Vader Immortal
Credit: ILMxLab

Entertainment Weekly take a look inside Darth Vader’s lair in ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.

We’ve been to Darth Vader’s lair — and escaped to tell about it.

The virtual reality experience Vader Immortal  from ILMxLAB is one of the key titles for the upcoming Oculus Quest wireless headset, immersing the user in an environment where even the bravest denizens of the Star Wars galaxy might fear to tread: The Sith Lord’s hellish castle on the volcanic world of Mustafar.

Vader Immortal is part one of a trilogy its creators plan to roll out, with volume one available for download for $9.99 to the Quest headset when that $399 device becomes available May 21.

The main question from Star Wars fans is: What exactly is Vader Immortal?

Even its creators struggle with this. None of the usual words apply. “What’s fascinating about VR is it’s not a video game,” says writer and executive producer David S. Goyer, best known for the screenplays to Batman Begins, Man of Steel, and the series Da Vinci’s Demons.

It’s also not a movie or a show, since there’s interactivity involved and it’s all viewed through the first-person perspective, like Doom or Call of Duty. And they aren’t even sure what to call you.

“We didn’t want to say ‘player’ because that connotes a video game,” Goyer added. “We didn’t want to say ‘viewer’ because the experience is much more immersive than just viewing.”

The creators call the user the “participant” or the “visitor,” and the experience of Vader Immortal is actually most comparable to being in a stage play with the most fearsome villain of the Star Wars universe, albeit a show without an audience except for the star performer.

“‘Performer’ might give people anxiety,” Goyer says. Okay, so no on that word, too.

There’s no exact comparison, which is evidence the designers at ILMxLAB, an offshoot of Industrial Light and Magic and Lucasfilm’s special virtual reality division, really is pioneering a new kind of storytelling.

Vader Immortal feels most analogous to a play because you have a role to fulfill — actions to take, places to go, and even some stage fighting in the form of lightsaber swordplay.

Read the full article here, and watch the trailer for Vader Immortal below.

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