A few days ago I was reading an excellent blog article by Runeslinger on his blog Casting Shadows, you can find the original post here: https://runeslinger.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/recasting-canon-star-wars/
In this blog article he discusses how both he and his players have treated the canon in Star Wars, essentially they have taken the bits of the canon that they liked and have treated the bits they didn’t like as legends or distorted representations of what actually occurred, the blog article contains a list of established facts that exist within their storyline. I thought this was a great again and it prompted me to think about other things that might have been different to the established “facts”, I’ve decided to lump these posts under a category called “What if?”
These posts will effectively be short musings from me about how things could have been different in RPG backgrounds, stories, etc and how that might affect the present day of a game. For this post I’m going to be thinking about how Anakin Skywalker gained the deformities that lead to his requiring a life-sustaining suit when he became known as Darth Vader to the galaxy at large.
In the prequel trilogy we know that Anakin attempted to fight Obi-Wan on Mustafar as he began his fall to the dark side, during a lightsaber duel his legs were cut off by Obi-Wan and he then slid into a pool of lava, screaming his hatred of his old master. When Palpatine found him later, miraculously he was still alive but required the life-sustaining properties of his trademark black armour. One of the things that struck me about this when watcing the prequels was that it wasn’t particularly imaginative, I’d always expected there to be some massively emotive reason behind the twisted figure that Vader became, and whilst you could argue that if he hadn’t gone to the darkside then he wouldn’t have been so reckless as to attempt to vault Obi-Wan and thus wouldn’t have been injured, I’d always imagined that the reason for his physical ailments would reflect his conscious choice to embrace the darkside more.
We know that Palpatine himself was disfigured when his prolonge use of the force for evil ends was turned against him, so I’d like to propose the following alternative:
Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, believed to be the one to return balance to the force is tempted and lured to the darkside by the machinations of Darth Sidious and is commanded to help wipe out those in the Jedi temple on Coruscant, since Sidious/Palpatine knows that he will never be able to concentrate on running his future Empire with the Jedi as a thorn in his side. To this end he sends Skywalker with reinforcements to the temple where, instead of small groups of barely trained children, they are met by the Jedi defenders of the temple who prove to be stiff opposition. Sustaining some minor injuries during the fighting, the battle initially seems to have turned against Skywalker, with the Jedi pushing his troopers back. As it appears that good will triumph, Anakin sustains a severe blast bolt, the pain and knowledge that he might lose the battle, causes the proud young-Sith to full embrace the darkside drawing on all the power and techniques that Darth Sidious has been secretly tutoring him in.
When the smoke around the temple clears and Palpatine sends in reinforcements, everyone in the temple is dead, Anakin’s indiscriminate anger has caused him to kill everyone within reach, friend or foe, until eventually, exhausted, his body twisted by both his wounds and the darkside energies coursing through him Anakin collapses. Impressed by the sheer level of destructive power displayed, Palpatine has his guards carry Anakin away and fitting with a suit to sustain him despite his near mortal wounds, however, they cannot cure the mystic ailments that his overdose of darkside energies has caused, he will be forced to remain in the suit for the rest of his life.
Now this alternative might not be for everyone but I certainly think it would make the attack on the Jedi temple more dramatic and makes the man that Darth Vader becomes a direct result of Anakin embracing his fear, anger and all of the other arguably negative emotions that lead to the darkside.