The Tall, Dark, and Breathy Monster that was Darth Vader
When you read those two words, you will have two reactions (if not more).
The first reaction is your personal memories of seeing Darth Vader for the first time, while the second is probably hearing his scuba tank apparatus breathing in your head (which, btw, is where they got the iconic breathing sound associated with the man in black).
For yours truly, watching Vader hold the captain of the rebel ship in Episode IV, A New Hope, off the ground and furiously interrogate him before crushing his windpipe and tossing him aside like a simple obstacle was the point that I was intimidated. It only gets worse (better) from there.
Origins: We learn a roundabout and somewhat deceptive origin story from Obi-Wan Kenobi when he tells a young Luke Skywalker that Vader was Obi’s student that turned to the darkside and killed Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s daddy. It is fun to see how and where Vader actually came from throughout the films (even if it is more than a little heartbreaking) including his transformation from fallen Jedi Knight to Sith Lord to ¾ machine man but through media other than the movies we get to see who Vader was after the fire.
Lord Vader may have been the dupe of grand schemer Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine, but he was no pushover! And though he was chopped up and cooked next to a river of lava, Darth Vader was really forged by his time hunting down the Jedi one by one and helping the Dr. Evil of the SW galaxy bring it to heel under a big, shiny, black boot. Vader is also shades of the Russian historical figure Grigori Rasputin for reasons beyond the physical, check it out, it’s deep if you think about it!
Oh yeah, not to mention he exterminated the Jedi, with a few exceptions, while having his connection to the force extremely weakened by being mostly machine. Scary.
Powers and Abilities: Anakin was brought to life by the force, and Darth Vader was a master of using it to cause fear and death. Vader’s mobility was more limited than before he was reassembled with droid parts and living on a built-in respirator and healing tank, but his ferocity made up for this handicap many times over. Vader could crush the life out of people multiple star systems away via Skype (the SW equivalent, amazing how we catch up to sci-fi in the real world), take on massive amounts of attackers and cut through them like wheat, and so much more.
My Thoughts: Darth Vader was so many things wrapped into one. Tragedy, terror, rage, regret (google search “Vader finds C3-PO,” oh the feels!) loyal, murderously rebellious and vengeful, this list goes on.
Darth Vader is also, IMHO, who we relate to the most overall. Allow me to wax philosophical for a moment and I will explain briefly.
What moments in your life, where things went terribly wrong, and you were partially responsible at least, changed you into the person you are?
Let that sink in for a moment, then look at what happened to Anakin Skywalker, and what Darth Vader must have carried around for a quarter of a century inside his armored dome.
We also want to have hope that despite what we have become or done that the hero we want to be lurks in the shadow of all of that somewhere; a small hope but one that is un-killable.
You (and I) are Darth Vader, which is sad and beautiful at the same time.
Drop the mic.
Hit me up next time for my thoughts on one of the coolest SW Legends characters: HK-47