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I wanted to talk a bit about Charles Soule’s second volume of Darth Vader coming to an end.
When we learned about the Fortress Vader arc, we all had a bit of a collective freak out. Just the idea of going back into that castle to see what’s in there, what he really does in there, what kind of ancient lore might be in there...it was tantalizing. We’re still just a couple issues into the arc but we now know that this will be the final arc in the second volume of Darth Vader.
This got me thinking about the future of Vader in canon. So far, across fifty issues in two volumes, we explored some time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, as well as the first couple of years beyond Revenge of the Sith. That still leaves plenty of time to explore Vader as he hits his prime as a Sith Lord. Vader remains the most marketable name and face in all of Star Wars, so I can’t imagine that this is the end of the line for Vader. I know we’re getting Chuck Wendig’s series (at least in part) but that will come and go before we know it. So where do we go with Vader, if anywhere? Will there be a 3rd volume that explores the decade-and-a-half that we haven’t really touched on other than what little we saw of Vader in Rebels? Like I said, he’s still the biggest, most marketable name in Star Wars so it’s a little bit crazy to me that they would leave this character alone for too long, or if they would even consider parking him for any length of time. The flip side of this argument is that we’ve gotten so much Vader already - we got Anakin’s rise, fall and redemption in the 6 original films, then filled in more gaps with The Clone Wars.
To say we haven’t gotten a lot of Vader is just plain silly.
But some fans can’t seem to get enough.
Personally, I can’t help but think they will mine every bit of Vader’s story with the caveat of where they think they can tell a worthwhile story. For example, the opening arc of Soule’s volume of Vader saw him hunting down a surviving Jedi and getting his kyber crystal. The imagery used as Vader sank deeper and deeper into the dark side was chilling. But how many times can you whip that horse? I do not believe they will make more Vader for the sake of it, despite the promise of guaranteed sales. So can they tell more stories about Vader hunting down Jedi knights? Or squashing Rebel cells before they get off the ground? Call me nuts but I think that sort of story will get old really, really fast and it will come off as beating a dead horse that can have some negative effects on the saga that preceded. With each surviving Jedi that we learn of, Order 66 becomes a little less effective, and with each surviving Jedi, it becomes clearer that there are no new and interesting stories to tell with Vader. He’s a beast filled with anger and rage and he’s pretty one-note until the conflict within him begins to bubble up in the OT because of Luke. So they’re kinda locked into this phase of Vader’s life where he was just a butcher. I don’t know that they should bend over backwards to create something that just isn’t there. In fact I’m convinced they shouldn’t. At least not in print, which leads me to my next thought. Killing Jedi and chopping up rebels might be fun...but if they’re going to do it, then it’s probably best to leave it for where real fun can be had.
Vader’s going to be in a virtual reality game called Vader Immortal - a 3 part immerse game written by David S Goyer. It’s going to be canon, so the storyline matters - you don’t hire a guy like David S. Goyer just to have him write something disposable. But if seeing Vader on a 15-year rampage is your thing, then I believe videos games are the best place to turn for that sort of experience. Whether you play Vader as he hacks and slashes away through enemies, or whether you play as someone on the run from him, I think that sort of story plays out best on a platform where fans who want it can actually take part in it.
The other wrinkle in this is that we’re a couple years away from an entirely new era of Star Wars, totally separate from the Skywalker saga. This new era is going to NEED time and space to grow out of the shadows of the Skywalker saga and all of the iconography that goes along with 40+ years of stories that are so entrenched in pop culture. If they kept pumping out Darth Vader stories and reminding fandom of what used to be - if they keep this stuff top of mind - they might be cutting out the future’s legs from under it. But like I said I don’t think they’ll be retiring these characters for very long, if at all.
Anyway, to bring it back around to this volume of Vader, I’ll be sad to see it go, but he will no doubt leave this series on a high note, and it’s better to go out on top than the overstay your welcome.
What do you think the future of Darth Vader is? Is it on screen? More printed material? VR?
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