Archive for Darth Vader

Favorite Darth Vader Quotation

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 17 July 2014 by Megan

Well, this is awkward. My favorite Darth Vader quotation coincides with my favorite Episode V quotation.  Now what am I supposed to do?

No, I guess that’s okay. I have another Vader line that I like very much that I can use!

The original Anakin vs. Obi-Wan

The original Anakin vs. Obi-Wan

The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner — now I am the master.

And then in the style of the ancient webcomic Surf Rat and Spencer, I have to quip, “What circle?” “You and me, we make a circle.” “No, we don’t! Two points make a line, not a circle!” “Ugh, let’s just fight!” “Fine! You were always a terrible student!” Man, I miss Surf Rat. . . .

Not actually visually stunning

Not actually visually stunning

Anyway, while this is the least visually stimulating duel in the entire saga, there’s a lot of emotion that goes on with it. Vader’s “Your powers are weak, old man” is another great line. More than the emotional culmination of the encounter that has been brewing for 20 years, this duel always sparked off in my imagination as I used to watch it and wonder about their last encounter, the duel over a lava pit where Vader was so horribly damaged in the first place. Episode III fulfilling my mind’s vision hasn’t reduced the drama of this moment.

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Favorite ROTJ Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 5 June 2014 by Megan

The way I carry on about every one of these being so difficult, and the way I go on about ROTJ being my favorite everything in the whole world, you’d think that this one would be the hardest part of the challenge to date! But no, it’s not. I know exactly what scene to give you. Because not only is it the best moment in Return of the Jedi, it is the best scene in the entire saga.

So, you have accepted the truth...

So, you have accepted the truth…

I mean, yes, I’ve never talked about what I call “the bridge scene,” and you were probably expecting me to say “when Luke gets Force lightninged,” because, let’s face it, Force lightning is the coolest thing ever. But there’s so much to this scene, and I love absolutely every part of it.

Landing platform at night

Landing platform at night

I call it “the bridge scene” because the thing they’re standing in looks like a bridge, okay? It’s situated below the landing platform and is apparently where troops load onto AT-ATs. It is deep night; an Imperial shuttle lands, Vader emerges. We already know that Luke is intending to face his father, so this must be the awaited confrontation. What will happen? What does Luke mean when he says he must face Vader? The last time they met, Luke flung himself into battle.

Though he denies it, there may be more of them

Though he denies it, there may be more of them

An AT-AT docks with the bridge and this time, perhaps unexpectedly, Luke enters in binders — he is, for the moment, a willing prisoner of the Empire. Flanked by troopers, vastly outgunned for a man who brought only a peculiar cylindrical weapon, Luke stands in silence but there is challenge in his eyes as he takes in the sight of Vader. This sight is almost for the first time, for now he knows who he is, who they both are.

He was armed, only with this.

He was armed, only with this.

The officer hands over Luke’s lightsaber. This is what I mean about Star Wars being a coloring book, the outlines that allow the willing viewer to plug in whatever they want — I can all but picture the moment of Luke’s “capture.” The young Jedi steps out of the trees, out of the darkness to flag down a patrol, maybe an AT-ST. “I surrender,” he calls. “No, I’m alone. There’s no one with me.” They summon Vader. How long was he on the AT-AT? Did they question him, or was he left to sit in silence?

Luke’s mouth opens just slightly when he steps toward Vader, as though he might say something. But then his expression changes; he closes his mouth and waits in silence. The Dark Lord of the Sith, his father, may make the first move.

Vader and Luke are left alone on the platform, this island of light in the forest. Luke looks up into the emotionless face of the dark mask and does not see Vader, the murderer of his father and Obi-Wan. He sees Anakin Skywalker, somehow, through all the armor. He is confident. He knows exactly how this will turn out. When Vader speaks, the young man calls the towering man in black armor “Father.”

Awkward family get togethers

Awkward family get togethers

But Vader doesn’t bend. There is shock in Luke’s eyes; you can catch it. He thought this would work! But turning Vader from a lifetime of hate will be much more difficult than reminding him of his name. Luke grows more desperate. They go back and forth, Vader quite possibly probing the depth of the young man’s resolve, to see how he can work this situation for his own good even as Luke struggles to find the magic word that will free Anakin Skywalker from his prison of hate. Vader has spent more than a quarter of a century trying to get someone to take out the Emperor with him — ever since his first impassioned plea to Padmé, “I am stronger than the Emperor, I can overthrow him!” — and he hasn’t given up yet.

He almost says something

My father is truly dead

But Luke gives up. When he says, “Then my father is truly dead,” his eyes have grown cold, his features slack with disappointed failure. Was Obi-Wan right? Is there nothing to reach out to in Vader’s black heart?

But Luke does not know that Vader stays on the platform, meditating over the green saber — green like Qui-Gon’s, green like the first blade he ever saw.

What do they think about, father and son, Vader looking out over the forest with Luke’s words ringing in his ears — it is the name of your true self, you’ve only forgotten! Luke, sitting in the shuttle, Leia’s words echoing in his mind — Luke, run away! Far away! No doubt, Luke prepares himself for imminent death, not knowing that he has already driven a wedge into the slowly developing fractures of Anakin Skywalker’s prison.

As you can see, there is so much not said in this scene, and that is why I love it. It really is one of the best scenes in the trilogy. And it leads to this, one of the most iconic moments of ROTJ in my opinion —

Worst. Elevator ride. Ever.

Worst. Elevator ride. Ever.

Favorite Battle

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 20 March 2014 by Megan

It is Star Wars, after all! Where are the wars? If you’re bored with me answering Return of the Jedi to every question, well, you might as well pack it in now and go home without reading the rest of this, because my favorite battle is the Battle of Endor!

Raise your saber if you're surprised!

Raise your saber if you’re surprised!

See, as I’m sure I’ve made clear, A New Hope has just never done it for me. It’s consistently been at the bottom of my preferred SW movies, and if you tempt me, I can give you a lengthy treatise on its general weakness and other et ceteras. I will concede, though, that recently the Battle of Yavin has been climbing in my estimation. Yavin is one of my favorite systems, and ever since Fanboys pointed out that “the greatest thing Luke Skywalker ever did was take down the Death Star — and that’s all you’ve got to do, just find your Death Star,” I’ve been more attracted to the whole thing. I got cold chills when I listened to it the last few times on the radio drama, even.

But, it’s not favorite material. It’s just honorable mention material. Favorite is and always will be the Battle of Endor, which is the reason I love Star Wars in the first place.

Here’s what we’ve got. The Battle of Yavin consists of three threads, plaited skillfully into an ultimate climax that is able to touch on, echo, or tie off themes and concepts throughout the entire saga. First, there’s the fleet.

Space battles: the nougat of SciFi

Space battles: the nougat of SciFi

It’s all come down to this. The rebel administration have been trying for decades to bring the Emperor down (ignorant of the fact that a little green toad prevented them from nipping the Empire off in the bud at its inception!) — they’ve had a few successes since the dissolution of the Senate, increasing sympathy throughout star systems, and they’ve also managed to build up a respectable fleet. It’s now an echo of their first major victory three years previous, another Death Star, but the stakes are even higher. The Emperor himself is overseeing the final stages of construction, which means that if they can repeat their feat of total destruction of the planet killer, they can defeat the Empire!

(Because there is no contingency plan for Imperial rule once the Emperor is dead. Because it’s not suspicious at all that the Empire allowed its super secret plans to leak, allowing the rebels to find an even more convenient self-destruct button than the last one. Because the Emperor sitting on this half-completed and relatively unprotected planet destroyer isn’t a bit of juicy live bait. You know, I think Ackbar could’ve squealed, “It’s a trap!” pretty much right after the rebel briefing started . . .)

But the point is that everything rides on this final battle! And with the unexpected functionality of the Death Star, it’s even more dire. Good thing the Emperor is too hyper-focused on his project of replacing his worn-out apprentice for the newer model, because otherwise he might’ve focused on his military strategy for two seconds and simply blown up the moon as soon as the prime weapon was functional! (SWL, stop poking holes in Imperial strategy!! Well! It’s not my fault!)

Then we’ve got the “pitiful little band” on the Sanctuary Moon.

Sneaky rebel scum

Sneaky rebel scum

This intrepid crew was sent down to knock out the power generator that keeps the Death Star II shielded. Without that shield, they can get in and take out the main reactor, oddly built even more exposed than on the previous model. (Perhaps the completed Death Star II would’ve been more protected?) Han leads them through the forests of this alien moon and, while they pick up some diminutive allies, they also find themselves confronting a huge threat by way of an entire legion of his majesty’s best troops. If they fail, the fleet fails. The Galaxy falls.

And finally, the irresistible chocolate ganache on the franchise, the Showdown in the Emperor’s Throne Room!

CLASH

CLASH

Now, the other two battle scenes rely heavily on each other. If Han’s commandos fail, the fleet fails and all is lost. But what happens if Luke loses? Well, then all is lost again. Because if Luke loses and turns to the dark side, he will become the most powerful enemy the Alliance can face. You know how Vader’s always going on about how the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force? I bet Luke could pull a Professor X and kill every enemy of the Emperor’s with his mind, he’d be that powerful.

But this is where the whole series has been going, the whole time. Luke and Vader — Yoda wanted Luke to crush Vader, but Luke wanted to redeem him. Luke isn’t a Jedi, he’s a son, a son who believes no one is truly lost. And while he walks along the slippery abyss to the dark side, he embraces his father’s legacy of light at the end. When he says “I am a Jedi like my father before me,” he holds out the hand of redemption to Anakin, who realizes (unlike Marlowe’s Faust) that he is not required to let the demons take him to hell. He can seize heaven in the last minutes of his life.

It’s probable that if Luke didn’t win — if Vader didn’t destroy the Emperor — that no amount of reactor core smashing would have destroyed the Death Star or saved the Alliance. (Remember all that “the Force is so much more powerful than blowing up planets”? The Emperor’s got to be good for something! He was so powerful, he made a Dark Side explosion happen at his death!)

So you see, all the parts are neatly connected and woven together. And the good guys win, and the bad guy is dead, and the other bad guy is a good guy, and all the neutral guys somehow end up losing and acquiescing the Empire because there’s no contingency in place for “death of the commander in chief” . . . okay, I won’t pursue that line.

Instead, why don’t you go read my post about Vader’s final moments, just to conclude all this neatly?

Review: The Rise of Darth Vader

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , on 18 March 2012 by Megan
Dark Lord

The Rise of Crappy Writers

by James Luceno.

This Sunday is more of an anti-spotlight. I’m only telling you about this book to make you promise you will never, ever try to read it; I suffered quite enough for everybody! First of all, in no sense of the words is this horrible book a “must-read” (as the cover boldly states). Second of all, I bought this book years ago off the $2 rack at Half Price Books; I assume that price had more to do with its missing dust jacket and less to do with its wretched contents–if I’d been paying by content, I would’ve been overcharged. For two dollars, I could’ve bought some trash from a vending machine that would’ve tasted good while it lasted and been instantly forgotten when it was gone, but instead, I bought a terrible book that has left a sour taste long after I was done reading.

James Luceno is the bar-none, absolute worst Star Wars writer to come on the scene of Star Wars novels since 1992. There have been other bad ones, but if I were composing a list of Bottom 5, he would be the bottomest. If one hundred monkeys had gotten into a food fight with a hundred boxes of Alphabet Cereal and a hundred cans of Alphabet Soup, the resulting mess could have been scraped into a better book than this trash. Do not read this book. Pace many of the comments from Goodreads (where this book enjoys a 3.94 star rating explicable only by the fact that Star Wars attracts young people willing to highly rate anything with the words Star Wars tattooed on it), this is not a necessary chapter in the history of Darth Vader, nor is it exciting or even terribly interesting. A Goodreads user named Michael summed it up best by observing that 1/3rd of the way through the book, all it has going for it are a “variety of uninteresting characters,” guaranteed to be dead by the end. Chad, another sensible reader, astutely sums up: “A waste of time. It adds almost nothing to the Star Wars saga, and with the exception of a few pages, tells the story of a group of Jedi I’d never heard of. The character development is so poor that I could barely keep track of who was who, and I certainly didn’t care about them. ”

There are many elements, strung together loosely and called a plot, and this stringing is done by Luceno without much regard to plausibility or possibility. The fact that he didn’t even bother to do any research before starting the project is evidenced in the book’s many errors (most glaringly, but certainly not alone, a bald statement that KDY did not make Venerator-class Destroyers). Enormous chunks of the book are dedicated to Darth Vader thinking about how horrible his prosthetic suit is. While it makes sense that Vader would have considered it uncomfortable (and see the epilogue to Stover’s E3 novelization for a truly uncomfortable take on the breathing apparatus), I found it completely inappropriate that the omniscient voice of the “narrator” was constantly leveling charges against the suit as being poorly, improperly, or inefficiently made; this just makes no sense.

This book is basically nothing but nonsense with a few insignificant details thrown in about what takes place between E3 and ANH. The epilogue between Obi-Wan and Ghost Qui-Gon was so badly done, it was all I could do to finish it without flinging the book away in frustration. I urge you not to waste your time, because that’s all this is . . . an inflated 336 pages full of short, abrupt chapters (some not more than two paragraphs long), wide margins, shoddy character development, and a bunch of lifeless puppets for characters who mill around aimlessly wondering what crimes they committed to get them sentenced to spend eternity in this ridiculous book. Avoid.

Darth Vader Cakes

Posted in Fun with tags , , , on 8 July 2011 by Megan

While cake is not my favorite confection over and above pie . . . well, maybe red velvet cake is . . . I do like cake. I also like cake shows, and Star Wars cakes, obviously. (Coming up soon I’m going to do this spotlight on Dex’s Diner for the upcoming Episode II cake when we celebrate that in 312 days). My good friend the Cake Wrecks blog is an excellent source of all things Star Warsy, so when I decided to look up some Darth Vader cakes today, I started there. Here’s how not to do a Darth Vader cake (here). Definitely how not to do it. And here’s another. Don’t do it that way, seriously.

Here’s a much more iconic Darth Vader cake.

Darth Vader Baby Shower Cake

The Darth Vader Baby Shower Cake

And when I say “iconic,” I mean “this is the cake that crosses my mind every time someone says ‘Darth Vader’ and ‘cake’ in the same sentence.”

However, if you like your Darth Vader baby shower cakes to have a little more of a professional polish and less subtly-stated cuteness, well, I do have one for you. Or rather, CW Jen has one for you, ’cause you know I just get these all from her blog, which you should read, and tell her I sent you, so she will advertise for me ;)

Baby Vader

On three . . . "Awwwww!"

You can’t say “CakeWrecks” without bringing to mind some honestly atrocious wrecks, so here’s one of my favorite Darth Fails:

Squished Vader Cake

Ladies and Gentlemen! DARTH VADER!

He kind of looks like he was the victim of a head-shrinking tribe if you ask me. “I’d love to know how they do that!” Now, my question is, did he suffer a serious neck injury, or did someone order up his head on a plate? ’cause bad things happen when you lop his head off. Just look at ESB.

Vader & Tinkerbell Join Forces

Vader & Tinkerbell Join Forces

Now, while mixed-theme SW cakes usually get me giggling (for example), this one kind of looks like it was dropped and then iced.And why is there a red B floating off Darth Vader’s elbow? Ooh, but I am addicted to gel icing. Freaking addicted! As you were. Actually, that one doesn’t actually count as a wreck because it’s part of a series of actual birthday cakes requested by the girl Sarah, who always has a Darth Vader / girly mashup for her birthday. Do I believe that a four-year-old is too young to see Star Wars? Yes, yes, I do. Do I think that a four-year-old really needs something better to be obsessed with than Darth Vader if she is going to be exposed to the films at that young age? Again, yes. Does that make these cakes any less cool? No, not really, which is why I’m sharing them anyway. (Look, Vader is a tragic figure, and celebrating him in cake form is questionable at best. Just about as questionable as having tiny infants watch intense movies. But let’s not get started on that one right now, kay?)

Darth Vader & Princesses

He always was a ladies' man.

My Little Sith Lord

My Little Sith Lord

Ah, well, there you have it, folks! You can safely turn to the Dark Side now, knowing that they have cake! Unless you prefer pie. Then you have to turn to the Geek Side. (European Pi Day is coming up on July 22! Yes, the holiday you get to celebrate twice in one year! <- This was related.)

Anyway, that’s all the Vader cake I have to throw your way. But I didn’t post everything CakeWrecks has to offer, so maybe you should go over there and check out the other Star Wars cakes!