It’s been called the biggest twist in motion picture history. It was known by no one on the set when they filmed the scene, except for Mark Hamill, who was told by George Lucas only moments before they filmed. The true fate of the father of Luke Skywalker.
This is something that I think could be retained if the prequels were ever rebooted. As one person recently said at Comic-Con, how could anyone take that twist away from future audiences? With the creation of Episodes I-III, it was very clear that the secret wouldn’t be able to be maintained. Especially with the obvious nature of the direction of the story.
My thoughts on possible solutions?
One potential scenario gives Anakin a twin brother. The idea of twins running in the Skywalker family is a running theme in the series, continued in the expanded universe novels. Han and Leia have twin children called Jacen and Jaina. That brother could have fed into the story of Anakin’s fall. The character could also have brought plausible deniability to exactly who’s child Luke is, and / or who would become Darth Vader. I haven’t thought too much about this element to work out exactly how it would work, but having this extra character could help to keep what Obi-Wan told Luke about his father true, from a certain point of view. This is especially possible if Anakin becomes Darth Vader, his brother’s wife is pregnant, as is Padme, and then Vader kills his brother. Episode III could still have ended with children being born, but in a montage during which none of the children are named for the audience at the time of their birth. The final scene of Episode III could be near identical to what it had been, with Luke being delivered to his Aunt and Uncle.
One other concept that I have has Bail Organa’s wife also pregnant, and we know that it’s a girl. That fact alone could keep the secret of Luke and Leia’s relationship entirely intact for the audience. I wrote a bit about my ideas for Bail Organa’s involvement in a prequel reboot here.
This is something that would have to be very well planned out so that it comes together in a way that’s not confusing to the audience. So that, on the surface, it looks a certain way. We want the story to be clear enough that, when Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father in A New Hope, everything he says is true. And then when the truth is revealed in The Empire Strikes Back, it makes sense, and in fact, when we go back and rewatch Episode III, we can see how it could have worked out the way that it did. Finally, when Luke confronts Obi-Wan about his story, and Obi-Wan explains how what he said was true, that explanation also holds up.
The twists and turns that this would need to work out are something that reminds me of Inception or The Dark Knight Rises. Handled as delicately as the stories that those films tell, it could work. It would have to be very carefully told so that the audience isn’t onto it, but not so carefully that the audience wonders why such great care was taken in keeping the identities of the children, and who the parents were, a secret.
What do you think? Is it possible to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader without giving away the secret of each of their fates? What would you do to keep the secret after three films leading up to Darth Vader?