Ever since Star Wars Rebels was announced earlier last year or these ‘Darth Vader Specials’ rumors that surfaced from a European licensing show last October, most of us have figured that some of these upcoming projects are going to be set in a time period when the Sith Lord himself was supposedly hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights and leading the Empire all across the Galaxy, I’ve been wondering, just how exactly is the best way to use the character?
I don’t think any of us can say with any remote honesty, that we wouldn’t want to see the original Dark Lord Of The Sith, Darth Vader again. But can you do that without permanently damaging or perhaps even destroying the mythology behind quite frankly, the most iconic villain of all time? Now of course we’ve have had three movies, a highly successful Animated show spanning five seasons, as well as a micro-series, novels and comics showing the exploits & adventures of Anakin Skywalker before he became the Dark Lord of the Sith, but I really do see these two identities of one man, as two very different characters, as did Darth Vader himself likely because his past was too painful to look back upon. However I digress, while there’s no information as to what these Darth Vader specials actually are, what there is much more information on, is what this blog is all about, the new Star Wars animated series, ‘Star Wars Rebels’.
Now we’ve already been vaguely introduced to ‘The Inquisitor’ a new character from this time period, that has been tasked by Darth Vader himself to hunt down the last of the Jedi Knights but what does this mean for Vader’s presence on the show? Could this mean that Darth Vader will be a very expiatory character in this time-period? I’ll be honest here; I really do hope this is the case.
If Darth Vader is on the show every week, or at the very least a regular active villain, he will come into contact with our main hero, rebel characters and let’s face it, those characters either have to win or get away from the Empire, and if this happens to Darth Vader all the time, it’s going to severely damage the mythology around this character, a mythology that stems all the way back from the very first movie back in 1977, who is largely responsible for the destruction of the Jedi Knights & instilling fear across the Galaxy! Whereas if he simply becomes a ‘villain of the week’ simply out of some kind of fan-service, this could and most likely, will severely water down his persona and image.
In my opinion, a great way to build or maintain a successful villain is to look at what ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ did with Firelord Ozai (Played by none other than Mark Hamill) where for the first season you barely saw this character at all, you simply heard about him, the fear with which people regarded him with, how powerful he was and perhaps most prominently, what he had done to his son, Zuko by permanently scarring his face for simply speaking his mind. This all built up the central villain in the best possible way without the main characters ever being in direct contact with him. However you had other villains that the main heroes had to contend with such as general Zhao, Prince Zuko, Long Feng, Princess Azula, as well as others.
I believe ‘The Inquisitor’ is essentially going to take this role of one of these ‘lesser’ villains, though still not to be underestimated.
But when we do finally hear that slow echoing breathing and see a dark shadowy figure whilst appearing to be ‘more machine than man’, we will know that things are about to go down and any fledgling Rebels or Jedi Knights better give the Sith Lord a wide berth.