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Oct 11, 2016

Darth Vader's name does not mean Dark Father

No, I am your father!

Darth Vader's name was not a clue that he was Luke's father


George Lucas lies.

Or rather he spreads myth and legend about Star Wars.

For instance, he once said he has written 12 Star Wars movies.

But no, he didn't.

And what about the claim that Darth Vader was always Luke's father?

Lucas has said that the meaning of Darth Vader's name was 'Dark Father' by way of a loose Dutch translation.*

In the German language 'vater' means father, adding to the translation mix.

Both those language meanings are simply incidental.



Lucas has been quoted as saying:

"'Darth' is a variation of dark. And 'Vader' is a variation of father. So it's basically Dark Father.

All the names have history, but sometimes I make mistakes -- Luke was originally going to be called Luke Starkiller, but then I realized that wasn't appropriate for the character.

It was appropriate for Anakin, but not his son. I said, 'Wait, we can't weigh this down too much -- he's the one that redeems him.'"

Lucas seems to be suggesting with the name he was giving a big clue about the familial ties.

I said he lies but he's really spreading myth about the lore of Vader as he had no idea Vader was Luke's father until at the earliest point of the second draft of Empire's script.

When Lucas was drafting Star Wars he wrote lots of stories and then he wrote even more stories and permutations of those stories with characters, some green, some goblins but there was always two separate characters of Anakin Skywalker (or Starkiller if you want to be really clear on the point) and Darth Vader.

The first draft of Empire was written by Leigh Bracket based on direction given by Lucas.

It DID NOT have Vader being Luke's father as a plot point.

Read it for yourself.

See, there's no mention of the relationship at all.

It was not until Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan were well advanced on the script for The Empire Strikes Back that the characters of Anakin and Darth were merged to make them one character.

So the reality is there was no clever clue about Vader's origins or even a play on words to give Vader his so called Dutch translation.

Rather, Darth is probably just a cool name that Lucas made up or cribbed from somewhere - he did this with Jedi and Sith from Edgar Rice Burrough's works.

Update:

Based on the comments below (thanks for chipping in guys and gals!) is clear this article didn't do enough to resolve the question "what does Darth Vader mean?" for some readers.

I've tightened it up a bit and added more explanation.

It's our firm view that the reasoning in this article is sound.

Lucas did not intend for the name Darth Vader to mean "Dark Father" by way of a clever word translation - this based on the fact that at the time of writing the first Star Wars script he had no idea himself that Darth Vader was to become Luke's father.

We believe any other argument that cannot counter this is somewhat redundant in terms of it being a clue as to Vader's parenthood as being a dark father.

By all means, feel free to disagree but I urge you to think freely and rationally.

Name callers merely look stupid, you jerks.

Want to read some more sweet things about Darth Vader? 

Try this click bait on for size:
* Darth is not a Dutch word and while on paper Vader means father, it's said very differently.

59 comments:

  1. Just because all Sith Lords go by "Darth" doesn't mean the "Dark Father" origin does not apply to Vader. After all, if Darth just means Dark, then that can still apply to any Sith character and still make Vader a "Dark Father". In other words, all Sith lords may be "dark", but only Darth Vader is a "dark father".

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    1. I disagree - Vader was not made Luke's father until Empire was well into it's late drafting stages - ergo the meaning could never have been Dark Father in ANH.

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    2. Anakin is Lukes Father and Anakin is Darth Vader so therefore Darth Vader is Luke's father.

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    3. Vader still means father... While the two characters may not have merged until later, the fact still stands that it made sense at the time. He may not have entirely known whose father Vader would be, but it could still have applied to whatever structure they had at the time.

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    4. We need to look at the intent here. Lucas had no intention of Darth Vader having the meaning of dark father. To import the meaning of the words darth and vader from other languages into an English context to make sense of what happened in the plot of a film is just getting way too fan booyish. STAY ON TARGET!

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    5. Lets be honest here. You don't actually know what Lucas' intent was, therefore rendering your statement incorrect. These are only assumptions from what I can tell.

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    6. You guys are really reaching. I agree with Christian Seibold here. All you can do is make assumptions on what Lucas was thinking. The "early drafts" you guys are referring to were obviously INCOMPLETE, meaning Vader COULD have been a father, if not to someone, then, someTHING (i.e. an idea, a dynasty, a technique, a new FORM of evil etc). However, seeing as what is published now IS finished, and the early drafts never made it past a draft, you really have nothing on which to base your argument. It's kinda hard to call someone a liar on where they thought of the origins on THEIR OWN STORY! So, that being said, use Star Wars for what it was intended... to ENTERTAIN, and stop arguing the semantics of "early drafts" they are no longer part of the story, so stop treating them like they are.

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    7. If you think about it, it's not very difficult to decifer what his name is: Darth is a title, as in Darth Sidious, now Sidious gets his name as short for Insidious, because he is the man in the shadows, orchestrating the events, whereas Darth Vader, could be short for Invader, as he is the one who fights on the front line.

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    8. I totally agree with Gary. You knocked this one out of the park.

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    9. "Lucas had no intention of Darth Vader having the meaning of dark father. To import the meaning of the words darth and vader from other languages into an English context to make sense of what happened in the plot of a film is just getting way too fan booyish"

      It's actually the opposite, James. Trying to rationalize that Darth Vader doesn't mean dark father despite the evidence to the contrary is fanboyism. A logical person would realize that it doesn't matter what Lucas' intentions were at the time. The name means Dark Father regardless, and Lucas could have intended Vader to be the father of someone else or something else.

      I don't disagree with you about Lucas not originally intending Vader to be Luke's father, but that doesn't change the fact that you're laughably wrong about the translation.

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    10. I figured that Darth Vader meant Dark Father simply from my knowledge of languages, before I knew anything about the unfolding of the story or the timelines of the script writing. If Lucas didn't intend that meaning originally, it's a pretty amazing coincidence that it just happened. Maybe you're suggesting that Lucas is psychic?

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    11. Nope. Lucas was not even responsible for the final draft of the script- that honor goes to Lawrence Kasdan. We actually can look at the earlier drafts of the Star Wars scripts. It's solid history.
      The "Dark Invader" thing makes the most sense. In the span of the first film, Luke is told that his father died and kissed his "sister". That to me doesn't suggest a fully developed script at the outset.
      Obi-Wan's comment in Empire that he wasn't technically lying is really nothing more than an explanation for a retcon, if you think about it. Lucas wants to take credit for Star Wars, but he's expressed bitterness about the original trilogy, and said the prequel trilogy is like what he would have made with the original trilogy if he had complete control and unlimited resources, while also not having to answer to the circle of people he hired to supervise the project.

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    12. Vader is the Father, the Supreme Commander, the main dark character of the movie...end of story.

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    13. Darth applies to all sith lords, does it not? Of course, this isn't a Dutch word at all, only a variation of English 'Dark', or another completely arbitrary meaning. Maybe it has zero semantics at all! When I realized the connection originally I just recognized Dutch "vader" (fah-dehr). It really would make sense...

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    14. I agree with Christian Seibold. Your right we don't know and may never so stop speculating

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  2. Pronunciation changes when transitioning from one language to another, that vader is pronounced differently in Dutch is moot, imo. That it is pure coincidence that the main character's father name means father in Dutch, seems unlikely but possible.

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  3. "Darth" may not be a Dutch word, but "zwart" is, and it means "black". My Dutch mum took my brother and I to see Star Wars when it was first released, and as soon as she saw the name written out she said it was supposed to mean "Dark Father". Long before TESB was released, we were debating whose father he was supposed to be (or alternatively the "father", as in creator, of something). The "dark" part was pretty self-evident, so we didn't get into that as much :-)

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  4. Correction, 'Darth' and 'Lord' are seperate ranks amongst the sith order

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  5. In the sith order 'Lord' and 'Darth' are different ranks, Darth being the highest, so this article is inaccurate.

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  6. I thought Darth could be from an old Germanic word meaning 'need, privation' - see https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/þearf. This would be neat, and fit with the original IV plot (as voiced by Obi) of his killing Luke's father: his name would then mean 'depriving of a father' or something like that.

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    1. Yeah, but Darth applies to all the higher Sith. I doubt that the creators would use that name for all of them just for VAder's sake

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  7. Actually George Lucas only wrote one big story than bad to write the stuff before

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  8. Please click on this link: https://translate.google.com/?oe=utf-8&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&client=tw-ob#auto/de/father

    And you will then see by reading that the German word Vater IS the English word for Father.

    So, Vader's name in Star Wars IS easily fit to be taken as the word FATHER.

    Vater = Father

    You are correct sir!

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    1. I think that you mean Dutch... vaDer is the Dutch word. High German (what's spoken in Germany)underwent a consonant change, hence dag to tag and vader to vater. Though German and Dutch evolved from Proto-Germanic, they are two totally separate languages.

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  9. Yoy are confused with life dude you just trying to make up some story that yoy belive so don't try change it for everyone. You are very incorrect Anakin is Lukes father and then ANAKIN BECOMES DARTH VADER. THIS MEANS THAT HR IS STILL LUKES FATHER. Just Because he becomes Darth Vader doesn't mean that he doesn't change his blood type...

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    1. Err... No. Darth Vader was always going to be a dark type of father figure, who would take Luke under his wing, and try to corrupt him. He had always considered making him Luke's father, and there are some advantages to having that in the story.

      Going the other direction, he would have been able to leave Darth Vader mysterious. Darth Vader, in the script, was an cyborg created by Anakin Skywalker. Up until the shooting for the second movie, Darth Vader was not Luke's father in the script. After all, Vader was originally written as an android, created by Luke's father.

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    2. Mybe a big perspective most might have overlooked wile debating whether or not the name Vader (vater) relay means father. -& father of what- this may shed some light. Its known that Lucus had not only episode 4-6 well plotted in mind or on paper. But also 1-3. He alredy knew everything about Anakin or what type of structured background the character would have. He also knew he wanted an empire and a republic. As episode 3 ends lord sidius aka emperor dubs Anakin Lord Vader. Wile the plot or E3 is for the birth of the empire. Leading one to believe Lucus intended the word Vader to mean father yes. But not in coherence to luke. But in relevance hes the reason the empire took flight to begin with, making him 'father' of the empire darth > dark > sith. Another strong belief of mine. One that could have provoked Lucus in using a polish word like vater. WWll was still a big influence in storyboarding in this erra. And who better to modle an evil dark father after then Adolf Hitler. Tying 2 iconic figurs together and comparing them. Super power Nazi Germany - galactic Empire. Even the german helmets are the same shape as vaders. Somthing to consider. U nerds lol!!!!

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  10. Um, you're correcting the author of the script on the underlying etymology of his own words? Grow up.

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  11. No. Lucas always intended for Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader to be the same person. What did Owen say to Beru about Luke being too much like his father? "That's what I'm afraid of." And the look in Obi Wan's eyes when Luke asks about how his father died? Obi Wan was clearly evading. The script of the first film has these two clear inferences. It's not a coincidence. And Darth Vader is indeed taken from "Dark Father." The term "darth" to be the prefix of Sith Lords, that obviously came much later, with the prequels, which are chock full of discontinuity. Obi Wan addresses Darth Vader as "Darth," which indicates that it was originally supposed to be a kind of first name.

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    1. Although, Owen was unhappy with him leaving to be a pilot and since we are told Anakin was a 'great pilot' this conversation could be in reference to that. And Obi Wan's look could have been because it was a horrid memory. Although, Lucas also said many times that Vader being luke's father was something that was even kept from the actors right up until the final scene was filmed so that might also be the reason it was kept out of early drafts...

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  12. That makes no sense... In Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious calls Anakin Darth and Lord in the same scene... So according to your logic, he promoted him within the space of about 20 minutes?!

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  13. Rational thought tells me Dark Father was the original meaning, there are German and nazi design all over the empire so it makes sense. As if it matters that he wasn't Luke's father in Lucas's head when he created the villian. That just means vader was the father of darkness. Then decides later that Vader is Luke's father. I think he may have got the creative inspiration to have that twist from the Darth Vader name.maybe he was playing around with the idea the whole time. But I think he needed a way to display redemption and it only made sense to make anakin and Vader one person his name already dark father fit perfect. Lucas was a genius he knew which way he wanted to go with the series from its inception but as the project grows so do his ideas and he used those to further strengthen what he had already established.

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    1. It's not german! Dutch

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  14. B.S - The idea that this 'writer' thinks Lucas (the creator) is 'spreading myth' about his own franchise is beyond idiotic.

    The original script for STAR WARS was 600 pages and CONTAINED the father reveal. He knows nothing.

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    1. 'Writer' here - I'm afraid you're on your own with both those viewpoints.

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    2. Seems as though he's not on his own with those viewpoints. You seem to be the odd man out given the responses I'm seeing here.

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    3. James Ryan you are a tool and an idiot, get your information correct before making false claims.

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    4. This comment "The original script for STAR WARS was 600 pages and CONTAINED the father reveal. He knows nothing." is factually incorrect.

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    5. James, I respect that you're still commenting on and supporting your article. If you want to get more people on board, you need to post sources. You say:

      "When Lucas was drafting Star Wars he wrote stories and then he wrote even more stories and permutations of those stories with characters, some green, some goblins but there was always two separate characters of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader.

      It was not until Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan were well advanced on the script for The Empire Strikes Back that the characters of Anakin and Darth were merged to make them one character."

      Please, post a source, or back this claim up. If true, sure, I could see that Vader meaning father was basically a retcon--it wasn't initially that way. I have heard this claim of yours made other places before too, but have never seen any source to back it up. How do you know that's true, or are you just blindly fanboying?

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    6. There is a lot of misinformation out on the net. Such as Lucas had the whole star wars saga mapped out. He didn’t. He had a wall of ideas and wrote a ton of things but he didn’t have the Vader / Father son thing mapped out.

      The most simple way to find the truth of this is to read the first draft of Empire as written by Leigh Bracket. Luke is not Vader’s son.

      Rad bracket's first draft. Vader is not Luke's father.

      http://starwarz.com/starkiller/the-empire-strikes-back-first-draft-by-leigh-brackett-transcript/

      It was changed later by Lucas – Bracket had died so Lucas did a second draft before he enlisted Kasdan’s help.

      This stuff is well known and been covered many times. Here’s various discussions.

      http://www.ozy.com/performance/the-father-of-all-film-secrets/30374

      http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/29/movie-legends-revealed-was-vader-originally-not-lukes-father-in-empire/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Empire_Strikes_Back

      http://www.inafarawaygalaxy.com/2015/09/what-was-role-of-leigh-bracket-in.html

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    7. But he has also said (and others have as well) that Vader being luke's father was kept from everybody, even the actors up until they filmed 'that scene' so it's possible that's why it was cut from the draft...

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  15. This is absurd. I don't think I need to echo back how wrong you are, everyone else seems to have conveyed it nicely already. It is a shame that people like you post these ridiculous accusations and unfortunately end up convincing some people of your illogical opinions portrayed arrogantly as facts. You have few sources presented to back up your claims and you blindly accuse Lucas of lying to his fanbase, simply because you're fervent on cynicism. I'll say what so many have said already - Darth is blatant. Dark. It's the 'Dark' side, saying he most likely thought of it out of the blue because it sounds cool because Sidious and Maul have it has me dumbfounded. They are all immersed in The Dark Side, of course they are Darths - which I think to be simply a title, not a position any different to Lord, as Sidious refers to Anakin as both Lord Vader and Darth Vader in the one scene. This idea that they are different ranks seems to me an imaginative fantasy and rumour. Vader meaning father is easily plausible, if you don't blind yourself to the fact that Vader fathers the Galactic Empire - which, unlikely by coincidence, has striking resemblance to the Nazi Regime. Even if you argue against that, he can easily have been seen to be a father to something - an idea, a power - anything. It's Lucas' early ideas and none of us are in any position to make assumptions and state them as facts online.

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  16. Come on people it's biblical he represents evil and darkness he is the Dark Father, the devil incarnate the fallen angel. Don't take it so literally.

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  17. Darth Vader may not have originally been planned as Luke's Father but still the point of him being The "Dark Father" is on cue as he is "The Dark Father" he is darkness, evil, corrupt, full of hatred. All around he is the definitive Dark Father, The Fallen Angel, The Destroyer of Worlds.

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  18. Maybe its was meant to be "Darth Father" not for being lukes fater maybe he wanted to be kind of a methaphorical name meaning Father of the Dark or something, by the way sorry if I misspelled any word in my broken english

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  19. My question is: Why is a draft of the screen play NOT written by George Lucas suddenly gospel of all George Lucas' intentions? You said it yourself, in the drafts written by other writes it's not the case, but how does that prove it was never a though in Lucas' mind?

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    1. Because Lucas is a notoriously bad story teller. The only reason one of the greatest cinematic twists in history exists is because of his ineptitude, and a lack of consistency in following a plot. Vader was never Luke's father.
      Also- and this is to all the idiots who seem to think other people are saying Anakin isnt Darth Vader- no. We are merely stating that in the original scripts, Vader was never going to be Lukes father.
      Read properly. Tools.

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  20. I agree and disagree. The "Darth" word clearly means to harken thoughts of darkness. just as Tolkien chose Mordor for its distinct relationship to old English mordor conjuring images of death and murder it's modern cognate.

    Vader may or may not have been originally planned as the father of Luke, or as one in body with Anakin. This speculation is irrelevant when attempting to ascertain the meaning of Darth Vader.

    As others have suggested Vader may have been intended to be a father of a movement, order or the Empire. however this often leads us to borrow canon from episodes 1-3 which most will agree were not imagined or at least fleshed out prior to A New Hope.

    There is however something to consider which can be drawn completely from A New Hope canon, that is that jedi, and sith were more than warriors they were a priestly class. Warrior monks. Father may also refer to Darth Vader's position as a sort of patriarch within his religious order. This lends the thinking that DV was a spiritual person a ranking priest with a dark side.

    Obi-Wan's "certain point of view" did always feel awkward but this doesn't necessarily mean that he was fixing a plot hole. Clearly Vader stood as a dark reflection of Luke and this is clear from his experiences through out the series. however Lucas admits that the writings of Joseph Campbell influenced his story. Campbell frequently draws attention to the Father Son motif in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, lucas' inspiration. Luke kissing his sister would not be unheard of. One only needs to look at Oedipus to see the parallels of the protagonist's accidental incest.

    one must also keep in mind that drafts are just that. they are experiments with storycraft and sometimes things change, even elements which may have been originally crucial to the writer's concept of the story. Luke was even considered as a "little person" (read midget) for part of the process. Any story crafter will recognize this.

    in conclusion there's little concrete evidence to show what Lucas had imagined vs what was drafted vs what was produced. you just have to take the man at his word, or not.

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  21. Guys, STOP. Seriously. Anyone doubting the author here only needs to read the earliest drafts of Lucas's story to know he's correct. ADVENTURES OF THE STARKILLER (episode one) "The Star Wars" January 28, 1975. In this screenplay, there is NO Luke Skywalker (There is Luke Starkiller, brother of Deak Starkiller). There is NO Anakin at all. But there IS "Darth Vader, first Knight of the Sith" just one of several Sith Knights referred to in the story. Darth Vader captures Deak Starkiller, and then is basically never referred to again until the very end when during the battle over the Death Star, he pilots his ship into Han's (unnamed) "pirate ship" and explodes on impact. That's it. He was basically little more than a minor character who dies at the end. There is absolutely nothing to suggest any relationship with any other character (Luke and Deak's father is alive), yet his name was Darth Vader.
    Even in the final cut of Star Wars, it's obvious that Darth Vader was his actual name, and only later did Lucas decide that all Sith would be given the "Darth" first name. Ben says Luke's father was betrayed by "a young Jedi named Darth Vader". Obviously if the Sith went by the name Darth, that wouldn't be the name of a young Jedi. And during their lightsaber duel, Ben refers to Vader by "Darth"; "You can't win, Darth." Again, if every Sith is called Darth, shouldn't he have called him Vader? Or actually, given their history, "Anakin"? Point is, all of the stuff Vader, and who he was was made up after Star Wars ANH, not before. The evidence is there in the early drafts that Lucas had no idea Darth Vader was going to mean "Dark Father".

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  22. Actually, Darth Vader not being revealed as being Luke's Father in the script is normal since he wanted to keep this as a secret. Before shooting the scene where Vader reveals his identity to Luke, almost no one involved in the film knew of it. Even Mark Hamill learnt about it just before shooting the scene.

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  23. I'm sure it's 100% coincidence but there is a Dutch word similar to darth that means lost

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  24. Idiots. Considering his name was given to him by Sidious. Sidious did not know the children were alive neither did Vader so the name being Dark Father is null and voidm

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    1. I don't even know where to begin.. okay.
      1. You are clearly the idiot.
      2. Lucas wrote 4, 5 and 6 first. Not sure if you were aware of this fact- but it is known world wide so you might wanna brush up on your knowledge.
      3. Point 2 kinda makes anything I say now null and void.

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  25. Seriously? It's pretty obvious that Darth Vader is a corruption of "Dark Invader". Not more not less

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  26. Have not open mind and consider this. The whole storyline of Stars Wars is prophetic in nature and has been devised by a Spirt of Truth. In that light "dark father" makes sense. Just a crazy thought to throw into the salad bowl of ideas.

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