"Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."
Although it remains to be seen just how well Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is going to stand the test of time with in the #StarWars universe, it's fair to say that the Darth Vader hallway scene has found its place among the franchise's all-time most memorable moments. However, the same can't be said of Vader's earlier cinematic confrontation with Krennic and, more precisely, that quote above, as many fans initially felt it was a bit out of character and an unnecessary addition to an otherwise great scene.
However, having recently rewatched the entire saga for the umpteenth time with this gripe still fresh in my mind, it became apparent how this line of dialogue was actually rather fitting, since it highlighted a fascinating and oft unmentioned side to the iconic Sith Lord — namely, his sense of humor.
So, let's take a little trip into one of the most twisted psyches in fiction to see what we can unearth by exploring his hidden lively side.
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What Exactly Is Darth Vader's Sense Of Humor?
A major factor, which has certainly contributed to #DarthVader becoming such an iconic villain, is the commandingly intimidating presence he brings. Perhaps for that very reason alone it's easy to overlook that some of his most terrifying moments tend to come with a sprinkling of extremely dry and dark humor.
This is none more apparent than through the dark lord's many interactions with Imperial officers — "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" — and also his habit of taunting his opponents — "Impressive, most impressive." Granted, this brand of "humor" is mostly just a tool for intimidation and can result in a rather morbid punchline (as witnessed above). However, it also offers a sense levity to this tragic figure, which leads us down an interesting path.
The Part Of Anakin That Never Left
During his "from a certain point of view" speech in Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi explained to Luke Skywalker that Vader and Anakin Skywalker were essentially two separate personalities. He also added that Vader is more of a machine than a man. Needless to say, good ol' Ben had a point there.
As any fan would know, in his quest to gain power through the dark side, Anakin had essentially lost everything he cared about while also becoming a servant to a man who would gladly trade him for a less damaged model of Skywalker. Furthermore, even that quest for power was always going to have a glass ceiling as Vader lost a considerable amount of his Force potential due to the injuries sustained on Mustafar.
So, with nothing left but his rage and consumed by the dark side of the Force, it was very much a conscious effort by Vader to completely detach himself from his former persona, thus creating this largely machine-like existence.
However, this is where his sense of humor comes into play. You see, whether it was hunting down the remaining Jedi, fighting the rebellion, or generally being in the thick of things, these dry quips and taunts show us that Vader was not just going through the motions, and did gain some pleasure out of his otherwise bleak existence. In other words, on a certain understated and twisted level, the adventure-loving side of #AnakinSkywalker was still burning inside him.
Indeed, when looking at his life as Anakin, we can notice this same enjoyment for conflict and adventure conveyed through a similarly dry sense of humor (although in a much less sinister context). The only difference is that, as Anakin, it was one of many joys he had in his life. As Vader, it kind of the only joy he had left.
An Oddly Effective Celebration Of Passion
The fact that Vader was not able to let go of that character trait can be taken as a nice little reminder of just how much we need passion in our lives. More importantly, how having even a small amount of it remaining ensures that you can never completely lose connection with your true self.
While it was Vader's feelings for Luke that fully enabled him to reconnect with his Anakin persona, taking the above into account, it's fair to say that he always had it in him. That is not the worst conclusion to reach when exploring a twisted sense of humor of the psychological maze that is Vader.
It's rumored that we'll next be seeing Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be released to cinemas on December 15th. In the meantime, enjoy another piece of classic Vader humor" ( or "dad humor," for Luke and Leia) with this iconic little moment.
What's your take on the enigma that is Darth Vader? Get psychological in the comments section below.