The story of the Star Wars movies so far has been the story of Darth Vader, narrated from the margins by a pair of droids. Darth Vader isn't dead, he's coming back...
The tin twosome made it out of Return of the Jedi intact, but the last time we saw Vader, or perhaps more properly Anakin Skywalker, he was on his funeral pyre.
Or at least it looked that way – and this seemed to be cemented when one or the other of his ghosts popped up for a bit of a Bye Bye moment.
But a new rumour has it that Darth Vader will return in the next episode of the series, and presumably see out the whole new trilogy. It would make a certain amount of structural, thematic and narrative sense…
…though, on the other hand, this rumour comes from The Daily Express (via Slashfilm). There’s a legacy of just making stuff up with the British press so it’s always tempting to dismiss their stories, but let’s look at this one for a moment.
It would feel quite brazenly like the total retcon it is to bring back Vader. Just like the double-barrelled retcons where he was made the father of Luke, and then later the father of Leia. Or the retcon that revealed he built one of those greek chorus droids out of junk when he was a kid.
Vader is one of the best, most striking images in the series, thanks to Ralph McQuarrie’s design and Brian Muir’s costume – and Lucas’ decision to keep him in the mask throughout, not just when he needed a space suit. I can see why they’d want to get that piece back into play.
I’d want to get that piece back into play.
Far be it from me to tell Michael Arndt and Kathleen Kennedy their business, but if this were up to me, I’d just take the hit, get Vader back on the callsheet and make sure what I did with him after this justified it. Turn in a cracking film and “Surprise! That was an empty suit on the fire! The ghost was an astral projection! Sort of!” will soon be forgiven. Even better: Boba Fett could be fished out of the Sarlacc Pit in the same flurry of “creative restructuring.” Who wouldn’t want that?
So, okay – if they don’t bring back Vader, what will they do? Surely a new Sith Lord or other Big Evil is just going to make this third trilogy seem a bit… er… tacked on? Um. Yeah. Funny that.
Star Wars: Episode 7 is due in 2015. Michael Arndt makes me feel very good about it. Now can we have Gary Ross officially announced as the director? Thanks.