The new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is exciting fans for many reasons. First, there’s that bit of narration by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and, of course, Luke wouldn’t be complete without R2D2 beside him. There’s also Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) presumably returning to the Millenium Falcon. There’s also all of that action so reminiscent of past installments of the Star Wars franchise that one would hardly notice the behind-the-scenes changes that have taken place, since Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) first hit theaters.
All of that is very exciting, but nothing has captured the imaginations of fans as much as the possibility that Darth Vader might yet be alive.
Yes, fans are suspecting and even hoping that J.J. Abrams has reanimated everyone’s favorite dark lord, Darth Vader, in the new Star Wars installment. Entertainment Weekly has even proposed that Darth Vader might have been resurrected through cloning, which every Star Wars fan knows is a common practice in the Star Wars universe. The question remains could Darth Vader be returned without resurrecting Anakin Skywalker? (Let’s face it: As much as fans love Darth Vader, that’s how much Anakin was loathed.)
Making the possibility of Darth Vader returning in Star Wars: The Force Awakens even more likely is the fact that Mr. Abrams has been very cagey about revealing details about the Empire’s powerful new leaders. Star Wars teasers and trailers have revealed stormtroopers, TIE Fighters, and even a possible Sith, but no one has been seen to be giving orders. Not so much as a voice over…except for the heavy breathing so uniquely Darth Vader.
It has been pointed out that the return of Darth Vader would devalue the story of the first six episodes, since Darth Vader’s corruption, rise to power, and eventual remorse and redemption are at the core of the first Star Wars films. J.J. Abrams has a history of changing the rules in reboots and sequels and he has a proven history of alienating faithful franchise fans. Remember Star Trek‘s Khan and the destruction of planet Vulcan? Star Trek fans do.
Another factor hinting at the return of Darth Vader is Luke’s use of the present tense, when he says “…my father has it…,” indicating that there’s more to this possibility than it would at first seem. After all, the audience of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) thought they had seen the last of Obi Wan Kenobi, yet Alec Guinness returned in two sequels.
Whatever the actual plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it does seem that we may again see Darth Vader in action one more time.
[Featured image: Darth Vader’s charred helmet. Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.]