ONE of cinema’s most iconic villains returns to our screens on Thursday.

Darth Vader will appear in Rogue One, the first spin-off anthology film from the Star Wars saga since Disney bought the franchise. It comes before the arrival of the next mainline sequel, Star Wars Episode VIII, next December.

Rogue One is set a short time before the events of the first of the classic films, A New Hope, and has been described as a heist film. It centres around the Rebel Alliance’s attempts to steal the plans to The Galactic Empire’s Death Star, a superweapon that when complete has the ability to destroy planets.

Darth Vader’s presence was teased in Rogue One’s trailers but it is not yet known how much of a role the Sith Lord, again voiced by James Earl Jones, will actually have in the plot. The film is set to enrich George Lucas’s original 1977 story but will be the first Star Wars not to open with the iconic title crawl.

But we are promised plenty of teasing references to the Star Wars universe and the return of the original Stormtroopers as well as a new tropical locale on the planet Scarif. Based on an original script by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards.

The Warwickshire filmmaker is best known for Monsters and Godzilla.

‘The film is set to enrich George Lucas’s original 1977 story’

Star Felicity Jones, from The Theory of Everything, is also among the English talent. The 33-year-old plays Jyn Erso who is recruited by the Rebel Alliance and whose estranged father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is somehow linked to the Death Star project.

With the fate of the galaxy at stake, Jyn must steal the design schematics as part of a crack team including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), enforcer droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), Clone Wars veteran Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and assassins Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yu) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen).

The film is said to give a new perspective on A New Hope and will tie directly into the classic story which opens with Princess Leia in possession of the Death Star schematics.

Our review of Rogue One will be in next week's paper or you can read it online at from Monday.

There are midnight screenings of Rogue One on Wednesday night/Thursday morning at Odeon in Westbrook. Visit