It has been two days since the highly anticipated trailer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was officially released by Lucasfilm and Disney. One of the segments from the trailer that has got fans talking is the scene which can be seen in the above image. The central question asked by fans has been: who is the hooded and cloaked figure who appears in this scene? Is it Maul or Ezra? A young Snoke or another inquisitor?
It is almost undeniable that the cloaked character is a 'villanous' one. That can be corroborated by the fact the colours of the environment and the character are both black and red. One can assume that this location is based on the Death Star, or on an Imperial Star Destroyer. In addition, the inclusion of the red Royal Imperial Guards is striking. In the canon universe, the Royal guards have only ever appeared in the presence of Palpatine, in both the Prequels and Original Trilogy. The appearance of the Imperial Royal guards signifies that this scene is important and that the figure entering the room is also a significant character. There are a wide number of candidates for who the hooded figure could be. My hypothesis is that the character above is a villainous 'force user', and that forms the basis for the reason why I will critique just three possible candidates.
As stated in the aforementioned paragraph, the appearance of the Red Imperial Royal guards has led to speculation, from some fans, that the mysterious figure is in fact Palpatine. As Chancellor of the Republic, Palpatine was seen in the presence of his Royal militia, and the only other time we saw these guards was accompanying Palpatine on the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
This is an interesting thesis, however, the physical appearance of the character does not seem to match the Emperor's. The height of the robed figure seems marginally taller than Emperor Palpatine. In addition, the cloak this individual wears is not so reminiscent of the style of Palpatine. Personally, I would look to discount the possibility that this figure is Palpatine.
Some fans have speculated that the individual is in fact the Grand Inquisitor. The Grand Inquisitor was a title bestowed to an imperial inquisitor at the top of the hierarchical, inquisitor, pyramid. Jason Issacs played the only Grand Inquisitor, we have seen to date, on the Television Show: Star Wars Rebels. His character was killed off at the end of Season One, and since then a power struggle has emerged among the other inquisitors. These inquisitors have looked to fill the void of the Grand Inquisitors' death and assume the 'Grand Inquisitor' title themselves. None of the inquisitors have managed to succeed thus far.
As far as speculation goes, this isn't an unfeasible idea. The Grand Inquisitor was subservient to both Darth Vader and the Emperor. We see the cloaked individual bow down to a sentient in the Chamber, which certainly signifies that the character who has entered the room, is a subordinate individual. Notwithstanding this hypothesis, it seems overall to be unlikely. The central characters in this movie are Rebel soldiers, and therefore less emphasis has been attributed to force-user characters. It seems hard to imagine that this film would introduce a new force-capable character, when that is not the emphasis of this movie. In addition, we have heard rumours about the fact that James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as Darth Vader in the upcoming film, because of the importance of the mission at hand - the fact the Rebels are attempting to sequester the Death Star plans.
This idea sounds interesting, and certainly feasible in principle because it would be a nice tie-in to Rebels and if one believes Darth Vader is in the cylinder chamber, then it could be the inquisitor bowing to Lord Vader (similar to the image above). However, I have doubts about the degree to which this hooded figure will in fact be a new Inquisitor.
Wild speculation from fans has been that the hooded figure, seen in the trailer, is in fact the Sith Lord himself: Darth Vader.
Immediately fans will look to refute this speculation by pointing out that this character is not wearing the attire of the "more machine than man" Darth Vader. That is very true. However, we have seen in the films that Vader can take his mask off (as seen in the Empire Strikes Back), and no doubt can take his suit off, even if for a brief time. Vader sustained a facial injury in the fight against Ahsoka, in the Rebels S2 finale, with which a portion of his mask was cut from his face. This conveys that, in spite of the fact the suit is used to power and sustain Vader, he can survive without wearing his attire, for a brief duration of time.
In addition, as mentioned previously, the cloaked individual bows down to a sentient in the Chamber, which certainly signifies that the character is a subordinate individual. We have seen a couple of occasions where Vader has bowed down to his master, Palpatine. Moreover, the appearance of the Royal Imperial Guards could mean that Vader is communicating with the Emperor, either in person or via hologram. It would explain why the Royal Guards are present in the chamber.
Finally, we have yet to see the fallout from Star Wars: Rebels. Will Vader engage in another duel with Ashoka? Will Vader fight Maul? And if Vader does engage in a lighsaber fight, will he sustain injuries? Rebels could yet bridge the gap to Rogue One at the end of the next season. This would make particular sense, as there has been speculation that Season Three of Rebels will be the final season of the animated TV series, Rumours have also speculated that the end game in mind is the Death Star. Dave Filoni has also expressed that the Rebels' storyline will be moving closer in line with the events of A New Hope, and Rogue One.
Consequently, I believe that the hooded figure is more likely to be Darth Vader, without his suit on.
To conclude this, I would like to ask people to give their own opinions on who they believe the mysterious character is. Do you agree with my conclusions? Do you think it is in fact Palpatine, or the Grand Inquisitor? Do you think its another villainous character that we have previously seen in the Saga, but not mentioned? Or do you think this is a new character?
Speculate and leave your comments below.
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