Jedi and Darth Vader Essay

Submitted By cooley01
Words: 1038
Pages: 5

Cooley, Tauri
Professor O’seland
Freshman Comp. 1113
Popular Culture Paper
November 19th, 2013

Popular Culture: The Ultimate Bad-Ass

Anakin Skywalker is a nine-year-old boy and slave on a remote desert planet who gets his lucky break when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn discovers that the Force is unusually strong with him. He was believed to be the ‘Chosen One’ spoken of in the Jedi’s prophecies. It was said that he would restore balance to the Force of the Galaxy, and ultimately rise as a hero far more powerful than any Jedi before him. After winning his freedom, the young boy makes the challenging choice to train as a Jedi, even though it means leaving his mother and home planet behind him. He is young, auspicious, and vulnerable. We are rooting for him. It is the very fact that Anakin once was the protagonist and groomed-to-be-hero that makes it even more devastating when he finally succumbs to the dark side. We feel the loss, and even Kenobi’s pain, when master and apprentice are forced to duel in Episode III. “You were the chosen one!” Kenobi cries, after he has cut Anakin’s limb and brought him to the ground. Anakin clings to the edge of the sand with the one arm that he has left, spitting and bitter, as he slides toward the lava. “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you…” When the flames catch his clothes and quickly begin to consume him, Kenobi can only watch in horror with a tortured expression on his face, before leaving his former friend to burn. To this very day, it is one of the most haunting scenes that I have ever seen. Of course, this is all build-up. Technically Anakin Skywalker is not his full-fledged villain self—that is, he does not become Darth Vader—until the end of episode III, and he really doesn’t assume the presence until episode IV. And while Vader’s motive (power lust) is hardly new, the rich drama informed by his backstory is: in episode VI we see him do battle, not just against Luke Skywalker, but within himself. What is left of Anakin Skywalker, a human being and Luke’s father, acts to save his child’s life at the price of his own. Here is another reason for Vader’s epic and unrivaled antagonist saga: he is a redeemed villain by the story’s end. Even from his very first appearance in George Lucas’s esteemed “Star Wars” saga in 1977, Darth Vader has been making an incredible impression on audiences across the globe. Vader is one of the greatest known villains to ever hit the big-screen, and he does so with tremendous style and class. He is revered and recognized villain who everyone has heard of and is at least vaguely acquainted with, regardless of their age or gender—and remains one of the most notable popular culture icons in the world—still to this day. Today, thanks to social media and the Internet, Darth Vader is only becoming more celebrated. With dozens of hysterical viral sensations made in his honor, such as “The Force” Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial featuring a little boy who dresses as Darth Vader, Weird Al Yancovik’s “Star Wars Rap,” and the famous spoof video on YouTube called “Hitler versus Darth Vader: Epic Rap Battle,” everyone should be familiar with the ‘Dark Father’ now, if they weren’t before. He even has his own line of Angry Birds (I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I own one.) How many villains do you know of that have their own Angry Bird modeled after them? I think it’s safe to say that Vader’s franchise is only growing. So, why is it that everyone continues to regard Darth Vader with such awe and admiration, even after all of these years? What immediately stands out about Darth Vader is the tremendous amount of back-story that we receive. Each antagonist needs their own history, motivation and conflict; that is what makes their stories compelling, relatable, or even pitiable. A well-developed villain can make the audience sympathetic