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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Thinking again recently about the early concept of Vader, and how far the films drifted away from it.

In the earliest drafts, the Sith were a warrior/pirate clan who were rivals of the Jedi. Vader was unconnected to them at this point.

Eventually, it was decided that the Sith Lords were a group of warriors who served the Emperor and did his dirty work. Several other Sith Lords appeared the third draft alongside Vader, who casually referred to him as "Darth". Some of Ralph McQuarrie and John Mollo's costume concepts were for generic "Sith Lords", indicating that Vader's suit was possibly the standard armor of the Sith Lords. This was all before the notion of the suit as an iron lung had been developed, naturally.

In the final film, the term "Sith" is never even mentioned--it's only seen in publicity materials and adaptations.

If one goes in knowing that bit of undisclosed backstory regarding the Sith, the thrust of the original movie is very clear. The idea is that the Emperor has put Vader--his right-hand Sith Lord--onto the trail of the Death Star plans, because they're hugely important to the survival of the Empire. Vader isn't part of the Imperial bureacracy, but he defers to Tarkin for the duration of his mission aboard the Death Star.

In the novelization, several Imperials even express concern that a Sith Lord has been "inflicted" upon them by the Emperor.

And, it seems that Vader is a somewhat unusual Sith Lord, since he was once a Jedi, and was instrumental in that organization's destruction (which perhaps explains why he's favored by the Emperor). In earlier drafts, the Sith Lords were all Force-users, but the final film indicates that Vader may be unique in that regard.

And the Emperor was just a puppet leader, who was controlled by Tarkin and the other bureaucrats. 


When you really start to break it all down, you start to see the how and why of Lucas' major story changes as the films progressed. How the Emperor became a Sith and puppet-master, etc.


Still wish he would have stuck with the original story. A lot of neat ideas that were never explored, unfortunately.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 02 June 2013 at 5:24pm
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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I know I'm chiming in here late, but that is a great face for Vader, JB! Its very haunting.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 8:41pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

After the rumor criculated briefly that Patrick Magoohan would be playing the Emperor, ol' Fried Egg Eyes couldn't be anything but a disappointment. Especially since his monkish robes were totally at odds with the crisp, Flash Gordon/Dune style garb of the rest of the Imperials.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 June 2013 at 9:23pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I do wonder just when and why the change from figurehead to puppet-
master was made.

In Leigh Brackett's first draft of EMPIRE, Vader is (as in the final film)
contacted by the Emperor (who wears a golden robe), and tells Vader
to hunt down Luke, as he, too, has felt a disturbance in the Force.

But this draft was written before Lucas ostensibly came up with Father
Vader, in the second draft.

The development of the evil wizard who seduced Anakin to the dark
side is a logical development AFTER the invention of Father Vader, but
before? Hmm.

Looking at that first draft, I get the impression that this was an early
story point which specifically resulted from the 9-film SAGA plan--the
Emperor now needed to be set up as the Big Bad (feared even by
Vader) who would finally be met and defeated in EPISODE IX.


As an aside, I was watching EMPIRE on TV yesterday, and was struck
by an interpretation of the film in the "orthodox" light; it's deliciously
twisted that Vader would try to convert the son of a (supposed) former
comrade whom he had already betrayed and murdered, to the point of
maiming Luke and falsely claiming to be his father.

To use a familiar analogue, it's almost like Doctor Doom murdering
Reed Richards, and then trying to twist Franklin into becoming his heir.
Deliciously evil!


I'm a bit of a sucker for stories where the next generation inherits their
parent's enemy and has to clean up an old mess. This could have
played out in a very cool way, had Father Vader not entered the
picture.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 4:09am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

And if only the "I am your father" line had turned out to be, oh, I dunno, a LIE. Then it could have played thru with my once-upon-a-time idea that Vader, restored to the proper side of the Force, would be the "other".

To this day I do not understand what impelled Lucas down the path he took.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 4:54am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

As much as EMPIRE betrayed the story of the original film did JEDI kill it. And although I don't care for or about either sequel, the third film couldn't even be faithful to some of the possibly interesting newly introduced premises of the second, such was the depths of JEDI's awfulness, driven by its ostensible raisin d'ętre: let's shit all over the franchise. 
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Brendan Howard
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
And if only the "I am your father" line had turned out to be, oh, I dunno, a LIE.


On the playground at my school, the 9-year-old Star Wars fans all pretty much agreed that Darth Vader was lying, and that Luke Skywalker was correct when he screamed "That's impossible!" We imagined that there would be a big reveal in the next movie where we learned that Vader was playing a game with Luke's head.

Instead, we got a dying Yoda confirming that it was true. Ugh.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

As I have mentioned before, I find it very interesting that Jones' reading
of the famous line emphasizes "I", not "am".

This makes it sound as if Vader is not at all claiming that he is the then-
unnamed character established as Luke's father, but rather that he is
Luke's father INSTEAD of that then-unnamed character.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

To this day I do not understand what impelled Lucas down the path he
took.
+++++++

Perhaps his friend Spielberg's hangup for father-son stories rubbed off
on him.

Or, as it has been speculated, perhaps he was injecting some of his
own father-son angst into the films (his own father wanted him to take
over the family business, but he rebelled, and ran off to join those dirty
hippies in Hollywood).
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 10:50am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

To this day I do not understand what impelled Lucas down the path he took.

+++++++

Perhaps his friend Spielberg's hangup for father-son stories rubbed off on him.

Or, as it has been speculated, perhaps he was injecting some of his own father-son angst into the films (his own father wanted him to take over the family business, but he rebelled, and ran off to join those dirty hippies in Hollywood).

••

Or perhaps (and most likely?) he just heard all the STAR WARS fans raving about how "cool" Vader was, and the dollar signs lit up in his eyes.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 10:52am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

As I have mentioned before, I find it very interesting that Jones' reading of the famous line emphasizes "I", not "am".

This makes it sound as if Vader is not at all claiming that he is the then-unnamed character established as Luke's father, but rather that he is Luke's father INSTEAD of that then-unnamed character.

••

At least one friend has suggested that was the "betrayal" Obi-Wan mentioned.

Haven't I head that Lucas had Jones read the line with several different inflections, and then just picked the one he wanted?

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 June 2013 at 11:59am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I dunno. Never heard anything about that.

Certainly, Jones wasn't told intended truth of the matter. He was just
given the line, and was left hanging like everyone else for three years. I
do wonder what direction he was given in the looping booth. Perhaps
he read it the way he personally interpreted it (as Vader claiming to be
the father instead of Father Skywalker character), and nobody caught
that particular emphasis.

Perhaps that take was chosen because it helped maintain the
ambiguity of the matter by hinting that Vader and Skywalker were still
separate characters, but with Vader as the actual father.

This makes me wonder, since I wasn't there at the time--how did
people interpret the revelation when the film was first released--that
Vader was the fallen Father Skywalker, or that he was still a separate
character who claimed to be Luke's real father?
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