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Matt Lanter Pitches How A Darth Vader Series Can Be Made Without James Earl Jones - Exclusive

"Star Wars" is constantly finding new and inventive ways to carry on the legacy of the original characters. Whether it's Mark Hamill reprising his role as young Luke Skywalker in "The Mandalorian" or "The Rise of Skywalker" using Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd to emulate a young Princess Leia, the force is strong with the franchise and we're all nostalgic for the originals.

Yet time is inescapable, and since the 1977 debut of "Star Wars: A New Hope," many of the actors who brought us our favorite characters have died. Others are either not interested in reprising their roles or reaching an age at which taking on a long-term project would be asking too much. So, what does that mean for Darth Vader, one of the most well-known villains of all time? While James Earl Jones has reprised his iconic voice role for Vader in projects like "The Rise of Skywalker" and "Star Wars: Rebels," would he be able to take on a long-term Vader-centric animated series?

Looper spoke to Anakin Skywalker's voice actor, Matt Lanter, for an exclusive interview. He laid out how we can bring an animated Vader to the small screen — and if Anakin and Vader are separate characters or two sides of the same coin.

The future of Vader

Anyone who's heard Matt Lanter talk about his time as Anakin knows he's the biggest "Star Wars" fan around. So it's not surprising how keen he was on the idea of voicing Vader. "Oh gosh, are you kidding? Yeah. It'd be great. But I don't know what they would do ... There was a scene where Anakin's mask, or I should say Vader's mask, was ripped away, half, and we saw Anakin. And they layered my voice with James Earl Jones. So how do you move away from James Earl Jones?"

"I don't know, because that voice is so iconic with that character. So I'm not sure exactly what they would do or how they would do it," he added. "Gosh, it'd be a pain in the butt to do that for the entire series. But it would be cool if you heard James Earl Jones, but you also in moments, where they could tweak and play with things, where you could hear a little bit more of Anakin in moments. It would really bring a really deep human aspect to him, a depth to them that I think people might really appreciate, actually."

Vader vs. Anakin: Why not both?

While some view Anakin and Darth Vader as separate characters, it would be fascinating to explore the overlap of Vader into Anakin and vice versa, whether he's acting on his Light or Dark impulses. Voice actor Matt Lanter noted, "That's a really fun, nerdy 'Star Wars' question that different people probably have different opinions on. Are they two characters? Is Anakin completely gone? And also, at what point, which I've been asked and have really contemplated myself, 'At what point is Anakin gone?'"

But if Anakin were totally gone, Luke wouldn't have been able to pull on Anakin's heartstrings regarding Padme and his son to get Anakin back, with which Lanter agreed. "That's what I think! I mean, he's obviously lost, but I think deep down, it's still there. Right. You're totally right. Or else there wouldn't be that redemption in the end. So it's in there somewhere." 

Fans can catch up on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" on Disney+. For anyone eager to watch Lanter play a live-action villain, his new Netflix series "Jupiter's Legacy" has you covered.