TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

Should Darth Vader Return for Episode 7?

As if the new Star Wars movie wasn’t looking enough like an exercise in nostalgia with the rumors about the return of the original core cast, now we’re being told that Darth Vader may be back from the dead in the still-untitled Episode 7. It’s so almost a good idea, but ultimately so far from being one…

As with any kind of attempt to bring back a much-beloved character, there are obvious reasons for and against the idea. Let’s start with the most obvious, most blunt fact in favor of a reborn Darth Vader: He is, by far, the most memorable character in the entire series, at least in terms of visuals (I think you can make an argument in terms of characterization, as well, even if you ignore the prequel trilogy all together; Vader goes from essentially-silent enforcer in the first movie to central character of the series by the end of the third, after all); his absence is keenly felt in the prequel trilogy, with the various attempts to replace him falling flat for various reasons (including, in General Greivous’ case, the fact that he looked as ridiculous as he did threatening. “Oh, it’s a skinny droid with a lot of arms!”). Bringing him back for the new movies not only has a certain merchandise-friendly appeal, it also fills a gap that impacted the previous three movies.

And then, the most obvious con: Darth Vader is dead.

Okay, maybe that looks like a cheap shot when put that bluntly, but still: Bringing back Darth Vader undoes the narrative arc of the six movies that already exist – or, at least, the redemptive arc for Anakin Skywalker that runs through at least The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi – by either retconning Vader/Skywalker’s rejection of his servitude in favor of protecting his family (Something that has narrative echoes with Anakin’s ridiculous Sandpeople rampage in Attack of The Clones) and subsequent appearance as a ghost in his Anakin form at the end of Return of The Jedi as… well, something that wasn’t really Darth Vader for whatever reason, or else by bringing the character literally back from the dead as some form of undead boogieman, which just seems to undercut the inherent optimism of the Star Wars series altogether: Even if you do the right thing in the end, you’ll end up staying a bad guy, because… that’s what you were for awhile.

And yet, thinking of things like that brings up the obvious realization that bringing Vader back makes a lot of sense because Star Wars as the movie series stands now is entirely a story about the character (or Anakin Skywalker, if that’s how you prefer him); his story, and it could be argued the story of Star Wars in general, ended in Return of The Jedi – After all, the wars of the title had ended in that movie – and continuing it without him feels a little… odd, perhaps? I’d write “unnecessary,” but I think that’s been pretty much covered already by the announcement in general.

The solution, perhaps, is for the new series to have a different Vader. It is, after all, a title and not a name, and the character’s look allows for anyone to be under that outfit without it impacting the visual recognition fans will get whenever he’s onscreen. As long as any potential Vader II has (1) good enough motivation for taking on the identity and (2) enough presence to fill the role without merely seeming like a retread of the original, it might be the best of all possible ways for the new movie to have its cake and eat it, too. Now, how quickly can someone convince Mark Hamill that Luke can only return to the new series if he turns evil and takes on his father’s legacy pretty damn quickly…?

News From Our Partners

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/OctoberDaniels October Daniels

    Great post. For the love of God, though, excise this monster of a run-on sentence for the sake of future readers’ sanity:

    “Okay, maybe that looks like a cheap shot when put that bluntly, but
    still: Bringing back Darth Vader undoes the narrative arc of the six
    movies that already exist – or, at least, the redemptive arc for Anakin
    Skywalker that runs through at least The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi
    – by either retconning Vader/Skywalker’s rejection of his servitude in
    favor of protecting his family (Something that has narrative echoes with
    Anakin’s ridiculous Sandpeople rampage in Attack of The Clones) and subsequent appearance as a ghost in his Anakin form at the end of Return of The Jedi as… well, something that wasn’t really Darth Vader for whatever reason, or else by bringing the character literally back from the dead as some form of undead boogieman, which just seems to undercut the inherent optimism of the Star Wars
    series altogether: Even if you do the right thing in the end, you’ll
    end up staying a bad guy, because… that’s what you were for awhile.”

    I’m pretty sure my brain broke about halfway through reading that part. I’ll be suing for damages as soon as I find a lawyer who believes me.

  • Bob

    Oh god, if they do that I will be so pissed. Dark Empire was ass.

  • Jon Carroll

    If “Vader” comes back it should only be as a force ghost. Bringing him back only cheapens the sacrifice at the end of Jedi. 

  • Stacer Reeves Dog Photographer

    no

  • Stacer Reeves Dog Photographer

    no

  • Jmcreer

    Yeah, bring him back as one of Leia’s kids. He’s a great visual character, and I would like to see an updated version of him on the big screen. He’s the perfect legacy character.

  • Dcable

    The idea of trying to create a villain as memorable as Darth Vader may be daunting, but it isn’t impossible.  Reusing him instead of trying to do it is just lazy.  Using the prequels as an example, Darth Maul would have fit the bill if they didn’t kill him off.  Having Ben Kenobi face down the guy that killed his mentor would have created a much more potent emotional arc than just having him replaced each movie by an unmemorable character (see Dooku & Grievous.)  All you really need to do to replace Vader is create a villain for the entire next trilogy.  The Star Wars universe certainly is expansive enough to give the creators plenty of creative options to choose from.      

  • Sundevil79

    Graeme, building off of your article, I like the idea of having Vader return, but the mystery of the movie is whether or not it is the original Vader. He’ll claim to be, and the others will not be a able to “sense” whether he is or not. Whether he turns out to be the original or not, I’ll leave to Disney.

  • Sundevil79

    Another possible scenario could be to open Episode 7 with Luke Skywalker’s funeral. Then have a new Vader arrive shortly afterwards. The audience at large knows Mark Hammil is in the movie, so you have Mark pop up in flashback sequences, or in “spirit” form. Luke has a kid at this point who’s in his late teens -early 20’s. The movie revolves around the Skywalker kid tracking down Vader and trying to understand his legacy. The reveal is that Luke is somehow the new Vader, and sets the stage for the following 2 movies. The Skywalker kid’s quest to stop/help his father.

  • Demoncat4

    could not agree more that bringing vader back would undo the original story . including him being a ghost at the end of return of the jedi unless they keep him as a ghost or say he is back because some mad scientist cloned him other wise the ones in charge of the new film should just leave vader alone

  • a11mark

    All Ill say on this is, do you remember in episode 3 when Palpatine promises that the dark side can prevent death to Anakin #justsaying

  • Blakeastro

    this could actually be the ONLY way to successfully bring this back to the screen.

    think about it… if all the novels are canon, then we’re looking at a new trilogy set after the current books.  think years of struggle and conflicts; chewbacca is dead; luke, han and leia in their 60’s-70’s with adult children (and probably teenage grandchildren); all kinds of @#$% has gone down and we are in a new era of prosperity. 

    luke is the grand jedi master.  leia is a jedi master in her own right and part of the galactic alliance. han is a high ranking alliance official (admiral, i suppose).  there is a tense peace again… everything depends on the delicate truces that were established following the 2nd galactic civil war… when what happens?  the dark lord of the sith reappears.  with anakin skywalker dead, who could this new vader be?

    this stuff writes itself.  obviously not the same vader, but as a symbol of the empire, it would make sense that someone with the power and will to overthrow the alliance would take on his mantle.

    of course, you would have the skywalker/solo offspring become the new protaganists… and possibly one of them is the new vader…?  who knows?  by this point jacen is already dead after becoming cadeus, but we don’t need to delve too deep into that.  this can easily be a huge story that EVERYONE could follow.

    DO IT.

  • Lewis4510

    They did basically say forget anything you think know about what happens to Luke after ROTJ.

    (1) he goes dark after all becoming Darth Vader 2.0.

    (2) he rebuilds the Jedi knights.

    (3) He trains a promising powerful young jedi but he fails as Obi-Wan did creating a new Vader.

    (4) Vader had an apprentice he was secretly training but who fled after the fall of the empire. He was too young or not strong enough at the time, so he hid biding his time until he was ready to strike as the new Vader.

  • Lcsl1

    Darth Vader as a clone is a very interesting idea, it reminds me of when Ripley was cloned for Alien Resurection after she killed herself at the end of Alien 3.
    So if they do bring back Vader then it is a logical explanation that he was cloned in some way and his mind has been re-conditioned by the dark side.

    As the prequel trilogy was set about thirty years before Episode IV (ANH) it would make sense for the sequel trilogy to be set 30 years after episode VI (ROTJ). This way it would work if original cast were to return playing older versions of Han, Luke and Leia.
    The more characters that can be brought back from the original trilogy, the better. Yoda’s ghost could even make an appearance.
    Can’t wait till 2015.

  • Sebastian Cipolla

    Agreed 100% 
    In fact…. I must confess that when I first saw the ending of The Phantom Menace I thought Maul would come back put together as some sort of Vader for the prequel trilogies… it would have worked a lot better than changing bad guys like they did…

  • Sebastian Cipolla

    If you want to make money with Vader, just re release the old Starwars movies in 3D or something like that… Episode 7 should move on and do something new with the old characters… that are still alive of course… Disney folks: get to work and don’t be lazy!!! Create a new villain, better than Vader, and the Emperor combined… It’s not an easy task, but I’m sure it’s possible… Don’t mess it up with stupid moves like this one… 

  • Sebastian Cipolla

    Sure… then the emperor is coming back? or maybe Plagueis (Palpatine’s Master)… Vader was cooked in a bonfire at the end of ROTJ… there’s no coming back from that, I can tell you!!

  • Sebastian Cipolla

    I wouldn’t leave anything to Disney… the original news about vader coming back was backed by the informer by saying “remeber, it’s science fiction”… if Disney truly thinks like this, they surely believe they can get away with anything, maybe a Gungan musical? Or chewbacca having a son with an ewok??? 

  • Blakeastro

    the best way to do it is to spend the first movie introducing the new status quo, new characters and new villians.  everything is being masterminded by a mystery villian.  end of first movie, BAM… darth vader.  it should TOTALLY not be anakin though.  clone or anything.  NOT anakin.

    the idea of luke possibly falling to the dark side after years of fighting, rebuilding the jedi, and struggling with his losses is intriguing, but maybe too on the nose.

    this can totally work.  they should find some new faces to fill the new roles though.  i would hate to see zac efron or a jonas brother with a lightsaber.

  • Methix0r

    No he should not , Darth Vader is dead ,  He doesn’t exist anymore a) he died  b) before he died he became anikan skywalker again , Therefore  vader no longer exists  at the end of return of the jedi you saw the redeeemd spirit of anakin skywalker  as a jedi what he looked like before he  turned ot the dark side  at the end of revenge of the sith ,  There is only  one darth vader and is no longer exists cant people understand that you cant just call some other jedi or sith darth vader it has never been done in the history of the start wars universe no  sith lord takes on another sith lords name i swear to god if they do this it will ruin the entire  6 film trilogy before it and i will never ever see this movie    so long as i am  alive there is only  1 darth vader and  that is anaikan skywalker  the title given to him by the emperor himself. leave anikan and vader alone ,  If  Vader does return it will be anikan  , vader was destroyed by anikan skywalker when he   redeemed himself  and became a jedi once more.

  • Martin Allmark

    the suit was is armour and life support no one said it wasn’t fire proof and the other side of the coin is………its a movie, they can do what they like if it brought in the $$$

  • Oll

    I got my hopes up when I heard the writer of Little Miss Sunshine was on this project but the idea of bringing back Vader (short of a Dread Pirate Roberts-same-mask-different-person scenario) suggests the kind of “anything is possible” mentality that made the prequels lack any kind of gravity or consequence.  Imagine if Tolkien had brought back Smoug for Lord of the Rings.  There would be so many themes we never got to explore and nobody would care if the characters defeated Smoug again because it could always be reversed.  You can’t bring back the magic of the originals by literally repeating things from them.  You need to create new things based on the internal logic and aesthetic sensibility of star wars.