Lord Momin & Darth Vader's Deaths Are No Coincidence
The story of Lord Momin, which he recounts to Vader personally is remarkable for a few reasons of its own. For starters, it adds the first Sith Lady Shaa to the new Star Wars canon, making her one of just nine official, named Sith Lords. And Lord Momin's murder of his Master, and his own grand plan to create a monument of death to the Dark Side are worth a read, as well. But for the purposes of understanding how and why Darth Vader can still survive into the new Star Wars movies, it's Lord Momin's death we must put under the microscope.
The similarities should be obvious for any devoted fan: Lord Momin prepares to execute his masterwork, a lifetime in the making, until the noble Jedi strike, foil the plan, and Momin's story ends with his body being burned down only to ash. When seeing a masked Sith consumed in flames, it's hard not to think back to Darth Vader's funeral pyre. Or, if you prefer, Anakin Skywalker's. Yet Return of the Jedi doesn't show Anakin's physical form being absorbed into The Force like Yoda, Obi-Wan, or even Luke Skywalker's death scene in The Last Jedi.
Fans may assume that nothing about the distinction is relevant, let alone suspect. However... well, let's just continue on to the major truth about the Dark Side of The Force that Lord Momin only realized after his death.
The Dark Side Kept Momin's Evil Alive - in His Helmet
The idea of conquering death has been a mark of the Sith and Dark Jedi from the very start of the expanded Star Wars universe, so it's no surprise that Lord Momin's worship of death and the Dark Side means his own immolation is more than it seems. He is physically consumed by the fires he unleashes upon the innocent, yes. But his masked helmet survives the blaze when all else burns. The helmet that he had crafted upon his introduction to the Dark Side. The helmet that he chose to become his new face, disfiguring the one that once lay beneath it. The helmet that the Dark Side uses to rekindle the fires of Momin's evil even after his body is burned.
As Lord Momin explains to Vader - who, at this point in his, story, has no idea his body will also be burned years down the road - death revealed the true nature of the Dark Side to him. We'll let writer Charles Soule's words convey the epiphany:
"I did learn something important from the disaster, however. Failure is an excellent teacher. The Dark Side is sacred, but it is also hungry. It burns like a flame. An inferno. It must be fed, always. It seeks fuel. If you do not feed it... then it will feed on you."
Those words are ominously paired with images of the scene immediately following his death, caused by the arrival of two Jedi Knights. As Lord Momin describes the "hunger" of the Dark Side, demanding to be fed, his helmet is shown claiming the next meal. Or so it seems, as one of the Jedi Knights raises the helmet, locking his gaze to that of Momin's true Sith face, and watching as the empty helmet's eyes begin to glow. For Lord Momin, his servitude to the Dark Side of The Force granted him immortality - mastery over death itself. And yet that servitude continued beyond death, unable to escape the need of the Dark Side to be fed with new servants, new victims, and new slaughter.
Now, if only Darth Vader had spent his life searching for a way to conquer death, been burned to ash, with only his famous helmet left intact, and an eager young Jedi to spend hours gazing longingly into its eyes for direction and purpose. Oh, wait.
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019