"The Secret History of Star Wars" - Anakin's Backstory Until 1978
As I'm reading The Secret History of Star Wars, I plan on making some threads discussing some major insights I learned. Thus far, the largest is that Lucas has been... dishonest over the history of Anakin and Vader. You can consistently find interviews of him in 2005 stating he always intended Anakin and Vader to be one of the same, but as SHofSW breaks down, this isn't the truth. When Star Wars was released in 1977, they were two distinctively separate characters. The idea of them being the same wasn't established until rough drafts of the next film in 1978. The author of the book provides a basic premise of Star Wars history as of the film's release:
With Ben Kenobi and the fourth draft, Lucas had now created a rich backstory to both the environment and the characters. Father Skywalker lived on Tatooine with his friend, Ben Kenobi. When the Clone Wars began, Kenobi convinced him to go off and fight, but Owen, Father Skywalker’s brother, thought that he should stay on Tatooine and remain as a farmer. Father Skywalker was already a great pilot and naturally became a great warrior in the war, with Kenobi becoming a General. Together, the two became Jedi knights of the Republic, and fought side by side. Kenobi began training others to be Jedi, but one of them, a man named Darth Vader, fell to the darkside of the Force. When the Emperor maneuvered his way into dictatorship, Darth Vader joined him. The Jedi opposed the new dictatorship, and thus became enemies, and Vader hunted down the Jedi, murdering Father Skywalker. Kenobi was able to escape the genocide by returning to Tatooine as a hermit, and Father Skywalker’s only son, Luke, was adopted by Owen, who resented Ben for the burden of Luke and for the death of Luke’s father.
In other words, the back story presented by Obi-Wan in Star Wars was, at the time, fully legitimate.
This is also evident in the final film when Obi-Wan even refers to Darth Vader as "Darth." At this point of time, "Darth" is actually Vader's first name.
Here's an interview by Lucas explaining the background of Vader as of 1977:
“When the Jedi tried to restore order, Darth Vader was still one of the Jedi. What he would do is catch the Jedi off-guard and, using his knowledge of the Force, he would kill the Jedi without them realizing what was happening. They trusted him and they didn't realize he was the murderer who was decimating their ranks. At the height of the Jedi, there were several hundred thousand. At the time of the Rebellion, most of them were killed. The Emperor had some strong forces rally behind him, as well, in terms of the army and the Imperial forces that he'd been building up secretly. The Jedi were so outnumbered that they fled and were tracked down. They tried to regroup, but they were eventually massacred by one of the special elite forces led by Darth Vader. Eventually, only a few, including Ben and Luke's father, were left. Luke's father is named Annikin.” 254
Here's Mark Hamil from 1980 stating that, as of 1977, the Mustafar duel was Anakin and Obi-Wan AGAINST Vader:
“I remember very early on asking who my parents were and being told that my father and Obi-Wan met Vader on the edge of a volcano and they had a duel. My father and Darth Vader fell into the crater and my father was instantly killed. Vader crawled out horribly scarred, and at that point the Emperor landed and Obi-Wan ran into the forest, never to be seen again.” 260
Yup. Vader and Anakim used to be two different people. Wonder how different SW would have been if that idea was kept and Luke wasn't a Skywalker but rather a "Luke Vader"
__________________ "Vader's pulse and breathing were machine-regulated, so they could not quicken; but something in his chest became more electric around his meetings with the Emperor; he could not say how. A feeling of fullness, of power, of dark and demon mastery -- of secret lusts, unrestrained passion, wild submission -- all these things were in Vader's heart as he neared his Emperor. These things and more."
Issue was that it was redundant to the plot, as the book explains:
When he looked at the history he had created, he obviously realised that the characters of Father Skywalker, Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi were redundant in many ways, and that a more interesting past could potentially be created. Lucas has said he was unhappy with Brackett’s draft, and it was obviously hampered by this redundancy issue, made material by the introduction of Ben Kenobi and Father Skywalker together as ghosts—Lucas quickly changed it once he realised what the problem was, and it is one of the few story changes Lucas made from Brackett’s draft.
Look at the history of Darth Vader and Father Skywalker: there are enormous parallels! Both were friends with Ben Kenobi, both were Jedi, both have a mysterious past and one kills the other. Their histories converge at a critical point and where one history ends, the other begins. Similarly, both Ben Kenobi and Father Skywalker were Jedi, both are father figures to Luke, both want to mentor him, both were friends with each other and both were killed by Darth Vader. This is no surprise: as covered in the section on Star Wars , Obi Wan was created to replace Father Skywalker, who had since been re-written to die in the past (at the hands of Darth Vader himself in the revised fourth draft). But once Father Skywalker was brought back into the story—in ghost form, no less—the fact that he and Obi Wan were the same character became painfully clear. As well, the fact that they both now had similar ties to Vader made things even more uninteresting. How do you solve these story-similarities? The answer for a better storyline thus leapt out at him: make Father Skywalker and Darth Vader the same person! It was a great twist, and it was so obvious, just sitting there waiting to happen.
So, while the idea may seem cool, I think it's certainly for the best he merged the two.