Star Wars: Darth Vader #10 just saw the Sith warlord living through his worst nightmare after his mind gets invaded by a monstrous cosmic god.
In Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #10, the infamous Star Wars villain has had quite a turbulent emotional trip on Mustafar. He’s been broken down, forced to rebuild himself and had to stave off assassins led by Ochi of Bestoon. This is all due to his conflicting feelings over Luke Skywalker, Padme and his past as Anakin, which Emperor Palpatine hates for being the last vestiges of his protege’s humanity.
And now in Star Wars: Darth Vader #10, the trip down memory lane gets even worse as he approaches Exegol, as Vader has to face his worst nightmare, seeing his son take his place by the Emperor’s side.
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After Vader leaves Mustafar in a ship with Ochi as his prisoner to get Palpatine’s secrets, he meets the Summa-Verminoth, a giant Cthulhu-like being that uses its sinister powers to wreak havoc with Vader’s sanity. And as it invades his mind, Vader begins to hallucinate, seeing his most vile moments.
In his mind’s eye, Vader is taken back to his last fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi, where he murdered his former teacher on the Death Star, while reliving how a younger Obi-Wan left him burned and for dead. But it’s with Luke that he mentally starts to fray as he begins to see the path his son could walk. As Vader recalls Obi-Wan having the higher ground, he sees himself in that position in the Emperor’s chambers trying to get to Luke. In his mind, this means that Vader is due to die like Obi-Wan, which could pave the way for Luke to follow Anakin’s path to the Dark Side.
As he sees Luke cutting off his hands — in an inverse of what happened in The Empire Strikes Back — Palpatine arrives. The Emperor urges Luke on as Vader suspects he wants the young Skywalker to replace him. Much to Vader’s horror, Luke kills him and goes off with Palpatine, seemingly swayed by the Emperor’s dark pull.
Vader’s left shattered as he sees his worst nightmare play out before him, with Luke falling to the Dark Side and becoming Palpatine’s puppet. Vader knows it’ll only lead to fear, anger, hate and suffering, and that’s not something he wants for his son.
The revelation that seeing Luke join the Emperor was his greatest fear also adds into context as to why he pushed for Luke to join him and overthrow the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. Vader wasn’t just interested in ruling the galaxy; he wanted to protect his family in his own warped way.
Through this ordeal, Vader finally realized he was a pawn and that Luke was the real person the Emperor wants. This continues to turn him against his master, but it’s an epiphany that has come a bit late, as so many people have died as part of Palatine’s dark designs. While much of that blood might be on Vader’s hands, that’s one part of the Skywalker legacy that Vader doesn’t want to pass on down the family line.
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