Darth Vader’s Poop

I backed away from the biological questions after being lightly chastised for asking “Does Darth Vader Need to Eat?” I specifically placed the publication of this blog on hold because I care about your feelings and feedback!

But really only to a limited extent, because I’d written this out and had every intent of coming back to it.

(Side note: I appreciate all the comments lately. I’ve enjoyed having actual discussions on these insane topics and promise you this is all far from over! And of course if you want to pitch an idea for a blog question, let me know!)

But the next logical question about the Dark Lord of the Sith needing to eat is…

Does Darth Vader Need to Poop?

Every living thing creates waste. This waste must be expelled or sepsis sets in, because the toxins in the body build up and it can’t get rid of them.

GIVEN: Vader’s body is badly damaged, but kept alive. There is a biological process at work. Any body will create waste.

GIVEN: Vader’s technology for life support is presaged by General Grievous’ horrific bag-of-organs and robot skeleton.

So, given all that, we can clearly see that Grievous has no…”exhaust port”…as it were. It’s just a (plastic?) bag of organs hanging in the middle of a (vulnerable) protective cage. So did he have to get a “flush” every couple of days when his armor got a wash-and-wax?

Perhaps that was the reason for his cough. He was actually expelling microbes of waste with each one, meaning he was a walking virus factory. Also, that his breath would explain Anakin averting his head when Grievous got in his face early in Episode III.

So how did Vader expel this waste? Was there a colostomy box on his belt, and if Luke had hit that instead of Vader’s shoulder in the Bespin duel we have a different ending?

I’m strangely, bizarrely curious on this one.

I am completely aware of what that says about me.

Did Vader Punish General Veers?

Sure, I had a satirical moment with the #BanBigGuy thing, but let’s get back to some Star Wars. Today’s blast of cold air isn’t from lousy Smarch weather, but from where my brain went with The Empire Strikes Back.

This blog is also a challenge to you.

I thought a bit about poor Admiral Ozzel (more on him in another forthcoming post) and the survival skills of Admiral Piett, then considered another Imperial officer who seems to escape any reprimand, either from Vader or the fans.

General Veers

General Veers does his Dark Lord’s bidding and leads an attack on the rebel base on Hoth. Everyone trumpets this as a victory, because the rebel base is destroyed and it makes everyone angst-y from my generation jump on the Kevin Smith Bandwagon and say that Empire shows the harshness of life.

However, the attack on the rebels is very unsuccessful and I’ll tell you why.

Zoom Zoom Zoom

The rebels got away. Not just Vader’s prize, Luke Skywalker, mind you. Han Solo & Company get away too. Heck, the very first transport gets away. While that showed further boobery on the part of the Imperial Navy, it also shows how poorly Veers planned for this attack.

He goes full-tilt for the rebel base itself, and not for the obviously-parked-outside escape ships sitting outside the protective hangar bays. Even if you say that the transports themselves waited inside the base (they didn’t, you can clearly see one lifting off as Luke gets in his X-Wing), Veers didn’t set up an anti-aircraft battery or two to stop things from getting away.

(Even the blindingly inept Trade Federation set up guns outside the hangars on Naboo in Episode I. Not particularly effective ones, but they tagged at least one ship.)

Why couldn’t this general adopt a siege mentality, and park everything just out of range of the rebels’ guns and just wait them out? They’re on a flipping snow planet and obviously need supplies flown in to them. Starve the rebels into making a move that brings mistakes and panic, or even defections from those too stupid to realize you’re just going to kill them all for being traitors.

Or at the very least, look for where the ships are parked and attack that instead of the base itself, where the defenses are concentrated!

Seriously, George Patton would slap the silly out of Veers in a heartbeat.

But I Have The Answer!

See, I’ve actually got the answer to this one in my brain. But I want to give all you Empire–lovers the chance to guess what that answer is.

It’s so elegantly simple and obvious that I’m surprised I’ve not thought of it before.

But give it a crack below. I’ll reveal my answer tomorrow, but will gladly entertain discussions until then. I think, honestly, that this explanation is so beautifully perfect that it’s the only one that truly works.

Are you up to the challenge?

Vader Should Have Surrendered to Obi-Wan

I’ve come to an idea about how Vader should have dealt with the situation on Mustafar.

He should have surrendered!

Let me take you through the reasoning why this not only makes sense, but would have resulted in Anakin becoming an even greater Sith Lord than Palpatine. Hell, he would have been the greatest Sith Lord since the legendary Bane.

Surrender to Victory

The situation as we all know it is that Obi-Wan showed up to bring Anakin to justice, and depending on your point of view (see what I did there?) that’s what he did. However, it left Anakin a broken shell (some could argue a zombie of sorts) to be reconstructed by Palpatine and to continually ponder his existence in terms of what could have been.

Had he surrendered, though, it would have been a master stroke that would have won the galaxy as his. It would have left the Jedi decimated still, and it would have been a stroke of genius to get the galaxy to back the Sith as the leaders of a thousand thousand worlds.

Surrender would have allowed Anakin to continue destroying from within, without having to bloody his hands further.

So How Would That Work, kesseljunkie?

Let me explain.

Palpatine had engineered the senators to surrender their peoples’ freedoms in exchange for power. He reorganized the Republic into a Galactic Empire to “thunderous applause.” This monstrous being had sold those not on the bureaucratic take on the idea that the Jedi had gone rogue, become extremists and threatened to overthrow the government.

Very obviously, the Sith had the intelligence and wisdom to turn a beneficent system against itself by working from within. They worked in shadow to get to a point of primacy that gave them complete control. When Palpatine addresses the Senate in Revenge of the Sith, the need to hide is erased. His true face is known now and the system has been reshaped to support him.

Anakin surrendering corners Obi-Wan into coming back to Coruscant, to present him to a system he knows is rigged against him. The Jedi have been destroyed by that point and Yoda cannot offer public assistance. Political allies will cow in fear rather than be portrayed as supporting traitors.

Palpatine would have likely given Obi-Wan diplomatic leniency in public and then jailed him “for his own protection.” And when the show trial that only goes further to portray the Jedi as ignoble renegades, Obi-Wan can then either stand trial for the Order’s “crimes” or be “killed while attempting escape.” Heck, Palpatine could have kept him alive as bait to draw out other Jedi who wanted to rescue him, or lure sympathizers into the open so that his enemies make it easier for him to eliminate them.

To be honest, I’d started writing this half-heartedly and am pretty sure I’ve convinced myself now.

Hiccups in the Plan

Sure, there could have been inquiries about the timing of certain events. People may have been curious as to how or why Anakin was sent in secret to assassinate the entire Separatist leadership while the Jedi were supposedly turning against the Republic they’d sworn to defend.

They would have been distracted by propaganda though. Their curiosity would have been deflected by the portrait of a hero who remained loyal to Palpatine, and the Republic by default, since Palpatine’s cult of personality was the new order of government.

Who would have had the courage to bring him to trial though? Even if Bail Organa stood tall and insisted on it, Palpatine had control. At a key moment in the movie, Mace Windu flatly declares that Palpatine “controls the Senate and the courts” before he attempts to assassinate him. So a trial would have been actual good PR for the new Empire since it would have been a terrific chance for Anakin to declare his loyalty, evidence could show he had single-handedly gone to finish off the Separatist threat after a long war and he would have been exonerated.

At that point he becomes Palpatine’s face. Handsome and young, he is more able to persuade by coercion than fear. He would have been a supreme leader instead of a mysterious monster prowling the lanes of space and forcing Palpatine to continue personal interactions. After all, a withered and evil face is still more compelling than an implacable mask.

Anakin surrendering would have been the ultimate move to ensure Sith power for many lifetimes to come.

In Conclusion

At the end of it all, this is all conjecture based on a fan’s frenzied fantasy. Star Wars isn’t structured for this sort of courtroom drama, but I can’t help but wonder.

Have I stumbled accidentally onto a “better fate” for Anakin? Or am I just tilting at windmills?

Darth Vader: Never Meant for Promotion

A lot is made of Darth Vader’s management style by fans of the Star Wars series. Everyone gets a thrill out of his willingness to choke his subordinates into submission and death when they fail him. Nearly everyone who has ever craved the power to do so with impunity has envied this command ability.

However, it betrays a fatal flaw in Vader’s character that is oft overlooked.

Vader Was Never Meant To Command

He was groomed for command. The Emperor wanted him to command. But the very things that made us love Vader as a character made him a terrible commander at his core.

As enjoyable as it is to choke someone out who fails you, because it conveys how little you tolerate failure, think of the other messages it sends. You have disregard for the lives of those who serve you. You consider people expendable cogs. You don’t consider feedback a necessary piece of management, but punishment.

Further, think of how much it actually paralyzes the command chain. Once you get a couple chokings out there, word spreads not just not to f*** up, but that Vader never tells people what it is that they’re f***ing up until it’s too late. I don’t know about you, but I’d be terrified to make a decision.

“What should we do?”

“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure you’re the one that should do it.”

—Theoretical Conversation at Imperial HQ

If Vader had instead at least offered some sort of feedback, or possibly just wounded the mildly incompetent, you have a different landscape where people are willing to take responsibility for their actions. I imagine promotions are turned down in the Empire at an alarming rate if there’s an option.

You’d also cut down on back-stabbing d-bags like Piett. Everyone has an affection for him because he survives an error, but let’s face it. He maneuvered Ozzel into a position to get killed. So Vader’s obvious (invisible) hand at fast-tracking promotions motivated people to get their superiors whacked.

Therefore, it turns the military into a much more political organization, which probably explains why the Imperial one was so inept as to be able to let a beat up YT 1300 continually get away from them.

Anyway, that’s my take. Am I off-base about Vader here?

Lando Calrissian: Unfairly Judged

I started thinking about Lando and his choice to betray Han.

Under those circumstances, can anyone really blame Lando? He had Darth Vader, the second most powerful being in the galaxy, as an uninvited guest making demands.

He showed up in force, certainly with a condition that Lando allow him to land unless he wanted Cloud City turned into a giant fireball.

Lando had to put the good of the many before the needs of the few, or the one. As I understand, my generation has accepted this as the logical maxim of our times.

If we accept that the “good of the many” outweighs all other considerations, I submit you must conclude that there is no wrong in his decision to betray Han.

Counter Arguments

Many would ask about Vader altering the deal at whim during progressive conversations. I agree this proves Vader’s untrustworthiness and highlights that you cannot make a deal with the Devil since he will always change the terms.

However, supplement this information with the idea that Vader may have felt the need to alter the deal because he could tell that Lando wasn’t fully committed. His emotional ties to his friends were threatening to overcome his rational sense to let the Empire have whomever it wanted.

Generational Hypocrisy

Lando had to weigh whether to warn his friend against his mandate to protect and preserve the lives of thousands. He had a commitment to protect the proletariat Ugnaughts whose labors powered the city.

If my generation has such a commitment to the idea that a minority weighed against the benefit of the many is no weight at all, then our collective anguish over Lando’s decision is hypocrisy at its finest.

Our collectivist moral structure dictates that Lando commits a great wrong when he reverses course and frees the hostages. These were renegades of the state, guilty of treason and sabotage.

Look at the great pandemonium and presumable loss of life that the people of Cloud City endured thanks to Lando changing his mind. It was already too late to save his friend, even.

Even Jim Kirk, in Star Trek III, risked only a small group of people to rescue their friend. In the process he arguably saved the galaxy by keeping the secrets of Genesis from a commander who wanted to use it as a weapon.

Lando instead leaves behind a people that had trusted him as their wise leader for his own sense of worth. He betrayed everyone on that floating city.

If we stay within what we preach as a generation, then Lando doesn’t go from heel to hero, he goes from saint to devil.

The Friendship Factor

What changes it for people is that he is Han’s friend. That’s what makes it wrong.

For someone like me, Lando is in the wrong not just because he’s Han’s friend. He’s wrong because he has chosen to betray someone at all.

Let’s remove Han from the equation. Say instead it’s a random person turning to Lando for help. The Empire asked for this person to be turned in for whatever reason.

They got no trial or due process, and it’s pretty well known what the Empire does with prisoners by that point. You don’t get the reputation as an authoritarian regime without earning it.

A regime like the Empire persecutes those who openly defy or disagree with it. It doesn’t kill everyone, but it leverages bureaucracy against any target of their wrath. They can impose mandates and reward only those who mind their place. Occasionally they can seek to obliterate a political/institutional foe as an example. Just ask Alderaan.

My point is that it should plant a seed of doubt in anyone’s mind about the wisdom of “turning over” someone to them. It shouldn’t make a difference if it’s Lando’s friend or not.

So I submit that the only reason the now–grown fans of the series even object to Lando’s betrayal is because it was their beloved Han Solo. This highlights the baseline of hypocrisy and exposes our general tendency toward selective outrage.

Conclusion

When Lando betrayed Han, it was wrong not because it was Han, but because it was wrong in principle. This idea of rationalizing the sacrifice of someone else for the sake of a perceived good is destructive.

If you think they’ve done something wrong, tell them you won’t shelter them. If necessary, call authorities. It’s not your job to enforce the whims of the state unless they give you a gun and a badge.