Does Darth Vader Live?Is it possible that one day the Dark Lord will return to haunt the freedom of the galaxy? RetroGalaxy has the scoop!
To understand Vader we must travel back in time to when the Old Republic was at its glorious zenith. The galaxy was then ruled by the wise members of the Senate who always put the people’s wishes before their own. To make sure that no evil befell them, they in turn were guarded by the Jedi Knights, that legendary band of warriors committed to justice, who were able to control the legendary powers of the Force in order to stamp out evil wherever it might appear.
Does it surprise you to learn that Darth Vader, the symbol of ultimate evil, was once a part of that illustrious brotherhood? Ben Kenobi, remembers him well. Vader came to him as a young Knight apprentice and was always quick, bright and eager to learn. Kenobi was impressed by the boy’s promise and encouraged his efforts, finally adopting him as his most brilliant disciple.
Those who learn about the Force must be on their guard, however. As on earth where we have White and Black Magic, so the Force has its dark side and Vader, for reasons that are unclear, became consumed by it. It led him to that fateful day when, in a fierce battle, he killed Luke Sywalker’s father.
What is less well-known is that Vader himself was then almost killed by Ben Kenobi, who was understandably enraged at his disciple’s fall from grace. Vader’s life might have ended then and there with a quick stab of a light saber; instead, during the fight, Vader stumbled backwards and fell into a volcanic pit where he was nearly fried alive. What remained of his human body. was dragged out and preserved by encasing it in an outsize black metal suit —virtually a walking iron lung. His face, now too horrible to behold, remains permanently hidden behind the sinister metal breath screen from which his red eyes glint unmercifully. Only his heavy, rasping breath reveals the suit’s true function.
There was no hope of Vader ever returning to the path of Light after this. A Fallen Angel with his control of the Force intact, Vader turned against his former brethren and everything they stood for, aiding successive evil Emperors in their task of destroying the Republic.
Gone too were any human scruples Vader possessed. After the raid on Princess Organa’s ship, he strangles a helpless crewman and then throws his lifeless body aside with as little thought as we might use in crushing a fly. Even the Princess herself, whose beauty and dignity would melt even the strongest heart, fails to inspire anything but hatred in Vader’s twisted mind. No wonder Governor Tarkin assigns him the task of torturing her for details of the Rebels’ stronghold.
Unknown to Tarkin, Vader’s hatred extends to all humans and not just enemies of the Emperor. This is made clear during a confrontation in the conference room of the Death Star when General Tagge, a veteran warrior, foolishly scoffs at the power of the Force. Unmoving, Vader uses his extrasensory powers to grip Tagge’s throat from a distance, causing him to choke spasmodically and slowly turn blue from lack of air. Only Tarkin’s intervention saves the luckless General’s life. Obviously Tarkin believes that he has Vader under control and for a while Vader is happy to let him live with that illusion. However, the Dark Lord has greater plans than the defeat of the Rebels and merely suffers Tarkin as yet another pawn in a much larger gameplan.
The image of Darth Vader as all-powerful is a false one. There is no doubt that Vader’s huge physical strength combined with his psychic abilities make him a formidable opponent. His
confrontation with his old teacher, Ben Kenobi, so full of symbology, soon demonstrates the limits of Vader’s powers. As they warily circle each other, Darth Vader dominates the proceedings, his huge presence in marked contrast to the slight, stooped figure of Kenobi. As they thrust and parry with their light sabers Vader tells Kenobi, “I am now the master.”
Kenobi knows though that Vader has never really grasped the true significance of the Force. He tells him, “As usual, you perceive its reality as little as a utensil perceives the taste of food.” As if to prove Ben’s point, Vader slices down with his saber and Kenobi’s body vanishes, leaving only his brown cloak on the floor and an astonished Darth Vader contemplating it. Only if Vader can explain such a disappearance can he truly be the Master.
Vader’s end is fitting. In the last great battle to destroy the Death Star, Vader in his Tie fighter is hot in pursuit of Luke’s X-wing, when Han Solo dispatches Vader’s wingman in a multicolored blaze. The shock blasts Vader’s ship and even his powers cannot persuade the melting controls to function. With one last, breathy scream, the evil one is propelled out into the endless reaches of space.One question remains -- is it possible the Dark Lord still survives? We can only wait and see.
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