Count me among the many Star Wars fans that laments what Disney has done to the Star Wars franchise. Disney has taken one of the epic tales of good vs. evil with some truly scary characters and some truly inspiring and brave characters and filed off all the edgy bits into a bland set of characters.
The worst damage has been done to Darth Vader. In the Star Wars trilogy, he represents everything we fear is going to happen to us. He’s a tragic character who pays the price of his poor choices for his entire life and it propels him to destroy entire planets.
But the Disney-fied version of Darth Vader has been reduced to a black-masked guy who wanders the park just like Donald Duck and Goofy. He’s never actually shown being menacing, angry, or evil. He just shows up in the park unexpectedly. The most menacing he ever gets is being someone who can surprise Dad when he shows up unexpectedly.
And worst of all, Darth Vader has been subjugated to pimping the theme parks. He’s been shown riding rides at the Disney World, even the Mad Tea Party ride. It’s ridiculous to see Darth Vader spinning round in the whirling tea cups. Presumably behind that faceless mask he wears there’s an Anikan Skywalker laughing and giggling like a little child again.
The thing is, it’s so unnecessary. There was no reason that Disney had to soften the image of Star Wars to the point of blandness. They could have left it alone, exactly as is, and it still would have been a hugely popular attraction at their parks. And more to the point, when they get around to producing more Star Wars movies, they would have had a fanbase world wide ready to take in the new installments of the Star Wars story. But if they are going to morph the characters into Just Another Disney Story, they are only going to appeal to the younger kids who don’t know any better.
Disney is shooting themselves in the foot by giving Darth Vader the PR makeover. It’s just not right. It’s sad.
See the travesty for yourself: