The true identity of Darth Vader is one of the greatest twists in film history. It’s so well known that it’s unlikely that any new Star Wars fans actually makes it to the movies without knowing the truth. However, every once in a while it actually happens, sort of. Such was the case when a man recorded a 15-year-old girl watching the Star Wars films for the first time. However, this reveal is not necessarily the one you’re expecting.
As Larry Wood explains in the notes on YouTube, the girl had never seen a Star Wars movie, but she did know that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker‘s father, because that’s just an aspect of pop culture that it’s difficult to avoid learning. However, by watching the Star Wars movies in chronological order, rather than release order, having that knowledge, but little else, leads to an entirely different major reveal. Because what if you didn’t know who Darth Vader really was? Check it out.
For recent generations, it has become one of the most important questions that geek parents must answer. How are you going to introduce your kids to Star Wars? Most would likely argue that original release order is the way to go because if you can get them to the “No, I am your father” moment without any previous knowledge, it’s a wonderful thing. However, in this case, we have a slightly different situation. She knows that Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker. What she doesn’t know is what Anakin Skywalker‘s relationship to Luke actually is. She apparently makes it all the way through the prequel trilogy without realizing it until the moment comes when Anakin fully turns to the Dark Side and is given his new name, Darth Vader.
It does go to show that for as much as Star Wars has become part of the popular consciousness, that doesn’t mean that everybody just knows the entire story by heart. This girl knew the quotable bits, but had no context for them. All of that was entirely new. If you know that Anakin Skywalker is going to become Darth Vader then the scene is only playing out a moment you knew had to happen eventually, but it is possible to go in without that knowledge and have a major movie moment.
As somebody who will be introducing a young human to Star Wars at some point down the road, I’ll certainly be keeping this idea in mind. Maybe, under the right circumstances, chronological order isn’t a bad choice for the introduction to Star Wars. You can still skip The Phantom Menace though, right?