9. Darth Vader
(Write-up by Kyle Warnke, Dork Side of the Force Assistant Editor)
It’s a testament to the Sith Lord’s longevity not just that he’s still the most important and widely used character in the Star Wars universe, but that we’re still discovering new angles and takes on his persona.
In Marvel’s new comic book line focusing on the character, he’s a vengeful yet stoic enforcer who is struggling to cope with being under his master’s thumb.
In Star Wars Rebels, he’s making his debut in Season 2, where he’s a demonic, almost horror-film figure who represents an unbeatable adversary for the crew of the Ghost. But a key storyline of this season will likely revolve around his discovery that Ahsoka Tano, his former apprentice, is alive, and how he deals with that.
Vader isn’t even totally gone in the upcoming films, as the appearance of his charred helmet in The Force Awakens trailer suggests, and with the rumors of Episode VII taking advantage of flashbacks, perhaps we’ll see a live-action Vader onscreen sooner than we think.
His versatility is part of what makes him such a strong villain for the franchise. Vader can be an aggressive psychopath, a cunning strategist, a ruthless warrior, a struggling apprentice or an ashamed father.
He may not be as super-evil as the Emperor or as effortlessly cool at Darth Maul, but a key aspect of his appeal is his tragic element. Vader represents the franchise’s ideals of redemption no matter how dark your soul has gotten, and that’s why it will be hard for Star Wars to move on from the character, if it ever does.
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