How Return of the Jedi Should Have Ended reminds us that Anakin is still a piece of crap

Illustration for article titled emHow Return of the Jedi Should Have Ended/em reminds us that Anakin is still a piece of crap

Finally someone has trimmed the fat — and the bad ideas — out of the conclusion to the Star Wars saga! The latest short from the "How It Should Have Ended" crew is a perfect re-imagining of Star Wars Return of the Jedi.


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Gonna go out on a limb here, but I'm starting to think that the thing that actually ruined Star Wars was making Vader Luke's dad. Not the Ewoks, not Greedo shooting first, not Jar-Jar, not the midichlorians, not "Nooooooooooooo!"

Now, I can hear you saying: But the Vader arc is the entire crux of the trilogy! It's about the son redeeming the sins of the father! Well, actually no. It never comes up in the first movie, probably because Lucas hadn't thought it up yet. It doesn't even really come up in Empire.* The revelation comes near the end of the movie, and there's zero foreshadowing, beyond Vader's interest in capturing Skywalker, which only makes sense — obviously the Empire would want him for a variety of reasons, the least being to execute him for the destruction of the Death Star.

Keep in mind I'm not saying that the actual act of making Vader Luke's father ruined the series. But the execution certainly did. Suddenly the movies aren't about defeating an evil empire, but about redeeming a bad, murderous guy with virtually no moral or ethical values whatsoever for the reasons that he used to be (allegedly) good and he's the hero's biological dad (though our hero has never met him before). Vader is pretty much as much of a monster as Palpatine, except the latter is not related to our hero, so there's no need to appeal to his better nature.

This really makes no sense at all. It's kind of like, as David Brin once put it, as if FDR found Heinrich Himmler's unknown American son serving in the US Army in France in 1944, and dispatched him in secret to Nazi Germany in the hope of converting him to the side of the Allies and overthrowing Hitler, regardless of his role in committing war crimes and atrocities. It makes the conflict dumber, too: Suddenly the war is not about good versus evil, or democracy and freedom versus tyranny and rule by force, but fucking daddy issues. It also kicked off the dumbness inherent in Return of the Jedi and subsequent movies in which everyone important is related to each other and/or knew each other when they were kids. It takes the grand vision of a galaxy at war as shown in Star Wars and Empire and reduces it to Oedipal conflicts IN! SPACE!

*ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE COUNTS. These books are comics are written largely by writers who should know better whose job is essentially to cover up the general kludginess and improvisatory nature of Lucas' "vision," whose self-loathing is tempered by cash and childhood nostalgia.