Darth Vader is a complex character. He was responsible for so many terrible things in the Star Wars universe, but never seemed to forget that he was, at one point, actually supposed to bring balance to everything. That amount of guilt can weigh heavy on anyone’s heart, and Vader suffered through it on top of having the worst boss ever and being a single dad who’s kids were stolen from him. This super-cut of Vader’s progression from pod racer to Padawan, and from Sith to souvenir chronicles the evolution of one of the greatest characters ever.
In any story, we often expect an ending in which the hero prevails and the villain gets every bit of comeuppance that they deserve. While those are surely neat and tidy ideas, the films and characters that stick with us are the ones where it’s not that simple. Seeing conflict in a hero or a villain makes for a better story and if we can see a villain redeem themselves and become heroic then it hits all the right heartstrings in ourselves. Not because we’re 100% good all the time, but because seeing that a bad guy can do better lets us know that we have the ability improve if we try hard enough.
I think that’s why, as evil as he was at times, people will always gravitate toward Darth Vader. He’s certainly not perfect and spent a great deal of his life on the Dark Side, but when it counted, he ultimately did the right thing. Granted, in that situation, the “right thing” was murdering his boss, but you know what I mean.
Even for a cynic like myself who dislikes certain portrayals of the character, the mash-up above by Movieclips Trailers is a beautiful overview of Anakin Skywalker’s life and redemption. Of course Kylo Ren is currently doing terrible things in his name, but I say that knowing that at the end of Return of the Jedi he was with Yoda and Obi Wan. Anakin clearly wouldn’t condone Kylo Ren’s actions and is likely disappointed in his grave-robbing fanboy of a grandson. Hopefully it’s all just a double agent scenario and Kylo is pulling a Severus Snape double-cross.
Thoughts on Vader’s evolution? Let’s discuss in the comments below!