Thursday, May 31, 2012

Opinion: Death of Anakin Skywalker = Birth of Darth Vader?

By Dave Bouressa

“Your father… was seduced by the dark side of The Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true…from a certain point of view”. --Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi

For years, this quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi has rung within fandom, and caused many debates on when and/or if Anakin Skywalker truly and fully became Darth Vader. For those listening to “The Force-Cast”, this is a topic that has come up several times within the show, and many people have come forward with their ideas on when/if the young boy from Tatooine became the Dark Lord of the Sith. What many people are failing to do is separate Anakin and Vader as two separate personas, and not think of it as an A-> B scenario (ex. caterpillar -> butterfly). The way I see it, Anakin and Vader are two parts of the same person-much like multiple personalities. These two personalities both co-exist, and many people feel that you cannot have one without the other, and Anakin dies when Vader is born. Let us take a look at several crucial moments from Revenge of the Sith, and see where things change for Anakin Skywalker.

In my opinion, Vader is born the moment he accepts Palpatine as his new master. Yes, you could argue that Anakin’s attack on the Tusken Raiders was Vader’s birth, but I view it as more of a “conception”. However, just because Vader has been born, does not mean that Anakin is dead. Anakin is still in control and at this point, Vader is nothing more than a name and an idea-the idea that the Jedi are evil and that he must do whatever needs to be done to bring peace to the Republic.
What many people fail to do (and in some cases, refuse to believe) is that during Order 66 he is still Anakin. Granted, Vader has gained strength. However, Anakin’s march on the Jedi Temple becomes an even sadder moment in the saga when you realize that he’s only doing this because he feels that the Jedi have betrayed the Republic and what he is doing is the right thing to do. He is hurt and is trying to save one of the few things he has left (that being his loyalty to the Chancellor, and in turn, the Republic).

After his return from the Jedi Temple, he talks with Padme about how he is safe and how the Chancellor has sent him on a mission to take out the Separatist leaders. At this point, Anakin is still dominant in this person. Yes, his tone when he says “The Separatists have gathered in the Mustafar System. I’m going there to end this war” is a bit harsh, but what many people fail to realize is that there is a difference between “Vader” and “Angry Anakin”. In fact, many people seem to be under the impression that Jedi can never be angry-the point of even saying Obi-wan “tapped into the dark side” during his duel with Maul after the Qui-gon’s death, and that is a bunch of horse-pucky. At this point, Anakin is still Anakin and assures Padme that he will “not betray the Republic” and his “loyalties lie with the Chancellor, and with the Senate”.

However, once Anakin arrives on Mustafar, Vader begins to take control. His attacking of the Separatist leaders-which begins as a righteous act to end the war and suffering, quickly becomes a slaughterhouse with no survivors, bringing out the iconic yellow “sith eyes”. However, after the massacre, we see Anakin outside contemplating everything that is happening. Although we do not seeing flat out crying, we do see a close-up on his face with a tear trail. I believe this tear not only shows his remorse, but a sense that he is losing himself-and his fully aware of it. The imagery of the Sun still shining but being smothered by smoke and clouds is a perfect symbol of his internal struggle of Vader slowly taking over.

The next time we see Anakin is when Padme lands on Mustafar. This is Vader’s strongest moment. From the moment they talk, Anakin begins talking about his power and over-throwing the Emperor, to which Padme replies; “I don’t know you anymore”. At this point, Vader is 99% in charge. It is not until Obi-Wan shows up that cements Vader’s place as the dominant persona. Vader is now under the impression that two of the only 3 people left he can trust-his best friend and his wife- have betrayed him, and he cannot trust either of them. He proceeds to force-choke Padme (Vader’s signature move) and attempts to kill Obi-Wan, but not before preaching about how the Jedi turned against him and how he has brought peace to “his new Empire”.

At the end of the duel, Obi-Wan leaves Vader for dead, crippled and helpless on the side of a river of lava, resulting in Vader shouting “I HATE YOU!”, permanently ending his relationship and all sense of brotherhood to his former master. At this point, Vader is 100% in control, but Anakin still exists. As long as he has Padme, everything he is fighting to achieve is still valid and purposeful in his mind.
However, after he not only learns of Padme’s death, but is told that it is at his hands, Vader lets out a loud and saddened “NOOOOOO”. This “NO” has a lot more meaning on the surface. Not only is this “NO” a cry of pain over the lose of Padme, but it is Anakin crying out in pain that Vader has now gained 100% of him and he is lost forever, and is Anakin’s last word-both metaphorically and literally.

For the next 20 or so years during the reign of the Empire, the galaxy knows no more of Anakin Skywalker, but only Darth Vader-Dark Lord of the Sith and second to the Emperor. However, when Vader learns of the existence of his son (and in turn, him not being directly responsible for Padme’s death), people begin to argue Vader’s motives. Could this be the moment where deep within the mechanical body of Vader, a tiny spark of Anakin emerges or does he simply with to overthrow the Emperor and sees this as an opportunity to use Luke?

It is not until Luke and Vader have a one on one talk on the forest moon of Endor where Anakin comes out. In fact, during the majority of the conversation, I fully believe that Luke is having a conversation with Anakin. Even though Vader says “That name no longer has any meaning for me”, I believe that is Vader’s dying moment, and the majority of that statement is said by an Anakin in denial. After this, I believe that once Vader says “It is too late for me…”, Anakin is back-not in control at all, but the spark that was lit is now a consistent flame deep within. During the Emperor’s torturing of Luke, Vader is torn between his loyalty to the Emperor (the one thing he’s had for most of his life) and his son (the only connection to the world he once knew and everything he loved-including Padme). After a powerful inner struggle, he chooses his son and throws the Emperor into a reactor core, destroying him. At this moment, Anakin has returned and is in control. Now, I can’t talk about this point without bringing up the new “NO” included in the blu-ray edition of Return of the Jedi. Originally, Vader looked back and forth between the Emperor and his son, making the decision of his son silently and powerfully. However, in the new version, he yells “NO” as he picks up the Emperor and throws him-to many people’s dismay (including my own). Although this new addition ruins the initial emotional impact of this climax, it adds more of a connecting point. This “NO” is not only the return of Anakin Skywalker, but in Revenge of the Sith, “NO” was Anakin’s last and “dying” word, and now he says the same thing as he is “revived”. Now, throughout the saga, we are told the tragedy of Anakin, but from the Jedi point of view. Obi-wan tells Luke that a young Jedi named Darth Vader betrayed and murdered Anakin, and then we go back to that quote from Obi-Wan at the beginning of this article, and Yoda saying in Revenge of the Sith: “The boy you trained, gone he is. Consumed by Darth Vader”, which seems to point that the Jedi think in absolutes-making Obi-wan’s later statement of “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” a contradiction (aside from the fact that that statement in itself is an absolute statement).

So did Anakin ever really die? Was there a small spark of him during the Empire? When was Anakin beginning to take shape in that dark cold shell? We’ve been shown in the Clone Wars television series that Vader exists within Anakin, but does Anakin exist within Vader? And if so, when and for how long? Anakin’s story shows how even the kindest of hearts can make poor decisions that you have to live with for the rest of your life, however, there can be light in even the darkest of days, and there can always be redemption for those who seem lost in the dark and are unable to find the light-sometimes all they need is a little help.


The Rush Blog said...

traveling cyst said...

Post a Comment

This site is not endorsed by Lucasfilm Ltd. or Disney and is intended for entertainment and information purposes only. The official Star Wars site can be found at Star Wars, the Star Wars logo, all names and pictures of Star Wars characters, vehicles and any other Star Wars related items are registered trademarks and/or copyrights of Lucasfilm Ltd., or their respective trademark and copyright holders. All original content of this site, both graphical and textual, is the intellectual property of The Star Wars Underworld - unless otherwise indicated.
Site template © 2011 Supported by PsPrint Emeryville and