Whenever someone thinks of Star Wars, more often than not, they instinctively think of Darth Vader. It doesn’t matter if you’re a super fan or a complete newb to the franchise, chances are you know of the Dark Father.
What is less known is Lord Vader’s tumultuous journey to that position of power. Unless you’re an avid watcher of the series, you may not be aware that Darth Vader was once a Jedi (by the name of Anakin Skywalker) who turned to the dark side.
In fact, as a Jedi, Anakin made it his mission to become the best. However, somewhere along the way, he lost track of that goal and found a new one rooted in darkness, but more on that later.
Darth Vader’s journey did not end with him being a traitor to his Jedi brethren. Rather, the Sith Lord went through tremendous character development and had a redemption arc. To that end, many have wondered whether or not Vader deserved this redemption.
Without further ado, let’s get right into the topic of Darth Vader’s redemption.
Table of Contents
Anakin’s Fall to the Dark Side
Before we dive into Darth Vader’s vindication, we must first understand how he became a part of the dark side to begin with.
As mentioned before, Lord Vader began his life as the Jedi, Anakin Skywalker. However, this was no walk in the park. You see, as a child, Anakin and his mother Shmi led a life of poverty on the desertous planet of Tatooine.
On account of Anakin’s insanely high midichlorian count of 20,000 per cell and his clear yearning for a better life, he was taken into the Jedi Order as a Padawan.
Unsurprisingly, Anakin surpassed many of the other Padawans, which led to him becoming a Knight in only ten years, whereas the standard is double that time.
His impressive feats didn’t stop there. Anakin went on to protect royals like Senator Padme Amidala, as well as face off against some of the most brutal warriors in the galaxy (such as Count Dooku).
Of course, all Anakin’s amazing feats did not mean he was without fault. He had a few significant ones that directly contributed to his descent from the light side. The first of which was his blatant disregard of the rules.
Anakin seemingly thought he was above the Jedi Code. Specifically, Anakin held on to emotional attachments when he should not have. Although this is admittedly one of the Jedi’s more questionable rules, it was meant to be followed nonetheless.
Anakin often did his own thing, all the while expecting to continue climbing the ranks of the Jedi Order. This played into another of his character flaws, his ego.
From a young age, Anakin was dubbed the “Chosen One”. This, coupled with his unquestionable talent for the Force and combat naturally gave Anakin a big head.
He thought he could essentially do anything outside of the Code and the Jedi Order would still reward him because of his skillset.
This played right into his naivete, which was later taken advantage of by the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine).
The Emperor knew that Anakin’s attachment to his loved ones could have been his greatest downfall. This was especially clear after the death of his mother, Shmi.
With this knowledge in mind, Palpatine knew all he had to do was promise Anakin that the dark side would give him the power he needed to save the ones he cared about (particularly his wife, Padme Amidala).
Gullible, Anakin fell for this (as well as Sidious’ other manipulation techniques) and plummeted into the dark side of the Force.
How was Darth Vader Redeemed?
Ironically, the same thing that seemingly caused Anakin’s downfall is the same thing that caused his redemption. That is, his family.
As we already established, Anakin’s love for his family was the driving force behind him becoming Darth Vader. It was this same familial love that gave him a chance at redemption, let me explain.
Now, Darth Vader was under the impression that his child died with his wife. It wasn’t until Vader sent a bounty hunter in search of the Jedi who destroyed the death star that he learnt of his son, Luke Skywalker.
Once the initial shock wore off, Vader made it his mission to attempt to draw his son to the dark side. In fact, even the Emperor wanted the young Skywalker to replace his father, and tried the same manipulation techniques.
What they did not account for was Luke’s headstrong mentality and firm footing on the light side.
Lord Vader and his son faced off on many occasions, but this did not mean he didn’t care for Luke. To the contrary, Vader cared so much that he seemingly wanted his son to have the same power and “freedom” he had. To him, the dark side was the only way to do so.
The final time the pair fought, Lord Vader showed just how much he cared when he sacrificed his own life for Luke’s.
Emperor Palpatine was striking Luke with Force Lightning, which could have easily ended the life of the Jedi. Not wanting to see his son die, Darth Vader attacked Darth Sidious, throwing him down a reactor shaft.
Unfortunately, in the process of rescuing Luke, Vader was struck by the high-voltage electricity of the Force Lightning, which short-circuited his life support suit. In the end, all Luke could do was sit by his father’s side as he took his final breaths.
Did Vader Return to the Light Side?
The concept of good and evil is complex. However, for argument’s sake, it can be said that Darth Vader did return to the light side in the end.
He began his life as the Chosen One, who was destined to put an end to the dark side. Although Anakin initially deviated from the responsibility associated with this title, he technically completed the prophecy by defeating the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious.
Ergo, it would not be a stretch to assume Lord Vader did return to the light side during his final days, which is reflected in his becoming a Force Ghost.
Did Darth Vader Deserve Redemption?
The Star Wars community is split on whether or not Darth Vader deserved his redemption, and I would have to side with those who think he did. Here’s why.
Darth Vader was one of the most well-written, emotionally complex characters in the franchise. Viewers got to see him go through very human emotions such as gut-wrenching grief, irritability, uncontrollable anger, heavy self-loathing, and crippling depression, to name a few.
Added to that is the fact that his early life was no picnic either. Watching how the sudden loss of a parent and desperation to prevent losing anyone else can plunge someone into darkness was highly relatable to many.
Thus, once Darth Vader’s redemption came around, many believed that he had gotten exactly what was due to him. After all the heartache and pain (emotional, mental, and physical), this character arc was exactly what fans wanted for Vader.
Despite technically being a villain, Darth Vader is one of the most loved characters in the Star Wars franchise. His origin story and incredibly written character persona never fail to make fans fall in love with him.
Since being born into slavery as Anakin Skywalker, Lord Vader’s life has been no walk in the park. He’s had to deal with years of pain, mental and emotional turmoil, and manipulation.
For this reason, some fans were thrilled when Darth Vader was finally able to fulfill his destiny as the chosen one. In a tear-jerking final moment, the Sith Lord was able to return to his light-side origins.