Warning! Spoilers ahead for Darth Vader #10 written by Greg Pak with art by Raffaele Ienco!
A rather unpleasant telepathic assault on Darth Vader‘s mind could have involuntarily proven that, because he is the Chosen One, his death is not preordained and that he can shape his own destiny. This epiphany transpires the moment that the Red Horror – a subspecies of the Summa-Verminoth – inflicts manipulated memories of Vader’s past on the former Jedi in Darth Vader #10 written by Greg Pak with art by Raffaele Ienco.
Vader finds himself at the mercy of this creature while traversing the galaxy towards Exegol to uncover Emperor Palpatine’s secrets. The only way he can get there is by traveling through the Red Nebula, which this horrific beast is guarding, meaning he must get past it in order to reach his goal. Alone, the visions Vader experiences could mean a number of things, but a comment from his unwilling guide, the Sith assassin known as Ochi of Bestoon, proves that what Vader sees could mean something much more.
On the surface, they’re just recollections of his pivotal confrontation with Luke when Vader revealed that he was his father. But these moments play out very differently from how they actually transpired. Their roles are reversed. But Luke goes much further than his father did on that fateful day on Cloud City. He doesn’t just cut off Vader’s hand. He plunges his blade into the former Jedi’s chest before walking away with Emperor Palpatine. After the visions end and Vader tries to process the horrors that permeated his mind, Ochi says, “Did it show you…how you…how you die?“
It’s obvious by this statement that whatever the Red Horror exposed Ochi to was not anything like what Vader saw. Vader couldn’t have possibly seen how he’d die since Luke never plunged a lightsaber into his chest. Additionally, it was obviously a distorted view of past events. Had Vader expressed the ordeal he witnessed to Orchi like Ochi did to him, Vader would have said something along the lines of: “I saw the past, but not really the past.” Meanwhile, Ochi’s words prove that whatever he saw wasn’t anything related to his past, but a vision of the future and his eventual death.
If the Red Horror really does reveal how they would both eventually die, then it’s interesting that Vader sees something that obviously doesn’t turn out to be his death. This suggests that Luke was destined to kill his father, but because Vader is the Chosen One, he is able to alter his future. It’s crucial to point out, however, that some of these events do transpire in some fashion in Return of the Jedi. Luke does sever his father’s hand, but he doesn’t finish the deed, no matter how much Palpatine may have wanted it. This also lends itself to the fact that Vader’s role as the Chosen One is intrinsically linked to his son, and that Luke’s decision not to turn to the Dark Side allows Darth Vader to fulfill his role to bring balance back to the Force.