Vader, Darth and Light
by Stacey Longo
This week, Jason and I watched Star Wars, Episodes I through VI. Watching all of these movies back to back made me realize two things: one, Jason and I have too much time on our hands. And two, these movies are really all about the life and times of one tragic hero: Darth Vader.
I’m not really sure why Anakin Skywalker gets such a bad rap. It’s not like he asked Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to land on Tatooine and rescue him from slavery. I didn’t hear him begging to leave his mother and train to be a Jedi. No, all he cared about was fixing his pod racer and building himself a protocol droid, two perfectly normal activities for a well-adjusted, content boy. It was those rotten Jedis who insisted on ripping Anakin from his home and family to train him in a career that perhaps he was a tad emotionally immature to embark on. Can’t blame Vader for that – he was just a kid!
As soon as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan get this forlorn boy on their ship, that’s when that sleazy seductress, Padme, starts to work her cougar magic. Before this stupid kid can stop himself, she’s entranced him with her wily seductive powers, which is a little gross, quite frankly. Really, how old is he? Eight? Padme was like a cat in heat, chasing after that child! She should be in jail instead of ruling over Naboo like some sort of pillar of society.
Well, the Nabooan tramp got her way, because by Episode III, she was pregnant with little Anakin’s twins. Poor Vader now had to figure out how to support a wife and family, and as we all know, Jedi Knight is one of the lowest-paying professions in the galaxy. When the Emperor offered him a higher paying job (and really, Dark Sith Lord is right up there with lawyers and doctors on the pay scale) what other choice did he have but to accept the position? Obi-Wan didn’t take Darth Vader’s resignation very well at all, trying to burn him to death for his efforts. Remember, folks: employees don’t quit their jobs, just their bosses — and we can certainly see why Darth wanted to quit that toxic tyrant!
Padme the pedophile dies, and Vader’s twins are hidden away, which is just a crappy thing to do to a new (and recently widowed) father. Luke and Leia grow up not knowing their dad, until Vader puts it together that this kid named Skywalker who looks just like him (maybe that’s a stretch) is his son. So what does Vader do? He asks — nay, begs! — his son to join him on the dark side. Great pay, good benefits, and sure, you have to be the Emperor’s lap dog, taking orders all day, but you get to live on a really cool Death Star. All he wanted to do was see his son follow in his footsteps. But Luke, little ingrate that he is, refuses to listen to his father. Darth Vader is killed for his efforts to try and connect with his boy, and those insensitive Ewoks actually hold a big party now that Darth Vader is dead. Quite frankly, Luke and Leia didn’t deserve to have a father like Darth. Hard working, sharp dresser, eager to work with his son and rule the galaxy…what more could a kid ask for? Apparently, if you’re Luke “I killed Yoda” Skywalker and Leia “I’ll kiss a wookie if the price is right … just like my mother” Organa, all of that wasn’t enough. They were clearly ashamed of their father, maybe because of his chronic asthma.
Darth Vader: tragic hero and misunderstood dad. I’m really not so sad that he killed Obi-Wan after all.
This entry comes from Stacey Longo, the New England Horror Writers organization’s chairperson, website.