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Saga The Origins of Luke's father - Annikin Starkiller, Anakin Skywalker, or Darth Vader?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Tosche_Station, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2015
    .....or, Lando Kadar?

    (thanks ATMachine) :p;)


    I thought I'd start my own thread on this topic. In this thread, I'd like to explore the origins of the character of Luke's father in the OT, and whether, at the time of making the first SW film, was Luke unambiguously, straightforwardly, supposed to have been Annikin's son? Was Darth Vader 'merely' Darth Vader? Was he someone else beneath the mask? This thread can also be seen as a response to author (and former TFN poster zombie) Michael Kaminski's thesis that the Father Vader concept only goes back to April of 1978 in the form of Lucas' hand-written (second) draft for TESB. I used to subscribe to this theory, but no longer do so. I must say that I've changed my mind in large part due to what posters Darth_Nub, ATMachine, and Samuel Vimes have written on the subject in the years since Michael published his book in 2008.

    The first "phase" was during some discussion(s) I was having with Samuel Vimes from maybe five years ago concerning the characterization of Anakin in the PT vis-a-vis how he's talked about in the OT. In those discussions, he and I were floating some hypothetical scenarios concerning the story directions that the OT could have gone after TESB, and we both agreed that TESB's "I am your father" does not unequivocally point to "Vader is/used to be (Annikin/Anakin) Skywalker Sr". Also, I began to consider Darth_Nub and ATMachine posts that argued for the concept of a Vader-who-is-secretly-Luke's-real-father as a plausible alternate story-line, even being a potential story-line as far back as the third draft of the first Star Wars film. Darth_Nub was back then (early 2011?) arguing for a early version of Father Vader whereby he was notionally to have been a Skywalker who turned evil as per ROTJ. At the same time, ATMachine was proposing that this Vader was someone other than Annikin/Anakin, but who nevertheless was Luke's real father, having had an affair with Annikin's (and...did Obi-Wan know* this or not?) ATMachine also proposed variants whereby perhaps Vader was indeed a Starkiller or Skywalker after all, but maybe an uncle (brother of Annikin/Anakin), or even an older brother of Luke. The character of Leia was also brought up: was she a twin of Luke, or a half-sibling, even perhaps, older - rather than younger - than Luke, etc.

    *I lean towards 'not' (ditto for Yoda and The Emperor), since in my opinion, it makes the decisions/choices/dialogue by those characters during TESB make so much more sense than they do when that film is viewed through the 'lens' of ROTJ.

    What I propose, is that the concept of Father Vader - in it's "loosest" sense, i.e. that he was the real father but he was NOT Annikin/Anakin/Tan (and maybe not even a Skywalker at all) - could indeed go back to the third draft of Star Wars (per ATMachine and Darth_Nub), and was indeed safely in place in place as of the Spring of 1978. However - contra Michael Kaminski a.k.a. zombie - this was not Vader-used-to-be-Anakin Skywalker, or Anakin went evil and became Vader, which I believe was not put in place until ROTJ was made.
     
  2. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Just for the record, I may have erred in postulating that Darth Vader was "really" named Lando Kadar at one point. After all, there are probably a lot of Landos in the galaxy, so his surname could have been something else. ;)
     
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  3. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2015
    ;)

    And if you don't mind, ATMachine, I'd like to reply to your last post (#654) from the 'SW Saga In-Depth Discussion Thread':


    If I'm understanding you correctly, then I could see Lucas thinking, "well, if I'm going to make Vader basically a Starkiller/Skywalker family member gone evil, why not have it be Annikin/Anakin himself?" That being said, I'm not certain that Vader = Annikin/Anakin/the hero that Ben Kenobi told Luke about makes the most sense within the narrative of a 3-film OT, or more precisely, given the way things were set up in SW and TESB , I'm not so sure that Vader being Annikin made for a 'smooth' story. I think it tends to make Obi-Wan a bit of an unreliable narrator, for one thing.


    [face_thinking]

    I could see this happening as well. However, if he made too much of the elder Skywalker's fallibility in the later films, then I'd think he would have needed to 'balance' that with Obi-Wan being a little more, admirable character-wise. Especially when he was supposed to have been the "good father" watching over Luke. Then again, for reasons of 'story economy', I could see Lucas thinking it might work better if the 'mysterious' father is a character we've already met, like Vader, or....even Obi-Wan. On that note, didn't Lucas say something about the father character receding from each draft of Star Wars, only for the sequels to sort of pull him back into the story?
     
  4. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    This thread brings back memories of the 1980's. Fantastic Films was the prominent scifi magazine entertaining plenty of speculation and Bill Hays was the lead author who speculated that the original "Clone Wars" had ramifications for OT characters.

    His reasoning was that "Obi-Wan" was synonymous with clone "OB-1" and along these lines, IIRC, a point was made that Luke could have just been a clone of Darth Vader (adding further ambiguity to the Dagobah cave scene), who - from a certain point of view - would then have qualified as "father of Luke". ;)
     
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  5. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2009
    [face_thinking]

    Given the lack of any further evidence than what we've had for quite some time, I'm still going for a semi-conservative stance - from 1978, 'Father Vader' was what he would officially become, i.e.Annikin/Anakin Skywalker turned evil, and wasn't ever intended to be anything else. It's an intriguing theory that Luke Skywalker was, for some reason, simply the son of the villain, with no other connection to the heroes, and was technically 'Luke Vader', but I can't see anything to indicate that this might have ever been considered.

    Main reason for this stance is that I believe that 'Father Vader' evolved quite early (mid-to-late 1977/early 1978) from a handful of dead-ends regarding the original conception of Luke's father (Annikin) and the increasingly interesting backstory of the villain, Darth Vader - the betrayal of the Jedi, the volcano duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, his life sentence inside a walking iron lung. With the backstory pitting this fascinating villain against the great Jedi we already knew and respected, Luke's father just seemed like a third wheel who might well have died like a punk - some accounts have him dying shortly or immediately before the Duel, but obviously not taking part - and when he was included in Leigh Brackett's first draft of ESB, his presence as a Force Ghost alongside Minch/Yoda and Obi-Wan just highlights how he really wasn't very interesting or required in the main scheme of things.

    Making him some sort of cuckold to Darth Vader would just make this already redundant and pointless character almost pathetic, undermining the character of Luke. I don't think that there was a ever a separate 'Annikin Skywalker' once Father Vader was born.
     
  6. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    The Lucas interview in the 1977 of Rolling Stone was pretty clear on the issue. I don't have the exact wording available, but that much was clear
    1. Vader kills Luke's father
    2. Vader and Kenobi fight, Vader falls into a volcanic pit (hence the breathing problem which was the question in the interview)
    Other than that I concur, there seemed little backstory potential to Luke's original father ("third wheel") which probably encouraged Lucas to make Vader Luke's father, eventually.

    The "performing" scene in Leigh Brackett's draft between Kenobi and Luke's father was just awful, IMHO. One of the best things remains, that this particular one was abandoned rather early in the process.
     
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  7. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 10, 2011

    Isn't that sort of the whole point of the father reveal in ESB, though? To undermine Luke's own one-dimensional conception of himself as the righteous heir to a great heroic legacy? I think such a tack fits perfectly with the direction Lucas was heading in from the start. After all, the original cyborg father, Kane Starkiller, was a pathetic figure as well. His pathetic-ness is pretty much his defining character trait in the Rough Draft until he heroically sacrifices himself.
     
  8. darth-sinister

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

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    Jun 28, 2001
    PAUL SCANLON: What's the story?

    GEORGE LUCAS: It's about Ben and Luke's father and Vader when they are young Jedi knights. But Vader kills Luke's father, then Ben and Vader have a confrontation, just like they have in Star Wars, and Ben almost kills Vader. As a matter of fact, he falls into a volcanic pit and gets fried and is one destroyed being. That's why he has to wear the suit with a mask, because it's a breathing mask. It's like a walking iron lung. His face is all horrible inside. I was going to shoot a close-up of Vader where you could see the inside of his face, but then we said, no, no, it would destroy the mystique of the whole thing.

    --Rolling Stone interview, 1977.
     
  9. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2015
    I'm basing the theory on many things, some of them ranging from elements from the first two SW films themselves, BTS material, like the earlier drafts of TESB's statements regarding 'who-trained-who', things like that. Also, it's a theory that, in my opinion, makes the most sense out of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the Emperor's decisions/choices in TESB (This would be workable of course only if those three characters were in the dark or misled about Luke's parentage). The "we find out who Darth Vader is" quote from late 1975 is another factor, and if I understand you correctly, you don't believe that Lucas had the "Annikin/Starkiller/Hero character turns to evil/becomes Vader" story element in place at that particular point in time.



    This 'third wheel' aspect is partly why I could believe that Lucas could have thought of the father aspect for Vader early on, 'early' being the third draft. I quite agree that 'Father Vader' came about as early as you say - and for me, maybe even earlier - but I don't believe that Annikin becoming Vader goes back this early. At the same time, I can't think of any particular 'mechanics' of story economy which would sort of force Lucas to place the 'seduced by evil' theme onto a completely different character instead of keeping it attached to the character which he had already attached it to (i.e. Vader, or whoever Vader was before he was the Vader that we know from SW).


    Well, I don't see that it would undermine Luke's character anymore than Anakin Skywalker turning evil and becoming Vader could potentially do the same. Speaking of which, that was a story change that, imo undermined the character of Obi-Wan, or at least made him an unreliable narrator. That being said, if I'm not mistaken, there was a sort of precedent in fiction for this type of character/story dynamic.
     
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  10. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2015
    (continued) part II of post #9:


    Edit to add:
    I want to make a brief note about ROTJ and the 'certain point of view' explanation. The 'cpov' explanation doesn't particularly strike me as being indicative of Lucas having merged the two characters of Annikin or Anakin and Vader many years prior to the time of writing ROTJ. It doesn't come across to me that the amalgamated Anakin-Vader character had been 'marinating in the oven' for all that long, if you get my meaning...it comes across as something he had only recently committed to. That's another little thing that indicates to me that Lucas had kept them as separate characters far longer than many think that he did. The ironic thing is that this very theory also sort of 'vindicates' Lucas when he says that Vader being the father was the 'original story'. To me, it's sort of the only way to reconcile Lucas' statements with the evidence (the films, BTS material).

    None of this is evidence of course, just how I interpret certain connotations from the films and from BTS material.

    * see the latest discussion from the BTS "Lucas Quotes and Interviews about the Star Wars saga" thread


    edit to add:

    The_Phantom_Calamari:

    You do realize that Darth_Nub is talking about a scenario whereby Vader and Annikin were two separate characters but with Vader being the real father? And Annikin was killed by Vader in this story, he doesn't 'sacrifice himself' per se.
     
  11. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Also keep in mind that in 1975, Vader could just as easily have been related to Luke in a different way than a father-son relationship -- maybe an evil twin brother, separated at birth?

    I do think that GL even then wanted Vader's true identity -- as in "we learn who Darth Vader is" -- to be something surprising, i.e., something other than "well, he's Darth Vader". Having the answer to the question of 'who is Vader?' be "he killed Luke's father" is too much of a storytelling cliché to work as an ESB-style shock here, in my view.

    Plus, even in the 1975 third draft, we were told that Vader had fought for the Sith at the same battle where Luke's father died. Putting two and two together isn't much of a stretch for the general public in that regard.
     
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  12. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2015

    Yep. Those are the very reasons why I no longer buy that thesis (of Kaminksi).


    The Annikin character in this scenario would still serve a purpose in the story, in that who or what he is believed to be by the other characters - Ben, Yoda, and the Emperor, and of course Luke - motivates them to do what they do over the course of the next couple of films. Luke being his true son by blood or not, wouldn't diminish this. Plus, Vader being his actual father, and not the guy that Ben told Luke about it the first film, sort of casts even more of a 'dark cloud' over Luke's legacy (I was going to say 'destiny', but perhaps legacy is a better word)? What if Luke's dad was already a bad guy when he fathered him?
     
  13. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    I wonder if Vader was always intended to be a tragic figure or if non-father Vader was simply power-hungry.
     
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  14. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 26, 2009
    'Undermine' probably wasn't the right term to use - the existing storyline does introduce a certain potential flaw to his character by establishing Vader as his father, and that makes him more interesting. Making his father (i.e. his heritage) a bit dull could potentially reflect on him, however, in terms of how the audience might view him.

    I'm now inclined to agree that Vader merely being the man who killed Luke's father is a touch weak as the answer to "we learn who Vader is", compared to a familial connection. Twin brother wouldn't work - the timeframes don't match at all - but perhaps a considerably older brother (think Annikin & Deak from the Rough Draft, but Luke being an infant when separated from his brother and too young to remember him), who turned to the Dark Side and murdered their father? Sound familiar?

    Could TFA's shocking scene of patricide have been inspired by yet another abandoned idea from the ESB era which Kasdan dredged up?
     
  15. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 26, 2009
    ^^^
    Small correction - I realised that 'Father Vader' was included in GL's 2nd Draft of ESB, so 'Brother Vader' most likely wasn't considered around that time, but it's still possible that it was an earlier idea that GL was considering when he was talking about how "we learn who Darth Vader is" (1975 - 3rd draft of SW), and it may have been brought up in ESB-era discussions with Kasdan, which Kasdan may have recycled somewhat for TFA.

    It would also fit with Vader's intriguing line from the 3rd draft during the final space battle, when he senses Luke:

    There's also the slightly larger context in which the "we learn who Darth Vader is" quote was mentioned, which hints at just such close, predictable and rather cheesy connections being right there:

    "Soap opera"? The classic format for such outrageous twists with family members.

    I don't believe that it was 'Father Vader' at this stage, however - there's too many quotes from GL (both public and private) which name Luke's father very unambiguously as a separate character, plus the dialogue in the final film of SW/ANH (from Aunt Beru & Obi-Wan) simply doesn't fit with the idea of Luke being some sort of bastard offspring of a pure villain like Vader (although it does work, in hindsight, with the existing storyline about Luke's father having been a good man turned bad).

    Vader could have been Obi-Wan's son, for all we know. A year ago, I would have dismissed such theorising as pure nonsense, but after having seen TFA (which I'm starting to think of as a sequel to ESB, rather than ROTJ), I'm more inclined to wonder just how far GL, Kasdan, Kurtz et al were considering taking things back around 1978/1979, or what GL might have been thinking even earlier. zombie's cold, logical approach tends to exclude random, illogical and downright wacky thinking - which is precisely what can occur during the writing process.
     
  16. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    OWEN He won't, I don't think he exists
    any more. He died about the same
    time as your father.

    LUKE He knew my father?

    AUNT BERU Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He
    has too much of his father in him.

    OWEN That's what I'm afraid of

    LUKE No, my father didn't fight in the
    wars. He was a navigator on a spice
    freighter.

    BEN That's what your uncle told you. He
    didn't hold with your father's ideals.
    Thought he should have stayed here
    and not gotten involved.

    BEN I have something here for you. Your
    father wanted you to have this when
    you were old enough, but your uncle
    wouldn't allow it. He feared you
    might follow old Obi-Wan on some
    damned-fool idealistic crusade like
    your father did.

    Plenty of interesting information / questions in these dialogue lines, IMHO. But the overall impression ANH created was that Luke's father was a native of Tatooine who then followed Kenobi on some idealistic crusade to become / and became a Jedi Knight (before the PT revisions)

    Interestingly, that's exactly what Luke does.
     
  17. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Lucas often points to the fact that "Darth Vader" sounds similar to the Dutch for "Dark Father" as evidence that he planned it all along. Of course, the evidence suggests that was just a happy coincidence. But what's interesting is that at least one independent critic picked up on a similar correspondence in an essay written in 1978 (note the year):

    The connection Gordon draws is not that Darth Vader is a father per se, but rather a sort of Killer of Fathers. Still, it's interesting that even before the reveal in ESB there were people interpreting the epithet "Vader" as having the meaning "father." I'd suggest that Lucas himself might have noticed the odd correspondence at some early point, and that it's at least partially where he got the inspiration to merge the father character with the Vader character once and for all. So in this scenario, Lucas sort of inadvertently suggested the plot twist to himself, without even knowing that's what he was doing initially. So when he says retroactively that that's the real meaning behind the name Darth Vader, he's once again telling the truth, from a certain point of view.
     
  18. darth-sinister

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

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    Jun 28, 2001

    Well, if we look at the genesis of the character, we can at least glean an idea. The Valorum character from the first draft was a tragic figure, in that he was a Jedi who became disillusioned with his fellow Jedi Bendu and the old Empire and thus he joined the new Empire and the Sith Knights. But then comes to regret it after a number of years, seeing how the new Empire is really a bunch of scumbags. So he ultimately becomes good again and rejoins the Jedi. But his tale isn't quite tragic as the end result of Anakin as Vader. Vader in the second draft is not tragic, nor the third draft either. It is only after deciding that he was badly injured that the earliest notion of his being a tragic figure started. But it is only when Lucas put Anakin and Vader together that the tragedy truly takes shape, which is probably a reason why he decided that they should be the same man. It gives the whole twist on the villain finding redemption if we have a reason to believe that he could be good again. Vader as he was written in 76 was presented as an evil man, whereas Anakin was presented as a hero.
     
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  19. Drewdude91

    Drewdude91 Jedi Knight star 3

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    May 21, 2011

    No, Lando Kadar was Lando Calrissian's original name.
     
  20. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007

    I think you might be on to something here. Especially since, if this were true, Kasdan wouldn't have been the first in Lucas' empire to have known about this "ur-Star Wars" plot.

    Anyone else here ever played LucasArts' Monkey Island 2? :p
     
  21. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

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    Feb 9, 2015
    "He's the son of Vader (but NOT a Skywalker at all?)" makes for a 'dull' heritage? Speaking for myself, I don't know....I mean, it's like ATMachine said...Darth Vader could turn out to be anybody* beneath the mask, whether that be 'Lando Kadar' or someone else.


    [face_thinking]


    Well, in ATMachine's story and in my slight variation of his, Annikin and Vader would still be separate characters. As it pertains to the dialogue of the final film (SW), in my version of the story at least, Beru and Owen would not know the truth that Annikin wasn't the father...and..this is key...neither would Obi-Wan (this could be potentially applied later to the characters of Yoda and the Emperor). And...if one thinks about it from an in-universe perspective, how could Obi-Wan really know for certain who the father is? Speaking in terms of in-universe, it's only the arbitrary decision of Lucas, at this point, that 'compels' Annikin to be Luke's true father in the story.


    Once again, you may be onto something....[face_thinking]
     
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  22. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    While I certainly think it's possible that one potential SW plot-line c. 1975 could have made Vader into Ben Kenobi's son -- if I have to plump for anyone as a secret love child of Ben, my first choice would be Princess Leia. Not only are she and Luke explicitly given different ages (16 and 20) in the 1975 rough draft: when GL considered casting Toshiro Mifune as Ben Kenobi around the same time, he also wanted to cast Leia as either Japanese or part-Japanese.

    Second choice for "secret child of Ben Kenobi": Luke himself. Because ifi GL thought about combining father-figure characters as early as 1975, why not go with the guy who had an artificial right hand in the 1975 third draft?

    Vader not being the same man as Annikin Skywalker doesn't mean that Vader (and therefore Luke) wasn't related to Annikin in some other way.

    With all the King Arthur-mythos parallels in the 1975 drafts, it wouldn't surprise me if the central idea here was originally that Vader was the Mordred to Annikin's Arthur: an unacknowledged son who turns against his father during the Jedi Purge of the prequel era. Whether Darth Vader was Luke's father or his half-brother, either way there would a shocking revelation about the Skywalker heritage.

    ("Only guarantee my cuckoldry the safety" indeed... :cool: )
     
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  23. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    From Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (LucasArts Entertainment Company, 1991):

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    ...Does Ron Gilbert know something we don't?
     
  24. Tosche_Station

    Tosche_Station Jedi Knight star 2

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    Feb 9, 2015
    I remember reading that from Dale Pollock's "Skywalking"...good catch.


    Indeed. That makes Ben the #2 alternative to Annikin being Luke's father (Vader being the #1 alternative). Really, you have three equally plausible candidates as Luke's father circa 1975/the third draft.


    Right. I was saying to Darth_Nub that Luke's father turning out to be someone other than* Annikin doesn't make Luke's heritage any less interesting, in my opinion.
     
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  25. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 23, 1999
    I don't really have anything to add at this juncture other than to express that I'm happy to see this kind of backstory/development history speculation make its return to Saga, along with the usual gang of posters.