Vader’s Shadow: A Curse of Concealment

Becca's Chava Chat
‘Becca’s Chava Chat’ Original Design by Scott Bratek

With the recent embargo [from advanced copies being distributed] of ‘Star Wars: Bloodline’ by Claudia Gray, and all the built-up hype surrounding it, I can’t help myself but to be swept-up in it too.

This upcoming novel holds so much promise when it comes to plot-holes or gaps where the Skywalker lineage is concerned. Even Claudia Gray told USA Today that, “In this book we find out just how far Vader’s shadow falls.” So, as an ‘Anakin Apologist’ and a huge Vader fan, my anticipation of what ‘key elements’ this story may or may not include is barely containable.

So, for the sake of creative thinking and to hopefully spark some innovative discussion, let’s explore Vader’s “shroud of darkness” aka shadow.

In the Beginning

“Can you help him?” Shmi Skywalker quizzically questions and yet, there’s a hint of plea within her words as she looks on, awaiting for Qui-Gon Jinn to answer. Studying her, almost judging her, he says “I don’t know” [as if he senses there’s something more, beyond the surface, something of graver importance.] ”I didn’t actually come here to free slaves.”

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I’ve often wondered and even more so now, after all the new additions that only enhance the saga and the storyline [The Force Awakens, The Clone Wars, Rebels, the comics, and the new line of canonical novels] that perhaps, Shmi knew more about her son than she led on. Her dialogue alone could have been viewed as to have had double-edged meanings i.e. “He can help you. He was meant to help you.” Again, what exactly was Shmi hiding?

One could look at it this way: Shmi is the predecessor of all the Skywalker’s we have met [in the Star Wars universe] thus far, and we still don’t know much, if anything, about her. Think about this, it is plausible that she, herself, could’ve been force sensitive. Why not? After all, Cleigg Lars was the first to admit that there was little hope that she could have lasted this long [a month] in the hands of the Tusken Raiders and yet, she was still alive when Anakin found her. Even then, on her dying words, “now I am complete,” darkness [death] cloaked her, and greeted her like an old friend.

The Seeds of Illusion

“The greatest concealment lies not in protecting our secret truths, but in hiding from the truths of others.” –  Matthew Stover [Revenge of the Sith]

In Anakin’s last days as “the Hero with no Fear,” his life as he knew it began to spiral and, as it did, this quote [by Matthew Stover] became his newfound and only way of life or, should I say, only way to live.

We know his story, his rise and fall, and finally, his redemption. But before that could happen, he had to slowly succumb to the dark by allowing the light to plague on his own harsh truths, and to take comfort within the dark as it hides his secrets. The day is temporary and the light is the illusion. In other words, the dark side has always been there with him and it’s only been one-step behind him, attached to the soles of his feet.

Take this notion with a grain-of-salt – it’s just how I happen to see it. Anakin had many secrets, but some he felt that he had to keep hidden, because he was meant to believe that he was wrong. That does something to a person, especially when deep down, you know you’re not.

“Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.”– Yoda

Darth Vader storms the Jedi Temple -- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Darth Vader storms the Jedi Temple — Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

For the first time in years, thanks to The Force Awakens, this line speaks louder in volume than it ever has. Dominate. Destiny. Consume.  Exactly just how far can the dark path lead? Can its seeds spill into one’s lineage and curse the next generation? Hmm … meditate on this I will.

Contempt finds Compassion

Life will find a way … even in Star Wars as Luke is proof of this sentiment. He was able to look past all the bad Vader/Anakin had done and find the good man within, just as his mother and his father’s mother had always believed. And so, that notion would continue into the next layer of Skywalker – with Leia.

Unlike her brother, Luke, she hasn’t had as much time as he has to process the hardcore truth of Darth Vader being her biological father. As I think to myself what this could’ve been like for her, I’m reminded of Troy Denning’s book “Tatooine Ghost.” While this novel is no longer canon, it does delve into Leia’s feelings and how she deals with this revelation. Canon or not, it still holds a lot of water based solely on pure emotions, and that cannot be completely ruled out.

Star Wars: "Tatooine Ghost" by Troy Denning
Star Wars: “Tatooine Ghost” by Troy Denning

In fact, it falls nicely in-line with what [little] we know of the upcoming “Bloodline.” Not only does Leia have to deal with the truth, but eventually, she has to embrace what that knowledge brings to the galaxy as a whole and deal with the repercussions. Not to mention her family’s as well [Han and Ben].

On that note, I wonder what went through a young Ben’s mind as he passed along a busy street seeing a campaign poster of his mom that was defaced and vandalized, calling her a Liar and Traitor, and replacing her face with that of the mask of Darth Vader …

“The dark is generous and it is patient and it always wins – but in the heart of its strength lies its weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.”– Matthew Stover

This Is the Podcast you’re looking for!

*You can find me on Twitter @urangelb @thcantinacast @TarkinsTopShelf or contact me directly via email at Becca@thecantinacast.net or beccab@coffeewithkenobi.com

**You can also find my other Star Wars ruminations at: thecantinacast.net and hear my thoughts on Star Wars Literature via discussion at: Tarkin’s Top Shelf 

Powered by

Written by 

Blogger for Coffee With Kenobi, Personal Author for Steve Anderson Lucasfilm Illustrator & Artist, & Featured Blogger, Administrative Consultant, Copy Editor for The Cantina Cast. * I'm just a simple girl, trying to make my way in the universe. *

5 thoughts on “Vader’s Shadow: A Curse of Concealment”

  1. I have not read much Star Wars since Disney made most books out there Non-Canon. I really wish some of those stories were kept in line. But I digress.

    Star Wars:Bloodline will make an interesting read when it finally does come out. Vader’s reach and the Dark Side’s impact on his children (especially Leia) and grandchildren (I think Kylo Ren is the only one we know of at this juncture with no other tales out there) will be felt for a very long time.

    Qui-Gon Jinn really wasn’t sure he could help Anakin or not. He chose to help him because I believe he knew of the Dark Side being out there somewhere hidden from the Jedi, and he didn’t want Anakin in their hands, whoever they were. I also believe Obi-wan took it upon himself to train Anakin with or without the Counsel’s approval (ultimately he got it) because he believed that Anakin was dangerous in the wrong hands, and he didn’t want that to happen either. Unfortunately for both of them it ended badly because as much as Anakin wrestled with himself, he just couldn’t see the Light.

    Vader/Anakin’s story resonates with many of us because we each have come to realize that in the real world we have to deal with our own Light Side/Dark Side issues, and it is only which side we choose to express that shows who we really are. Unfortunately for Vader/Anakin, the Light Side didn’t win out until the very end.

    I guess that’s why my handle has always been and always will be

    Vader’s Girl 😉

  2. Audra,

    I agree! Anakin’s “path” is definitely one that has so many different aspects that almost anyone can relate with. It’s sad, he really had such great potential and unfortunately, no one was able to “reach him” on a healthy emotional level to allow that ability to fully grow. Instead, he was held back due to fear (not just his own, but everyone around him) and ignorance. But I digress …

    And yes, there are certain novels that I too, would’ve liked to remain as “canon” i.e. Plagueis the Wise and Tatooine Ghost.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my ridiculous thoughts 😉 lol! and for commenting too!

  3. Wow! What powerful notions you pose here, Becca. You definitely have given me some food for thought. 🙂

    I was particularly captivated by what you had to say regarding Shmi. You’re right. There could have been quite a few hidden meanings behind her words, especially to Qui-Gon Jinn. And it was remarkable that she was able to survive as long as she did when she was a captive of the Tusken Raiders. Quite frankly, I always chocked it up to her innate will to survive, but maybe — just maybe — there was a bit of Force sensitivity there as well that enabled her to endure more than most beings would be able to.

    Regarding what is canon and what is not … while I suppose the powers that be can decide to change things up — sometimes dramatically — from what came before, many of us still cling to certain aspects of the storyline(s) that emerged in the EU. Many of them fit right in with this new avenue. At least the basics (and that includes characters’ evolution). That is why I, for one, won’t discount what we now call “Legends”. They all have their place in Star Wars lore. 🙂

    I enjoyed your blog very much! MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Thank you Melinda!!! How’ve you been? Are you ready for Easter? 🙂
      Shmi is still unpolished gem, if you will, there’s a lot we don’t know about her i.e. where she came from (her home-world), who her family is/was, are there any siblings etc., and were any of her ancestors force sensitive? Mr. Lucas, I believe, kept her backstory “unwritten” on purpose and for a reason. If the Lucasfilm story group were to ever “go back” to her story, there would be a lot of uncharted territory yet to discover, don’t ya think?

      As for your interpretation of what is or is not canon, I agree with you. There’s just too many good stories tied into Legends that it would be unwise to discredit them 😉 IMO.

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your 2 credits with me 🙂
      MTFBWY too!

Leave a Reply