Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

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Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby GTGearZero » 2010-11-03 11:21am

This has been bugging me for along time. How was Darth Vader seen in the Empire, officially? I know that the Galactic Empire basically wiped out any history of the Jedi and the Force in general. However, was it known that Darth Vader was a Force user and was previously known as Anakin Skywalker? I mean, some people would have had to notice that Vader used a lightsaber, which was the historic weapon of a Jedi.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Jaevric » 2010-11-03 12:16pm

In the EU it doesn't seem that Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader is widely known. It's hard enough to imagine nobody in the Rebellion ever commented to Luke Skywalker "Hey, are you any relation to Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi Hero?" without adding "Hey, are you any relation to Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi Hero who now calls himself Darth Vader and is working for Emperor Palpatine?" For that matter, Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke that Darth Vader "destroyed" Luke's father would be pretty damn pointless if the first person with a knowledge of recent history and current events said "Dude, so your dad's Darth Vader? That's gotta be awkward."

Vader himself was instantly recognized by Leia, and she doesn't seem to expect much in the way of subtlety out of him -- "Vader. Only you could be so bold." Darth Vader seems to be a terror weapon, much like the Death Star but on a more personal level. At the same time, Anakin Skywalker would be pretty useful to Palpatine as a dead martyr -- "Skywalker moved against the Jedi when he discovered their treason against the Republic, and was subsequently murdered."

Having Skywalker as a "martyr" and Darth Vader is a terror weapon nets Palpatine all the advantages of having "Skywalker the Hero" support him, while having Darth Vader to threaten people with and do the dirty deeds the Empire doesn't want to take care of himself.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby JME2 » 2010-11-03 12:49pm

James Luceno's novel "Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader" dealt with this. Anakin's official status in Imperial records was that he died on Mustafar -- which, in a sense was technically true.

The populace didn't know what to make of Vader when he first came onto the scene, with his clear Force potential and lightsaber training; IIRC, the Clone were uncomfortable with this given their role in Order 66. Once Vader established his reputation, however, the galactic citizens knew better than to ask. But they didn't find out Vader had been Anakin until after Endor.

As to everyone else, Yoda and Obi-Wan were the only Jedi survivors who initially knew Anakin had become Vader; others learned or figured it out. The ones who didn't thought he had been one of Dooku's acolytes.

The Imperial military didn't know either. Steve Perry and Michael Reeves' novel "Death Star" showed that even Grand Moff Tarkin didn't know -- at least not officially. He had a good idea who was under the mask based on the evidence (the timing of Anakin's official death, the environment of Mustafar, Vader's official emergence and his injuries), but he knew better than to try to prove his theory.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby TC Pilot » 2010-11-03 03:46pm

Depending on how powerful or connected one was, it's possible to know Vader's real identity. Prince Xizor knew Vader was originally named Skywalker, for instance.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby JME2 » 2010-11-03 04:06pm

TC Pilot wrote:Depending on how powerful or connected one was, it's possible to know Vader's real identity. Prince Xizor knew Vader was originally named Skywalker, for instance.


I knew I was forgetting someone; thanks, TC

Also, Bail Organa knew. I don't remember if Breha Antilles knew, but IIRC, Bail confided in the Tantive IV's captain, Raymus Antilles.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Darth Fanboy » 2010-11-03 08:20pm

Xizor though is depicted as the most powerful and connected person short of Vader and the Emperor though, and Xizor had his fued with Vader going on so it must have taken a devoted effort on Xizor's part to uncover Vader's true identity.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Joe Momma » 2010-11-03 10:07pm

JME2 wrote:James Luceno's novel "Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader" dealt with this. Anakin's official status in Imperial records was that he died on Mustafar -- which, in a sense was technically true.

The populace didn't know what to make of Vader when he first came onto the scene, with his clear Force potential and lightsaber training; IIRC, the Clone were uncomfortable with this given their role in Order 66. Once Vader established his reputation, however, the galactic citizens knew better than to ask.

FWIW, the above was reiterated in the second book of the Coruscant Nights Trilogy when Captain Typho was researching the details of Amidala's death.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby JME2 » 2010-11-03 11:48pm

Joe Momma wrote:
JME2 wrote:James Luceno's novel "Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader" dealt with this. Anakin's official status in Imperial records was that he died on Mustafar -- which, in a sense was technically true.

The populace didn't know what to make of Vader when he first came onto the scene, with his clear Force potential and lightsaber training; IIRC, the Clone were uncomfortable with this given their role in Order 66. Once Vader established his reputation, however, the galactic citizens knew better than to ask.

FWIW, the above was reiterated in the second book of the Coruscant Nights Trilogy when Captain Typho was researching the details of Amidala's death.


I haven't read the trilogy yet; I keep meaning to get around to it.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Joe Momma » 2010-11-04 04:34am

JME2 wrote:
Joe Momma wrote:FWIW, the above was reiterated in the second book of the Coruscant Nights Trilogy when Captain Typho was researching the details of Amidala's death.

I haven't read the trilogy yet; I keep meaning to get around to it.

It's an interesting "film noir" perspective on Coruscant's lower levels. If you haven't read them yet, I'd suggest reading Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and the Medstar duology first. Those books set up a number of events and characters that feature prominently in the Coruscant Nights trilogy, though said items are decently recapped in the trilogy as well.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby PainRack » 2010-11-07 02:30pm

James Luceno's novel "Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader" dealt with this. Anakin's official status in Imperial records was that he died on Mustafar -- which, in a sense was technically true.

Errr, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the novel say he dies in the Jedi Temple?
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby JME2 » 2010-11-07 05:28pm

PainRack wrote:
James Luceno's novel "Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader" dealt with this. Anakin's official status in Imperial records was that he died on Mustafar -- which, in a sense was technically true.

Errr, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the novel say he dies in the Jedi Temple?


And in Matt Stover's Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor.

You're right; it's been a while since I've read Dark Lord. I was going off of Tarkin's musings in Death Star; looks like Perry and Reeves made a continuity goof.

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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Purple » 2010-11-07 05:54pm

Or it could be that Tarkin has heard rumors that say he was not really at the Jedi temple when he died.
It's plausible.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby Joe Momma » 2010-11-08 11:12am

JME2 wrote:
PainRack wrote:Errr, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the novel say he dies in the Jedi Temple?

And in Matt Stover's Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor.

You're right; it's been a while since I've read Dark Lord. I was going off of Tarkin's musings in Death Star; looks like Perry and Reeves made a continuity goof.

It may also indicate some ambiguity in the records themselves. In the Coruscant Nights trilogy Typho had to go to some lengths to get the records indicating Anakin's last known location was Mustafar. It was not common knowledge at the time (shortly after RotS). Likewise, in the CN trilogy it was noted that the general public didn't even know for sure if Vader was a Force user, much less a former Jedi. Speculation about Vader ranged from Dark Jedi to badass cyborg. I don't recall how that correlates with the other books.
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Re: Did the Galactic populous know who Darth Vader was?

Postby JME2 » 2010-11-08 12:03pm

Joe Momma wrote:Likewise, in the CN trilogy it was noted that the general public didn't even know for sure if Vader was a Force user, much less a former Jedi. Speculation about Vader ranged from Dark Jedi to badass cyborg. I don't recall how that correlates with the other books.


No, that pretty much correlates with Dark Lord at least; I'm not sure about the comics or the Last of the Jedi series.


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