Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Artist Sheds Some Light On Darth Vader’s Mysterious Castle


By far one of the coolest (and most intriguing) moments in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was when we paid a visit to Darth Vader’s home on Mustafar. Those of you who haven’t wiped the prequels from your minds will recall that that’s where Anakin Skywalker was defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and many fans have since wondered why the Sith Lord would want to return there.

Well, in a recent interview, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story co-production designer Doug Chiang attempted to shed some light on why Vader would choose here of all places to heal himself.

“The initial idea was, ‘Why would Vader live here?’ In our minds, we started to come up with a little bit of a backstory. That perhaps this place had special meaning for him, and that this is where he comes to meditate and to heal himself. We started with the idea that maybe it should be built around his bacta tank chamber, and he comes back here to rejuvenate himself and also to meditate. So from there, the structure itself grew out from the bacta tank, and there were certain ideas that we tried.”

That goes some way in explaining that then, but why bother placing these scenes in Vader’s home anyway? Yes, original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie came up with the idea of the villain having a castle of sorts to call home, but his confrontation with Krennic could have just as easily taken place aboard a Super Star Destroyer or even the Death Star itself.

From the sounds of it, it seems like Disney and Lucasfilm may have plans beyond Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for this particular location.

“I always thought that was such a compelling image, because you have this lava lake inside this cave and there was Vader’s throne. So we took that idea and thought, “Okay, well, maybe on the lower levels of Vader’s castle, there’s a more ancient part. That he actually built this castle on a foundation of an ancient structure.” If you look at the finished design, it has this very strong element of a structure that was there for a purpose, and that purpose was to draw energy from the lava lake. If you look at the design of the base, it feels very much like a dam, and how the lava flows through it, possibly getting energy. And so we thought, “Okay, well, that’s the foundation. Maybe even deeper, or underneath that, is an even more ancient part, which is a natural cave where Vader goes to meditate.” Visually, we’re trying to create a sort of history for the tower. The bottom is the most ancient, the lava lake dam part was perhaps what Vader built his foundation on, and then the tower was Vader’s addition.”

Given Kylo Ren’s clear fascination with his grandfather, it would make sense if he were to pay a visit to Vader’s castle in Star Wars Episode VIII in order to retrieve some sort of powerful Sith artifact he can use against the returning Luke Skywalker. We’ll just have to wait and see if that’s the case, but it definitely like this won’t be the last time we see the home of Darth Vader.