A recent issue of a Star Wars mini-series revolving around Lord Vader which has some fans outraged over claims of abuse and misogyny may have been based on a script from a writer previously let go from the project.
Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions is an anthology miniseries which explores the unseen exploits of Darth Vader during his time in service of the Emperor and the Empire, as well as the impact his presence has on various peoples and events throughout the galaxy. The latest issue of Dark Visions, written by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, follows the story of an Imperial nurse who grows romantically obsessed with Darth Vader, taking her daydreams as reality, saving incidental debris from his armor as sentimental tokens, and believing that the two had a deep, unspoken connection.
In the climax of the story, the unnamed nurse (who has since been named ‘Daaé’, after the female lead of The Phantom of the Opera, by fans who believe her depiction was misogynist), approaches an unmasked Darth Vader as he rests in the meditation chamber in his personal quarters and declares her undying love and devotion to him. In response, the Sith Lord unsheathes his lightsaber and stabs the woman through the heart, before requesting someone come “get this trash out of [his] quarters”:
Despite the fact that Darth Vader has canonically slaughtered a group of defenseless children, used the force to choke his wife into unconsciousness, and was a leading commander and solider in the genocidal purge of the Jedi, some fans were quick to complain about Darth Vader’s reaction, as well as the portrayal of the Imperial nurse, accusing the book of promoting misogyny and violence against women:
It is meaningless as any kind of barometer for upcoming major story beats. But it is horribly meaningful in terms of real-world treatment of female & femme fandom. It’s either astoundingly tone-deaf or deliberately cruel, & either way, it makes me feel so unsafe.
— Daaé Leíra Was Right (@SmolsD) April 24, 2019
I’m literally sick to my Stomach after reading Vader Visions #3
It’s like someone who hates women in this fandom wrote a story to mock us.
It’s like it says this is what you get for enjoying Star Wars your way.
I’m ashamed of Star Wars today.
Get some women Star Wars Comics
— What the Force? & Fangirls (@Wtforceshow) April 24, 2019
Vader Dark Visions 3 is bad. It’s a different story for Star Wars, but also downplays everything people like Kennedy and Eckstein have built up for women in Star Wars. The author said it was his vision of the story and it’s a very male vision indeed. pic.twitter.com/WD2QNX4ALD
— Matt Ng (@yingfo) April 25, 2019
I just read it and God, the story as it was was pointless. She has no arc, backstory, real reationship with Vader or name and nothing new is revealed about Vader that we didn’t already know. It reaks of misogyny and there was so much they could have done
— Belinda Grace (@Whovian0110) April 25, 2019
I have one last thing to say about Vader: Dark Visions. Star Wars is a universe where they gave a name and backstory to the extra running with an ice cream maker in a single shot of ESB.
Giving the heroine no name and any thought to her backstory is not an accident.
— dani, a known reylo, sat in front row of IX panel (@CardiganVixen) April 25, 2019
However, many fans also defended the portrayal of Darth Vader in this issue, pointing to the fact that as a villain, Darth Vader will often be depicted performing cruel, evil, and villainous actions:
For all the SW fans screaming SEXISM and ABUSE about the latest Vader:Dark Visions comic–
Um, dunno if you’ve noticed, but Vader kills, like, A LOT OF PEOPLE. I mean a LOT of people. Dissecting this comic for some kind of misogynistic underpinning is… really stupid.
— VadersSideChick (@Chernobyl_Jones) April 24, 2019
Am I the only person who thought the new Darth Vader Dark Visions comic was great? I felt it was a good one off story, and it tells a good message of DON’T invent your reality and pay attention to those you have crushes on. The poor nurse reminds me of many wannabe Harley Quinns
— James Ducker (@JamesD015) April 26, 2019
the sort of fantasies that the woman in vader dark visions 3 were what caused her death. the comic isnt portraying women as stupid for having fantasies, its a warning for letting fantasies cloud your judgement. love is blind, but do not allow yourself to be blinded by love.
— yung chung (@Nitethorn) April 26, 2019
I love it. It perfectly sums up Vader’s character and I see no reason a comic called “Dark Visions” should have a particularly happy ending for anyone. I feel sorry for the girl, but she literally got up in his grill. She was never gonna survive that. https://t.co/vBqpo8VgjL
— Mathisn’t My Best Subject (@AfroStorm318) April 27, 2019
Vader is the villain of the story.
Oh no, he kills this weird women with a quick saber thrust in Dark Visions 3. Oh no.
That’s not even in the Top 100 of bad things he’s done. Pretty much every female Jedi ending in his hands died a worse death than that. Same for the men.
— El Bearsidente 江戸羆🐻 (@Edohiguma) April 26, 2019
Amidst the fan debates regarding the issue, author Chuck Wending, who was let go in 2018 from Marvel, Star Wars, and his planned Darth Vader miniseries Shadow of Vader (which was replaced by Vader – Dark Visions upon his dismissal) stated on his Twitter page that this specific issue was similar to a script he had written for Shadows of Vader:
Apropos of absolutely nothing, my issue three of SHADOW OF VADER was about a toxic fanboy (a morgue attendant on the Death Star) who became obsessed with Vader. (And it didn’t end well for him. Er, obviously.) I thought it was good and I’m sorry you won’t see it! Onward we go. pic.twitter.com/kFCb2nQ2Ia
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 24, 2019
It is interesting to note that in Wendig’s version of the story, though the Vader-obsessive Imperial was to be a male character, the outcome of his actions would “obviously” end as poorly as they did for Daaé. This supports the claim that Vader’s actions were not misogynist, but rather an overly aggressive reaction to having his commands defied and his true visage looked upon.
However, Wending also clarifies that he does not believe his script was plagarized:
(Further, I don’t own the material anyway! They could literally reprint my story without a lick of credit in my direction because that’s often how work-for-hire can go.)
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 26, 2019
Did you read Vader: Dark Visions #3? What did you think about it? Do you think it was sexist or misogynistic as a number of people or claiming? Or did you think it captured the character of Darth Vader?