Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take the Star Wars saga three decades into the future, the spin-off anthology films will still allow the series to play around in the past. The first anthology film, Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars: Rogue One, is just weeks away from officially going before cameras and it will tell a tale set in the time right before the events of the original 1977 film. Since this period marks the height of Darth Vader’s powers, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the Dark Lord of the Sith will pop up in the film. But it is! And what a pleasant surprise it is!

The scoop comes to us from Birth Movies Death, who explain that Vader’s role will be that of an offscreen villain (think Emperor Palpatine in The Empire Strikes Back):

Darth Vader will be in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. He will not be the main antagonist but he will be working behind the scenes, pulling strings and will appear onscreen. Literally, I'm told - he'll be showing up via viewscreen or holo projection or something. Will our heroes actually run into the Dark Lord of the Sith in person?

Ben Mendelsohn is rumored to be playing the main villain of Rogue One, so it’s easy to imagine a scene or two where he reports to Vader via hologram and gets a dressing down (because Sith masters don’t give out compliments). The same report can’t confirm whether or not Grand Moff Tarkin will put in an appearance, but it would make sense. He was the commander of the Death Star and this is a movie about stealing the Death Star plans. Still, that choice would involve finding someone to fit Peter Cushing’s shoes and that is one unenviable task.

This is only a rumor for now, of course. A lot can change between now and the release of the film. Vader could get cut from the script. His role could be expanded to that of the main antagonist. And how will fandom react is James Earl Jones, who is getting up there in years, doesn’t return to voice Vader? Sure, he came back for Star Wars Rebels, but as Birth Movies Death points out, Lucasfilm may want to hire a new actor to take on the role. After all, Star Wars and, by extension, Vader, aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Star Wars: Rogue One begins filming next month and will be released on December 16, 2016.