Inside the helmet
I've got my issue of Vanity Fair featuring the Star Wars photoshoot. Those who don't want to bother with the $5 can get a taste of the pictures contained on VF's portfolio online. I, however, intend to get the full size of the cover framed. It's just the way that I do things.

Annie Leibowitz's interesting photographs surround a short article by Jim Windolf regarding Episode III. I didn't figure to get some amazing insight into the fate of Anakin, but Lucas expounded in a couple of fascinating paragraphs. For starters, he directly addresses the much speculated reason why Anakin goes over to the dark side:
    "When you get down to where we are right now in the story," Lucas says, "you basically get somebody who's going to make a pact with the Devil, and it's going to be a pact with the Devil that says, 'I want the power to save somebody from death. I want to be able to stop them from going to the river Styx, and I need to go to a god for that, but the gods won't do it, so I'm going to go down to Hades and get the Dark Lord to allow me to have this power that will allow me to save the very person I want to hang on to.' You know, it's Faust. So Anakin wants that power, and that is basically a bad thing. If you're going to sell your soul to save somebody you love, that's not a good thing. That's, as we say in the film, unnatural. You have to accept the natural course of life. Of all things. Death is obviously the biggest of them all. Not only death for yourself but death for the things you care about."
This is some amazing detail on how a Jedi is turned, something we have still never seen in the films. Lucas doesn't stop talking until he's addressed another of fandom's 'holy grails' of speculation: the impact losing much of his body had on Vader's power:
    "Anakin, as Skywalker, as a human being, was going to be extremely powerful," [Lucas] says. "But he ended up losing his arms and a leg and became partly a robot. So a lot of his ability to use the Force, a lot of his powers, are curbed at this point, because, as a living form, there's not that much of him left. So his ability to be twice as good as the Emperor disappeared, and now he's maybe 20 percent less than the Emperor."
Even more telling is this last part where he fills in the holes and, incidentally, once Episode III is over will have changed how we view the original trilogy forever.
    "So that isn't what the Emperor had in mind. He wanted this really super guy, but that got derailed by Obi-Wan. So he finds that, with Luke, he can get a more primo version if he can turn Luke to the Dark Side. You'll see, as this goes on, Luke is faced with the same issues and practically the same scenes that Anakin is faced with. Anakin says yes and Luke says no.

    "You learn that Darth Vader isn't this monster," Lucas says. "He's a pathetic individual who made a pact with the Devil and lost. And he's trapped. He's a sad, pathetic character, not an evil big monster. I mean, he's a monster in that he's turned to the Dark Side and he's serving a bad master and he's into power and he's lost lot of his humanity. In that way, he's a monster, but beneath that, as Luke says in Return of the Jedi, early on, 'I know there's still good in you. There's good in you, I can sense it.' Only through the love of his children and the compassion of his children, who believe in him, even though he's a monster, does he redeem himself."

That's quite the turn from my first memory of Darth Vader, as a child watching him enter the Tantive IV on the big screen, scaring the bejeezus out of me. But that was a time when I view things as simple black and white, but now I'm much more interested in this expanded, detailed vision of the series as a complex, timeless masterpiece. Now go out and do my bidding.

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