This notion is just so genius that I felt compelled to share it. Any Star Wars fan has their own personal opinion on the point at which the saga was utterly destroyed. Some will point to the very first line uttered by Jar Jar Binks, while others are happy to write off the prequels, provided that they do not sully anything present and beloved in the original movies. I fall into the latter camp, and so my personal moment would be the point at which Darth Vader, one of the most compelling and downright cool villains in science fiction, was told of the death of his beloved wife and his unborn child, and let fly with one of the narmiest big “NO”s in cinematic history. During his temper tantrum, this supremely powerful Force-user lets loose all of his emotion in a psychic storm that manages to… er… smash a few jars and generally mess up one small room. You’re more likely to burst an eardrum from his verbal outburst than be injured by his telekinetic fit.
Which brings me onto the idea which would, in a single stroke, bring a far greater emotional significance to this pivotal scene, and immeasurably improve Revenge of the Sith – the point that such improvement is not difficult is acknowledged and beside the point. Picture the scene. Anakin has just been defeated, maimed, and left for dead by his mentor and best friend. He is under the misapprehension that his wife, the woman he was willing to sacrifice everything for, was in love with said mentor and best friend. He has gambled everything and lost it all. The last thing he has left to cling onto is the hope that his love still lives. This is the thought that sustains him through his rescue and subsequent anaesthesia-free surgery to save his life, grafting him into a half-human, half-machine life support system that leaves him in terrible agony. He reaches out to Palpatine, the only friend and father figure he has left, for confirmation that this sustaining thought is true, that Padmé is alive. And he is told not only that she is dead, but by his own hand. His last hope is destroyed, leaving him with nothing left in the universe. Anakin was the Chosen One, one of the most powerful Jedi to ever live, if not the most powerful. His very birth was the result of Force manipulation. And in this moment, he has lost all control, all of his humanity. His scream of pure anguish is accompanied by a tremendous outpouring of Force energy. The city-world of Coruscant, the entire planet that never sleeps, falls into darkness under this barrage of terrible emotion and power. Slowly, the lights begin to flicker back on, and the world begins to turn again. Anakin Skywalker has been subsumed by Darth Vader, the dark lord of the Sith, with nothing left to live for but faithful service to his Master.
I may be wrong, but this idea really appeals to me. This is supposed to be a turning point in galactic history, the birth of one of the driving forces for the rest of the story. The gravity of this event is essential for the importance of the events of Return of the Jedi – it’s supposed to be a big deal that Vader manages to struggle out of the abyss and regain his humanity. But alas, I can only feature this event in my own personal canon – such is the tragedy of the betrayed fanboy.