Thanks to the magic of tiered cable television, I’ve seen ‘Star Wars’ more in the last few months than in the previous 30 years.  Thanks to these repeated marathon Sunday sessions, I keep coming back to one glaring issue: Vader’s redemption.  Darth Vader spends three movies, taking place over several years, supporting the tyranny of the Empire, murdering people to cement his authority and just generally being a terrifying cyborg monster, but denying the Emperor to save his son in ROTJ is seen as a moment that brings him back around to the side of the angels.  (The addition of ghost-Hayden to the special edition films cements this even more, as his younger, uncorrupted self is his Force-ghost’s chosen face.)  To me, it just doesn’t wash, but I want to know what y’all, The Faithful Spoilerites, think, leading to today’s face-turn query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is also troubled by Lando putting on Han’s clothes at the end of ‘Empire’, but that’s another story, asking: In your mind, does the Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV-VI for the pedants in the room) successfully earn Vader’s redemption?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. March 6, 2017 at 12:30 pm — Reply

    Going by the movies alone, it feels a little hastily tacked on (as in it could have been developed better with just a few additional scenes), but it isn’t quite terrible either. But then again, I get the feeling there is subtext, that although Vader does these evil things, he’s not doing it for the sake of being evil. They always say how the Dark Side consumes and changes you, so it sounded to me as if they are saying he’s not in complete control of himself, so considering that along with how he could turn away from the Dark Side (I wouldn’t say he turned back to the light exactly) for his son gives the whole thing a little more depth than just taking it all at face value where it almost seems as if he just suddenly had a change of heart.

    So I’m in the middle. I feel like it worked, but only just barely and could have been done better.

  2. March 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm — Reply

    Probably, if we are looking at Luke’s and other main characters point of view. If we consider everything he’s done, mostly outside the films, no way, that guy got it easy. If you buy the idea it was the Emperor and Dark Side all along, then definitely.

  3. Cody Dixon
    March 6, 2017 at 6:46 pm — Reply

    I think you could make the argument that Vader doesn’t turn to the light side as it’s commonplace for a Sith to kill his master.

  4. Gwen
    March 6, 2017 at 9:45 pm — Reply

    Not even close. I’ve always hated his redemption arc. He should have stayed a cautionary tale.

  5. March 8, 2017 at 6:34 am — Reply

    I’ve recently been thinking about this as well and my conclusion is no. His decision to save Luke is still ultimately a selfish decision based on an emotional reaction to seeing his son being killed. It’s the same reaction that had turned him to the dark side in the first place after seeing Padme die.

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