Debra takes a look at a villain's story.
Darth Vader is one of the most iconic villains of all time. Even if you've never seen a Star Wars movie, more than likely you're at least familiar with the black masked character who in some ways represents the ultimate in evil. What I find intriguing is the story behind the villain.
For whatever reason, George Lucas started us in the middle of his saga when the first Star Wars movie was released in 1977. Although those of us seeing it back then didn't know it at the time. As the saga became popular and more details were released, Star Wars: A New Hope (as it came to be known) was ultimately labeled episode 4. Over the course of the next six years, Lucas released Episodes 5 and 6 and the trilogy came to an end. He always said he was going to go back to the beginning and make Episodes 1-3, and eventually he did, but fans had to wait a long time for that to happen.
From what I've read, and I'm a huge Star Wars geek so I've read a lot of 'behind-the-scenes' type things, Darth Vader wasn't meant to be this all encompassing embodiment of evil. But as things in pop culture are wont to do, his persona took on a life and cult of its own. Especially since for such a long time all we had were hints as to how he came to be.
Which made going back to episodes one through three to learn about the tragic backstory of Darth Vader all the more interesting. At least for me. I know many fans were not pleased with Lucas' rendition of the prequels. But I understand now when Lucas says he's more of a tragic figure than an evil one. And I personally liked what he did with the beginning of the saga.
Not many writers get the opportunity to delve so deeply into the backstory of their characters. At most we get to dribble bits and pieces into our present-day stories to explain why the hero or heroine feels the way he/she does. What is driving them. What shaped them. Sometimes what is keeping them apart. But rarely do we get to go back and tell the entire beginning of the story, let alone in three epic parts. Most often, that backstory is just for us...to help us get to know our characters so we can portray them for our readers. But think about how fun it would be to go back and tell the entire story. Fun and daunting. And more than likely an entirely different genre, since there probably wouldn't be a whole lot of romance involved. At least not the kind with a HEA.
Until next time,