Darth Vader Just Changed Star Wars Forever
On the surface, it might not seem to be a massive change to the status quo to confirm that in the Star Wars mythology, those who pass on don't really 'disappear.' The fact that Obi-Wan Kenobi was a literal ghost capable of appearing to Luke and offering advice arguably showed characters don't even need to be alive to play a major role. Over time the appearance of "Force Ghosts" have demonstrated how malleable the wall between life and death is for those Jedi who study it, and the new movies have raised the stakes even further. Not only can Rey be called to by Obi-Wan's voice, but The Last Jedi potentially broke the series logic by having Master Yoda launch a lightning bolt in the real world.
If the barrier between the living and those "returned to The Force" can be pierced in this direction, then why can't someone force their way into death, too? This issue of Darth Vader ends before the Sith Lord can actually be reunited with his beloved Padmé, so the story isn't over just yet. But in Camuncoli's artwork, the realm of death appears to be a physical plain and not just a metaphorical one. So no matter how you cut it, this scene has changed the way Star Wars fans will think about the afterlife (or, for lack of more precise terms, the physical space in which the dead continue to exist within The Force).
The question now becomes: if Darth Vader has done the impossible and opened the door into the afterlife of The Force... can he enter it, too?
Will Darth Vader Succeed in Retrieving Padme?
Considering how massively important a story "Fortress Vader" has turned out to be for Vader's character (before it's even finished!) it's impossible to know where the tale will end. Will Anakin Skywalker finally get his one wish of protecting his beloved Padmé from death itself, but fail to consider some crucial part of his plot? Or will he have this opportunity to do what no other Sith has done, only to have it snatched away from him? Or, most tragic to consider: has Darth Vader sought out the only bit of light that still pulls at Anakin Skywalker... so that he might crush it?
Heartbreaking as that would be for some fans, it would forge a new connection between Darth Vader and his grandson Kylo Ren, just as the latter's story prepares to reach its own crescendo in Star Wars: Episode 9. Only time will tell, and at this point, we're more than happy to go along for the ride.
Darth Vader #23 is available now from Marvel Comics.