“He’s just a pathetic guy who’s had a very sad life”: George Lucas’ Biggest Headache Was Making Darth Vader for 1 Compelling Reason

The director had a tough time solving one problem that could have made a very important character laughable.

george lucas, darth vader
credit; Wikimedia commons/torfilm


  • George Lucas had some trouble when the director was creating Darth Vader for Star Wars.
  • The director decided that Darth Vader needed to scary, and wanted the actor behind mask to carry himself in such a manner.
  • Darth Vader remains of Star Wars' most recognizable characters.
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Darth Vader remains one of the most recognizable villains in the history of cinema, given how influential the character has been ever since his first appearance. Perhaps one of the most, if not the most, popular characters to come out of the Star Wars franchise, his history and lore have been heavily expanded on across multiple mediums, such as books, comics, television shows, and video games.

James Earl Jones as Darth Vader in a still from the movie.
James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader in a still from the movie. | Lucasfilm

However, Vader did not come easily as a villain to George Lucas, and there was one key struggle that the creator of Star Wars had with the concept of the character. Given the rich amount of backstory that we have about the character, Vader commands a lot of respect in the fandom. However, when the character first appeared, George Lucas had the burden of making the character scary and feel like a threat, without the backing of the massive back story that the character had.

The key was in how Darth Vader would carry himself

Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm
Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back | Lucasfilm

While George Lucas did not have the luxury of communicating the backstory of Darth Vader to first-time viewers of Star Wars, the creator found the solution in how the character presents himself to others. The costume of the character might seem a little menacing, with the black color and the samurai helmet, but it might not have been enough to make the character appear as menacing as Lucas wanted him to. Speaking with Rolling Stone, he said:


His character’s got to go beyond that — that’s how we get his impersonal way of dealing with things. He’s done a lot of horrible things in his life that he isn’t particularly proud of. Ultimately, he’s just a pathetic guy who’s had a very sad life.

The idea was to allow Vader to be a dynamic character and to have an animated sense of authority to him. He was very much a cross between a traditional fantasy dark lord and a mythic monster, that had manifested itself in a cyborg lord of the Empire’s troops, who dressed in all black and marched with his troops into battle with considerable skill and power.

Darth Vader has become an integral part of Star Wars

Darth Vader in Rogue One | Lucasfilm
Darth Vader in Rogue One | Lucasfilm

While the Skywalker Saga might have come to an end, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader have remained integral parts of the franchise, making an appearance in almost every installment of the franchise, to much fanfare and celebration. Be it the animated series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars or a one-off Anthology series like Rogue One, Vader’s presence almost always elevates the show or film that it is incorporated into.

Darth Vader remains one of fiction’s most well-written characters, with a tragic backstory that makes him fall from grace that much more believable, and has an entire section of the fandom wanting an episode dedicated to his happy ending in the rumored Star Wars What If..? type show that is rumored to be in development at Disney.


Star Wars can be streamed on Disney+.


Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 709

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.