Volcanic fire seethes and spits at his feet as the molten river roars, its rumblings an echo of his own agonized howls on this blackened shore five years gone. The lava’s glow bathes him in scorching heat. Encased in that black armor, he feels nothing.
A hissing sound escapes his helmet as his unfeeling cyborg hands release it, lifting free the face of Darth Vader, and exposing the ruined head of Anakin Skywalker. The scorched Mustafar air fills what remains of his lungs. Wheezing, he breathes it in as deep as he can, welcoming the pain, embracing its familiarity, and its contrast to the stale, tasteless air to which he’s grown accustomed. The pain brings the clarity he seeks. The pain of fire, and of memory.
He holds the helmet before him and gazes into the black and soulless eyes of the creature he’s become. Behind the mask, the river of fire flows. Ghostly echoes of his past flow with it. There have been many paths to choose in the course of his life. The choices made there eventually led him here, to the site of his rebirth, where he was baptized in agony and betrayal. The bright blade of his best friend together with the molten fires of this hateful world took everything.
He was left to die with only his resolve. That same resolve drove him to dark deeds in the name of a greater galaxy. It carried him through his betrayal of Master Windu, the slaughter of his Jedi brothers and sisters, and the death of his wife. All that was Anakin Skywalker was burned away by action and fire. All that remains is the purity of this thing in his hand.
The black, skull-like visage returns his gaze as he takes one last rasping breath of the air around him. Raising the mask to his head, he locks it in place. Behind him, his black cape whips and snaps in the hot wind as the familiar sound of Lord Vader’s mechanical breathing returns.
For our Star Wars Mythos version of Darth Vader we chose a moment in time between the trilogies, where he has returned to his symbolic birthplace on Mustafar for a moment of deep reflection on his choices. He is caught in a pose reminiscent of Shakespearean introspect, Hamlet-esque with an ‘alas poor Yorick’ view of his helmet. Somewhere deep inside the man who was once Anakin Skywalker a deep torment foments as he contemplates the partial machine he has become. Whether his thoughts waver toward this new reality being a tragedy or a triumph is a matter left up to the viewers’ imagination.