Darth Vader #25 Ends The Power of the Dark Side

by Vince Brusio

Kieron Gillen was given a rare opportunity, and he seized it like a lightsaber left behind for a child prodigy. The Star Wars universe needed expanding, and Gillen used the Force to create a long, intense trip into the life of the galaxy’s most notorious villain. Now the journey has come to an end, and we interviewed the writer to get his take on the Jedi training he received in creating a chapter of life for the Dark Lord of the Sith that ends in Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader #25, in comic shops October 12!


PREVIEWSworld: Kieron, do you leave Darth Vader #25 (JUN160929) feeling satisfied? Do you feel that you’ve told the story that was inside of you? Or were there loose ends that you’d like to explore later?

Kieron Gillen: I immediately want to wax lyrical and riff on the "Art is never finished, only abandoned" and all that, but honestly, Vader is basically what we wanted. Its aim was to tell a story about a set period in Vader's life, going from his greatest low for 20 years to a whole new range of power. When you step away form issue 25, you'll see that's exactly what we did. We have to be pleased.

I think the other things we were to explore would have probably diluted the core story. It's all out in the Star Wars universe now. Leave more toys in the toy box has always been my approach, and I think Salva, Edgar and I certainly done that.

PREVIEWSworld: How did you see Vader at the beginning of this series, and how do you see him now? Has your impression of the character changed any since you started the series?

Kieron Gillen: My perception of the character hasn't changed, but the internalizing of how Vader thinks and feels (and kills) is very much so. I knew the arc of Vader throughout this period before I wrote the first page, but I knew it intellectually. The process of writing a book is about taking that inside yourself. 

As said above, the delineation of Vader's character change in this period was absolutely key to the book. At the start, he realizes his last 20 years of his life has been based on a lie, and now he is building towards what he thinks comes next. The Vader we end the story with is the Vader that finally corners Luke on Cloud City. 

PREVIEWSworld: Writing a story about Vader versus seeing him on the big screen. There are obviously advantages/disadvantages of these two mediums in giving us the full picture of the Dark Lord of the Sith. How would you advance this argument? And how did you work through the constraints of print?

Kieron Gillen: When Jason and I sat down to talk over our plans for the book, the core aesthetic push was to try and write Star Wars on paper. As in, we were trying to evoke the movies as much as we can. We weren't doing a comic book version of Star Wars. We were doing Star Wars. As such, that led to a lot of my choices — we don't get internal monologue at any point. I suspect I'd have done that with Vader anyway — the question mark, the mystery, the threat. I wanted people to always be wondering what Vader is really feeling. We get flashbacks... but rarely get anything which tells what Vader thinks of it.

Which isn't to say we were solely using cinematic devices. The nature of panels means that you can do things like the flashbacks in a way which I think would have been distracting on the screen. Comics are, on average, more internal than film, even when avoiding internal monologue (and novels are more internal, on average.)

The biggest advantage isn't actually related to comics. It's that we had 25 issues digging into Vader, and putting him front and center in a way that he simply hasn't been in the movies.

And delineating the difference between Vader and Anakin — who, of course, had a lot of screen time — is key to the endeavor. There's some beats towards the end which are particularly about this, which I'm looking forward to people reading.

PREVIEWSworld: Has working on this title moved you to want to continue writing about any other Star Wars characters? If so, who would be the first in line?

Kieron Gillen: Lets' see if I survive writing Darth Vader first. This book is a bloodbath. I wouldn't be surprised if Vader found a way to kill me too.

PREVIEWSworld: Last question, Kieron. Actually, it’s a request. Could you please summarize your working experience on this book? What did it contribute to the Star Wars universe? And what’s your fondest memory of having written Darth Vader for Marvel Comics?

Kieron Gillen: Overall, it's probably been the most fun I've had writing a book at Marvel. That's the thing which most surprised me. It's a licensed comic, and we're under tight supervision with Lucasfilm's (delightful) story group. I was expecting it to be hard work, but rewarding. In fact, while there's been a lot of work, the actual process of writing has been entirely liberating and oddly primal.

If you want a single image of what writing Darth Vader was like, imagine me lying in bed, idly daydreaming of how Darth Vader can kill someone in a novel fashion today... and then inspiration striking, and having to run downstairs to write the thing.

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