Thursday, May 24, 2012

5 On 5 Roundtable: Darth Vader

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the 5-on-5 Star Wars Roundtable, brought to you by the Star Wars Fanbase! This crew features Brian, Admin of the “Star Wars EU” Facebook group. Mark, author of Artoo Detoo: Droid of a Kind. Shelly and David from the “Star Wars Geeks” Facebook group, And Cris, creator of the documentary “The Force Among Us”. Our topic this week is Darth Vader

1) Darth Vader is probably the iconic figure for Star Wars. The breathing, the helmet, the attitude, all makes him instantly recognizable. If Vader isn’t the icon for the saga, then who would be?
Brian: If Darth Vader wasn't the Iconic figure for Star Wars, then it would have to be the Force itself. Reason being is no other character set, is capable of holding the main title, Sidious is a shadow most of the movies and while Yoda and Obi-Wan are popular and have screen time, neither are iconic alone, even with Yoda's famous backward talking. The Force is set as the key to everything, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith, both smaller aspects of the force. The tools used by the students of each teaching, the lightsaber, the clothing and personas, even Hans luck, wink wink lol, are aspects of the force. To me the Iconic role in this saga as well as all of SWEU is the Force! Probably more so the Dark side of the Force lol
Mark: I would have said Luke Skywalker but he wasn’t in the PT (not counting him as a baby). Yoda might fit the bill but I just can’t shake one name out of my head in terms of Star Wars icon: R2-D2. He was there from Episode I to the time of Cade Skywalker.
Shelly: I think that Yoda would be the icon that stands for Star Wars, second to DV. Yoda's vast experience as a Jedi, his non-humanoid physical presence, his odd linguistics and outlook on life in general makes him a stand up classic GOOD GUY. Yoda gets a lot of fun lines, which really help to cement him into the hearts of the fans. How can one not LOVE the smart aleck, funny sounding little green dude? He waxes all philosophical and makes us all strive to let the Force be with us.
David: If Darth Vader was not the iconic figure, I would have to say Obi-Wan Kenobi. We are all facinated with evil and darkness sometimes do I think thats why Vader is iconic..... but if Vader wasn't there, I think we'd all be facinated by the mysticism of the Force, as explained enigmatically by Obi-Wan.
Cris: Luke Skywalker. In my opinion the Original saga is a story about a father and a son. It is ALL about Luke’s journey and how good prevails. Luke Holding up the lightsaber to me is more "Iconic" than Vader. Besides the Original Trilogy is not about Vader anyway...or is it? So to be an Icon - one would have to be a positive image - not a dark sinister one like vader - Luke is the perfect image (icon) to represent the original films - positive and prevailing! What the OT is about.
2) Fact or Fiction: Vader’s an okay Sith who just got lucky during duels and had Palpatine to back him up more often than not. 
Brian: Fiction: How many times did Sidious actually help Vader out? Once in the movies and 3 times in the EU, compared to the hundreds of times Vader fought to the last circuit lol against overwhelming foes. Vader had to relearn how to fight, adapt and change lightsaber forms to fit to his new body and movements, and most of this came while battling Jedi and other foes. He was capable of being a Jedi Master when he turned, his 'luck' was more a combination of years of hardened battle experience and raw talent. By time Darth Vader masters his own style, there were no more jedi or equal warriors to fight. Vader showed that the force and his use of the darkside and his ability to create fear and intimidation, ture sith traits, were even more powerful than warriors who at the time held a greater advantage in skill and numbers! What more could you want from a sith!! Darth Vader was a great Sith indeed!!
Mark: Fiction. As Anakin he was already one of the greatest Jedi in his time, his achievements and victories grew in numbers especially during the Clone Wars. He was a Hero of the Republic. As a Sith, he became the second most feared being in the time of the Empire. He started out as the Jedi slayer, became the Emperor’s iron fist and even the spirits of the ancient Sith honors him more than Palpatine as depicted in Empire’s End.
Shelly: Fact. Vader was a good Sith. He had MAD FIGHTING SKILLS and he used Palpatine and every advantage Palpatine could provide to his best advantage. Every good businessman uses every tool available to him and Vader's business was taking over as ruler of the Empire. He didn't always make the best business decisions, but he stayed true to his goal.
David: Fiction...I think he was a great Sith....but a terrible Jedi. Anger and pain gave him more passion and aptitude to inflict misery on others. We see that every day in THIS world...where people are so damaged they set out to hurt people...and succeed. There is more power in the Dark Side, but only in the sense that there are more ways to inflict damage AND kill.
Cris: FACT. This is a hard one to answer. On the big screen we see Vader as "old" and not so strong compared him to Maul and Sidous - he is stronger in the mind but not with the moves. But then this leads us to the extinction of the sith. So does it really matter if he was "ok". The era of SW universe is not about Jedi Vs. Sith like the old days. So to be the last...might be more than just ok. Again, this is hard to answer and would be easier if discussed verbally and not through typing.
3) Was Anakin’s transformation to Vader more physical or psychological? 
Brian: Well we know from the EU, that the transformation from light to dark is at a cellular level, so i'd have to say a combination of both, but in Anakins case, being the chosen one, I believe he always possessed both dark and light abilities within him, so his personal transformation was at a deeper psychological level than any other Siths, except for maybe Jacen. He more so didn't feel a greater sense of strength but like he tells Obi-Wan and Padme, his 'new powers' kinda hinting at just a broader range to draw on. Dooku had said a few times how the darkside had made his older body feel younger and stronger, faster even. Vader never says anything about this, but he also doesn't really get the chance to as he immediately gets sent off and hours later lost a majority of his body! But in my opinion Vaders transformation was definitely more psychological, as might be the case with any of the Skywalker bloodline...
Mark: It’s more psychological, he became Darth Vader before the armor came in the picture. His struggle for the right path was entirely emotional, the pain and fear gnawed at him right from the beginning, from missing his mother to her death, to fearing for Padme and her life. He was so unstable that Darth Sidious had easily brainwashed and manipulated him all those years.
Shelly: Anakin's transformation into Vader was 95% psychological, 4% physical and 1% just plain pissed off. How could anyone fault him for turning to the Dark Side after all that poor Anakin had been through starting at such a young age? Seriously, the story of Anakin's life is a textbook case for how serial killers are made. Mom killed, wife kidnapped and pregnant and then reported dead...those things pissed the guy off and all Jedi goodness was squashed.
David: Both have merit.....equally so. Some might think that becoming more machine might make him souless. Losing one’s humanity has always been associated with physical and psychological changes. So, with his absolute petulance and with his fear of not being powerful enough to save the people he loves (Re: His Mother)....drove him to make all the choices that led him to the lava! His body being shattered ensured and embedded the hatred he felt for Anakin (I'm sure he felt that was the last straw, "betrayal" wise) but most importantly, the hatred he felt for himself.
Cris: More physical. The 1st thing he asked for when he was transformed in ROTS was "where is my wife" - even at the end of the film when is looking at the creation of the death star - in my opinion he is sad, lonely, and felt betrayed. In episodes 4-6 he is on a quest to find his son, he wants to be connected to his "family" and have someone join "his empire" - like he asked padme to in ROTS. He had plenty of opportunities to kill both Leia and Luke, making this the good person that Shmi and Padme had mentioned several times. In my opinion vader is more like young Ani and was most evil during the battle of Mustifar.
4) What kind of hold did Tarkin have over Vader…I didn’t see the leash Leia was talking about. 
Brian: Tarkin had great control over Darth Vader, Tarkin reported Vaders every move to the emperor, and was tasked with keeping him in line, which meant making sure he cleaned up after Vader if he couldn't control him. I remember one comic where Sidious punishes Vader for disobeying Tarkins orders on a planetary battle. Sidious did this to create contempt and anger within Vader, There was always something holding a foot on Vader, the emperor never trusted him, something Sidious saw when anointing Vader may have prompted this.. And I think Leia did this to jab at Vader. Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith, second only to the Emperor, and yet he was a puppet, and a mere man, Tarkin, could task him at his own bidding and tell him when he could or could not do something! His personal attack dog lol Leia was her mother’s daughter lol
Mark: So I far I couldn’t find any specific connection why Leia think of it that way. As close as I could surmise, I think it was because of Tarkin’s closeness to Darth Vader, a relationship that no other Imperial Officer has with the Sith aside from the Emperor himself. Tarkin is a trusted friend of Anakin during the Clone Wars and even though Tarkin had never confirmed that Vader is Anakin, he still suspected they are one person.
Shelly: Tarkin's "hold" over Vader was political adeptness, nothing more or less. Vader knew that Tarkin could get things done in the political arena when Vader himself had no interest in procuring for himself and so he allowed Tarkin to believe that he had power over Vader and did occasionally pretend to bend to Tarkin's will. Vader only allowed such embarrassments to happen when said embarrassments would further Vader's own cause.
David: They co-operated mostly because of Vaders help with speeding up the Death Star project (Vader invaded Kashyyyk and enslaved many Wookies to serve as slave labour)....but mostly Tarkin suspected that Skywalker and Vader were the same person and I think Vader knew that he knew. Takin was very close to killing Tarkin would have been "problematic". Anyway, I think Leia was trying to promote discord by impling that Vader was somehow subservient to any good secret agent would do once caught.
Cris: I agree. - I have to admit, I have yet to read a book about this relationship - I am sure it is explained. As Governor, Tarkin was in control, not a sith. And like in question 1 - this is an era more about the rebellion and the empire. In ANH - Tarkin would have appear to be more of a leader and in control, if Vader stepped out of line, Tarkin's Empire could easily have taken down Vader, who was just a washed up has been sith lord.
5) True or False: If Yoda had gone to Mustafar instead, Vader “walks” away from that fight as the winner.
Brian: True, Yoda had some respect for Sidious power, but he would have had none for Vaders, and he would have greatly underestimated Vaders skill as they did Anakins the whole time. Anakin would not have become so emotional with yoda and would have been able to focus. Where Obi-Wan was able to match his physical speed, strength and endurance, yoda would have had to draw on the force the entire time, by time he had come close to the end yoda's power would have been greatly over used. Yoda would never have felt the need to put himself in the force trance Obi-Wan did to match Vader, and the situation and environment would have forced yoda to change forms, and yoda would not have done the smart tactical choice in leading or forcing him outside to fight as Obi did, yoda would have tried to keep him confined where yoda felt he had the greater advantage and i think Vader would have worn him out and killed him!

Mark: False. Yoda was explicit about their goal, destroy the Sith. Regardless of Anakin’s new found ‘powers’, a real fight to death against Jedi Master Yoda would be very short. Anakin is impulsive and emotional, a disadvantage that Yoda can easily exploit, not to mention Anakin has no match to Yoda’s skill with the lightsaber and knowledge in the Force.
Shelly: False. As with most all of the battles in a fight between Good and Evil, if Yoda had been on Mustafar Vader would have lost the fight. Yoda would have ensured that Vader was actually dead thus ending the Saga on Mustafar. Obi-Wan should not have taken the light saber and walked away without verifying the true death of Vader. It is yet another case of Good allowing emotion and cockiness to get in the way of ensuring that what is "right" has been secured.
David: I think that might be true....the fight between the "brothers" is very important for the saga. Anakins hatred and Obi-Wans passion and sadness was why that outcome happened. Yoda didnt have the same sort of "emotional investment" that Obi-Wan has in that fight....I'm sure we've all fought with people we’s far worse BECAUSE of that.
Cris: FLASE, so untrue. One of the best battles was between yoda and sidous - It showed the power of Sidous but even Sidous could not have taken down Yoda. And Ani was not even close to that level. Not even Vader was that strong. And Obi Wan would have lost the battle between sidous.


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