. Kylo would, on the face of it, need to die for the Skywalker Saga to end; he is the last of that line, after all. But to simply repeat what happened with Anakin would be disingenuous and, frankly, a little boring. He killed Han Solo. And we’ve seen it before.

Instead, they can go the other way. If not for Luke, Vader would’ve still killed the Emperor eventually. It’s what Sith do with their masters. And he’d have taken his place, with no one to stop him given his peerless power level. He could’ve been fully unleashed, until he had to be killed in order to be stopped. That’s what they can do with Kylo.

Kylo Ren is going to be a huge part of Episode IX. He’s now the main Skywalker (even if he doesn’t have the name) in the final movie of the eponymous saga. Rey is the new hero, but it’s interested in telling Kylo’s story almost just as much. To that end, there’s a good chance a lot of Episode IX will be spent exploring Kylo’s decisions: the murders he’s committed, the people he’s turned away, the dark path he’s chosen to walk down, and whether or not he’ll come back.

But it can also lean heavier into those Dark Side elements. He can fully become what Vader didn’t: an uber-powerful Dark Side Force-user without anyone to control him, which is something we haven’t seen fully explored through such a main character before. It is, as far as Star Wars is concerned, without precedent, and that’s a thrilling place for the franchise to be in its ninth episode and eleventh movie overall. Had Vader not been redeemed, he would’ve tried to conquer the galaxy as the head of the Empire. In Episode IX, Kylo Ren is going to attempt to rule the galaxy as the leader of the First Order.

RELATED: Star Wars 9: The Big Lesson JJ Abrams Must Learn From The Force Awakens

Kylo Ren doesn’t suddenly lose the complexity that makes him so interesting. He’s still a product of the same upbringing, the same inner conflict and turmoil. But to face up to that, and then choose to be the “monster” is a decision that does something completely different, and gives the hero a unique challenge to face down and overcome. J.J. Abrams can’t just play it safe here. He cannot repeat Episode VI in the same way The Force Awakens repeated Episode IV. Having Kylo Ren grow beyond what Vader was is a way of doing that, and also would put Rey in a position where she then has to be a different kind of hero to Luke. That makes for a different ending that has shades of what we’ve seen before – a bit of Return of the Jedi, a little Revenge of the Sith – meaning it can help link everything together while forging its own path as well.

More: Theory: How Star Wars 9 Can Make Rey A Skywalker (Without A Last Jedi Retcon)


2019-03-17 08:03:36

Luke Hutchinson

Star Wars: 10 Secrets Hidden At Darth Vader’s Castle

Did you know that Darth Vader has his own castle? It recently made an appearance during Rogue One, but later kept making appearances in his solo comic run. There are specific reasons why Vader chose to have a fortress for himself, and it’s only partially because he prefers to be left alone… when he isn’t killing people that is.

There are also reasons why he chose its location, and more disturbing, there’s a specific purpose to the castle itself. Many secrets have been hidden inside this castle, some more disturbing than others. Here is a list of ten of the secrets that Darth Vader’s Castle possesses.

RELATED: How Darth Vader’s Castle Changed From Empire Strikes Back Drafts to Rogue One

10 Mustafar

Vader had a choice of location for where to build. His master was even willing to give up his home planet to Vader, to give an idea of what was at stake. Instead, Darth Vader opted to go for the planet where he was bitterly wounded. But is there more to it than that?Mustafar is a planet of the Outer Rim. It’s not what one would consider habitable by most standards. It’s covered in lava and flame. The people that live here are tough and have adapted to the temperatures and volcanic nature of the planet.

9 The Mustafarians

As mentioned above, the Mustafarians are a hardy people. They’d have to be, in order to survive on this planet. They can literally sense the fluctuations in the planet, and even fight them in their own way. They begin actively resisting what Vader is doing, and for a while, he isn’t even aware of it.

Additionally, the Mustafarians are capable of summoning lava fire. This would be a phenomenal feat by any means. But then consider what the application would be against Vader. Darth Vader has very few weaknesses, but surely he remembers what it felt like to be eaten away by lava. It’s surprising that Vader would choose to live so near a people such as this. Perhaps he was hoping to exact revenge on them?

8 Where Vader Made His Kyber Crystal Bleed

It is a Sith tradition that they must take the lightsaber of a Jedi they have slain. There is a very specific reason for this. They remove the Kyber crystals inside – and they make them bleed. The process for making them bleed isn’t clearly defined, other than it requires immense power from the Dark Side.

RELATED: Darth Vader: All Your Questions About The Sith Lord Answered

When Vader had to collect his Kyber crystal and make it bleed, he opted to go to Mustafar to do it. Here he meditated and worked on the crystal until he succeeded. It was also here that he had a vision. If he chose to keep his Kyber crystal intact, he knew that he would eventually turn back to the light side and ultimately destroy himself. Or he could bleed the crystal and become even stronger. We all know which option he went with.

7 The Dark Side Is Strong Here

When Darth Vader was bleeding his crystal, he had a vision. We already discussed this. Vader realization the implications of the vision and the strength of his power here. The dark side is stronger on Mustafar. It’s even stronger at one specific location – the place he decided to eventually build his castle.

It is known that some locations are stronger in either the light side or the dark side. We’ve seen this in the movies, novels, and comics. That Darth Vader managed to find one isn’t all that surprising. It is however surprising that it was so close to the area where he was so badly wounded.

6 Home Of Lord Momin

The location was once the home and testing site of Lord Momin a Sith. It’s unclear if this was his birthplace, or if he was drawn to the location just as Darth Vader was. We do know that Momin was a genius when it came to inventions. He considered designing and creating weapons and buildings to be the highest form of his art.

Lord Momin was eventually brought down by the Jedi, but not before he managed to do quite a lot of damage. But more on that later. The important thing to note is that this is the location where Momin likely died.

5 Death Engine Testing

Lord Momin, as mentioned above, loved to test out new weapons and designs. One of these designs very well have been the precursor to the Death Star. He designed – and tested – a weapon he called the Death Engine. It took out cities at a time, while still allowing him to be close enough to see the pain and devastating that he caused.

RELATED: Star Wars Is Trying To Turn Darth Vader Into An Anti-Hero (And That’s Very Bad)

Mustafar is the very location where he tested this device. It’s ultimately the reason why the Jedi were forced to act against Momin. It’s also entirely possible that buried somewhere on this planet are the discarded remains of his Death Engine.

4 A Tuning Fork

The Castle of Vader is designed to be a tuning fork, of sorts. Lord Momin himself helped Darth Vader to design the castle. It took several iterations to get right, during which time Momin should consider himself lucky that he wasn’t mortal.

The goal was to use the castle as a tuning fork – a way to reach through the veil and connect Vader with whatever was on the other side. While he never admitted it, he desperately sought his lost wife, Queen Amidala. What he would have done had he found her is a completely different story.

3 Force Locus

The Castle wasn’t the only factor at play. They needed to design monoliths to help concentrate and direct the force being plied into it. It’s unlikely that this would have ever succeeded with a weaker Sith, but that was never a concern for Vader.

With the Castle and Locus properly aligned the door of the veil could be opened. What is on the other side is a different question. This whole process once again required the help of the spirit of Lord Momin. As Momin put it “The Door to the Dark Side is locked, this is the key” (Darth Vader #22).

2 Resurrection

Momin repeatedly stated that this was the location where the veil between life and death could be pierced. His motive should have been more obvious from the start, but there was so much going on. It’s no surprise that Vader missed the vital signs of what Momin was actually intending to do here.

This site soon became the location of Lord Momin’s resurrection. Here he opened the veil and got his body back. In full form once again, he was able to manipulate the force and once again be whole. All he wanted to do was continue his inventing and experimentation.

1 The Truth

Darth Vader had hoped to find Padme when he opened the door. Instead, he found the truth. The truth of who and what he is. The truth of Padme’s fate – how there is nothing he could have done, no choice he could have made, that would have prevented her death. There was nothing he could do now either, to bring her back.

Vader learned many truths on this day, and it certainly would have broken a lesser man. For all we know the truth did break Vader, at least a little bit. It’s not like we could easily tell. What we do know is that Darth Sidious was proud of Vader for learning the truth and surviving it.

Related: Star Wars Confirms: Vader ALWAYS Knew Luke Would Defeat Him


2019-03-08 11:03:09

Cat Wyatt

Why Mark Hamill Gets Upset When Trump Is Compared To Darth Vader

Mark Hamill Darth Vader

Star Wars star Mark Hamill revealed why he gets upset when people compare political figures like Donald Trump and Dick Cheney to movie villain Darth Vader. It’s no surprise hearing Hamill give his opinion on topics both political and pop cultural, as the actor has become one of the most outspoken – and popular – figures on Twitter.

Sometimes Hamill’s uncensored remarks have even gotten him in trouble, as when he talked about his role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and revealed that he clashed with writer-director Rian Johnson over the way Luke Skywalker was handled in the movie. Never shy about giving his takes on the Star Wars saga, Hamill also – humorously – said that Boba Fett should be revealed as Skywalker’s mother. Sometimes Hamill dips his toe into political waters as well, as when he suggested U.S. President Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star should be replaced by one honoring his late co-star Carrie Fisher. Hamill also once trolled the president by reading his notorious tweets in the voice of the Joker, the character Hamill has played for decades in various Batman animated properties.

Related: Star Wars Made A Mistake Skipping December 2018

In his latest take, the ever-opinionated Hamill once again took on Donald Trump. Speaking to the Washington Post’s Cape Up Podcast with Jonathan Capehart, Hamill discussed why it bothers him when people compare real-life political figures like Trump and former Vice President Dick Cheney to the fictional bad guy Vader. In Hamill’s view, there is really no comparison between Vader and Trump or Cheney, because ultimately Vader’s story arc led to redemption, while according to Hamill the jury is still out on the current president and former VP. Hamill said:

“I really get upset then when people compare [Trump], or even [former vice president] Dick Cheney, to Darth Vader, because Darth Vader repented. He saw the error of his ways. I don’t see either one of them [Cheney or Trump] doing that.”

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Star Wars Return of the Jedi

Of course, in the Star Wars saga, villainous Vader began life as the gifted young Jedi good guy Anakin Skywalker. As depicted in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, Anakin eventually goes over to the Dark Side of the Force and becomes the pupil of the evil Emperor Palpatine. But Vader’s fall from grace finally leads him back to the light as, in the original Star Wars trilogy, the galaxy’s ultimate bad guy turns on Palpatine and shares a final moment of redemption with his son Luke (whom he previously tried to turn to the Dark Side).

So though Darth Vader reigns in pop culture as one of the most recognizable bad guys of all-time, his story is arguably less about his evil deeds and more about his ability to redeem himself in the end. In Hamill’s view then, when people hold up Vader as an example of a bad guy against which to compare real life figures who are largely disliked, it doesn’t ring entirely true. No doubt, many will take Hamill to task for his latest jab against President Trump. But there’s no question that Hamill at least has a firm grasp on his Star Wars lore, which should come as no surprise given his deep personal connection to the material.

More: The Last Jedi Was Great (But Still Ruined Star Wars Fandom)

Source: Cape Up Podcast



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2018-12-28 01:12:25

Star Wars Reveals TRUE Origin of Vader’s Helmet?



Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars Adventures #13

Star Wars fans may think they know when Darth Vader’s helmet first appeared, but a new comic book reveals Anakin Skywalker donned a prototype of the mask long before he fell to the Dark Side – he just didn’t know it at the time.

It’s a fun addition to the Star Wars canon, unlike other recent comic books which have made Darth Vader’s story more tragic, or shown that on some level, he never stopped loving Padmé Amidala. Instead, this reveal comes during the days of the Clone Wars animated series, when Anakin was still serving as bodyguard (and secret husband) to Senator Padmé.

And a truly strange mission saw him in need of a supremely familiar looking, gas mask-equipped helmet…

Related: New Origin of Darth Vader’s Red Lightsaber

The story by Elsa Charretier & Pierrick Colinetcan be found in Star Wars Adventures #13, a younger reader friendly (but still set in the existing canon) comic series from IDW. The mission? For Padmé to attend a few special performances led by the eccentric, egotistical, and galactically praised actress Risha Synata. Even Anakin is a fan of Synata’s films… until she sends droids to kill both Padmé and her Jedi bodyguard, revealing herself as an operative of the Separatists.

The story reaches its crescendo when Padmé and Anakin discover a holo message from Count Dooku himself, instructing Risha to don a gas mask along with her leading man. The plan, as Dooku explains, is that the show will hopefully distract the audience of Republic-loyal politicians from noticing the deadly gas flooding the theater. The pair spring into action, with Padmé evacuating the attendees before the gas can flow – as Anakin heads on stage to square off against Risha directly.

What we forgot to mention is that Risha is as much a fan and historian of Jedi and Sith history as she is a celebrity, with the museum dedicated to her biggest roles recreating some of the most iconic sets and marketing of the actual Star Wars films and TV shows. The play being performed on this night is just as Jedi-inspired, meaning Anakin has no choice but to don the costume selected for the evil, lightsaber-wielding villain of the piece.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. To play the hero, Anakin Skywalker must don the very wardrobe he will wear as the villain of the Star Wars saga years later.

The only difference is the blue of Anakin’s light saner, but the cape, rebreather mask, and iconic helmet silhouette are all recreated perfectly, in a moment dripping with dramatic irony (and not a single wink to the audience about how well the costume fits the hero). Leaving fans with some important questions to ask about Vader’s helmet and mask.

Is this story twist a hint that the so-called “Vader mask” was actually a somewhat common one, in use wherever a portable air supply was needed? Or was it provided for Risha Synata along with the toxic gas, establishing them as equipment specifically in use by Dooku’s forces? Or… is this merely a tongue-in-cheek moment of fan service, with Anakin and Risha well aware that ll fantasy epics, including that of the Star Wars trilogy, stick to the same theatrical structure?

That is most definitely for fans to decide. But either way, it’s a clever story that every Vader or Clone Wars fan will want to enjoy.

Star Wars Adventures #13 is available from IDW Comics.

MORE: Darth Vader’s Mask & Lightsaber Work Underwater, Too



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