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FAN THEORY: Captain Towani?

Could it be that the young girl known as Cindel Towani, first seen in the film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, eventually became the fearsome Stormtrooper Commander Captain Phasma?

Cindel
Cindel Towani

While “Caravan of Courage” is now considered part of the non-canon Legends, we know that Lucasfilm is still drawing on concepts from the old expanded universe, so could the character of Cindel Towani have been re-worked into the new canon? And if so, how could she have ended up as a Stormtrooper?

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Caravan of Courgae poster

Let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Cindel and Phasma share the same demographic profile as they are both human females with light complexions and blond hair.

We see in Return of the Jedi that despite their small stature, the Ewoks are deadly warriors who know how survive in the jungle and are formidable enough to defeat an entire Legion of the Galactic Empire’s fiercest troops.

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Ewok warrior known as Wicket

Therefore, a childhood spent learning to survive among the fierce Ewok tribes would perfectly prepare Cindel to become a fearsome warrior like Captain Phasma.

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Wicket and Cindel

Captain Phasma was a Stormtrooper in the First Order, and while the Old Republic and the early Galactic Empire relied on the Clone Army, the First Order did not, as Kylo Ren sarcastically tells General Hux; “Maybe Supreme Leader should consider using a Clone Army.”

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Kylo Ren and General Hux discuss the First Order’s troops

To fill their ranks, the First Order systematically abducted children to conscript into Stormtroopers. We know this because Finn specifically tells Rey that he was taken from his family at a young age.

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Finn was abducted and conscripted at a young age to be a stormtrooper

Lastly, Cindel Towani and Captain Phasma would be about the same age. According to Star Wars: Behind the Magic, Cindel was born in 2BBY, or two years before the Battle of Yavin.

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Star Wars: Behind the Magic cover

This means that she would have been 6 years old during the events of Return of the Jedi, making her about 36 years old during the events in The Force Awakens. While we don’t know how old Captain Phasma is, Gwendoline Christie, who portrayed Phasma in the film, is 37, meaning that if Phasma is the same age as Gwendoline Christie, then Cindel and Phasma would be just about the same age. Finn, who served under Phasma, was born 7 after the Battle of Endor, meaning that she would be would be about 13 years older than the men she was commanding.

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Captain Phasma reprimands Finn for removing his helmet

This age fits perfectly with what we know about Phasma’s position in the First Order, as she is old enough to be in a position of relative authority, yet young enough to still engage in battlefield combat.

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Captain Phasma during the Battle of Jakku

Cindels’s fate has never been explored, and Phasma’s origins remain a mystery, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether or not Cindel really did become the First Order’s highest-ranking Stormtrooper, so I ask you, was Phasma really Captain Towani?

FAN THEORY: Katsumoto: Mentor of the demon?

           Is it possible that Katsumoto, the Samurai leader who was killed spearheading a rebellion in The Last Samurai, eventually became the mentor of Ra’s al-Ghul?

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Katsumoto leads his army in The Last Samurai (2003)

Could he have survived his supposed death to become not only a decoy for Ducard, but also The Sensei; the master instructor of the League of Shadows?
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For those who are not familiar with the character of The Sensei, he is Ra’s al-Ghul’s second-in command, and he is the grand master who trains  all members of the League. Just like Ra’s, the Sensei is extremely old, and uses the Lazarus Pit to keep himself alive.

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.26.14 PM          With this in mind, let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Katsumoto and Ra’s decoy share the same physical and demographic profile, as they are both Japanese men of average build and above average hight. But that profile is shared by many Japanese men, so let’s review what we know about Katsumoto himself.
At the end of The Last Samurai, we see Katsumoto sustain multiple gunshot wounds before impaling himself through the stomach with his own sword.
Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.29.26 PM          There is no mention of his burial or the fate of his body. Could this be because there was no funeral? Instead of being buried, could the legendary samurai have been resurrected?
Ironically, the evidence actually lies in the clashing personalities of Katsumoto and the Sensei.

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Katsumoto was an honorable warrior who shows respect to his fallen enemies, while The Sensei practices a harsh and deadly form of justice.

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Katsumoto addresses his captive and The Sensei prepares a branding Iron

             In order for Katsumoto to have gone from a humble Samurai warrior to being the ruthless Sensei, he must have undergone a severe personality shift. This happens to be the signature side effect of the Lazarus Pit.

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The Lazarus Pit, as seen in Arrow

          We know from the Batman Begins novel that The Pit’s magical waters can restore a person’s health, and even bring them back from the dead, but the price paid is a damaged soul. One passage in particular tells us this.

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Batman Begins (2005) Novelization, pg. 42

           If Katsumoto really was resurrected in the Lazarus Pit, it only makes sense that his personality would change drastically. By the time we meet The Sensei in Batman Begins, he is already a ruthless assassin instructor, so we don’t know who might have saved him, but with his legendary skills as a samurai warrior, it’s easy to see how Ra’s himself might have resurrected Katsumoto. Katsumoto was once chosen to train the Emperor of Japan, so he would have been a valuable asset to Ra’s al-Ghul.
As the leader of a rebel faction, Katsumoto was also experienced in leading a movement for justice outside of the law. His famous Samurai rebellion would have also given him the leadership experience needed to train and command legions of assassins.
We can find further proof of Katsumoto’s teachings in Ra’s methods. Katsumoto’s attacks on Japan’s railroads were a form of economic terrorism, just like the attack Ra’s first attack on Gotham. When Ra’s al-Ghul confronts Bruce Wayne in Wayne Manor in Batman Begins, he hells his former student; “over the ages our weapons have evolved. With Gotham we tried a new one; economics.”

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Ra’s al-Ghul confronts Bruce Wayne in Wayne Manor

We can also see that Ra’s al-Ghul probably learned the value of theatricality and deception from Katsumoto, who uses theatrics to intimidate the enemy before the battle even starts.

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Katsumoto uses theatricality to intimidate his enemy

          This is a lesson he could very well have taught to Ra’s al-Ghul, who in turn, taught Bruce Wanye that “theatricality and deception are powerful agents.”

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Ra’s al-Ghul teaches Bruce Wayne the value of theatricality and deception 

A closer look at Katsumoto’s rebellion and the League’s mission will reveal another key clue. Katsumoto was a man of simple means who despised luxury and led a rebellion to fend off what he saw as the West’s corrupting influence on Imperial Japan.

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Katsumoto rebelled against Westernization, and when his Samurai Army was smashed by an American-led modern Japanese army, Ra’s al-Ghul’s League of Shadows would have proved the perfect instrument for him not only to resume his crusade, but to bring it to a global level. The Sensei’s hatred for Gotham is well known, and he revealed his distain when he told told Bruce Wayne that “Gotham MUST be destroyed!” and with Gotham being America’s greatest city, as it is described in the Dark Knight Rises, it would make the perfect target for an anti-western Katsumoto spearheading the League.
So let’s review the facts; Katsumoto suffered grievous wounds on the battlefield in 1877 with the fate of his body remaining unknown.

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Katsumoto dies on the battlefield in 1877

            A very similar-looking, aging instructor of the league, who appears to have endured the mind-warping effects of the Lazarus Pit, appears in the early 2000’s. As an expert swordsman, Katsumoto had the skills to train Ducard. Katsumoto was also a seasoned battlefield commander with a history of operating outside the law and a flare for theatricality, and perhaps most importantly, he shared a hatred of western decadence that made the League target Gotham in 2005.
We never found out what ultimately happened to Katsumoto’s body, and we don’t know if Ra’s’ decoy was in indeed the Sensei, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether or not Katsumoto was indeed reborn as The Sensei, so I ask you; did Katsumoto become the Mentor of the Demon?

FAN THEORY: Supreme Leader Plagueis? 

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE FORCE AWAKENS AHEAD

        Is it possible that Supreme Leader Snoke is really Darth Plagueis the Wise, the Sith Lord who trained Palpatine?

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Darth Plagueis Trains Palpatine

            Let’s begin with the single most obvious fact; Snoke and Plagueis share a similar physical profile, as they are both tall and lanky figures that are extremely old. Andy Serkis, who voiced Snoke in the Force Awakens, describes him as “over seven feet tall.”

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In the novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, which is now considered part of the non-canon Legends, Darth Plagueis was a Muun, or a tall humanoid species with elongated features, and Snoke’s appearance in The Force Awakens resembles this profile.   

(Snoke’s Hologram)        (Muun member of the Banking Clan)

While we don’t actually see Snoke use any powers in The Force Awakens, we know he trained Kylo Ren in the ways of the Dark Side of the force, and The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary described him as “a mysterious figure steeped in dark side knowledge who commands the First Order from a distance.”

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          Darth Plagueis, along with Palpatine, was responsible for creating Anakin Skywalker, so if Plagueis were choosing a new apprentice to build the First Order with him, it would only be logical for him to seek out Anakin’s descendant. This is precisely what Snoke did. In The force Awakens (2015) we learn from Han and Leia that Kylo Ren was once Ben Solo, their son, and a protege of Luke Skywalker, before Snoke seduced him to the Dark Side.

          While talking to Han Solo, Kylo Ren specifically declares that Snoke is “wise,” and while that on it’s own may not seem significant, let’s keep in mind that Plagueis was remembered as “Darth Plagueis The Wise.”

          If we listen carefully, we will also realize that the theme playing during the Darth Plagueis tale in Revenge of the Sith is very similar to Snoke’s theme in The Force Awakens.

          While recounting the tale, Palpatine himself tells us that Plagueis died long ago “his apprentice killed him in his sleep,” so how could he have survived to become Snoke? The answer lies in another tempting offer Palpatine made to Anakin; “To cheat death is a power only one has achieved.”

          In The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is already the reigning Lord of the Sith, so if Plagueis did survive his apprentice’s attempt to kill him, where was he for the last 60 years? And why didn’t Palpatine hunt him down? It turns out, that’s exactly what Palpatine did. In Star Wars: Aftermath, we learn that Palpatine sent imperial scouts to search for what he told his officers was the source of the Dark Side. The passage reads;

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          If we think hard about it, it makes perfect sense for Palpatine to bend the truth about what he was sending his scouts out to search for because if he admitted that he failed to kill his master and that a being ore powerful than him existed, his officers would lose confidence in him.

          Lastly, Snoke bears the deep facial scaring we would expect to see Plagueis have if he did indeed survive Palpatine’s attempt to assassinate him.

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          Darth Plagueis’ fate remains a mystery, and Snoke’s origins have yet to be revealed, so its impossible to know for sure whether or not Plagueis really did survive to lead the First Order, so I ask you, is Snoke really Supreme Leader Plagueis?

Casting Gotham City’s “Gentleman Of Crime”

One of Batman’s most iconic villains is Oswald Cobblepot AKA “The Penguin.” Unlike the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis The Joker, Penguin’s breed of evil stems not from insanity, but from his embitterment at being rejected by not only the upscale aristocracy he was born into, but by Gotham society as a whole – including his own parents.

Penguin's parents decide to abandon him
Penguin’s parents decide to abandon him

In most incarnations, Oswald Cobblepot suffers from profound physical birth defects that make him literally resemble a penguin, and while’s he’s very intelligent, he lacks any superpowers or supernatural abilities.

Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin
Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin

Cobblepot’s crimes usually involve heists or other forms of theft, and he is known as the “Gentleman of Crime” because he performs his crimes in impeccable attire, usually a tuxedo and top hat.

Penguin's signature attire
Penguin wearing his signature top hat

The Penguin also often sports a monocle, and his weapon of choice is a trick umbrella that usually contains either a hidden blade or a disguised machine gun.

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The Penguin wielding a sword umbrella

       Alongside The Joker, The Penguin is one of Batman’s most famous villains, so he would be a natural choice for an adversary in DC’s new cinematic universe. The question remains though; of the Penguin were to appear in the DCU, perhaps in the rumored film The Batman (2018), who should play him?

Here are our top three choices:

Choice #3 Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer

       In Batman Returns (1992), we saw a version of Oswald Cobblepot with political ambitions, albeit they were more of a theatrical distraction for his master plan. Nevertheless, Penguin is a figure who craves power, and Kelsey Grammer recently demonstrated his ability to portray a crooked and power-hungry mayor during his two-season tenure as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane in Boss (2011-2012).

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Ruthless, manipulative, and downright corrupt, Tom Kane shared many of the Penguin’s signature traits.

Kelsey Grammer as Penguin
Kelsey Grammer as Penguin

       Grammer’s Penguin would be a character similar to the version seen in Batman: Earth One, in which Cobblepot became Gotham’s corrupt Mayor.

Mayor Cobblepot in Batman: Earth One
Mayor Cobblepot in Batman: Earth One

       Grammer might have a harder time pulling off the quirkier side of the character though, which brings us to our second candidate.

Choice #2 Toby Jones

Toby Jones
Toby Jones

        The Penguin is known for being one of Batman’s quirkier foes. He waddles around, has flipper-like hands, and eats raw fish; not the most menacing combination of traits. What makes him fearsome is that despite his irregular appearance and strange behavior, he is extremely capable and dangerous. In some ways, he can be a little bit of a wolf disguised as a lamb… or in this case, a chubby flightless bird. This personality is somewhat similar to the character Jones played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr. Zola.

Toby Jones as Dr. Zola
Toby Jones as Dr. Zola

No one fears Dr. Zola because of his looks; he’s a quirky little man with a big head and a funny German accent. Zola becomes a credible threat though when we see what kind of devices his mind can create. This is not to say that the Penguin could ever be a mad scientist, but rather that Jones could bring a sense of menace to a villain who, on the outside, might appear too awkward to pose a real threat. Toby Jones is of course tied to the MCU, so his involvement would likely be near impossible, but his take on the character would be interesting to say the least.

Toby Jones as Penguin
Toby Jones as Penguin

Choice #1 Tom Wilkenson

Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson

        In most incarnations, Penguin is associated with the mob. Whether he was trained by them, negotiated his way into their ranks, or launched a hostile takeover of their assets, Penguin is strongly linked to organized crime. This is an aspect of the character that Tom Wilkinson would be familiar with given his renowned portrayal of mafia boss Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins (2005).

Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone
Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone

       With Wilkinson, we’d probably be getting a Penguin that is less… odd than Danny DeVito’s character. If played by Wilkinson, we’d probably see an incarnation resembling the Penguin we see in the Arkham series.

Penguin in Batman: Arkham City
Penguin in Batman: Arkham City

        Ben Afleck’s Bruce Wayne is in his mid 50’s, so it would be appropriate to have Wilkinson, who’s 67, playing this older villain since Penguin is supposed to be significantly older than Bruce Wayne. This would also mean that Wilkinson’s Penguin would have already gained complete control of the underworld and would be ready to hurl the full might of his criminal Empire at Affleck’s grizzled and experienced Batman.

Tom Wilkinson as Penguin
Tom Wilkinson as Penguin

So those are our thoughts, what do you think? Do you have another actor in mind to play the Gentleman of Crime? Let us know in the comments!

Tales of Damaged Souls: The Mythology of the Horcrux

One of the signature objects of the Harry Potter series is the Horcrux; magical items used by Lord Voldemort to hide portions of his soul to allow him to return to life if his body was destroyed.

Lord Voldemort
Lord Voldemort

      The word Horcrux may be derived from a combination of the French words “dehors,” meaning “outside,” and “crux,” meaning “soul.” In essence, the term would translate to “outside soul.”

      Alternatively, the word Horcrux may be also a combination of  “hor” or “hore,” an old/middle-English word meaning “dirt, evil, impurity,” and “crux” or “crúce,” an old English word meaning “container, pitcher(ful), jar”. This translation would mean “evil container,” or “container of evil.”

      Voldemort’s plan ultimately fails, as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and others, are able to destroy his Horcruxes, but did you know that the idea has actually been around for thousands of years? Not only is it an ancient concept, but the famous folklorist Sir James Frazer actually documented and analyzed a wide variety of stories about splitting and protecting portions of one’s soul from all over the world in his renowned work The Golden Bough.

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As an introduction to the topic, Frazer writes “…In the opinion of primitive people, the soul may temporarily absent itself from the body without causing death. Such temporary absences of the soul are often believed to involve considerable risk, since the wandering soul is liable to a variety of mishaps at the hands of enemies, and so forth. But there is another aspect to this power of disengaging the soul from the body. If only the safety of the soul can be ensured during its absence, there is no reason why the soul should not continue absent for an indefinite time; indeed a man may, on a pure calculation of personal safety, desire that his soul should never return to his body…. Accordingly, in such circumstances, primitive man takes his soul out of his body and deposits it for security in some snug spot, intending to replace it in his body when the danger is past. Or if he should discover some place of absolute security, he may be content to leave his soul there permanently. The advantage of this is that, so long as the soul remains unharmed in the place where he has deposited it, the man himself is immortal; nothing can kill his body, since his life is not in it.”

      Frazer then provides some examples of this;

“A very common form of it is this: A warlock, giant, or other fairyland being is invulnerable and immortal because he keeps his soul hidden far away in some secret place; but a fair princess, whom he holds enthralled in his enchanted castle, wiles his secret from him and reveals it to the hero, who seeks out the warlock’s soul, heart, life, or death (as it is variously called), and by destroying it, simultaneously kills the warlock… Amongst peoples of the Teutonic stock stories of the external soul are not wanting. In a tale told by the Saxons of Transylvania it is said that a young man shot at a witch again and again. The bullets went clean through her but did her no harm, and she only laughed and mocked at him. “Silly earthworm,” she cried, “shoot as much as you like. It does me no harm. For know that my life resides not in me but far, far away. In a mountain is a pond, on the pond swims a duck, in the duck is an egg, in the egg burns a light, that light is my life. If you could put out that light, my life would be at an end. But that can never, never be.” However, the young man got hold of the egg, smashed it, and put out the light, and with it the witch’s life went out also. In a German story a cannibal called Body without Soul or Soulless keeps his soul in a box, which stands on a rock in the middle of the Red Sea. A soldier gets possession of the box and goes with it to Soulless, who begs the soldier to give him back his soul. But the soldier opens the box, takes out the soul, and flings it backward over his head. At the same moment the cannibal drops dead to the ground.”

Frazer even tells of stories in which the characters devise vessels for their souls that are quite similar to those employed by Tom Riddle.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort
Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort

“In a Tartar poem two youths cut open the body of an old witch and tear out her bowels, but all to no purpose, she still lives. On being asked where her soul is, she answers that it is in the middle of her shoe-sole in the form of a seven-headed speckled snake. So one of the youths slices her shoe-sole with his sword, takes out the speckled snake, and cuts off its seven heads. Then the witch dies.”

      This tale bears a strong resemblance to how Voldemort used his serpent Nagini as one of his Horcruxes, not only because a snake is used as a storage place for the soul, but also its method of destruction. Just as one of the youths in the story decapitated the Witch’s snake, Neville Longbottom killed Nagini by beheadings the serpent with Godric Gryffindor’s Sword.

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The snake Nagini, Voldemort’s final Horcrux

Frazer also mentions another story that bears a striking similarity to another one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.

“In another Tartar poem a hero called Kök Chan deposits with a maiden a golden ring, in which is half his strength. Afterwards when Kök Chan is wrestling long with a hero and cannot kill him, a woman drops into his mouth the ring which contains half his strength. Thus inspired with fresh force he slays his enemy.”

The ring in this tale is reminiscent of Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, which was worn by Tom Riddle during his youth and was used to make his second Horcrux. The tale’s ending differs from Voldemort’s story, for while the gold ring allowed Kök Chan to retain his strength, Albus Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo’s ring with Gryffindor’s sword before Voldemort could use it as a source of resurrection.

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Voldemort’s third Horcrux, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring

      Another similarity to one of Riddle’s Horcruxes can be found in an Alaskan story Frazer recorded.

“Similarly among the Esquimaux of Alaska, when a child is sick, the medicine-man will sometimes extract its soul from its body and place it for safe-keeping in an amulet, which for further security he deposits in his own medicine-bag. It seems probable that many amulets have been similarly regarded as soul-boxes, that is, as safes in which the souls of the owners are kept for greater security.”

Unlike Tom Riddle, the “medicine-man” in this tale is not trying to attain immortality, rather he is trying to stave off death for medical reasons, but he uses an amulet to store the soul of the sick children. This is similar to Voldemort’s usage of Salazar Slytherine’s locket as his third Horcrux.

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Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

      The similarities don’t end with the soul-bearing vessels themselves though, Frazer noted many stories where the soul-containing objects where located in very obscure and/or perilous places, and had to be used or destroyed in very specific ways.

      In the first “Teutonic” story mentioned, the Witch cries “In a mountain is a pond, on the pond swims a duck, in the duck is an egg, in the egg burns a light, that light is my life.”

This bears a strong similarity the remote and perilous location where Voldemort hid Salazar Slytherin’s Locket. Voldemort hid the locket in a basin filled with a poisonous potion located on an island in the middle of a lake filled with Inferi, or evil walking corpses. The lake itself was inside a cave, which was located by a sea shore.

The cave where Voldemort hid Slytherin's Locket
The cave where Voldemort hid Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

      Similarly, Frazer also recorded;

“In a modern Roman version of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” the magician tells the princess, whom he holds captive in a floating rock in mid-ocean, that he will never die. The princess reports this to the prince her husband, who has come to rescue her. The prince replies, “It is impossible but that there should be some one thing or other that is fatal to him; ask him what that one fatal thing is.” So the princess asked the magician, and he told her that in the wood was a hydra with seven heads; in the middle head of the hydra was a leveret, in the head of the leveret was a bird, in the bird’s head was a precious stone.”

      This is reminiscent of how Voldemort hid is first Horcrux, Tom Riddle’s Diary, in the Chamber of Secrets.

The Chamber of Secrets
The Chamber of Secrets

Deep below Hogwarts castle, the Horcrux would be guarded not by a seven-headed serpent, but by the fearsome Basilisk.

The Basilisk
The Basilisk

      The tale also details exactly how the item is to be disarmed, or its power neutralized, so that it could not be used to preserve its owner’s life.

“If this stone were put under his pillow he would die. The prince procured the stone, and the princess laid it under the magician’s pillow. No sooner did the enchanter lay his head on the pillow than he gave three terrible yells, turned himself round and round three times, and died.”

This is very similar to the way Voldemort’s Horcruxes could only be destroyed with special items. Tom Riddle’s Diary and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup were destroyed with the venom of a Basilisk’s fang.

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Harry Potter destroy’s Tom Riddle’s Diary with a Basilisk Fang

Meanwhile, Salazar Slytherin’s Locket, Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring, and the Snake Nagini, were all destroyed with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor.

Neville Longbottom decapitates Nagini with the Sword of Griffyndor
Neville Longbottom decapitates Nagini with the Sword of Griyffindor

      This is not to say that J.K. Rowling necessarily drew on these specific stories for inspiration, in fact she probably never heard of these obscure folk tales, but in this comparison we can see that the ideas she wrote about touched on an age-old human struggle – the craving for immortality, or to postpone death – that has been recorded throughout time and across the globe. Lord Voldemort, and indeed many villain across the spectrums of literature, go through this struggle, and indeed one of the things that makes them villains is that they don’t appreciate the beauty of life. Both the ease with which Voldemort destroys life, and his craving to artificially extend it, demonstrates that he truly doesn’t appreciate that beauty is not derived from the number of years a person, or the amount of power and wealth amassed in one’s life, but rather that beauty can only be seen in the temporary and fragile nature of life itself. While JK Rowling probably never read any of the stories collected by Frazer, we can clearly see that she crafted Voldemort and his Horcruxes as an example of what man becomes when he looses sight of life’s fragile beauty, and allows him to serve as an icon of how villains destroy the delicate beauty in life by artificially trying to extend it.

       Anyway, we hope you enjoyed our work! Have any suggestions or request? Send us an email at thenerdvault@aol.com or message us on Facebook! As always, we appreciate your support, so please keep an eye out for more commentary, art and media from our team!

– Nerd Vault

FAN THEORY: Padme’s Murder?

Could it be that the famous senator from Naboo was really murdered? Is it possible that she didn’t simply die in childbirth as we’ve been led to believe, but was actually assassinated by one of her oldest and closest advisors?

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Queen Amidala meets with an advisor in The Phantom Menace (1999)

Let’s begin with the most basic and obvious fact; no medical reason was ever given for her death. If the medical knowledge existed to rebuild Darth Vader’s incinerated body, then the medical technology to deliver babies must have been available as well. Instead of giving a real medical diagnosis of Padme’s condition, the medical droid that treated her simply stated that it couldn’t identify why she was dying.

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“For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her… we don’t know why, she has lost the will to live.”

This is a clear sign that dark forces were at work, forces beyond the medical droid’s ability to detect or treat. If we can accept this as fact, then we have to ask ourselves; what really killed her? And who was truly responsible for her death? It turns out, the answer has been lurking before us all along. One person had not only ample motive, but also the ability to end Padme’s life.

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Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo


           Sheev Palpatine as one of Padme’s oldest advisors, and he was one of the few people who knew she was secretly married to the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who had recently become Palpatine’s Sith apprentice Darth Vader. This meant that Padme was partially distracting Vader from completing his master’s dark goals.

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With Padme gone, Vader would turn both his focus and his hatred toward hunting down Palpatine’s enemies. But more importantly, by making Anakin believe he’d killed his own wife, Palpatine would be galvanizing not only Vader’s hatred toward the Jedi, but his hatred toward himself as well. We know this is true because we see a sinister grin slide across Palpatine’s face when he informs a distraught Vader about his pregnant wife’s death.

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Palpatine’s sinister grin


Additionally, Palpatine knew, as Obi-wan did, that if Padme gave birth to Vader’s child, Vader could have a reason turned back to the Light Side. Killing Padme and her unborn child eliminated them as threats to Vader.

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Obi-wan knew Luke was the key to turning Vader against the Emperor

Sheev Palpatine also had a political motive for assassinating Padme. A moral and righteous Senator from Naboo, Padme was a strong believer in democracy. When Palpatine declared himself Galactic Emperor, Padme became a founding member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, an organization dedicated to overthrowing Palpatine’s Empire, so killing her would strike a blow against Palpatine’ political enemies as well.

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Padme and others form the foundation of the Rebel Alliance

The proof is stacking up, and it’s looking more and more likely that Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, really was responsible for Padme’s death, but in order to prove conclusively that he really did murder her, we need to ask ourselves how he could have ended her life from half a galaxy away?
Legend has it that Palpatine helped create Anakin Skywalker by using the Dark Side to reach through the Force and influence midi-chlorians, so we know that he knew how to use the Dark Side to influence whether a person lived or died, and when Vader sustains grievous wounds on Mustafar, Palpatine keeps his apprentice alive by performing a simple gesture – he places his hand on Vader’s seared head.

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Palpatine heals Vader on Mustafar

If we think hard about it, we will realize that this is the exact same gesture Obi-wan made to heal Luke Skywalker

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Obi-wan heals Luke on Tatooine

The clever observer will realize that Palpatine was doing this at the exact time that Padme’s life began to slip away.
It suddenly becomes clear that the Sith Lord wasn’t merely comforting his wounded apprentice; he was literally draining the life from Padme and transferring it to Vader. This means that, in a way, Palpatine was actually telling the truth when he says that Vader killed Padme. So what he told Vader was true, from a certain point of view. Vader lived because Padme’s died, and Palpatine made it happen.

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Padme’s life drains while Palpatine keeps Vader alive

So let’s review the facts. The medical droids could not explain Padme’s death, indicating that supernatural forces were at work. Killing Padme helped Palpatine turn his apprentice to the Dark Side, and eliminated her as a political threat to his reign as Galactic Emperor. Lastly, Palpatine is rumored to be able to influence a person’s life force, and we even see him use his Sith training to draw on the dark side of the Force to artificially keep Vader alive as Padme died.
This was a Conspiracy; a dark plot shrouded in secrecy and deceit; a meticulously planned assassination to end kind and moral senator’s life, to help an evil tyrant rise to power. The Dark Side of the Force surrounds both Palpatine’s rise, and Padme’s demise, so its nearly impossible to know for sure how exactly she died, so I ask you, was this Padme’s Murder?

Vader and Gilgamesh: All that Pulses is Not Life

Since the earliest times, man has been endlessly vexed upon contemplating his own inevitable passing and has obsessed over the possibility of miraculously escaping death, with many famous tales being spun throughout the course of human history depicting this mortal struggle. Two famous characters, the titular Gilgamesh of the ancient Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh,” and Anakin Skywalker of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga, clearly display how this struggle is just as present in modern times as it was in days of old. Both of these characters started out as fearless warriors who fought their battles with no regard for their own lives, but after experiencing the tragic loss of a loved one, they turned their impressive skills towards finding the key to eternal life. Ultimately, both heroes will learn to accept their mortality, but one will take the long and painful road of denial and resistance, while the other will accept his worldly fate and enjoy his limited days in the mortal realm. The stories of Anakin and Gilgamesh depict two paths man may take in dealing not only with their mortal fate, but also with the broader issue of the inevitability of change, of which death is only one.
Gilgamesh was a demigod who ruled as king of the strong-walled city of Uruk. Rivaled only by his beloved Enkidu, Gilgamesh was considered the greatest warrior that had ever lived. To call Gilgamesh and Enkidu “friends” would be a grotesque understatement that would fail to do justice to their relationship, for Enkidu was specifically designed by the gods of Sumeria to compliment Gilgamesh in every way. Thus, the two shared a relationship that perhaps surpasses even brotherhood in its closeness. Together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu embarked on a crusade to eliminate evil from the realm by killing the giant Humanba in the cedar forests of Lebanon. Gilgamesh, arrogantly ignoring the notion that death could easily bring an end to his days, fought with no regard for his own life. That attitude would change however, when Enkidu fell terribly ill and died, and Gilgamesh was confronted for the first time with the notion of his own mortality (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
Much like Gilgamesh, Anakin Skywalker was the most powerful warrior in his realm. Anakin was a Jedi Knight, a sort of warrior-monk that vows to adhere to a code of honor that includes celibacy. Disobeying his Jedi vow, Anakin fell in love with a childhood friend of his named Padme, and the two married in secret, but despite this, he continued with his Jedi training. His miraculous birth resulting from an immaculate conception made it so that Anakin could harness the powers of universe, or “the Force,” to enhance his natural abilities and from a young age, Anakin had always dreamt of becoming “the most powerful Jedi ever.” As he grew older, his skills developed to be superior even to those of his mentors (Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace). During the many wars that plagued his galaxy, Anakin fought valiantly and developed a reputation for brave, though often heedless, behavior, and performing near-miraculous feats on the battlefield with no regard for his, earning him the title “the hero without fear.” Much like Gilgamesh, Anakin would be awakened from his arrogant sense of invulnerability by the grim touch of Tragedy when his mother is murdered (Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones).
As strong as King Gilgamesh was, Enkidu’s death severely wounded him, for it was as if a part of himself had died along with his compatriot, and for the first time, mighty King of Uruk came face to face with the hand of Death. Gilgamesh Witnessing his comrade’s demise shocked Gilgamesh into realizing his own mortality and he set out on a mythical journey to the ends of the earth. The King of Uruk was headed to Mount Mashu, where he sought to locate a legendary sage named Utanapishtim. Also called the “Faraway,” Utanapishim was the only mortal in the Sumerian Pantheon who had ever been granted immortality by the gods, and thus Gilgamesh sought him out in hopes that he may learn the path to immortality as well (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
Though he was incredibly famous for his fighting abilities, and his childhood aspiration seemed to have come true, Anakin became extremely distressed when he began to suffer terrible dreams foretelling the death of his mother. Despite killing untold numbers of enemies on the battlefield, it was only upon his mother’s gruesome murder at the hands of nomadic barbarians that Anakin finally came to understand the gravity of death. Enraged, the young Jedi slaughtered the entire tribe of barbarians as his heart plunged into anguish. He then began having further visions foretelling the death of his wife as well. Just as Gilgamesh had suffered the tragedy of losing his beloved Enkidu, Anakin felt the breath of Death run down his neck with the loss of his mother and it would catapult him into a realm of fear and he embarked on a quest to learn the secrets to evading death. Haunted by that tragic loss and the visions threatening his wife, Anakin now feared losing his beloved Padme to Death’s grip as well. The young Jedi couldn’t turn to his Jedi mentors for guidance, for his marriage violated the Jedi Code that he’d sworn to live by, and thus he sought guidance from a master of the Dark Side of the Force called Sidious. Essentially making a “pact with the Devil,” Anakin agreed to betray everyone he knew and loved and in exchange, Sidious would teach him to wield power over life and death. Complying with his dark master’s demands, Anakin led a slaughter against the Jedi order and rechristened himself Darth Vader (Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy).
After an incredible journey during which he climbed mountains, waded through a cave of pure darkness, and crossed the River of Death, Gilgamesh finally managed to locate Utanapishtim. When he arrived, The Faraway related to the king that he was granted immortality because he was a survivor of the Great Flood who had been granted immortality for saving humanity, and he decided to test Gilgamesh to determine if he was worthy of this gift as well. Utanapishtim instructed Gilgamesh to keep himself awake for seven days and seven nights, and if he could do so, he would gain the gift of endless life. Despite his best efforts, Gilgamesh failed this test and thus the Faraway decreed that he would not live forever among the gods. Instead, Utanapishtim taught King Gilgamesh to enjoy the life he had, and from this mentor, Gilgamesh came to see that he was gifted with so many fantastic abilities with which to enjoy his days. “The power to be unsurpassed in might they have granted you,” the Faraway told him. “The power to be skilled in wrestling they have granted you. The power to be skilled with the sword, the dagger, the bow and the axe they have granted you. [] The power to be unrivaled in heroism they have granted you.[]The power to teach your people and lead them to wisdom they have granted you.” With this counsel, Utanapishtim then bestowed upon Gilgamesh one final gift; a plant granting unending youth. Though it would not keep him from dying, this gift would allow him enjoy the days he had. Though Gilgamesh eventually lost the plant to a thieving serpent, he did not lose the gift of the Faraway’s advice, and he was able to enjoy the remainder of his days content in understanding and accepting the limits of his mortality (World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics).
                Vader, however, was not so wise. Ultimately, Vader not only killed his own wife in his quest to save her, but suffered mortal wounds when he tried to kill his best friend. Only then did he gain the power over death that he sought so desperately. Vader’s new master, Sidious, used the Dark Side of the Force to keep him alive long enough to be fitted with a mechanical suit which artificially supplied Vader with life. Essentially living in a walking coffin, Vader’s heart beat as if he were living, but the enjoyment of live eluded him as he struggled with his choice of artificial life and the costs of that choice for dacades. It was only when Sidious tried to kill Vader’s son, Luke, with barrages of deadly Force Lighting, that the disgraced Jedi finally came to understand that perhaps an artificial life of pain and suffering was worse than natural fatality. Conquering his fear of death and surmounting the temptations he’d succumbed to as Vader, Anakin intervened in Sidious’ attempt to kill Luke, knowing that the electrical charges that would strike him would destroy the life-support systems in his suit that kept him alive. It took nearly thirty years, but by sacrificing himself to kill Sidious and saving his son, Anakin finally came to terms with his mortality. He came to understand that he was afforded certain strengths and skills in his life, and that he should spend the last of his days enjoying them rather than fretting over his inescapable fate (The Star Wars Trilogy).
Since I was a child, the story of Anakin’s struggled have entranced me. In his desperate quests to save first his mother, then his wife, and then himself, Anakin’s duels with the inevitable embody the sense of denial, or rejection of inevitability that we all struggle with as humans. When he states his fear of change, Anakin’s mother counsels him; “but you cannot stop the change, no more than you can stop the suns from setting.”
This same struggle is what I find captivating about Gilgamesh’s epic journey. It’s not just the inevitability of death that he and Anakin are fighting, but also the inescapable nature of so many sad events that affect the world we live in and the struggle to come to terms with the fact that there are things in this life that are beyond our control. Relatives with terminal illnesses, friends who move away from us, getting laid off from a job, and the eventual death of loved ones; these are a few examples of inevitable changes that occur throughout our lives and they’re circumstances that as human we must face in life. For me, Anakin’s struggles have acted as a warning against taking extreme actions to stop the inevitable while Gilgamesh serves as the example of how to accept the inevitable aspects of life and the boundaries of a mortal existence. From these two characters, one ancient and one modern, we can clearly see how this theme is not only a topic of modern literature, but a premise as old as man himself. Hopefully from their examples, we can learn to be more accepting of the aspects of life that are beyond our control and learn to enjoy the life we have in peace.

Works Cited

  1. Rosenberg, Donna. “Gilgamesh.” 1999. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Pub. Group, 1999. 26-57. Print.
  2. Luceno, James, George Lucas, James Luceno, Matthew Woodring. Stover, and James Luceno. Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy. New York: Del Rey, 2008. Print.
  3. Brooks, Terry, and George Lucas. Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace. New York: Ballantine Pub. Group, 2000. Print.
  1. Lucas, George, Donald F. Glut, and James Kahn. The Star Wars Trilogy. New York: Lucas, 2012. Print.
  1. Wrede, Patricia C., George Lucas, and Jonathan Hales. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. New York: Scholastic, 2002. Print.
  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh on Immortality and Its Ramificationscom. 12 2006. 2006. 12 2006 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/The-Epic-Of-Gilgamesh-On-Immortality-102975.html&gt;. (Consulted for some thematic concepts)

*A note to reader: for the purpose of citation, I listed the novelizations of the Star Wars films, which I own copies of and have read, as the sources for those stories.

FAN THEORY: Captain Rex’s Final Fight?

Could the famous clone commander CT-7567, better known as Captain Rex, have survived not only the Clone Wars, but also the Galactic Civil War, to fight for the Rebellion in the Battle of Endor? Is it possible that Rex never betrayed the Jedi as the rest of the clone army did? And could this famous clone officer actually have helped destroy the Death Star?

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The Second Death Star is destroyed

We know from Star Wars Rebels that Rex definitely survived the Clone Wars and we even see that he and a bunch of his men were operating a salvaged AT-TE walker when they joined up with a Rebel Cell led by Rex’s old Jedi commander, Ashoka Tano, during the Galactic Civil War.

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Captain Rex and his men
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Captain Rex’s salvaged AT-TE walker
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Ashoka Leads a Rebel Cell

We also know from the scar on the side of his head that Captain Rex had the brainwashing chip containing the programming for Order 66 removed from his brain, and we see in Rebels that unlike many of his brethren, Rex remained loyal to his Jedi commanders.

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Captain Rex (right) and one of his men have the same scar from the chip-removal surgery

We also know that it was fairly common for deserters from the Imperial Army to defect to the Rebellion, and in Return of the Jedi, we see a member of the rebel raiding party that attacked Endor who looks very similar to the aged Captain Rex who we see in Rebels.

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The rebel raiding party that attacked the shield generator on Endor, with the Rebel matching Rex’s profile in the front on the right

As a commander of the celebrated 501st Legion, Rex was sent on various missions during the Clone Wars that involved acquiring technology for the Death Star. This would have made him invaluable to the Rebellion’s efforts to destroy the super weapon.

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Captain Rex and three of his men during the Clone Wars
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Troops from the 501st search for a power crystal, eventually to be used to power the Death Stars super laser, on Mygeeto

The timeline of events is also very suspicious. Rex joined up with Ashoka’s rebel cell in 5 BBY, or five years before the Battle of Yavin when the Rebellion destroyed the First Death Star. This would have given the young rebel alliance enough time to analyze the data Rex could recall from his service in the Clone Wars, formulate an attack plan using additional stolen intel smuggled in R2D2, gather their strength, and launch their attack. Four years later, Rex’s tactical training and combat experience as an elite clone commander would then prove even more crucial in Rebellion’s surprise attack on the Second Death Star’s ground-based shield generator.

The Death Star II's planetary-based shield
The Death Star II’s planetary-based shield

But why? Why would Captain Rex knowingly and actively help destroy a government he was bred to defend?

Captain Rex fights for the Republic during the Clone Wars
Captain Rex fights for the Republic during the Clone Wars

With his brainwashing chip removed and the Empire’s influence on his mind gone, Rex would likely see the totalitarian regime as a menace, just as Padme Amedala and Bail Organa did. In fact we know this is true because, like them, he stayed loyal to the Jedi.

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Padme Amidala and Bail Organa watch in horror as Palpatine delcares himself Galactic Emperor

Unlike the politicians though, Rex fought for Palpatine’s government on the battlefield, killing enemies and loosing friends.

Captain Rex holds a dying comrade
Captain Rex holds a dying comrade

Perhaps the only way he could reconcile that in his own mind was to help destroy the Empire’s greatest weapon.

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Destruction of the Death Star II, as seen from Endor

So let’s review the facts; we know that Captain Rex survived the Clone Wars and remained loyal to the Jedi. We also know that as a commander of the 501st, he had unique knowledge of the Death Star’s technological secrets, and that he eventually joined up with a rebel cell just before the first Death Star was destroyed. And lastly, we know that a man matching Rex’s physical profile was part of the rebel raiding party that attacked the Second Death Star’s shield generator on Endor.

The later eras of the clone Commander’s life have never been officially documented, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether or not he eventually helped the Rebels destroy the Death Star, so I ask you; was the Battle of Endor really Captain Rex’s Final Fight?

Interested in this theory? check out our video: Conspiracy Test: Captain Rex’s Final Fight?

Anyway, we hope you enjoyed this theory! Have any suggestions or request? Send us an email at thenerdvault@aol.com or message us on Facebook! As always, we appreciate your support, so please keep an eye out for more commentary, art and media from our team!

– Nerd Vault

Dark-Side Luke Skywalker, “Darth Zoon”

A few months ago, our artists got curious about what would have happened if Luke had turned to the Dark Side, either by killing his father as the Emperor had suggested, or by teaming up with his Father and overthrowing the Emperor as Vader had proposed during their duel in Cloud City. We came across the images below from the Dark Empire comic, when Luke briefly became the re-born Emperor’s apprentice, and we decided to re-imagine them. Since Luke never took a Sith name in the comic, we have nick-named this idea “Darth Zoon.” “Zoon” means “Son” in Dutch, just as “Vader” means “Father” in Dutch, with “Darth Vader” translating to “Dark Father,” thus “Darth Zoon” would mean “Dark Son,” a fitting title for Evil Luke.

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Below is our first version; an evil version of Luke fully consumed by the Dark Side and leading a fleet of Star Destroyers as the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet, which is the Imperial title he held in the comic. We decided to pay homage to the source material by using a quote from Dark Empire. In the comic, Luke tells the re-born Emperor “my father’s destiny is my own.”
a1d62ce6-fb15-4fd5-8a23-549f1b348eb5_zps3gsogktm Darth Luke with Background V4

For our second version we decided to draw on Sith ideas a little more heavily. Inspired by the Fall of Korriban in The Old Republic, during which Darth Maglus slays his master, Vindican, just as they return to re-conquer the ancient Sith homeworld. In his final step to becoming the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, Malgus sarcastically salutes his master with a brief “welcome home” before decapitating him.

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Darth Malgus beheads his master “Welcome Home”

We decided to draw on this idea by depicting Luke about to perform the same act. Turning to the Dark Side, Luke has defeated Vader in their famous duel aboard the Death Star II, and is about to decapitate his father, ready to take his place as Darth Sidious’ right hand.

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Our third version of Darth Zoon, or Dark Side Luke, not yet published on any of our social media accounts, is inspired by the Sith fascination with relics. In the first draft of this version, an aged Luke is seen wearing a battered and faded Jedi robe, similar to the one his deceased mentor Obi-wan wore.

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In the second draft, we decided to include both a beard and another relic; the trinket Anakin gave to Padme in The Phantom Menace.

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Anakin carved this trinket, called a “japor snippet,” for Padme, and gave it to her “to remember him by” during their flight from Tatooine to Corscant.

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Anakin gives Padme the “japor snippet” trinket

This trinket was a token of the love shared by Luke’s parents. Padme died giving birth to Luke, and if Luke ever found this out, we speculate that the guilt associated with her death, and particularly his birth being the only documented cause of her death, could have been a source of the anger that drove him to the Dark Side, just as it was with Anakin.

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Padme holds the “japor snippet” trinket Anakin gave her as she is buried

We see in Revenge of the Sith that Padme was buried with the trinket, so depicting Luke with it woven into his beard is meant to imply that the Dark Side’s warping effects on his mind drove him to great lengths to retrieve it…

Our final version, of which we have created four drafts, is meant to draw on all the ideas above. The first draft of this fourth version shows a corrupted Luke honoring the Sith tradition of venerating relics by wearing his father’s gloves, cape, and armor.

Darth Luke V5-3_zps3rh37gin Darth Luke

Our second draft of this version includes the famous quote from Return of the Jedi; “like my father before me.” Luke meant the phrase to mean that he followed in his fallen father’s footsteps by becoming a Jedi Knight, but here we see it re-employed to convey that Luke has taken his father’s place as the Emperor’s Right Hand and Sith Apprentice.

Darth Luke V5-2 WITH TEXT Darth Luke V5-2 WITH TEXT Tinted

Anyway, we hope you enjoyed our work! Have any suggestions or request? Send us an email at thenerdvault@aol.com or message us on Facebook! As always, we appreciate your support, so please keep an eye out for more commentary, art and media from our team!

– Nerd Vault

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