Marvel’s current Darth Vader run is exploring just how Anakin Skywalker could be redeemed by his son Luke in Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars has revealed the real reason Anakin Skywalker could be redeemed. Born on the desert planet of Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker seemed destined for greatness – and for goodness. Unfortunately for the galaxy, though, Darth Sidious fixed his covetous eye upon Anakin, and resolved to turn him to the dark side. The resulting triumph of the Sith saw the light of the Jedi Order almost extinguished forever as the Chosen One became Darth Vader.
And yet, in the end, Anakin Skywalker did not remain in thrall to the dark side. As seen in Return of the Jedi, his son Luke insisted he could be redeemed – and he was proven correct. Palpatine had engineered what he believed was a win-win scenario on the Second Death Star, but he had not foreseen Darth Vader’s betrayal. It was the only way Palpatine could lose, for he was killed by someone under the influence of the light side of the Force, rather than the dark. At the moment of Palpatine’s death, when his spirit sought a new dark vessel to contain it, he found only light.
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Greg Pak’s current Darth Vader run is revealing just why Darth Vader could be redeemed. It is exploring the consequences of Darth Vader’s failure in The Empire Strikes Back, when he attempted to turn his son to the dark side. Shaken by the experience, Vader resolved to learn the truth about the death of his beloved Padmé, and he finally began to realize he had never freely chosen the dark side at all; rather, he had been manipulated all his life. Palpatine confirmed this in Darth Vader #6, openly mocking his apprentice. It may seem naïve of Darth Vader never to realize he had been manipulated like this, but it was probably a truth he was never emotionally prepared to face. And now he was forced to do just that.
Palpatine knew his actions would have a transforming effect on Darth Vader, but he intended it to serve the darkness. Instead, he set Darth Vader on a path of regret, as he contemplated all the failings and mistakes of his life. He recalled the moment he choked Padmé to death, he remembered slaughtering the Younglings in the Jedi Temple, and he wallowed in the killing of the Separatist leaders on Mustafar. The seeds of redemption were sown – by Palpatine himself.
As part of his punishment, Palpatine had Darth Vader cast on the surface of Mustafar, a world steeped in the dark side of the Force. But the Emperor was unaware that things were changing on Mustafar, because Darth Vader had attempted to use a massive kyber crystal called the Brightstar to drain Mustafar of all its life energy and restore Padmé to life. As told in the Vader Immortal VR game, this plan failed spectacularly, and in fact the ancient dark side curse binding Mustafar had been lifted. Palpatine had planned to strengthen Darth Vader’s ties to the dark side, but he unwittingly sent him to a place that was gradually being healed and redeemed by the light.
It’s interesting to speculate whether Darth Vader would have been redeemed had Palpatine made different choices. But this is the nature of the dark side; it is arrogant and proud, and ultimately self-defeating. In the end, it was the Emperor himself who set Darth Vader on the path to redemption, even if Luke Skywalker was the one whose unshakeable faith in his father sealed the deal. Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series is helping fans understand that character journey – and adding even more depth to the Star Wars galaxy.
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