No Star Wars fan will ever forget the moment Darth Vader struck down his master to save his son. But it’s time to re-examine Vader’s final scene, now that the truth of it has been revealed: The Force showed Vader exactly how his story would end… years before he even knew Luke Skywalker existed.
The most devoted fans know that the version of the Star Wars story that made it to screen wasn’t the only one cooked up by George Lucas (just look at Vader’s original story before he became Luke’s father). But what made the original trilogy informed the prequels–seemingly setting Anakin Skywalker’s story in stone. But that was before Disney purchased the property, wiped clean the existing canon, and began to enrich the films’ fiction as they saw fit. And no source of new Star Wars canon has been richer than Marvel’s Darth Vader comic book.
Even with the series now over, fans will need to prepare themselves for the biggest twist on the original films yet. Darth Vader’s death stunned the world, but a Force vision had shown Vader the lightsaber-wielding young Jedi who would finally defeat him. He just has no idea that Jedi would be his own son.
- This Page: The Force Showed Darth Vader His Future
- Page 2: Darth Vader Knew Luke Would Destroy Him
The Force Showed Vader Himself, Killing The Emperor
Where some Force Visions (like that delivered to Rey in The Force Awakens) come without warning, the greatest prophecy the Force delivered to Darth Vader was most definitely sought out. Well, Vader was searching for something when he created his now-famous castle fortress to pierce the veil between the living and the dead. His overall mission was to enter the Force to resurrect Padmé. But upon crossing that threshold, Vader–or should we say Anakin Skywalker was tossed up against forces he can’t possibly understand.
The Force has much to show Anakin from the very beginning of his life– seemingly confirming that Emperor Palpatine was his ‘father’ through the Force–but it continues to the end of his days, as well. Even if Anakin doesn’t know that’s what he’s watching, and reliving. All he sees is a standoff between his two masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Sidious. A standoff which ends with Sidious murdering Kenobi… prompting Anakin to rise against his new Sith Master, and turn the killer lightning against him instead. Just as he will eventually do in the real world decades later.
The Force Warns of Vader’s Eventual Defeat…
Anakin’s path leads through the Emperor to the only real part of his good, pure self that still exists: his beloved Padmé. When even she doesn’t recognize him (stating that “Anakin Skywalker is dead”), Anakin is consumed by grief and anger. By not getting his wish of being reunited with the love of his life, it’s evident that he isn’t the one controlling what the Force unfolds before his eyes. And as he gazes out at the Hellscape the Force created for him to walk, he notices something emerging on the horizon.
At first it seems to be only a beam of blue-white light. Anakin may not recognize his Jedi lightsaber, or the human figure that walks out of it. But the readers know exactly what the Force is granting him a vision of. SPOILERS ahead…
Page 2 of 2: The Force Reveals Luke to Darth Vader
Vader Sees Luke Skywalker Destroy Him
The figure that walks out of the blue-white beam of light is unmistakable as Luke Skywalker by his silhouette alone. And not just as any random wardrobe worn by Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, either. The lightsaber and tunic are a dead ringer for Luke’s appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, having arrived at Cloud City in search of his friends. It is a true glimpse forward through time, revealing to Anakin the young man who will one day bring about the end of Darth Vader… even if that young man is still just a baby at this point in the Star Wars timeline.
The significance of this vision–born out of the Force, and not Anakin’s own lived experiences or desires–isn’t lost on the hero of the comic, who can only stand dumbfounded as Luke is born of the light, draws and ignites his lightsaber, and blasts Anakin into oblivion. Right out of the Force, in fact, as he soon comes to (having returned to his physical form, back into his half-robotic Darth Vader body). That marks the end of Anakin’s experiments, returning to his master’s side to take on the mission detailed in the original Star Wars movies.
But now that his comic series has revealed this new Force vision in his canonical story, his life and outlook have been permanently altered. And as a result, the way the ensuing Star Wars movies are read must also be altered to match.
How Vader’s Vision Changes The Star Wars Movies
The vision is one thing, and can only be fully understood and appreciated by viewers and fans. However, it must be remembered that from this point on, years before the first Star Wars begins, Darth Vader had the vision of his ultimate opponent burned into his memory. So when Luke Skywalker first stepped up to face Vader one-on-one inside Cloud City, he wasn’t just seeing an opponent, a new Jedi, a hero of the Rebellion, or even his son. Vader was seeing exactly what the Force had conjured up to overpower, overwhelm, and forcefully expel him from its borders. Which makes all of Vader’s desperate pleas for Luke to join him, instead of standing against him seem a bit more strategic.
From Luke’s point of view, fans can see him as an even more potent vessel of the will of the Force. Years before he would grow into a boy with dreams of joining the Rebellion, the Force showed he was destined to not only stand against Darth Vader, but defeat him. Not through violence, and certainly not in the form of the Force Lightning Anakin used to defeat the Emperor in his Force Vision Quest (and later would also execute in the future). Luke defeats his father using an unstoppable wave of light, the antithesis of the dark and roiling Dark Side that had claimed Anakin. Just as the Force prophesied he would.
The question fans need to ask upon repeat viewings is how much Anakin Skywalker could sense from the mysterious silhouette bearing a familiar lightsaber. Did Anakin know this may be his own son? Or did he assume it was the next ‘Chosen One’ sent to re-balance the Force? Or perhaps, he could sense that it was both. Either way, the Force is clearly never wrong.
Darth Vader #25 and the entire series preceding it are available from Marvel Comics.