What if Darth Vader wanted the Death Star to be destroyed during the Battle of Yavin? How would that change your perception of Darth Vader? Is he the fallen anti-hero or the villainous character he’s infamous for?

After losing his loved ones, Darth Vader succumbed to the dark side and pledged his allegiance to the conniving Emperor. With introspection and immense resentment, Darth Vader had every intention of its destruction. It was all a matter of when.

A “Technological Terror” – The Death Star

Since A New Hope, you already get a sense that Darth Vader isn’t too keen on the Death Star. Vader calls it a “technological terror” and it being “insignificant next to the power of the Force”. While this doesn’t bode well with Admiral Motti, Vader’s disdain for the massive space station overshadowed the admiral’s rank.

To understand Darth Vader’s intent, I need to begin with the relationship Anakin Skylwalker has with his mother.

Anakin Skywalker’s Mother, Shmi

Anakin was born and raised on the dusty planet of Tatooine by his mother, Shmi Skywalker. Living life as a slave, Shmi is eager to save her son from the suffering of a slave’s life. Enter Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, his padawan apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé, Jar Jar Binks, and R2-D2! When they land on Tatooine, the crew finds the Naboo Royal Starship needs new parts and trek into Mos Eisley. There, they encounter the young boy and acquire his Podracing skills to win the parts they need.

However, Qui-Gon senses there’s more to this boy than meets the eye. In an all-or-nothing wager, Qui-Gon wages a bet with Anakin’s employer and owner, Watto, to release Anakin and Shmi. Watto vehemently opposes and scolds Qui-Gon that “no pod is worth two slaves”. Qui-Gon chooses the boy, and with a slight movement of his hand, subtly turns the cube to face blue. After winning the Podrace, Anakin is freed from the life of an indentured slave, but sadly Shmi is not.

At a very young age, he is beginning to realize what he has to lose to become a Jedi; which begins with the loss of being by his mother’s side. Though he makes a promise to her that he will come back to free her, there’s no guarantee he can.

Against his liking, Anakin must learn to let go and not mourn the loss, which he is warned later of by Master Yoda what this leads down to. He feels a deep sense of emptiness, and Anakin looks no further than his adoring crush on Queen Amidala, better known as Padmé.

Anakin and Padmé

Anakin’s desire for Padmé is not only of young, unrequited love and admiration for her in the beginning. It’s his love lust that is shared by Padmé, a young woman falling in love, bound by the rules and regulations of being a Senator. Together, they begin to show us that no bond can be broken, nor can one deny one’s true feelings for the other.

As a boy, he had left his mother. As a young apprentice of his fellow brother and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin begins having visions of his mother’s death and eventually learns of her fate with Padmé by his side. This loyalty Padmé provides Anakin not only with an escape from the strict teachings of Master Kenobi’s or of the Force, but she also becomes his mother’s replacement as a supportive, loving nurturer that stood by his side. Thus furthering his vow to Padmé and promising to her that he won’t lose her like he lost his mother, a firm statement he vows to her in Revenge of the Sith

An Ambivalent Jedi Knight

Struggling with his intense fear through visions of losing Padmé and the pregnancy, this feeling to Anakin is all too familiar. He seeks guidance from Master Yoda, describing these visions of Padmé’s death that are consuming him. It’s this reminder where Master Yoda advises him to not mourn the loss, and warns Anakin of the fear of loss leading to jealousy, and thus guiding him down the path to the dark side.

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However, this obsession with the visions weighs heavy on Anakin’s mind as he becomes increasingly confused about the choices he will eventually be faced with. As Anakin is angry with the council for not making him a Master while joining the Jedi Council, Anakin is vulnerable to Chancellor Palpatine’s influence. He easily manipulates Anakin, telling a him a tale while attending the opera. It’s in this tale that Anakin learns how he can save Padmé, the very same Master Yoda warned him about…

Once Anakin uncovers Chancellor Palpatine as Darth Sidious and attempts to prevent Master Mace Windu from executing him, Anakin falls perfectly into Darth Sidious’ manipulative ploy, succumbing to him and thus is born as Darth Vader. Conflicted but desperate to save Padmé, he follows his Lord’s orders, slaying younglings, and traveling to the volcanic planet of Mustafar, where he is defeated by none other than his fellow brother and friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and then faces him again on the Death Star years later…

Obi-Wan Reminds Anakin of Who He Is

Anakin is the Chosen One and he does bring balance to the Force. Does he intend to destroy the Sith? Yes, he still does but as Darth Vader.

His eyes swelter with anger and pain, with glimpses of sadness from the pain he’s caused, reactively blaming Obi-Wan for betraying him and growling the words viciously “I hate you!” When Darth Vader is rescued by the Emperor and brought to a med-bay on Coruscant and is interconnected into the menacing helmet and daunting suit, Padmé delivers the twins. Before she passes away, Padmé tells Obi-Wan that there is still good in him, giving a sliver of hope that Darth Vader is still capable of being brought back to the light side.

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Why Wait So Long to Destroy the Death Star

Because he found his son, Luke.

Remember, Anakin does not like to lose those he loves and will do anything to save them. And according to Padmé, there is still good in the villainous Darth Vader. Now, Darth Vader realizes Palpatine has manipulated him the entire time.

During the battle on the Death Star as Vader lines up to fire upon Luke, sensing the force is unusually strong with him, it gives Vader validation that Luke could very well be his son. As such, Vader gives Luke enough room to destroy the Death Star without seeming to be obvious in knowing it, showing no remorse for the destruction of the space station.

He wants Luke to join him in The Empire Strikes Back but Luke refuses. In Return of the Jedi, the Emperor attempts to coerce Luke to join him but Vader doesn’t want to lose his son like he lost his mother or Padmé to the Emperor, thus the ending of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the Death Star II. It is all a matter of when.

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