The True Greatest Tragedy Of Darth Vader Revealed
'Star Wars: Visions' Continues To Expand The Universe
Star Wars: Visions has been another fine addition to the Star Wars franchise. This anthology of anime shorts has provided an alternate look at the Star Wars universe; nine different point-of-views to be exact. While none of the episodes are part of the current canon, they gave us a glimpse at what could have been in the established canon. The episode that mirrors the original Star Wars story most closely is Akakiri, which translates to “red fog.”
Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: Visions Episode 9, 'Akakiri'
Akakiri tells the story of Princess Misa and her Jedi companion Tsubaki who seek to regain the throne from the usurper, Sith Lord Masago, who is incidentally the former king’s sister. Tsubaki has been plagued with repeated visions of a mysterious masked figure dying in front of him. After hearing of the king’s death, he decides to rush back to help Misa regain her throne, despite his master’s warnings. Does this sound vaguely familiar?
At the palace the two encounter Masago, who then captures Princess Misa and sends her henchmen to attack Tsubaki. In the heat of the battle, Tsubaki cuts down one of the masked henchmen only to discover that the evil Masago has disguised Misa as one of them and tricked Tsubaki into mortally wounding her. As Tsubaki realizes his tragic mistake, Masago offers to save Misa’s life, if only Tsubaki turns to the Dark Side and becomes her Sith apprentice. When Tsubaki accepts the offer, Masago helps the former Jedi channel the Dark Side of the Force to heal Misa. As Misa comes to consciousness, she looks on in horror as Tsubaki, resigned to his fate, follows Masago.
Many would agree that Akakiri seems a little rushed, and ends very abruptly. It is not easy to build a world as well as tell a complete story in a mere twenty-minute episode. Some of the chapters of Visions succeed on this front. Unfortunately, Akakiri is not one of them. On the other hand, Akakiri offers a streamlined version of the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader without the distractions of the political turmoil of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Republic happening in the background. This gives us a chance to look at Anakin’s situation more closely.
Both Anakin and Tsubaki are plagued by visions of death. This culminates into a certain fear that continues to haunt them from the back of their minds. They are always thinking if their actions are hastening or delaying this fateful outcome. While Anakin is not forced to turn to the Dark Side right then and there to save the dying Padme in front of him, as in Tsubaki's case, he comes to that decision in the same way as Tsubaki. In his mind, Anakin is sacrificing himself to save the one he loves. He wholeheartedly believes that he is exchanging his life in order for Padme to live. After all, isn’t that what love is? Time and time again, we see the common romantic trope of someone sacrificing their own happiness so that the one they love can be happy.
The Light Side of the Force is associated with balance and harmony with nature. On the other hand, the Dark Side is a corruption of the Force. Its practitioners seek unnatural shortcuts to quickly gain power at all costs. Now that we have learned more about what the Force is capable of from the sequel trilogy, we know that the Chosen One could have saved Padme if he had remained a Jedi. Anakin has so much potential with his raw, untapped power. In time, he would have learned to harness the Force to heal, and save someone from certain death.
Unfortunately for Anakin, his turn to the Dark Side fails to save Padme. Whether his choking her was truly the cause of her death is still up for discussion. On the contrary, we can say with certainty that his fall to the Dark Side is for naught, as he ultimately fails to save her life. The greatest tragedy of Darth Vader is that he sacrificed himself for nothing. He will continue to suffer the consequences of his choice, and Padme will still be dead.