Welcome to Defending the Indefensible Week, where we attempt to vindicate some of pop culture's crappiest moments through the magic of harebrained internet theories. Such as ...
Before The Last Jedi showed us Luke Skywalker sipping green ooze from the breast of a bloated sea monster, Star Wars complaints were almost exclusively reserved for the prequels. We all know that George Lucas' epic space adventure full of racist caricatures and intergalactic C-Span didn't exactly turn out great. But what if we could make some sense out of at least one of the trilogy's most hair-pullingly terrible scenes?
In the final moments of Revenge Of The Sith, we finally get to see Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader, after more than six hours of enduring the future dark lord's whiny pre-pubescence and awkward teen years. And the transformation is ... abrupt. Basically, they slap a Cenobite-themed respirator suit on a barbecued Hayden Christensen, and suddenly the young Jedi's voice goes from squeaky Canadian kid to full-throated Mustafa. It's weird.
Even worse, after hearing the news that his wife has died of medical vagueness, Vader Frankenstein-walks to center stage and screams "Noooooo!" like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle of a Costco.
It's a suspiciously terrible moment for an otherwise-iconic character. But here's a thought: What if this downright painful scene exists for the same reason most of us do? That is, a random screw-up.
One Reddit user's theory says that Vader was emoting like a regular human being, but his anguished screams were translated into that hammy line reading because his suit wasn't properly calibrated. Meaning that the reaction we heard was how the helmet processed Anakin's scream.
Sure, the movie cuts away right afterward, but for all we know, a moment later, Darth Vader could have been grousing to the Emperor about his new robo-voice.
They just slapped on a cybernetic suit, complete with artificial limbs, a respirator, and a complete vocal overhaul. Who expects it to work perfectly within seconds? Of course there are bound to be a few glitches. It would be odd if there weren't. It's just unfortunate for us that a big glitch happened during the one moment we'd been suffering through three terrible movies to see.
We can go deeper.
Where did that suit come from? It seems like Palpatine had it tailor-made by the Empire's best wardrobe droids ... who also did the actual dressing of Anakin, for modesty's sake. But that doesn't make sense. Think about it; Anakin gets Vader-ized almost immediately after losing his duel with Obi-Wan on the Planet of Unconvincing Lava.
Which might not have left enough time to build a fully functional custom life support suit with a sweet cape. So maybe the Vader suit is some kind of over-the-counter product. Maybe in the Star Wars-verse, this happens to be what breathing assistance devices look like. Maybe every asthmatic ends up looking like an evil space warlord.
Now, mass-produced electronics breakdown all the damn time. Maybe the first helmet was faulty, like an iPhone whose Siri only communicates in German heavy metal lyrics. Or maybe there was a "Nauseatingly Theatrical" setting on the voice changer that needed to be switched off.
Of course, the real reason for the line is that George Lucas forgot what human emotions are and James Earl Jones could have literally phoned in his part while having brunch. In fact, we don't even know for sure that it was James Earl Jones, because he's not credited in the movie. In fact, he outright denies playing Darth Vader in that scene, responding to one interviewer: "You'd have to ask Lucas about that. I don't know. I don't know nuthin'!"
Thankfully, Star Wars fans will always step in to help figure out in-universe solutions to these storytelling atrocities.
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