Lucasfilm Vice President and Creative Director Reveals Making of Vader’s Castle


Darth Vader’s castle was a surprising, yet awesome addition to Rogue One last December. Lava falls, gigantic chasms and an overwhelming darkness gave the overall sense that this was a place worthy of being the lair of one of the baddest, most iconic villains of all time!

Recently on the Star Wars Show, Lucasfilm’s VP and Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang gave the run-down on the making and inspiration for Vader’s Castle. Lucasfilm started by incorporating Ralph McQuarrie designs originally created for The Empire Strikes Back almost forty years ago.

This is especially noticeable in the shape of the exterior spaces, where the iteration seen in Rogue One took the best parts of different McQuarrie drawings and incorporated into a singular vision.

McQuarrie didn’t draw up ideas for the interiors, but his ideas still found their way into the final design. Notably, the cone-shaped hallways, which were inspired by a triangular logo originally intended for Vader.

Lucasfilm then expanded on those ideas by mapping out the entire castle, but only the bacta tank and audience chamber were included in Rogue One. The audience chamber, or “confrontation chamber” as Chiang calls it, is especially menacing.

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

The imminent threat of an angry Lord Vader throwing helpless Imperial officers off of the rail-less circular platform is always present. A lone, central window showcases Mustafar’s desolate, fiery landscape, offering no escape for any within. As Chiang perfectly describes it, “when you’re coming to visit Vader, you’re literally going inside of him.”

Aside from that scene in Rogue One (and you know what one I’m talking about!), one of the most awe-inspiring moments was when Vader was first revealed. According to Chiang, Gareth Edwards wanted Vader’s reveal to be as menacing as possible.

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Krennic stood alone on the central platform as a gate – inspired by Vader’s mouthpiece – rose, revealing the massive shadow of the Sith Lord that nearly ended the old Jedi Order.

The atmosphere is nothing short of excellently-executed and Vader’s castle augments an already-incredible figure. But only a portion of the castle was actually showcased. Chiang mentioned other areas that were fully idealized, like a training area, meditation chamber, and an “ancient area” down below.

Despite the omission of these other areas in Rogue One, Chiang did end the interview expressing confidence that there would be more opportunities to explore Vader’s Castle in the future. Perhaps, referring to the upcoming eighth film in the Skywalker Saga, The Last Jedi!