December 29, 2007

Discovering Star Wars: The Coma Version
Darth Vader unmasked

I don’t want to give it all away, Randy. But here’s a photo of Darth Vader from the front. You’ll have to see Revenge of the Sith to find out the details of this makeover.

“Randy” is a cultural vortex (he has requested his true identity be kept a secret). As a multimedia artist he thrives on current events, molding them into his own version of reality. Put simply, they are his muses. So I was shocked when he announced over dinner the other night “Did you know that Darth Vader is Luke’s father?!”


“What?” He repeated his pronouncement with the same zeal of discovery that swept through my coterie of friends in 1980. Randy had never seen Star Wars. In fact, he told me, he had refused to see any popular culture films back then. “I had rejected [it] and its vitriol as corruptions of society.” Coming from his Cal Arts days of the early 1980s, I began to understand his context. Young artists must first reject culture before appropriating it as a method for commentary and ultimately redemption of contemporary society. But I digress into socio-artspeak.

Still, it was surprising he was just discovering the worlds we had come to immerse ourselves in for the past three decades. How could he have selectively ignored the numerous cultural references that have permeated our culture all these years? Had he not heard the famous “I am your father” line somewhere, some time? (I can hear James Earl Jones’ rich baritone even as I type this —everyone can— everyone but my friend.) Randy gleefully exclaimed he had even found a plug-in that would recreate this voice. Sigh. It was as if he was waking up from a coma no one knew he had been in.

Randy and his wife had recently bought the original Star Wars trilogy and had just finished The Empire Strikes Back. His wife Phyllicia (she too has asked her name be altered to protect both her husband and herself) had, of course, seen Star Wars and already knew this important fact. But true to her heart, she let him discover the truth as the rest of us had so many years ago.

“Did you see the back of his head as his helmet lowered onto it? How’d he get that way? And why the heavy breathing?” “It’s The Dark Side of the Force Randy. You’ll learn the full story in the prequel,” I replied, still reeling from his admission. He seemed so innocent. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that Luke and Leia were brother and sister. Better to let him find out in his own way and in his own time.

May the thirty year old Force be with you, Randy.

View Most Recent Story:::Notify me when there's a new missive!


Luke and Leia are brother and sister?!!!!

Posted by: Randy on December 29, 2007 4:37 PM

This guy Randy died in the mid-1970s, only to be born again as a die-hard, anti-establishment, anti-pop snob bent on mastering elitist forms of the high-arts. We’ll we’ve calmed down a bit sense then, but in 1977, we wouldn’t go near a mainstream movie theater let alone watch the latest concoction from Hollywood, even if George Lucas had already migrated to Northern California.

In any case, I boycotted Star Wars for some 30 years, and just broke down this week if only to be sure I am not ridiculed by my film savvy students at American University. Nothing in Star Wars could possibly surprise me because it has all been lifted from the masters, such as Joseph Campbell and Richard Wagner, who created/theorized magnificent mythological constructions that would cause even Darth Vader to cower. When Wotan sets Brunhilde to fire at the end of Act II of the Ring, a monumentally brutal act of family rivalry, you can only laugh when we are told “I am your father” from the asthmatic Vader.

Posted by: Randall on December 29, 2007 5:11 PM

Comments are now closed for this post. But there are a few other entries which might provoke an opinion or two.

Related Posts with Thumbnails