How do you view Darth Vader?
For some, he is the main focus of the first six films of the Star Wars saga. For others, he is Luke Skywalker's father. He could also be the scariest cinematic villain of all time, or even a sympathetic character.
After being introduced to the world almost 40 years ago, Darth Vader has been many things. But in 1977, he was only one thing: A scary, masked figure who was mysterious in nature.
Since then we have seen the origins of that character. In 1999 we saw him at the young age of nine living on Tatooine. From then on we saw a hotheaded teenager, a decorated war hero, and a man consumed by fear and burned alive.
Even after the original Star Wars was released, the subsequent movies painted him in a different light. In The Empire Strikes Back, he was a man who discovered he had a son. He then made it his mission to connect with someone who represented a past he had distanced himself from. It was clear that even through all that he had experienced, the existence of his son was enough to break through the apathetic attitude he had on life.
Then in Return of the Jedi, Vader was no longer a villain. Lines like "it's too late for me" shows that his thoughts had drifted back to wondering if he could be turned back, if it wasn't too late for him to erase all that he had done.
When Luke removes the mask at the end of Jedi, that scary masked figure who made his grand entrance on the Tantive IV was all but a memory. This was a broken, aged man who had lost it all. But he gave his dying effort to save his son. To fulfill a prophecy. He was now a complex character with layers and there was more to him than just a scary figure.
Enter the new era of Star Wars.
Since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, we have seen a bevy of Star Wars content released. Whether it be a new movie, a new animated series, new comics, or new books, you have many options when it comes to new Star Wars nowadays. We are jumping all over the timeline with familiar characters and new ones as well.
In Star Wars Rebels, we have seen the return of Darth Vader on screen. At first glimpse it seems as if this is the same Vader we see in A New Hope. While yes the timeline is similar, we find out that there is an emotional aspect to his presence in the show. At the beginning of season two, he learns his former padawn, Ahsoka Tano, is still alive. From there it has you asking how he truly feels about it. What would happen if they faced off? Well, we got to see that happen, and the emotion was palpable.
Now, with Rogue One on the horizon, we will finally get the return of the original Darth Vader. Think about the first time anyone saw him in 1977. You didn't know he was Anakin Skywalker. You had no knowledge of his past. You had no idea he was Luke's father, or Obi-Wan's apprentice, or Ahsoka's former master. There was none of that. He was simply an angry villain, hellbent on destroying a pesky rebellion.
In case you hadn't heard, Darth Vader has been confirmed for Rogue One. This movie appears to be taking place just before A New Hope. Like moments before. That means the Darth Vader we will be seeing on the big screen will be the same one we saw in 1977. There is nothing to dig for here. He has no idea he has a son, he has already dealt with Ahsoka, and his mission is all about destroying a pesky rebellion.
Although he may not get a lot of screen time, Vader will be a major focus of this movie. The fact that there is no emotional undercurrent is a theme we haven't explored with this character in decades. That alone should be a reason to see this movie.
I can't tell you what will happen in Rogue One. I can't even tell you if it will be good. But I know one thing: this is the return of the original Darth Vader. I love all of the Star Wars saga. I love the exploration we have had of the character of Anakin Skywalker. But seeing the return of the original Darth Vader is something all fans should be jazzed about.
That scary masked villain is back.
5/24 - Star Wars Celebration IV (2007)
5/24 - Star Wars 10th Anniversary Convention (1987)
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (1977)
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)
5/25 - Frank Oz
5/27 - Michonne Bourriague
5/27 - Christopher Lee
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