For one thing, they freaking call their cause "the Dark Side." But on top of that, ever see Darth Vader laugh? Or any of his crew members or troops? Ever see any of them smile, even when they're winning?
The Emperor smiles, but he's just generally a positive fella.
Now look at the interior of the Death Star and Star Destroyers. See any decorations? Paintings on the walls, maybe? Any colors other than gray?
Nope, it's dreary gray and black everywhere you go. No joking, no games, no joy.
The Galactic Empire: Sponsored by Xanax.
And It Works Because ...
Sadness makes us better thinkers. Joe Forgas, a psychology professor at the University of New South Wales, set up an experiment that required volunteers to make judgments based on urban myths and rumors. He consistently found that subjects who were considered sadder were more skeptical and able to think critically. Even more unbelievable, Forgas found that people who were sad were more convincing. He and his colleagues set up an experiment where they had sad and happy volunteers write arguments on various issues. Scientists and undergraduate students rated them. Overall, the depressed volunteers created more convincing arguments.
So, operating in an air of oppressive gloom can actually make you more convincing. Might come in handy, like maybe if you're trying really hard to bring someone over to the Dark Side of the Force.
Then, Forgas did another experiment where he tested people's perception and memory outside a shopping mall on seven bright, sunny days and on seven gray, dreary days. People were more perceptive and had better memories when their surroundings were dark and lacking in color. Like the gray of an imperial starship.
A sad stormtrooper is an attentive, more convincing and more thoughtful stormtrooper.
The soldier with nothing to live for doesn't run like a little bitch.
We understand why Darth Vader wears that suit and helmet -- it's a life support system that helps him breathe and sustain bodily functions. But why does it electronically deepen his voice? We know he didn't sound like James Earl Jones when he went into the suit -- even without the prequels, we hear Vader talking like a normal guy when Luke takes his mask off.
And as a ghost, he turned back into a huge wuss.
But of course in the prequels, we see that eternally prepubescent voice of Anakin Skywalker gets injected with a full dose of James Earl Jones after a well-deserved lava bath in Revenge of the Sith. This was such an improvement to the character that we kind of wonder why Jake Lloyd didn't immediately fling himself into lava the moment he appeared on screen in Episode I.
George Lucas: If you ever decide to re-release Episode I, you can use that idea for free.
And It Works Because ...
Experiments show that a deep voice is a surefire way to establish dominance over whomever you're talking to.
It was the Penn State Department of Anthropology that reported that men view other men with deep voices as being more dominant. It works the opposite way, too; this perception of dominance, whether it be their own or somebody else's, affects how men speak to one another. They'll subconsciously lower their voice if they think they could totally kick that guy's ass, and speak in a higher pitch if they think they totally couldn't.
We don't do it on purpose -- most guys don't even notice the change in their voice, unless of course you're James Earl Jones and your voice is always the deepest one in the room.
Basically, Darth Vader will always be considered one of the most dominant people in the universe no matter where he goes, all because of his thunderous baritone.
The strangling helps, too.
There's plenty more sci-fi where that came from in our new book! And once you get it, make sure you take a picture of yourself with it, then upload it to our Facebook fan page for a chance to win $250!
To see where Star Wars got it wrong, check out 7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped the Ball and 5 Reasons Star Wars Sequels Would Be Worse Than The Prequels.