It’s pretty clear that Star Wars is in trouble. Though the franchise still has legions of fans, thanks to mixed reviews for series like The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and the third season of The Mandalorianthe shine is off the armor. Add in an unclear theatrical future, and you’ve got the biggest question marks around the future of Star Wars since the dark times after the original trilogy. But there’s one easy solution to the mess Lucasfilm and Disney find themselves in: they should bring back Darth Vader.
Now, I know what you’re going to say: Darth Vader, the villain from the original trilogy of movies, died in Return of the Jedi. How could he possibly come back in new movies or TV shows? And wouldn’t it dilute the power of an iconic villain to see him on screen again?
The problem is that the franchise has repeatedly tried to remake Darth Vader, and never successfully. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)? Darth Vader fanboy. The Inquisitors? Darths Vaders. Every helmeted or masked baddie is always in the shadow of the uber-bad Darth, to the point that they seem like pale imitations.
So why not bring back the original? Imagine if we got to see Darth Vader fight Obi-Wan again. Or some sort of scenario where we see what happened right before he invaded Princess Leia’s ship in A New Hope. What would it be like if we saw Darth Vader in some sort of, say, prequel trilogy, where we found out his origin story laid over a plot about — just spitballing here — trade routes and taxation? And that could lead into a series of cartoons about Young Vader, and then perhaps a live-action appearance where he hangs out in a transitory afterlife with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and we see a cool shot of him in smoke, and then just in case you missed it they do it a second time? That could be pretty sweet.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do all of the things I just mentioned. That would be overkill, and really take what could be something special and instead run it into the ground through repetition. There are only so many times fans can hear haunting strains of John Williams’ “The Imperial March” before it starts to feel like eating that fourth slice of pizza because there’s only one more slice left in the box. You know: still pretty good, but you’re definitely over-stuffed and won’t want pizza for at least a few weeks. In this case, Darth Vader is the pizza. That was clear, right? I didn’t need to clarify? Cool.
Anyway, this is just a humble suggestion. It would obviously be tough to bring back Darth Vader anyway, as David Prowse sadly passed away three years ago, and James Earl Jones is getting along in years, so may not be able to do the voice anymore. And of course, Lucasfilm is respectful enough that they wouldn’t digitally recreate Darth Vader’s iconic voice through AI or anything like that. So perhaps it wouldn’t work. Perhaps this volley to save Star Wars by bringing back Darth Vader one more time isn’t possible. If not, another suggestion: how about the Death Star? We haven’t seen that thing in a while, either.