On Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Balance Of The Force

Although, Anakin was played robotically by Hayden Christensen during most of the trilogy prequels, the Star Wars fan will always see beyond the thin makings of the movies and into the deeper mystery that is Darth Vader. Thankfully, Lucas eliminated Jar-Jar Bings and let us concentrate on the meat of the story.

As predicted by the prophecy, Vader did bring balance to the Force, but at what price? Was the betrayal and epic legendary battle necessary for the good of the Republic? The Jedi were loosing parts of their abilities to use the Force. Does this mean that the balance needed to be struck to heal the Force?

Yes, because Lucas had chosen to portray the Republic as stagnant and tittering on the verge of self annihilation. Unless someone grabbed power to consolidate the Republic in a new manner, the vestiges of the Republic would turn on themselves and wage war until nothing was left of it.

This scenario is reminiscent of the fall of Trantor in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels. There was no way to stop the fall of Trantor and the 1st Galactic Empire, only a way to make the years of conflict be shorter than the 30 millenia of chaos that psychohistory had predicted.

To that effect, the Emperor did the Republic a favor by slaying it’s last vestiges of democracy. Was the Empire evil in its nature? Partly because the Emperor was using all of his Dark Side might to manipulate its intricacies. But that didn’t make the common soldier or bureaucrat of the Empire evil.

Expendable in the eyes of the Rebellion.

The Rebellion had been fighting for a return to the old values.

The Jedi Knights fell as well, with only two left over to counter the Emperor and Vader. In the eyes of the all encompassing Force, this was a balance. A true balance.

How betrayed the Jedi must have felt when they realized the irony of what had happened. The prophecy was accomplished and a balance was struck. Little did they know that the balance was so heavily tipped in their favor that the Force needed something extraordinary to be able to make this happen. This was the reason why Anakin was born.

With all his virtues and faults, Anakin was the canvas of the Force. The Force in my eyes isn’t something conscious. It is willful though in its own way and has a way of making things happen that you wouldn’t expect. How could the Jedi not know of this? Maybe they did, but didn’t realize what was needed for this balance to be attained.

Yoda as the biological entity in the Republic which was the most attuned of the Force must have known that something along these lines would happen. This is why he was against the training of Anakin from the start, but the Force knew that through Qui-Gon-Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi could not disobey the dying wishes of his master.

Anakin is pitiful in his weaknesses. At every turn, he dismisses the Jedi Code, ignoring millennia of Jedi philosophers and doctrine. Starting a relationship with Padmé and marrying her, even though he knew he was wrong. Consorting with Palpatine, even though he knew something was wrong in his heart of hearts. Was Anakin naïve, stupid and ignorant, or did he willfully do what was ordained by the Force, without blinking. The Force created him but he was free to make up his own mind, or was he?

Through Anakin’s weakness, the Emperor was able to topple the Jedi and forge the Empire. Anakin was not beyond redemption. He could still be saved, that is what the Jedi felt him in, his inherent goodness, a goodness so naïve and vulnerable that anything would easily shatter it.

Anakin became beyond redemption when he accepted to be Darth Sidious’ apprentice. But that was not the final straw. The final breaking point is when he slaughtered all of the Jedi at the Jedi Temple, including the Younglings.

Without mercy.

Beyond Redemption.

That is what defined him at that time.

Still, Luke found good in his father after all this time and was able to save him in the end of all things. Yet his fall was more magnificent that his saving will ever be.

A Hero Falls

In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Obi-Wan return from the Outer Rim to rescue a kidnapped Palpatine during the Battle of Coruscant. They board the Invisible Hand, flagship of the Separatist fleet and its cyborg leader, General Grievous (Matthew Wood). Tracking the captive Chancellor to the observation deck, they duel with Count Dooku. While Obi-Wan is unconscious, Anakin faces the Sith Lord alone. Following a short duel, Anakin overpowers Dooku and neatly sears off both of his hands. Palpatine then commands Anakin to behead the shocked Count. Anakin gives in to his anger and complies, but instantly regrets it, as killing a defenseless prisoner is not the Jedi way.

After rescuing the Chancellor, Anakin finds that the flagship is in critical condition, and, with some help from Obi-Wan, barely lands its front half safely on an airstrip.

Anakin returns to Coruscant, where Padmé tells him she is pregnant. He is initially overjoyed, but that night has a horrible nightmare of Padmé dying in childbirth. He is immediately afraid this vision will come true, as it is similar to the one he had of his mother just before she died.

Palpatine, who by now has amassed near-dictatorial power in the Senate, makes Anakin his representative on the Jedi Council. The suspicious Council accepts Anakin, but denies him the rank of Jedi Master, and tell him to spy on Palpatine. Angered, Anakin loses all faith in the Council. Ultimately, the Chancellor offers him the chance to learn the dark side, which he claims holds the power to prevent death. Anakin realizes that Palpatine is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, and reports Palpatine’s secret to Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). He soon follows Windu to the Chancellor’s office to make sure Palpatine is taken alive.

Anakin arrives to find Windu holding his lightsaber on a disarmed Palpatine. Windu declares the Dark Lord of the Sith under arrest, but Palpatine defiantly unleashes a torrent of Force lightning at Windu. The Jedi Master deflects the lightning with his lightsaber back at Palpatine, hideously scarring his face. The attack continues unabated until Palpatine seemingly tires, giving Windu a chance to strike a deathblow. Anakin pleads with Windu to spare Palpatine’s life, but Windu refuses, insisting that Palpatine is too dangerous to be kept alive. As Windu raises his lightsaber to deliver the final blow, Anakin intervenes, severing Windu’s right hand. Palpatine then springs to life, bombarding him with Force lightning and hurling him out the window to his death. Anakin then submits to the dark side, and is dubbed Darth Vader.

Vader’s first task as a Sith Lord is to assault the Jedi Temple and to kill everyone inside, including the younglings. Vader is then sent to Mustafar to assassinate the Separatist leaders. After completing this task, he is met by Padmé, who pleads with him to flee Palpatine’s grasp with her. He refuses, saying that the two of them can overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy together. Obi-Wan, who had hidden himself on Padmé’s ship, suddenly emerges. Vader accuses Padmé of conspiring against him, and uses the dark side to choke her into unconsciousness. Kenobi and Vader then engage in an intense lightsaber duel throughout the mining complex. After a fierce duel, Kenobi severs Vader’s left arm and both of his legs. As Vader comes into contact with the molten metal, he catches fire and is nearly immolated. Obi-Wan leaves him to die, but Palpatine comes to Vader’s rescue.

Palpatine reconstructs his apprentice’s ruined body with the iconic suit of black armor first seen in A New Hope. Once Vader regains consciousness, Palpatine tells him that Padmé had died as a result of Vader’s anger. (She had in fact died in childbirth after delivering Luke and Leia.) This half-truth breaks what remains of Anakin’s spirit, and he screams in torment. As he realizes this shocking truth, Vader blames himself, and subconsciously realizes that Darth Vader — the fearless warrior he imagines himself to be — does not really exist, and that only Anakin Skywalker is responsible for his fall from grace. He is last seen overseeing the construction of the first Death Star at Palpatine’s side.

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4 Responses to “On Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Balance Of The Force”

  1. 1 Gildersleeve May 5, 2008 at 13:41

    I wouldn’t say that Anakin was “pitiful.” He fell to many of the same weaknesses that plague every generation and have haunted humanity for millenia. If I had nightmares of my mother dying and failed to protect her from murder, I would lose it on her murderers. If I then had the same nightmares of my wife and child, I would be haunted.

    I think the rise and fall of the Empire in Star Wars best resmbles the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Like Adolf Hitler, Palpatine came from out of nowhere to take over society and commit the worst acts of tyranny in history. The Rebellion resembles the Allies, made of people that believe they are fighting for freedom. There obviously weren’t any Vader/Luke figures like that in history unless Harry Truman was the secret lovechild of Herman Goerring.

  1. 1 thais » Are We Not Machines? Trackback on April 4, 2008 at 12:18
  2. 2 The one who will balance the Farce ? « E.U.tilitarian Commons Trackback on May 19, 2009 at 01:12
  3. 3 On Star Wars: The Saga Of Darth Vader « memoirs on a rainy day Trackback on February 8, 2011 at 12:28

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