Vader & Me: An Intimate interview.
I arrived a Lord Vader’s Beverly Hills mansion. LIke most of the homes in the area, Vaderland was a product of years of renovations, and the most recent changes were still in progress.“I’m sorry about the state of the place,” he said as he strode out to meet me from the grand entryway. “I’m using the same contractors as we used on the Death Star, and they tend to run behind schedule.”
He was out of full uniform, and today instead of a jet-black cape he was sporting a cotton Roots track jacket. He saw me looking him up and down, and he laughed lightly. “I picked this up in Banff on a ski trip. You’d be surprised what great discounts you can get on clothes of you choke the sales people with your mind.” I laughed, hoping that was a joke.
He lead me past an army of grey suited construction workers, all in Imperial military garb. He turned his head slightly to me as we made our way further inside. “They unionized since I last used them. I’d choke the whole bunch, but, Christ, the paperwork on the worker’s comp…”
The Dark Lord of the Sith lead me into the kitchen. It was an antiqued French- Provincial affair, marble counters and carefully faded painted wooden cabinets. “I’ve always wanted a kitchen like this. After the austerity of the Super Star Destroyer, I wanted a place that could be the heart of my home. I had them finish it first.”
Vader carefully opened up a window in the rather spacious breakfast “nook” and called up a playlist on the stereo. Dave Brubeck, Glen Miller, Fats Waller, a disparate jumble of jazz. With a guilty air, he drew a single Lucky Strike from a crumpled cardboard pack, lit it, and blew the smoke out the window. “It’s a bad habit I picked up on the Death Star II. I was going through a lot with my son, and my boss was being such a dick… I should quit, I mean, with a voice like this already…”
We chatted benignly about some of his house plans. None were what you would expect from a Jedi turned wrong, but his passion for his architectural preferences was disarming. ‘It’s all about function,” he continued “I mean, all those years in a galaxy far, far away, and all I wanted was to sit in a goddamn functional chair- look!” he indicated emphatically to the wooden chair he was on “It has arms! ARMS!” He finished his cigarette hastily, as though some one would reprimand him for smoking inside of his own house. “I had one great chair- you know the one, the throne inside the two metal cones?” he asked. I told him I remembered it. “That was a hell of a chair,” he continued, “A hell of a chair. Had a TV in it, and I could air out my scarred scalp. You know, helmet rash…”
He rose from the table. “I’m making breakfast for lunch, are you joining me?”. How could I say no? Before long there were some whole-wheat pancakes, sliced fruit, and a generous stack of bacon. “Take as much as you want,” he said, “I’m on a diet.” He patted his leather clad belly for emphasis.
“I suppose we should get down to it?”
It was of course why I was here, and I told him as much.
“No holds barred, as you say on your planet. Ask me anything.”
“What should I call you?” I asked.
“Well, my ‘Lord” title is strictly honourary these days, what with the Rebellion and all. I guess ‘Vader’ is kind of like a last name, but only ObiWan called me ‘Darth”, and I killed him shortly thereafter. You know what? You can call me Anakin.”
“But not ‘Ani’.” I said, hoping the taunt wouldn’t get me swiftly cauterized in twain.
“No, clearly not. Only two people got to call me Ani: My ex-wife, and a retarded jamaican fish man- the latter I tolerated because he was ‘special needs’”.
“Let’s start with your time with the Emperor.” I said. “I think you are most judged by people for that time.”
His breathing apparatus exhaled deeply for him. “ I was a young man when I turned to the dark side. People experiment, I was in love with this crazy hot chick. I mean, God, you should have seen her. The nerds on your planet would lose their minds over a girl like this. But, we broke up. I regret it all, I honestly do. That’s youth though, isn’t it? I mean, hasn’t everyone made mistakes? She was pregnant, I sent her away, I eradicated the Jedi who would have protected her, and then The Emperor told me I’d killed her.” he looked off into the distance wistfully- or as wistfully as a man with a black face mask can look, which it turns out, is pretty wistful.
“I was stuck with Palpatine then. I’d made my bed, I’d murdered all my friends, and I thought my family was dead as well. What I needed was an intervention… But who intervenes when you are so powerful? They’d be like ‘Oh, Lord Vader, we should talk,’ and I’d be all like “CHOKE!”, and then wait a few years until the next guy would try.”
“I know this is no excuse, but I was convinced Obi Wan was two-timing me with Padme. That’s not a good feeling, just sort of eats you alive. I had to kill Obi Wan a few years later, and the prick just evaporated on me, like, wouldn’t even talk about it.” he paused for a moment to sip his espresso. “I’m being unfair. Nothing happened between those two, but I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head.”
“Huge misunderstanding. Huge. First off, were they young? Yes. Were they promising? I suppose from a certain perspective. Do I regret it? Yes, but have you ever smelled a young Jedi? Midichlorians are a microorganism, just like mildew. Or terrible foot fungus. It surrounds us and binds us. Those “adorable kids” smelled like a 2 day old Mon-Calamari hooker corpse in a sauna. It’s not an excuse- I just… Look, would I change a few things? Sure. That wasn’t premeditated. I was in an abusive relationship. The Emperor was controlling my feelings, and when I started to doubt him, he’d shock my balls with blue lightening. Have you ever have your balls electrocuted with pure hate?”
“Can’t say that I have…”
“Well it sucks something fierce, Slugger. It sucks something fierce.”
I couldn’t believe I had Darth Vader in such a cooperative mood. “Tell me about Alderaan,” I asked.
He took another slow intake of breath- or it seemed slower. “That was another big misunderstanding. I get blamed for that, but if people would look at the records, I think they will find that one is on Grand Moff Tarkin. You think the Emperor was bad? Try having that presumptuous prick as your boss. Holding my leash indeed.” he smiled disarmingly- I could tell because the “smile” light lit up on his chest plate.
I laughed quite hard. “You regret it then?”
Vader nodded “I had Alderaanean friends, and I had a hunch my daughter was being raised there- no proof, just a force thing…” he wiped some toast crumbs out of his mouth grille- I realized I hadn’t been watching him eat- how did he do it? No answer was forthcoming. Maybe food just forced it’s way in there somehow. Jedi snack technique.
“AT-ATs and AT-STs”. I said.
“Unbelievable. The wheel is one of the oldest inventions, but we build a military around tanks with legs, so every fuzzy asshole with an axe can defeat our infantry. So enraging.”
“Your kids,” I pressed.
“Okay. Again, abusive relationship- not an excuse, just context. So, I was told they were dead and I thought Palpatine was telling me the truth. By the time it occurred to me he might be lying, they were older, and we were busy building the first Death Star. I didn’t think they would want to meet me. I posted an ad on Craigslist, hinting something about last Jedi seeks reconnection with family. Fucking Craigslist,” he shook his head.
“When Leia showed up on the Death Star, I knew she was my daughter- Same attitude as her mother, same implausible accent. I couldn’t say anything. I just said “she may be of use to us yet” to buy her some time, and then I had a menacing floating medical ball shoot her full of vitamin b. Luke thought I didn’t know about her. I did the big reveal of that detail in front of The Emperor. I knew all along. I can sense the force, and I’m only THE MOST POWERFUL JEDI OF ALL TIME. God.”
“Ewoks?”, I asked.
“Did I not say fuzzy assholes?” he said, sipping his coffee, somehow, again.
“Fight I would have liked to have. Instead I get Count Dooku. Sounds like a potty training euphemism- Did you get a visit from Count Dooku? Did you send him to Coruscant? Good boy!”
“Had more class than his father. Ruthless, just about money. I can get behind that.”
“Where are you in five years?”
He inhaled deeply and waited a moment, considering either the response, or some past pain. “I guess I always wanted to work with children, but I have a war crimes record. I’m supporting a few charities actively, and I’ve started “Darth’s Kids”. It’s like a program that takes inner city youth who have lost their parents, and turns them into unstoppable destructive psychic killing machines. We’ve had some great successes- Miley Cyrus…”
“I totally get Hannah Montana now!” I exclaimed.
“Right? I know. I KNOW. So proud of that one.”.
“Is there anything else you want people to know about you?” I began gathering up my tape recorder.
“Yes. When it comes tie to tell the story of my life, I hope they don’t cut out the part at the end of Jedi where I return to the force with Obi wan and Yoda, and I’m the same sad-eyed old man who was in the mask dying in Luke’s arms earlier. I swear on the grave of my mother, if they rotoscope in Hayden Christensen, I will return from the force and destroy your planet with my bare robotic hands.”.