Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5 On 5 Roundtable: Darth Vader

By: Darryl Roberts

This week, our panelists discuss the rise and fall of everyone's favorite Dark Lord of the Sith, the infamous Darth Vader. And they are:
  • Our friend from the Great White North, Charles Kehler, charter Admin of the original "Star Wars Geeks of the World, UNITE!!!" group, and adviser/contributor to the entire Geeks United family of pages. When not busy milking cows, he's an avid reader of SW fiction.
  • A man who needs no introduction, David Gremillion, another Geek charter Admin, as well as Supervisory Admin (and initiator of) the Geeks United pages, and founder and host of Get Your Geek On, the weekly podcast that "Kicks Monday's Ass, Star Wars-style." Additionally, he is the author of two Star Wars fan novels, and...ummm...he does lots of other stuff too.
  • One of the Geek Family's rising stars, Anthony "Darth Zalez" Gonzales, admin of Sith Lords, Unite.
  • The inimitable - and rather odd - Mr. Richard Cheers, creator of the ever-popular "Blue Milk" questions, and admin of our newest page, Blue Milk Cantina.

1. Anakin Skywalker: Victim, or Villain? 

Charles Kehler: I'd say a little of both actually.  He was very much the victim of Palpatine's scheming.  The Sith Lord made sure time and again that Anakin was thrown into situations that would test his anger and rage and push him further towards finding the dark side attractive.  Anakin is also the villain in terms of the fact that he absolutely refused to take any responsibility for his own actions.  He let his temper flare when he chose as well as blamed those around him for things that where actually in many ways his own fault.  The final example of this is accusing Obi Wan of making Padme see Anakin as evil even though Anakin had massacred a building full of children.   

David Gremillion: Anakin was a total victim, Vader was a total villain. The poor kid gave every sign that he was going dark, but the Jedi did diddly to help him. Yoda KNEW about the Sand People, but never talked to him. Obi-Wan KNEW Anakin was arrogant and insubordinate, but did nothing about it. Mace Windu said POINT BLANK that he didn't trust the kid, but took no action except to put him on the Council. Lindsay Lohan gets therapy, but the Jedi couldn't pull Anakin aside?

Jennifer Marshall: I believe in the the beginning Anakin was no doubt a victim. When you're first introduced to the character, he's a young boy born into slavery, living only with his mother. He was used by his Owner for gambling, shop repairs, or whatever objectives aided others around him. In regards to him being a villain....I think he definitely became one when he did nothing to prevent Mace Windu from being killed. For me, that was the turning point. I never understood why Anakin just didn't walk away from the Emperor. Yes, we know he was always conflicted between what was the right choice and what was an easier one, but when you see a Jedi Master murdered in front of you - WAKE UP!! Anakin is a victim in his youth, and as he grows, become the villain.

Anthony Gonzalez: Personally I think he was a victim to a villain. Palpatine knew what he was going through and used his love for Padme as a tool to flip him to the dark side. If it wasn't for Palpatine making him feel the guilt from her dying he woulda been all good still.

Richard Cheers: Imo, Anakin was a victim of the Jedi's propaganda. They put too much burden on him to be the chosen one. It was pretty obvious that he had emotional issues but they never offered any form of therapy. All of his relationship and anger issues could have been taken care of with the right form of counselling which was not offered by the Jedi.

2. What is the true story behind Anakin's conception? 

Charles: I have wondered about this ever since seeing The Phantom Menace for the first time. The idea that Shmi was chosen to be a vessel of a child developed purely of Midi-chlorians sounded like too much of copy of real world messianic prophesy. In recent months I have had the opportunity to read the novel Darth Plagueis. In the book it is implied that Anakin could have been the result of an experiment of Midi-chlorian alchemy that was conducted by Plagueis and Palpatine. This was on the two Sith correlating the guessed time of conception of Shmi's mysterious pregnancy and when the experiment took place. 

David: Ugh. If I hear one more fanboy tell me that Sidious and Plagueis used the Force to make Anakin, I'm going to freeze them in carbonite. If the Dark Lords did that, why? What point would it serve when the Rule of Two was in effect? Furthermore, why didn't they seek Anakin out? I think Anakin was more a victim of a deadbeat dad. Shmi's exact words were: "There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can't explain what happened." That sure sounds to me like she's pissed about the dad ditching her and can't explain why the marriage failed. 

Jennifer: In regards to the 'true story' of Anakin's conception, it depends on which point of view youwant to take, since we're given two options in the Star Wars movies. We know Anakin apparently had no father and that Shmi Skywalker told Qui-Gon Jinn she "couldn't explain what happened". Qui-Gonn said that Anakin was conceived by midi-chlorians. From Palpatine we learn about Darth Plagueis, who apparently was able to manipulate the Force and create life. Both sides of the story might be right because Qui-Gon's theory suggests that the Force has a conscious will, and acts on its own. Also, the Sith theory is actually consistent with the Sith view of the prophecy: that is less of a prediction and more of a suggestion that one must act to fulfill.

Anthony: The concept that I believe about Anakin's birth is almost related to the Virgin Mary.. He was just born, so in a way to me that even makes him more of a chosen one, he was a gift from the force to either do the right things or fall for Palpatines lies and trickery.

Richard: She lied. It was a drunken one night stand with a young sailor in town for one night. She blotted it out from her memory and 9 months later a baby was born. See it all the time on Jerry Springer.

3. Did Anakin/Vader "bring balance" to the Force? Explain. 

Charles: In a sense he did. The Jedi arrogantly assumed the balance meant final destruction of Sith, when in reality it meant causing the reduction of the Jedi so that by the end of the purge, there were two Sith (Vader and Palpatine) and two Jedi (Obi Wan and Yoda).  The Skywalker twins were to young to even show force potential.  

David: That Prophecy was one of the weirdest things to ever grace the silver screen. You can make the argument that he did bring balance when he killed Palpatine, leaving Luke the only trained Force user alive. It sure is a shame that he had to kill 15,000 Jedi to make that balance happen. It's also a shame that other Sith would arise in the EU like Darth Krayt. Whoops, so I guess he didn't accomplish the balance at all...which makes the Prophecy even MORE pointless. 

Jennifer: Yes. Balance to the Force was brought when he killed the Emperor. No one but Anakin could complete this task. Also by bringing balance he was  - as described by Lucas - bringing an end to 'darkness'. By destroying the Emperor he also saved his son and daughter from being seduced by the Dark Side, or otherwise murdered. Luke may have been the key in turning Vader back towards the light, but it was Anakin who reverted to the values he knew and destroyed the Sith.

Anthony: I think he destroyed the force. From a Sith Lord's perspective, he balanced the force for them, and made them stronger by eliminating most of the Jedi, so in my opinion yes he did balance the force, but the darker side of the force.

Richard: Nearly. He pretty much topped off all the Jedi and he done away with the Sith. If he had killed Luke as well there would be no force types left and everybody can get on with their own lives without fear of being slashed by a lightsaber wielding bloke in a dressing gown. Just to add, how rude is mind control? Honest business men are being conned all the time by Jedi who refuse to pay the proper price for anything!

4. Was he THE Chosen One or A Chosen One? 

Charles: In many ways he was. He did even fulfill what the Jedi assumed was his task.  He destroyed the last of the Sith and with his own death, returned the force rule to the side of light.  That is if you don't count all the various dark side users that have been added with the Star Wars Extended Universe.

David: With a history that spans 20,000 years, it would be beyond silly to think that Anakin was the only "Chosen One" in existence. Come to think of it, how was he a Chosen One, other than the Prophecy? He was a good duelist, decent Force user, but I didn't see "Chosen One" out of him. Was he like Aang? or Neo? or even Ender? Personally, I think Ethan was even more of a Chosen One than Anakin was. Oh...did I mention Star Wars: Awakening

Jennifer: Yes, he was THE chosen one. The reason being, after killing his Master and embracing the Light Side of the Force once again, the balance of the Force had been restored and the teaching of the Jedi had been left to his son, Luke. Also, Obi-Wan at that point accepted him as the Chosen One. 

Anthony: Yes, I do think he was the chosen one, in two ways. First, he was the chosen one to destroy the Jedi order. Second, he became the chosen one by Palpatine to bring forth the empire and the Sith.

Richard: He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy! This chosen one thing does sound a bit vague; what exactly are they looking for? And why? They should have just left him to be a normal teenager and let him sulk in his room listening to the Smiths instead of giving him a lightsaber and free reign to kill whoever cheeses him off. A true chosen one would surely try to unite people through love and respect. Preach a peaceful message and not chop Sir Christopher Lee's head off!  I vote for the guy in the Cantina band being the better choice for a chosen one. The Jedi should realize that these prophecies are a little bit silly!

5. Did Vader's redemption outweigh his crimes?

Charles: I think that as far as Luke was concerned, Vader had redeemed himself by turning away from the dark side and turning against his master. Does that mean that he would have been exonerated from the various misdeeds and atrocities that were committed as the agent of death within the 18 years of service for the Empire?  Who could tell?  Luke would really be the only person who could stand in the way of the trillions of life forms that would demand Anakin's trial and execution. Leia might come on board in time, but seeing as he held his own daughter back as they watched her home world destroyed and tortured the man who would become her husband, that would take quite the feat of forgiveness.

David: Absolutely not. If Vader had, somehow, survived his injuries then the New Republic would have put him on trial in a New York Minute. Given what he did against the Emperor, coupled with Luke pleading for his life, Vader might have been given a life sentence rather than death. But come on, murdering thousands by his own hands? You could nail him for accessory to blowing up Alderaan and committing mass murder. There's no way you wash the blood off of his hands.

Jennifer: This is such a difficult question. If you take it from the movie standpoint, look at all the Younglings, Jedi, innocents, Rebels he kills, not to mention his own wife! If you get into the EU (which I know absolutely nothing about) I'm guessing there are a GREAT number of deaths there as well. Does Vader truly deserve his Jedi redemption simply by killing his Master? Yes, he did save his son and daughter, and finally bring light back to the Force. My only problem with answering this question is even though you've gone on a "hate spree" for MANY  years and killed countless victims, does there EVER come a time when one can truly be redeemed of ALL that? Even in the Star Wars Universe....

Anthony: Personally I think what he did for Luke, helping him, his own son, and risking his own life to protect the life of his son, yes. They knew there was still good in him and he showed it by throwing the Emperor into the pit. I think he did the right things and redeemed his actions by helping destroy the sith.

Richard: Redemption? What redemption? He murdered millions of people and then didn't even apologize! Not a single sorry. Plus, he was a bad parent. Normally, if you lose contact with your child you should maybe send them a letter explaining the situation and possibly over time arrange a meeting, not torture and freeze your sons best friend, get his robot blown up and then chop his own sons hand off! Parenting gone wrong big style! Basically Anakin/Vader was a bit of a jerk! At what point did he think killing people is bad? Never! He has a lot of apologizing to do, especially to sparkly Obi Wan at the end of Jedi. If I was Obi Wan I'd be really cheesed off! Oooh, the rest of eternity stuck with sparkly Yoda and sparkly whine bag! Kill me again please!

The SWU is proud to present the 5 On 5 Roundtable courtesy of our friends at the Star Wars Geeks of The World, Unite community!


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