Saturday, March 14, 2015

Opinion: Darth Vader in 'Rebels'

By: Tom Bradshaw

It has been about a week and a half since the season one finale of Star Wars: Rebels aired on Disney XD. Fire Across the Galaxy, the thirteenth episode thus far of this fledgling series, brought on many emotions through the fandom in it’s short runtime of twenty something minutes. Among these feelings were the joy and intrigue at the ending scene, when we not only witnessed the confirmation of the identity of Fulcrum as Ahsoka Tano, but the arrival of her former master, the now Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader on Lothal! Marching forward with no words or sounds (minus his commanding footsteps and the intimidating respirations of his mask), Lord Vader marched past Agent Kallus ceasing with the pleasantries as he is known for, onwards to begin his task unknown to us, which is where the episode ends.

Darth Vader, exiting the shuttle on Lothal.

In regards to characters that have had any significant amount of onscreen coverage in the past, be it from the Prequel Trilogy, The Clone Wars, or The Original Trilogy, there is often a conflict of opinions as to the involvement and/or role of these characters in Rebels. Darth Vader has been no exception in these debates, though his appearance prior to the credits in Fire Across the Galaxy has been a hit among the fans! These mere 16 seconds of no words, only the commanding footsteps and respirations, have set us up for more onscreen time, more action, and simply MORE VADER in Season 2! However, before we continue with this article and these thoughts, it is important to recall to mind: This is not the first appearance made by The Dark Lord in Rebels, for he also appeared briefly in the series premiere Spark of Rebellion , in a hologram message to The Inquisitor. (This brief scene was not inserted into all airings of Spark of Rebellion ).

Darth Vader via Hologram, as he appears in Spark of Rebellion.

A very significant question raised occasionally by observant fans was examined in a recent article from Club Jade; How much does the galaxy know about Darth Vader in the new canon? Without delving into the contents of their article too much, I find it most necessary to agree to the thought that we, the viewers, are not led to believe that the mass majority of the galaxy are aware of the existence of Darth Vader. Think about it: Darth Vader is not portrayed as being(at least currently), a household figure, a dinner table name, a hero of those in Imperial Training Academies; he is a Sith apprentice, answerable only to Darth Sidious. the Emperor himself.

So, how is this relevant to Darth Vader in Rebels?

In reflection of the appearance of cells of other Rebels in the finale, we are led to believe there is some sort of organized Rebellion already in existence. It is my opinion and speculation through observation, that in the minds of the Rebellion (in its current state), Darth Vader is either completely unknown, or known and feared as the Dark Side monster he can be when wielding his Lightsaber. At the risk of making overgeneralizations and jumping to conclusions, I believe that as Darth Vader continues to make appearances throughout Rebels, they will be of a much more significant nature, leading up to and including direct confrontation with the main characters, the crew of The Ghost. This can only positively influence the “new canon”, and provide us with a more solid background to the Pre-ANH timeline, especially regarding the dealings of Darth Vader, whom since the decisions regarding the new canon took place, we now know very little about outside the realm of the movies.

As we eagerly await his further appearances, remember this: The Vader we see now is not necessarily Vader in the same state as we see him in A New Hope. The amount of events and transformations that can take place within the span of the five years that separate Rebels and ANH are countless!

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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