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January 6, 2010

Are you a good Anakin or an evil Anakin?

"He must DIE, Mr. Thorn!"

"Yippee! I won the podrace... and now we celebrate by feasting on the blood of orphans."

There is no excuse for making Darth Vader shout “Yippee!!!”

First of all, I’ve seen the Star Wars movies countless times and Darth Vader never once shouts “Yippee!!!” He does mutter it under his mechanical breath after the destruction of Alderaan but hey, can you blame him? That planet blowing up was, like, soooooo awesome.

Presumably this gripe refers to the moment in The Phantom Menace when Anakin, ostensibly a child at this point in the story, expresses his joy, as we might logically assume in a manner appropriate to, you know, a child. A child which is, need I remind you, what he is.

Apparently some viewers feel Anakin needed to be darker, more sinister, or in the inimitable words of Patton Oswalt, “like some Damien Omen kid, like evil and killing people with his mind and shit like that.”

But how would that make any sense? We see at the end of the entire saga that Vader is redeemed by his son. That implies that Vader was good at some point in his past. You’d find a redemption story more believable if he was evil incarnate from birth? No, of course not. Pure evil couldn’t be saved. It wouldn’t make sense.

And not only would it not make sense, but it would make for a very unsatisfactory ending. Why then would a purely evil character care enough about his own son to betray his master? The entire story would fall apart. A good, childlike Anakin is the foundation of the story. Remove that and it all topples and everything else is rendered less credible or cartoony.

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