Darth Vader's voice and character in general

Why: Darth Vader wasn't treated with nearly enough respect in this movie. Tarkin appears to totally dominate Vader, as do a lot of the Imperial officers. This makes his character in ANH inconsistent with that in ESB and ROTJ.

Vader seems to do a lot of running around in this movie, which is something that can’t be changed, but I think it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t do any of that in ESB and ROTJ, save for the Emperor’s direct orders and personal errands.

How: Since James Earl Jones is around and his voice is as Vadery as ever, I think it wouldn’t be too hard to ask him to read a few lines. It would be nice for him to redo all of the lines in the film since his voice is very different in this one than in all the others, but if not, here are the lines that I think should be either changed or removed:
  • Commander, tear this ship apart until you’ve found those plans, and bring me the passengers, I want them alive,” should be dubbed over with the same line but in a much more calm voice, showing how Vader is always calm, even after murdering someone.
  • Take her away!” should be calmer.
  • The dialogue between him and the officers on the Tantive IV should be minimized. In ESB, the only times he talks to them is when he’s giving them strict orders or executing them, and this is with captains and admirals. The ones that talk to him in ANH are mere commanders.
  • From, “Now, she is my only link…” to “Now, she is a new link…” This would suggest that he has other sources of information, making him look more mysterious.
  • The following segment should be totally removed:
Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion…

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Enough of this. Vader, release him.

As you wish.

This bickering is pointless.

This shows how Imperials can dare to insult Darth Vader and how Tarkin is almost literally holding his leash.
  • Leia’s line should be changed from, “I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash…” to “I should have expected to find you here. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought onboard.” The comment about him holding Vader’s leash should be cut, to not confuse authority.
  • This is another abstract and very far fetched idea that's better left ignored, but anyways...the scene with Tarkin receiving the report on Dantooine should be modified so that instead of him telling Vader to terminate the princess, it goes something like this:
Take out Vader completely (digitally), and keep the officer that came in and brought the news. After Tarkin says, “She lied to us,” have the officer say, “Shall I inform Lord Vader?” To this have Tarkin reply, “No! Terminate her, immediately!” This shows a bit of Tarkin’s sense of extra authority, and at the same time makes Vader look more dignified when the officer suggests that he be informed. If it’s left the way it is, it will look too much like Tarkin just ordering Vader around.

Like this, the scene of Tarkin and Vader when they hear about the capture of the Falcon should also be modified because it’s a continuation of the previous scene. It might work if Vader was shown entering the room just before Tarkin receiving the report about the Falcon. It would work even better if Vader isn’t in this scene either and the officer that brings the news about Dantooine is still there and he tells Tarkin that perhaps they shouldn’t kill her quite yet. This would also make the following part go a bit better because currently it shows Vader entering the landing bay after he was just in Tarkin’s office. If Vader wasn’t in the office in the first place and had his own stuff to do, it would make sense that he went to the landing bay on his own. We could also have a new scene of Vader doing something on the Death Star while Tarkin is receiving the multiple reports.
  • Tarkin’s line should be changed from, “I’m taking an awful risk, Vader” to “I’m taking an awful risk, Lord Vader.

4 comments:

  1. The opposite side of the coin, for your consideration:

    Vader was a dynamic character. He got angry and he strangled high ranking imperials...and yet he was bound by rules and was part of a governmental/military hierarchy. Vader is merely a servant of the Empire. He doesn't really outrank Tarkin. It is Tarkin who decides to blow up a planet while Vader stays idle. Vader is not VP of the Empire. He has certain privileges as acolyte of the Emperor but he cannot do whatever he wishes.

    I think it is great that the audience gets to wrap their mind around this slight complexity.

    Certainly better than a constantly calm, shiny, boss of everyone and pure evil (ie one dimensional) character. I feel that many of the 'flaws' you identify add realism to the film.

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  2. He definitely is a complex character, but I always saw the Empire as more or less a "tool" of the Sith to maintain dominance in the galaxy (ie. Sith on top no matter what), not the other way around as is suggested with lines like "Tarkin holding Vader's leash", etc. Tarkin having freedom to do what he wants is one thing, but him dominating Vader is quite another. Do you disagree?

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  3. I am in favor of most of these subtle changes. However, we absolutely must keep Vader choking Motti on the Death Star. It is a memorable scene that reveals Vader's ability to choke people from a distance, including one of the most revered lines in SW: "I find your lack of faith disturbing".

    Here's my idea for this segment:

    Have this segment be exactly the same up to the point where Tarkin normally says "Enough of this! Vader, release him!". At this moment, replace it with Tarkin sitting there in uneasy silence, thinking for sure that this officer will die.

    Then (with Tarkin in the background still silently sitting there), Vader starts walking away from Motti, and releases him at his own will. And then, either A) have Vader say nothing (taking out his line "As you wish"), or B) replace that line with an entirely new dialogue, possibly along the lines of "...Do not defy me again". (Vader releasing Motti on his own kinda gives another meaning to his line in ROTJ, "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am")

    Then, most likely leave out Tarkin's line, "This bickering is pointless", but for sure continue as normal with Motti raising his head with Tarkin saying his line, "Now, Lord Vader will provide us with the location of the Rebel fortress by the time this station is operational. We will then crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke."

    With my suggestion, we'll still have this entire segment (more or less) and we'll also have Vader not on a leash. If not the idea I suggested or something very similar, then please, it'd be fine to leave this scene alone and left in.

    On a side note, in the DVD's ANH:R, I thought it was ingenious to include that subtle music in the background, beginning around when Vader is on his way to choking Motti - I felt that greatly added to the tension.

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  4. Nice. I like this. I was also thinking, after Vader says:

    "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

    ..then change this:

    "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fortr--..."
    (blashpemy!!)

    ...to:

    "That ancient religion has not helped you find the rebels' hidden fortr--..."

    ...or something along those lines. Then your suggestion would be a logical continuation.

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