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Saga Was Anakin/Vader always the central character of the Star Wars saga?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth Weavile, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Darth Weavile

    Darth Weavile Jedi Knight star 1

    Oct 10, 2017

    So, I came across this great video the other day, and I encourage you all to give it a watch (if you have the time). However, one think really stuck out to me.

    The first two questions for George revolve around Anakin being the central character of the Star Wars saga. While that seems obvious now, it is interesting that Lucas seems insistent that he was this way all the way back in 1977. He specifically mentions that originally, Star Wars was a much longer script that covered the events of ANH/ESB/ROTJ. He says it starts with Vader walking through the door, and ends with the Emperor being thrown down the shaft.

    I was under the impression (Obi-Wan voice) that Vader and Anakin were originally meant to be separate characters, and this did not change until the late drafts of ESB. It seems to me that he's revising history a bit here.

    oierem likes this.
  2. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 10, 2005
    What he says is true... from a certain point of view.
  3. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 6, 2016
  4. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 5

    May 27, 1999
    From what I've read and seen, Luke is certainly the main character of the OT, since the whole plot revolves around what he'll do or won't do, and which side he'll choose. For the PT, that focus changes to Ani. That's why I prefer to look at the saga as the story of the Skywalker family, rather than just the "Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker". But that's how I look at it.
  5. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 8, 2015
    That's correct. He made that clear ("separate characters") in the 1977 Rolling Stone interview about Vader's heavy breathing and the first ESB draft which featured Obi-Wan and Luke's father as Force Ghosts, making Luke take the Jedi oath...

    In addition, the OT had the subtitle "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker".

    So while the OT only is "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker", all six films constitute "The Story of Anakin Skywalker".
  6. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    The video is really interesting, but of course we have to take certain things with a graint of salt, because the whole thing about having everything planned from the beginning is obviously not accurate (or not true, if you want to say it bluntly).

    Obviously, we know that there was never a script that covered all the events of the OT, as the scripts are available online, and were extensively analyzied in the Making of books. The first "long" screenplay was basically an early version of the first movie with a forest battle with wookies at the end (and in no way was it about killing the Emperor, or the father of the hero being redeemed).

    Was Anakin always the central character of the Saga? Clearly not. Luke Skywalker was meant to be the central hero of the OT, while Vader was meant to be the central villain. However, an unexpected twist was added ("I am your father") and that lead to a different and somewhat unexpected ending of the trilogy: Vader was no longer the main villain, he was the victim and, ultimately, the hero who kills the real villain. And so, ROTJ unexpectedly shifted the roles that were clearly established in the first movie; and while Luke was still the hero of the overall trilogy, Vader/Anakin became the ultimate hero who saved the day.

    In essence, that reversal of roles in ROTJ allowed Lucas to create a PT, in which Anakin is the hero and Palpatine the villain, AND that it works as the first half of a bigger story which ends with the destruction of THAT villain at the hands of THAT hero. That's how the Saga works as a story about "the story of Anakin Skywalker", even if the OT is still about Luke as a hero.

    And that's also why there was no way of creating a ST that would still be part of the same story, in my opinion.
  7. Avnar

    Avnar Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 20, 2007
    only one kenobi likes this.
  8. Jozgar

    Jozgar Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 20, 2015
    No, absolutely not. Looking at the content of the original trilogy, it’s clearly Luke’s story. Vader is not the central actor, but rather an element through which Luke can accomplish his character arc. Luke loves and shows mercy to his father despite how evil and cruel he is, and that’s what ultimately makes Luke a Jedi and saves the day.
    only one kenobi likes this.
  9. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 8, 2015
    I just remembered something that IMHO makes it abundantly clear that the Original Trilogy was "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker", i.e. the prologues of both ESB and ROJ which emphasize Luke by name and almost suggest that he was the mastermind behind the Alliance. ROJ: "Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star..."
    Martoto77 likes this.
  10. darth_mccartney

    darth_mccartney Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 3, 2008
    The way I see it, the saga IS all about Anakin. It tells the tale of his rise and fall (prequel Trilogy), his redemption (Original Trilogy) and his legacy (Sequel Trilogy).
    wobbits likes this.
  11. Mandalorian Riddler

    Mandalorian Riddler Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2018
    The way they presented it, I feel as if he was the main besides luke, trying to get the whole skywalker story over to the fanbase, but his story is most interesting. From Slave to Lord to Good Man.
  12. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 18, 2012
    A good post but, I would dispute that In ROTJ Anakin becomes the hero that saved the day. He becomes this in retrospect, because of the PT imo.

    In ROTJ Vader/Anakin destroys the Emperor and saves Luke, but the Imperial fleet is taken down by the rebels. Anakin's redemption is an altogether separate culmination, as is Luke's understanding of what it is to be a Jedi; both are intrinsically personal journeys. Part of Luke's epiphany is in realising that he is not all powerful, that his cutting down Vader won't achieve anything except to sate his own anger and hatred. If by killing Vader he could have helped the rebels defeat the Empire then his actions become a betrayal. It is precisely because it will make no difference that his actions would be wrong, would be for the wrong reasons.

    The Imperial defeat was at the hands of the rebels, an element of the original story obscured by the notion of Anakin as 'The Chosen One'...and therefore as the saviour, the hero that saved the day.
  13. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    In every story, there is a main conflict/plot that contains THE big climatic moment. In my opinion, it is clear that in both the OT and the PT, the "personal story" of Luke/Anakin takes precedes over the "galactic conflict" of the Republic/Empire.

    In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin's turn is obviously the main story/tragedy/conflict, which structures the movie and its key moments, whereas the creation of the Empire is relegated to the background.

    In Return of the Jedi, the emotional core of the story, the most important conflict, is clearly about Luke and Vader and the Emperor. The defeat of the Empire is a secondary storyline which is not given enough emotional weight or story-development to be considered the main conflict (the progression of the political storyline though the OT is nearly non-existent). And the ultimate dramatic climax (the equivalent of the destruction of the Ring in The Lord of the Rings) is Vader killing the Emperor: the musical journey clearly indicates that, as the tension is building higher and higher until it's finally resolved when Vader kills the Emperor.... and from that point onwards, all the drama disappears and we get to smile happily as we hear the familiar heroic tunes of the heroes while the Rebels destroy the Death Star without any difficulty and with barely any tension at all.

    So yes, I do believe that Vader was always the unlikely hero that saved the day, as he is the one who has the final heroic moment. And that allowed the PT to be made in a way that it underlined the idea of Anakin being the real hero.
    darkspine10 and wobbits like this.
  14. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 18, 2012
    Oh I agree that the emotional core at the end of ROTJ is the battle in the throne room, but that's not the same as saying that Anakin was the hero that saved the day; by which I mean that the rebels win their victory over the Imperial fleet and the second Death Star themselves. That victory is not contingent upon what occurs in the throne room - what you say here hints that it is, that there is some LOTR like switch and the Emperor's destruction is akin to the destruction of the one ring. That is a consequence of the 'Chosen One' theme, that did not exist within the framework of the original films. This a prime example of the subtlety that is lost by Lucas re-framing the movies as the saga of Anakin Skywalker.

    It is the emotional core precisely because it is so personal. It is a personal redemption.

    Luke learns that it is not his skills in the Force, his fancy-pants sabre technique that make a Jedi, Vader is reminded by Luke of what it is to be a Jedi, what his greed for power has cost him, and the rebels - despite being hopelessly outgunned - manage to defeat the Empire through their determination and bravery - as Sun-Tzu would have predicted ...

    DARTH_BELO Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 25, 2003
    I kind of feel like ANH was the only film in the saga that was truly not centered around Darth Vader. ESB doesn't center on him either, but there are elements that IMO foreshadow that the focus will shift from Luke to him. By the time we hit ROTJ though I feel Vader, with all his internal conflict, actually IS the central focus for sure-which then presumably triggered the interest in the PT story, and seeing how he got there in the first place.
    crapiola likes this.
  16. crapiola

    crapiola Jedi Padawan

    Apr 7, 2016
    Don't forget that the first draft was NOT written by Lucas and was chucked immediately upon receipt. Leigh Brackett is only credited as the screenplay writer because of her death. Every writeup on the development of ESB details how Lucas disagreed with her additions. She wrote the screenplay after sitting down with Lucas and his outline, but she added a lot of flourishes and side plots. The second draft - written from scratch by Lucas - is the true reflection of what he wanted in the sequel, and it is then that Irvin Kershner is told about the twist.

    Hamill famously tells that when Kershner told him the twist, that Lucas and Kreshner have known it for months, so if it were to leak then, they would know it was Hamill's fault.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  17. darth-sinister

    darth-sinister Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 28, 2001
    Lucas had written one script that was going to have a lot of things going on. The central character was supposed to be Annikin Starkiller and he would be surrounded by other characters. Then the name was changed in the second draft to Luke Starkiller. Around this time, Lucas started to toy with the idea of making a trilogy of films. Three films to tell one story, but his main efforts were on one film which became ANH. After that film came out, Lucas toyed with the idea of multiple films that would go beyond just Luke's story. That there would be a backstory set of films and then a forward story that would end with Luke passing on "Excalibur" to the next generation of Jedi. It was only after ROTJ, that Lucas condensed the backstory to being about Anakin and Obi-wan and not just the whole history of the Republic before becoming the Empire. And while writing the PT, he decided to make the story about Anakin, because it was becoming obvious to him that if he was going to follow the character from when he's a boy to when he's an old man dying in his son's arms, he could tighten the story and create a narrative through line. And at that point, he wasn't going to do anymore films beyond ROTS.

    I wouldn't say that the fleet was taken down by the Rebels, since Ackbar states that they cannot withstand the entire Imperial fleet if they engaged them. They managed to destroy at least one Imperial class Star Destroyer and were lucky that the A-Wing pilot managed to kamikaze the Executor, resulting in its destruction. But the Rebel fleet was seriously out gunned. The Empire only takes off with the Death Star destroyed. Not to mention that the film made it clear that not only was taking out the Death Star necessary, but that taking out Palpatine, who was there, was essential as it could speed up ending the war. Plus the Jedi were insistent that taking out the Emperor was necessary for Luke.

    The inclusion of the Chosen One story, only added to why taking him out was important to the Jedi.
  18. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Host, PT Interview Thread star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Feb 18, 2014
    Yes, easily.

    PT= His rise to power and his fall to darkness
    OT=Time with the Empire and redemption
    ST= Legacy in both his son and his grandson
  19. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 18, 2012
    They took out the Death Star and the Executor and the rest of the fleet dispersed. They took out the fleet.

    What I'm saying is that thanks to the help of the Ewoks (eeurgh :rolleyes:) the shield was taken down and the Death Star destroyed. The rebels did that.

    Killing the King, assassinating the President, cutting off the head of the snake is obviously a desirable benefit to the rebels.

    What I'm arguing against is the idea that destroying the Emperor was what defeated the fleet, what won the battle - as if there were some magic defence cast by the Lord of the Sith and Vader/Anakin's actions are decisive in regards to that. wasn't "taking him (the Emperor) out" that was important to the Jedi, it was defeating him that was. There is a difference. By throwing down his lightsabre, Luke defeated him.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  20. Mandalorian Riddler

    Mandalorian Riddler Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2018
    70% I'd say was, was shown his childhood all the way up to completing his original task of ending the Sith...Kinda
  21. Seagoat

    Seagoat PT and Music Section Dictator star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 25, 2013
    We know for sure that Vader and Anakin (or rather, Luke's then-unnamed father) were separate characters until late 1978/early 1979

    The first TESB script by Leigh Brackett included a scene on Dagobah in which Yoda had a lightsaber sparring match with ghost Obi-Wan, after which the ghost of Luke's father (whose lines the script attributed to just "Skywalker") would show up to give a pep talk

    And if I'm not mistaken, even at that point, the working title was Star Wars Episode II. I'm not sure if that indicates there wasn't a plan for a trilogy set before Luke's story at the time, or if it was simply a placeholder title because it was the second movie made

    Either way, GL is speaking "from a certain point of view" when he says that

    SW was first defined as the adventures of Luke Skywalker. It then morphed into the tragedy of Darth Vader. And now, while both can be seen as equally valid aspects of the saga, it's something more akin to the story of the Skywalker family, which I quite like
    Jedi Knight Fett and HevyDevy like this.
  22. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Host, PT Interview Thread star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Feb 18, 2014
    Seeing how it is likely that Kylo will die in the current trilogy it will also rap up in a good old 9 movies.
  23. themoth

    themoth Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 5, 2015
    True. Luke redeems the father who lost his way. But without Anakin the franchise would be missing a huge element.