Obi-Wan Kenobi: James Earl Jones Confirmed as Voice of Darth Vader

The Force is especially strong with Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Darth Vader, now that franchise icon James Earl Jones is confirmed to be voicing the Sith Lord on the Disney+ series.

Jones* made his Obi-Wan debut in this week’s third episode, uttering his first ominous words during a holo-conference with Reva the Inquisitor (played by Moses Ingram), who is hot on his longtime rival’s trail.

*Update: Further review of the end credits shows that Respeecher — the same outfit that digitally synthesized a thirtysomething Luke Skywalker’s voice for The Mandalorian and Boba Fett — provided “Voice Conversion Services” for this episode.

Jones of course originated the voice of Anakin Skywalker’s masked alter ego in 1977’s Star Wars (aka Episode IV), then did same for Episodes V, VI and IX, as well as in the animated Rebels and in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (amongst other projects/theme park attractions).

Jones’ involvement in the Disney+ series was not to be taken for granted, as his casting had not been announced up to or on last month’s Star Wars Celebration Day, he has only acted intermittently in recent years (most recently reprising his role as King Jaffe Joffer in Coming 2 America), he is 91 years old, and both Matt Sloan and Scott Lawrence have been known to lend their pipes to Lord Vader in occasional Star Wars projects.

Physically, Hayden Christensen is reprising his prequel trilogy role as Anakin/Darth for the Disney+ series, which premiered May 27.

“Bringing back Vader [is] obviously something you don’t want to do lightly, and you don’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it,” director Deborah Chow previously told TVLine. “When we started really looking at Obi-Wan’s life and saying, ‘Who’s important in his life? What in his past has affected him?’ so much of that connects back to Anakin that it just felt very organic that it would be part of this series from where we’re coming out in the history.”

Set 10 years after the events of 2005’s Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, in which Jedi were murdered en masse under Order 66, Obi-Wan Kenobi finds the Jedi Master on the run, and safeguarding a young Leia Organa, as the Galactic Empire hunts down the remaining Jedi.