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Did Anakin's "redemption" weaken the legend of Darth Vader?

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by Jimba Fett, Oct 17, 2015.

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Did Anakin's redemption weaken the legend of Darth Vader?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    11.6%
  2. No

    37 vote(s)
    86.0%
  3. Maybe

    1 vote(s)
    2.3%
  1. Jimba Fett

    Jimba Fett Rebelscum

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    After a post on another thread I had the thought that maybe Anakin's redemption was more about tying up loose ends for the OT. It certainly fits with the idea of it being a fairy tale, a happy ever after. It's only that even though Lucas stated that it's a fairy tale set in a galaxy far far away it also exhibits traits of being an epic tragedy amongst other styles. Vader is an amazing epic tragedy figure. A man, a genius of messianic proportions who falls from grace to become the most feared villain in the galaxy as well as the greatest villain in popular culture.

    Lucas also stated at one time that mythology is something we need again. With star wars he in effect created a modern mythology. Vader, not the emperor and not Luke skywalker stood in this mythological story like a God. In the first star wars movie a legend was born.

    At the concluding part of return of the jedi when Vader is dying and he asks Luke to remove his mask so he can see him with his own eyes I feel Vader's end is indeed tragic.

    The removal of his mask is more than the Death of Vader, it's the Death of his allure, his mystery and the legend itself.

    By giving Anakin his redemption you undermine Vader's power in the process. The best villains die as villians so their legend lives on. By killing Vader in this way you deprive the character of his notoriety.

    I'm not entirely opposed to how the story ends. I actually like the idea of seeing the two trilogies as Anakin's story. I can also see how as Anakin is redeemed it's a nice ending, a happy ever after.

    The problem is Anakin and Vader are one and the same person. This means to see Vader as having even an ounce of humanity is to water down his essence and taint his purity as being a complete badass evil villain. It's the evil, the mask, the costume and the voice we love so much. To remove all of that is to say his legend is false. To me that scene with Luke makes me so sad. Not because Luke has lost a father but because we have lost Vader....
     
    #1 Jimba Fett, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
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  2. Bandini

    Bandini Jedi Commander

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    I never loved Vader. He always killed the weaks and kneeled in front of the strong. He was the pathetic executioneer of a Master. He was the slave he was when he was a kid.
     
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  3. Jimba Fett

    Jimba Fett Rebelscum

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    An interesting point of view. He actually killed anyone who got in his way. Weak, strong, he killed indiscriminately. He did exactly what was expected of him as Sith Apprentice. It was only a matter of time before he would have decided not to kneel for his master but defeat him as the rule of two demands. I agree with you to a point. All evil in itself is a weakness, it's not something to be admired. It is however something people will always find fascinating. It's also figures like Vader in fiction that we are drawn to. I can't say I understand the psychology of it but it's an undeniable truth. My comment was more about how the character is perceived in popular culture not necessarily in the story.
     
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  4. Get In Gear

    Get In Gear Force Sensitive

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    For me, it always has to come back to: is this an interesting story; is this an interesting movie; why do I care about these characters?

    So, firstly, what is "the legend of Darth Vader" outside of what that phrase actually means to the people in the films themselves?
    Was he a legend? Maybe to some. Seems to me people like Motti didn't have a great deal of respect for him at all. Feared him maybe, but that's a different story altogether.
    Secondly, would anyone within the movies have known what actually went down on the second Death Star, other than - Palpatine is dead, Vader is dead and the Death Star has gone kaboom...?

    So then you step outside of the "legend" within the movies, and look at our perception of Vader as a character in a story, and every time I would take the more complex "is Luke's father, turned to the Dark Side and is ultimately redeemed" version over anything else. I mean that IS the story of Star Wars. I don't know how you can separate Star Wars from that story really.
    I mean, the first film is great as a standalone, and was a obviously game-changer in the world of cinema back in 1976 in many ways, but - from my own personal point of view - when Vader reveals that he is Luke's father, and then everything after that, is where the character takes on a whole other level of greatness.
    That lingering look from the bridge of the Executor as the Falcon blasts away at the end of TESB, and then seeing him stride past the Imperial lackeys he would normally be choking, but isn't, because he's clearly got other things on his mind - those are the kind of moments that make Vader a great charater to me.

    For me, the legend of Darth Vader IS that we were introduced to this rather stereotypical big bad guy, and eventually the layers were peeled back to reveal a normal, frail old man with feelings beneath the monster... that IS Vader, and that is what makes him appealing as a character.
    To me at least.
    I don't think Star Wars - the orginal films at least - would have resonated with me half as much as they do if Luke had just defeated Vader and the Emperor and that was it, the bad guys were beaten - the end.
    Some people love the prequels; some people hate them - we all know that.
    Some people point to ROTJ and say - this is where "the cracks started appearing": Look, there are Ewoks; Obi-Wan's "certain point of view" backtracking; Leia is Luke's sister etc.
    I appreciate those criticisms, but - again, just my opinion - ROTJ also contains some of the absolute core Star Wars moments. I don't think I'd have prefered it to pan out any other way...
     
    #4 Get In Gear, Oct 18, 2015
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  5. Gargantos

    Gargantos Rebel Trooper

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    I always though the same! In a way he was a slave his entire life (Gardulla, the jedi and then Palpatine/the Empire), maybe he never knew anything else. Still he was a force to be reckoned with. The only one who didnt fear him was probably his own master and in the end he stood up against him and threw him off the deathstar after being completely wrecked and maimed by his own son. I dont think it weakens him in any way.
     
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  6. Trevor

    Trevor Rebellion Arms Supplier
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    His redemption solidified his legendary status (forgive the reference) almost on a biblical scale...so to speak.

    "The chosen one, to be the greatest Jedi in history is manipulated by the Dark Side and falls, only to be redeemed by the son that never gave up on the goodness that her knew his father possessed....and in the end, he sacrificed himself for the love of the child that he never knew."

    To me, it's very profound.
     
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  7. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi General

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    All of that is true, but there's more to Vader than that.

    He was a slave not just when he was a kid, but for his entire life. First a slave to Watto, then a slave to the Jedi Order, then a slave to the Empire. The only free breath he ever took was when Luke removed his helmet.
     
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  8. Amanaman

    Amanaman Rebel Official

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    I totally agree with you my friend. Up until ESB, Vader was just another villain we wanted the hero to destroy so that good may have triumphed. Just another drone in the service of his master and the guy responsible for Ben's death and Leia's torture in ANH and Han's torture and carbonite freeze. We saw him as a simple heartless monster who cared for nothing and even the lives of his servants meant nothing to him. It wasn't till the moment after ''Luke I am your Father'' that we start seeing Vader in an all new light. I could say more but I think your explanation covers it all in the best way possible.
     
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  9. Jimba Fett

    Jimba Fett Rebelscum

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    @Amanaman @Bandini @Pobody's Nerfect @Trevor @Gargantos @Get In Gear
    Great comments everyone. It seems that people see Vader only as the man behind the mask. Flawed and pitiful who with one last act redeems himself in the process and joins his other Jedi brethren and becomes a force ghost. Again it tidies everything up and it ends on a good note. The thing I can't buy about the whole redemption thing is if you think about any one in our history who has caused atrocities, murdered and butchered innocent people, killed children you would say that person is beyond redemption. They are not worthy of forgiveness and many of us would say they deserve a very slow and painful death. To excuse Anakin's grotesque acts by simply saying he was merely a slave all of his life, that he was manipulated by Palpatine to do his bidding is to imply he wasn't responsible for his own actions. I'll ask you this if Vader had killed the emperor to save his son but had lived do you honestly believe he would have given up the mantle of Sith Master? What is more believable is he would have continued to attempt to make Luke his apprentice despite a sith weakness of his attachment to Luke...
     
    #9 Jimba Fett, Oct 18, 2015
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  10. Jimba Fett

    Jimba Fett Rebelscum

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    You are right it is profound. It is profound that Luke at the cusp of ending his father's life throw's down his lightsaber because of his belief in the lightside of the force and being a Jedi. Luke had a lot of anger towards his father which is understandable but basically he is a decent human being and ending his own father's life would have been unthinkable to him. However Luke didn't know a great deal about his father and all of the terrible things he did as Vader. I don't believe he would have had as much love for his father if he had known the full extent of his evil history. I think if Anakin beneath the mask sacrificed his own life for his son it was the least he could do for all the misery and pain he brought to others. I don't believe in the redemption of Anakin. It is an unfortunate almost Hollywood ending which is dictated by the necessary closure of a trilogy. Had the films not been limited in this way I don't think Vader would have felt the need to sacrifice himself when he could have quite easily lifted the emperor off the ground and threw him with the force at speed. That certainly would have been more believable than the manner in which the extremely powerful Emperor was killed by Vader at the end of the film. Anakin as a person was never like his son Luke. He was already flawed to begin with. To me Luke is the chosen one and displays this fact throughout OT. Anakin shows time and time again in the PT how he clearly isn't the chosen one. Extremely gifted yes but he is flawed while his son is as pure as the driven snow.
     
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  11. Duke Sywalker

    Duke Sywalker Rebel Trooper

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    The fact that Vader was evil is not a fact, just a point of view. If you believe that you are righteous, are you really evil, or just misguided? The end for the Emperor was always down to Anakin, he had forseen it. The separation of Vader & Anakin was his realisation that he was doing wrong, and this was needed to end his story. To return him from the dark side. It enhances the character, not detracts from it.
     
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  12. Jimba Fett

    Jimba Fett Rebelscum

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    His acts were evil. They couldn't have been misconstrued any other way. The point I made to start with is about Darth Vader as Vader not Anakin beneath the mask. After Vader announced he was Luke's father and he was having conflict in his mind about his son I'm not entirely sure it worked for the character as well as it could have. I would have preferred it if he had wanted to groom his son into becoming his apprentice. To use the right words in order for Luke to think it would benefit the galaxy if he were to join forces and overthrow the emperor. I've got to say I would have prefered the story to have taken that turn. I wanted Vader to be true to his nature. The conflict he had seemed to be an aberration after everything he had done. He seemed to have swung in the other direction far too easily for me. Return of the jedi could have been alot better!
     
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  13. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    Vader's redemption in ROTJ (I'm pretending the PT never happened) is the reason why SW is head and shoulders better then any blockbuster franchise.

    If you look at the OT there is so much going on with the good guys to flesh out, now we see the bad guy fleshed out.

    I say this cause the Vader redemption in 1983 went right over my head as I was 11 years old and cared more about the good guys.

    But as I explored the OT again years later as an adult I started to appreciate Vader's redemption or Luke's failure at the cave. I liked that Lucas didn't have Luke kill his father like every revenge movie, instead he throws down his lightsaber. What summer blockbuster are you going to see the hero do that and essentially give himself up to the villain?

    I feel for Anakin when his force ghost appears (played by Sebastian Shaw) so I can say it didn't weaken the Vader character when I watch 4,5,6.
     
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  14. alluvialedaempfer

    alluvialedaempfer Rebel Commander

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    If you go as far as Vader being a Samurai to his Shogun then yes- the redemption weakened the legend. Within the movie to make it work I say simply no it did not.
     
    #14 alluvialedaempfer, Oct 24, 2015
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  15. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Rebel Official

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    I agree.

    During ANH Vader is taking orders from Governor Tarkin and his aides have the courage do disagree with his actions ("holding her is dangerous"). At the end of the film it becomes obvious he has failed: in retrieving the Death Star plans, preventing the Death Star from being destroyed and putting an end to the Rebel Alliance.

    By the time of ESB he seems to have found his own sense of purpose, i.e. get a hold of his son to overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy as father and son. Nothing will stop him to accomplish that, but at the end what's the result? Big failure, again.

    The early drafts of ROJ illustrate Jerjerrod as the new right hand man of the Emperor after Vader has somewhat fallen out of favor. The scene where Jerjerrod denies Vader access to the Emperor's elevator may have been deleted for good reasons, but it's still obvious that the Emperor didn't like Vader's intrusion, having him told to stay on the command ship.

    The ANH novelization described that Vader would have preferred the presence of equals rather than mundanes as Tarkin and Motti. Yet, he never was an equal but only a servant who did what he was told by his master. And since he learned that the Emperor didn't mind Luke killing him and taking his place, the ultimate question still remains how much of his final action was truly on behalf of his son and how much was really vengeance for never having been acknowledged by the Emperor as an equal (remember the original film title Revenge of the Jedi?)
     
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  16. PartialMitch

    PartialMitch Rebel Trooper

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    But Vader was not a villain. He was a tragic hero, in the mold of Greek tragedy. His pride and anger brought him down. Yeah, when Lucas first came up with him, he was nothing but a big bad guy, but as the story was formed, he became something much more than that. His redemption became the purpose of the OT, and it made him a more interesting, complicated and satisfying character.
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 28, 2015, Original Post Date: Oct 28, 2015 ---
    Eh, I've never seen it that way. If Vader wanted to strike at Palpatine, he could have done so at any point during the throne room fight. All he wanted right then was to convert Luke. I've always taken it that it was Luke's actions—tossing aside his lightsaber, saying "No," to the Dark Side and sacrificing his own desires (and potentially letting his Rebel friends and family die)—that really redeemed Vader.

    Vader watched Luke be a bigger, better man than Anakin ever was. "Follow me, or the ones you love will die," is exactly the same offer Palpatine made to Vader. Vader chose to save Padme, regardless of the consequences. I lived half my life before the Prequels, and that's how RotJ has always seemed to me. Even before we knew the story, we knew that Vader had chosen to follow the Emperor, despite having once been a great Jedi. Vader got to see his own son make the choice that Anakin had been too weak to make. That's powerful stuff.

    With the added info from the Prequels (which were undoubtedly flawed, but still had good moments), it becomes even more dramatic. What did Vader see right then, as Luke writhed under the Force lightning? He saw Mace Windu in a Coruscanti window. It was a replay of one of the worst, most decisive moments of his life; but he had just watched Luke choose to stand against evil, even if the cost was his life (and quite possibly the lives of Leia, Han and the entire Rebellion). The entire story came full-circle, and Vader found himself in the position to make a new choice. This time, he made the right one, all because of Luke's conviction.

    Star Wars (especially the OT) is about redemption. Han and (to a lesser degree) Lando found their redemption, in a way so did Obi-Wan and Yoda (since they repaired the mistakes of the past), and Vader definitely did.

    Also, there's the whole Force ghost thing. I'm not sure that Anakin could have transcended to that level, had his action against Palpatine been simple revenge.
     
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  17. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Rebel Official

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    ^^ You delivered a very sound counter-argument (ironically the Force ghost appearance is a strong factor but the one big continuity flaw between PT and OT, because acoording to the PT only Qui-Gonn, Yoda and Obi-Wan knew!), where I tried to suggest a rationalization to make Vader's rather unexpected change of mind (IMHO) more plausible.

    For starters where was a credible family bond between Luke and Vader? While being his biological father, I'd dare to say that Luke was more in need of a father (figure) than Vader in need of a son. To Vader Luke was rather an asset, a tool he thought he could use to overthrow the Emperor, possibly aware of Luke's need for a father which played a considerable role in his attempt to make Luke join him in Bespin.

    Their next encounter is at the Endor landing platform where they talk. I'd dare to say that Luke must have make a big impression, coming there unarmed and unafraid. It's probably one of the few times Vader came face-to-face with a true "equal" after his conversion. Yet, the time is rather short to create a kind of real father-son bonding and it's anything but clear what kind of "conflict" could possibly occur or arise in the Dark Lord. Luke suggests that they both go somewhere else and leave everything behind, but Vader replies he must obey his master. Luke assumes that because of the "good" in him, Vader didn't kill him at Bespin, not realizing (?) that he is merely the biological off-spring, but still an valuable asset in the plans of the Emperor.

    Next we see both of them fighting in the Emperor's throne room, and I never had the impression that Vader was in any sort "soft" trying to defeat and kill Luke (those who believe in the PT could say it was either him or Luke, a fight to the death). Then he realizes that Luke has a sister (more like Luke has a sister with no "I have a daughter") and suggests to turn her to the Dark Side, if Luke won't - which makes Luke go berserk who defeats Vader by chopping of his right hand which makes Luke realize what kind of path he just entered.

    Finally Luke says no to the Emperor who in return torments Luke with Force energy bolts. Witnessing the torture something happens in Vader who then grabs the Emperor and throws him down the tower shaft to save Luke's life.

    Now, I'd dare to say that Vader probably has seen plenty of similar tortures (definitely plenty of bodies) so why the sudden change of mind on behalf of somebody he tried to kill himself several minutes earlier and is merely his biological ofspring?

    Some explanations I tried to come up (or a combination of these):

    1) Luke is the last connection to his mother Vader has and perhaps reminds him of her strong and ethical will
    2) Luke (and Leia) is the really only worthwhile "thing" Vader accomplished during his life and feels the need to save that
    3) Vader realizes that the Emperor won't bring peace and order to the galaxy and his children are the last hope for that

    Reasons 1) and 2) are of a selfish and personal nature which IMHO shouldn't be enough to get him the "return ticket" to the neutral side of the Force, leaving 3) as the only one which would not be of such a selfish and personal nature and qualify as a "redemption".

    But it's still rather sudden and implausible, IMHO.

    Of course, alternate explanations almost look worse. Personally, I have no other explanation for the unbelievable transition of Anakin to the Dark Side in the PT than the theory that Anakin was a very weak-minded chap and Palpatine used all his brainwashing powers on him during these pivotal moments in Episode III (and beyond). But then the concept of "free will" would go down the drain and we'd have the terrible "It wasn't me, it was the hooded evil guy who made me do these things" apologetic explanation.
    Well, it's obvious that the Emperor was so focused on Luke that he didn't notice that he had loosened Vader's "mental" leash.

    I then could rather live with the subtle but present hint by Ben:

    LUKE I can't do it, Artoo. I can't go on alone.

    BEN (OS) Yoda will always be with you.

    In ESB that sounded rather different:

    BEN If you choose to face Vader, you
    will do it alone. I cannot interfere.

    So is it possible that Yoda as a sort of guardian angel talked some sense into Vader while he was watching Luke being tormented, certain the Emperor was pre-occupied with doing his Force bolt thing?

    If you accept the PT as canon, I dare to say that is quite a realistic if not inevitable possibility. Considering that only Qui-Gonn, Yoda and Ben had learned the knowledge how to attain immortal consciousness and appear as a Force ghost, they must have provided Anakin with some speed-learning after his return to the Jedi, otherwise Anakin would not have managed to appear as a Force ghost.
     
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  18. stencil

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    Points on why I think Vader's redemption was not arbitrary:

    1) It is strongly implied by the Emperor that Vader has "feelings" for Luke, even though Vader denies it. Vader may not have been fully aware of these feelings himself, but I believe they're there.
    2) You can hear the pathos in Vader's voice during the speech on the Bespin catwalk, again in Jedi when he says "It's too late for me". He has feelings for Luke and is conflicted himself.
    3) Luke and Leia are a reminder of his humanity - of who he once was but thought was completely dead. As the trilogy progresses he realizes this. In the opening of A New Hope he is an unstoppable war machine. By the end of Jedi he is human again.

    It feels totally natural to me. I don't think Lucas had that arc in mind when he made A New Hope so the progression isn't really there, but by the time he did Empire it's clear to me (in hindsight of course) that this was his long game for Vader. I think it works amazingly.

    BTW, as a kid I wasn't really moved by Vader's redemption. I think I would have preferred for Luke to destroy him. Now that I'm old and a dad those scenes move me to tears and basically are the best part of the saga to me.
     
  19. Jimba Fett

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  20. Jimba Fett

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    I have enjoyed reading all of the comments so far. It seems the general consensus is most people love Anakin's redemption story.

    Now while I quite like the idea of the redemption story, ultimately it seems to have been forced into the narrative. There seems to be a dramatic shift from TESB to ROTJ in Vader's motives and in the way he feels towards his son. TESB points to the fact he wants to defeat the Emperor with the help of his son. In ROTJ he has given up the idea of making Luke his apprentice and seems accepting of his son becoming his master's apprentice instead. Why the change of plan? What transformed this dark character, so powerful? In TESB he desired power, to rule the galaxy with or without his son. In ROTJ he resigned himself to the fact he might be replaced. That it was too late to do anything about it. That he was destined to be his master's servant until the day when his services were no longer needed. All of these things simply don't add up.
     
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