I’m sure most of the people reading this have heard of Star Wars. If you haven’t… well let’s just not go there, stop reading this immediately and do yourself a favour – ask my best friend Google to find out what you’ve been missing out on. For those familiar with Star Wars, it is impossible not to know (arguably) the most iconic character from the Star Wars Universe. Darth Vader first appeared in 1977, when Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in movie theatres in The United States. The movie was preceded by a paperback novel but it was the movie that made Darth Vader a household name. Vader became popular instantaneously. He was presented as an all-powerful villain, second-in-command to the Imperial Emperor, and a devout follower of the Dark side of the force (if you’re aware of Star Wars but don’t know much about the story, see this link: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dark_side_of_the_Force). Vader is easily recognizable when compared to villains from other books and movies outside of Star Wars. He has sleek black armour, equipped with a black cape and a life-support system. Vader’s helmet is radical, original, and intimidating – suiting the character perfectly. Another unforgettable attribute from Vader is his voice. Those of you who have seen the movies will know exactly what I’m referring to. Needless to say when Darth Vader hit the big screens, he impacted audiences across the country and eventually the world. Since Star Wars was first released in 1977, a plethora of movies, books, comics, shows, video games, and more have been created, making Star Wars one of the most popular fictional stories ever. In all of Science Fiction, Darth Vader is perhaps the most famous character of them all. However, it is not for his notoriety that he is my favourite movie character. In order to fully appreciate and understand him, one must watch all of the Star Wars movies. Upon completion of the movies, you realize that Vader is not exactly the all-evil villain he is made out to be. He was once an advocate for good and peace and fought against The Dark side of the force, but was slowly manipulated and turned evil by The Emperor. In truth, Darth Vader is actually a man broken on the inside. He lost his one true love and was unable to recover from it. He turned his back on his friends and his family. He converted his despair and sadness into anger and hatred. However, I find it impossible to dislike Vader, as is normal with most movie villains. In fact, I actually sympathize with him. Formerly Anakin Skywalker before he turned to The Dark side, Darth Vader was an aspiring Jedi – expected to be the most powerful and to finally bring balance to the force. His inevitable emotional collapse and betrayal are entirely human. Everybody loses friends and family, and I sympathize with Vader in this respect, as I too have lost loved-ones and have made many mistakes in my life. Eventually, Vader is forced to fight his own son, and ordered to kill him by The Emperor. Ultimately, Vader loses the battle against his son, who unlike his father, refuses to join The Dark side and is then attacked by The Emperor. In a final act of justice and character development, Vader comes to the aid of his son by killing The Emperor, and in doing so saving his son’s life, and forfeiting his own. After years of torture, grief, anger, and taking the lives of countless innocent people, Vader finally regresses back to his true self. This final display of behaviour is partly why I like him so much. For me, it demonstrates that nobody is ever too far gone and that we can all change ourselves for the better, no matter what has happened in the past. Vader made more mistakes than correct choices in his life. He killed innocent people. He turned his back on his friends and family. He was truly evil for a very long period of time and yet, in the end he demonstrates that even he was capable of self-restoration – something that we are all capable of! Vader’s armour, force-powers, and incredible lightsaber wielding skills are also part of the reason he is my favourite movie character of all time!