CAUTION: What follows is a major digression from this website’s usual travel/adventure topics. But if you like Star Wars, this post will be a thought-provoking ride. Some of these thoughts contradict each other – but this is all just reflects my stream of consciousness and gives us a chance to talk about something fun. Enjoy!
One of my friends recently made a Facebook post with a Star Wars: The Force Awakens prediction – that Luke Skywalker would turn to the Dark Side. Sure enough, someone made a reference to Darth Vader being “redeemed.” That led me down a rabbit hole of thoughts about redemption, motives and Sith Lords. Let’s have a look.
Why Did Darth Vader Save Luke?
Everyone assumes it was for love of his son – the son whose hand he severed, the son he was oh-so-close to shooting down over the first Death Star, the son whose junior-varsity T-16 races he’s never been to.
No. I don’t care what he said in his dying moments. Vader acted out of hate for Darth Sidious and for his own ambition. Sidious engineered Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader, and Vader knew it. Sidious brought about the death of his wife, the loss of much of his Force sensitivity and the loss of his limbs (and at least one other appendage, and don’t think for a second that’s not humiliating and emasculating – just ask Theon Greyjoy). He forced Vader into a hideously uncomfortable armored suit that he needed to survive. He made Vader dependent on him for nearly everything. There was no love, no trust, no camaraderie at all between these two Sith. Vader loathed Sidious for all that happened to him.
Luke and his still-developing powers were Vader’s ticket out from under Sidious’ thumb, possibly even out of the suit that tortured him every moment of every day. And what better final “peace out, sucka” to Sidious than Luke enabling Vader to become the senior Sith?
Luke thought he could “feel the good” in Vader. But maybe what he detected was Vader’s willingness to usurp Sidious. A good act, sure. But a sign of more good acts to come? I have a hard time accepting that Vader would’ve renounced his Sith name, re-assumed his Anakin persona and gone on to a virtuous post-Sith life.
Can a Sith Actually Be “Redeemed”?
OK, Darth Vader did something good by tossing Sidious down that shaft. Does that wash away his crimes? There might be more than one answer to this. Had Vader survived his injuries and been brought before a New Republic tribunal for war crimes, my bet is an emphatic “Oh, hell, no.”
But the remaining Jedi … how would they view it? Are Jedi like evangelical Christians, where you can be history’s biggest murderer and yet have your immortal slate washed away by turning to Jesus and writing a blank check to live the rest of your life righteously? I can’t answer that.
Nor can I answer what a Sith would need to do to turn away from the Dark Side. Something tells me, though, that one good act couldn’t – in the eyes of the surviving Jedi or the New Republic – wash away the mop-up of the Jedi who survived Order 66, Alderaan and who knows how many other acts of mass and one-on-one murder.
And Something Else
Yoda clearly said “once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”
Now, that means jack and squat to me. The prequels reveal Yoda to be an out-of-touch, arrogant, catchphrase-gushing phlegmwad. If Yoda hadn’t been marinating in his aura of wisdom like a two-bit Croatian faith healer, he might’ve noticed a Sith Lord twerking the Jedi Council AND the Republic right under his nose.
So that whole “forever” stuff is probably more nonsense that he cooked up to frighten Padawans from thinking bad thoughts. If anything, that makes think a Sith could actually turn away from the Dark Side.
If Vader Had Lived By the Jedi Way, Luke Would Be Dead
How many warning did Anakin Skywalker receive about attachment? “Be mindful, Anakin. Miss them do not. Mourn them do not.” And so on.
Did Darth Vader learn his lesson? It’s easy to say no – that his attachment to Luke motivated him to rebel against Darth Sidious.
On the other hand, if he’d acted as a Jedi should, he would’ve let Luke die. So, to perform the good act of saving his son, he had to act out of attachment … like a Sith.
That’s All I Got
I hope you had fun joining me for a few random and oddball Star Wars thoughts. I can’t remember ever hearing anyone say anything like this before, so I thought it might be fun. Throw your comments in – I’m not offended by people who disagree. I just like talking to people who like some of the same things that I do. I’d love to hear some other thoughts about Star Wars that haven’t occurred to me.
- Why Being Luke’s Father Mattered (psychologytoday.com)