Ron Howard has shared another image from the set of the solo Han Solo movie. And this one might be the closest we'll get to a confirmation that Darth Vader is involved in the spin-off prequel.
Rumors have been circulating lately that the Star Wars villain will make an appearance, but the reason for speculation -- that actor Spencer Wilding, who portrayed the Sith Lord in Rogue One, was joining the movie -- has been shot down. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time a correct guess was denied in order to protect movie secrets and spoilers.
What we do know from the image, captioned "The Empire Looms Large," is that the Empire will be represented in some capacity. So little is known about the plot of the still-untitled movie that we have no clue about how much the ruling galactic powers will be at play. Vader is around and about as an Imperial figure during young Han Solo's timeline, so he could also have a part.
The Empire Looms Large pic.twitter.com/IN7GiiJtXY— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) August 16, 2017
That's not just any kind of Empire helmet, by the way. It's the type worn by troopers in the Death Star in Rogue One and the original trilogy. Will that moon-sized megaweapon show up in the new movie? Live-action Star Wars movies that do feature a Death Star (holographic plans in Attack of the Clones and Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens included) have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 82%, while those that don't average 74.5%, so it's worth including. Without The Force Awakens, though, it's pretty much even.
So far, all we're really sure about is that young smuggler Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is accompanied by his co-pilot Chewbacca and pal Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and we'll also be seeing his old mentor, played by Woody Harrelson, a love interest played by Emilia Clarke, and a droid performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Fans hope for appearances from other Star Wars favorites, particularly those associated with Solo, such as Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt. The lead character definitely knew of Vader ahead of his first appearance (played by Harrison Ford) in the original Star Wars, but had he ever come into contact with the iconic villain?
The Han Solo Star Wars Story hits theaters on May 25, 2018.