Warning! Spoilers for Star Wars: Darth Vader #10
After recent events in Star Wars: Darth Vader, it might not be far-fetched to theorize the series is set in an alternate universe in which Luke Skywalker joins the dark side. Although it might sound like a stretch for the franchise to lean into this direction, there’s a surprising amount of evidence for the theory.
Throughout recent issues of Darth Vader written by Greg Pak with art by Raffaele Ienco, the dark lord has been reminded of his past life as Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. His fractured visions triggered by his fight against the Sith assassin Ochi have reminded readers of iconic moments in the saga, from the time he was given his suit to his eventual rematch with Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, he also has a recurring memory of his encounter with Luke on Cloud City, when he chopped off his son’s hand and revealed his true identity as his father.
In Darth Vader #10, the Sith encounters a monstrous creature in Red Nebula, which transmits images of both his past and future into his head. Yet again, Vader recollects his fight with Luke, but for the first time in the series, he also envisions a potential future in which Luke defeats him. Although Luke wears his beige attire from The Empire Strikes Back, he is joined by the Emperor, who lures Vader’s son to the dark side, similar to the dynamic from Return of the Jedi. Vader’s hand also appears to be missing, alluding to when Luke slashed it off in anger in Episode VI. Until now, Vader had only seen his personal past, which was identical to the films, so it feels important to note this sudden diversion. With additional evidence, there is a chance that this indicates the series is set in an alternate timeline.
Fans have wondered why Vader wouldn’t tell his son about Exegol if he learned so much about the Emperor’s secret plans long before his redemption. This question has lingered over the series since Vader embarked on his quest to learn about Palpatine’s hidden agenda. If the series takes place in an alternate universe to the Original Trilogy, it would put a rest to this mystery. The recently released synopsis for Darth Vader #11, which releases April 28, might even allude to the vision becoming a reality. “…Vader stands on the verge of uncovering the Emperor’s greatest secrets. But will the revelations on EXEGOL empower Vader — or his master? And what new doom awaits LUKE SKYWALKER as a result?”
The first time Anakin had a premonition in the Force, he saw his mom die while tortured by the Sand People. The second time he saw a vision of the future, his wife Padme died in childbirth. Both instances were crucial in his journey to the dark side, so this premonition shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. The series’ continual revisiting of the past might be setting up an opportunity to subvert expectations of what comes after the series. This wouldn’t be the first time Star Wars played around with alternate timelines, as Star Wars Infinities completely reimagined the saga. Like Yoda once said, “Always in motion is the future.”