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Pop Culture: Sci-Fi TV & Film’s Best And Worst Dads

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VaderFatherDarth Vader (Star Wars)
Star Wars’ Darth Vader is easily the most notorious father in all of science fiction, and while he starts off on the terrible side of the spectrum, he does do what he can to redeem himself by the end of the original trilogy. Even if you’re more machine than man, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have feelings.

Vader is initially a total absentee father. He doesn’t even know he has kids at first, but even if he did, he’d probably be too busy Force-choking everyone, getting into lightsaber duels, and generally menacing the hell out of every single person he comes across to be a hands-on parent. He only reveals himself to Luke, his only son, when he thinks he can exploit him to help overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy. What a dick. And we haven’t even mentioned that whole hand-cutting debacle.

We could go back and forth all day about whether or not the affection he develops at the end of Return of the Jedi makes up for a lifetime of neglect and even open hostility — how many of Luke’s friends did he blast out of the sky during A New Hope? Vader finally comes to his senses and save Luke’s life, though, and that has to count for something. The important thing isn’t our feelings, however complicated, it’s that this is good enough for Luke.

If He Was Our Dad: We’d keep our distance — physically, not necessarily emotionally. We’re fond of our hands and limbs, and we’re not big fans of being choked do death either.

Ideal Father’s Day Gift: A Death Star. He obviously really wants one. He’s had two, both of which were blown out of space by a bunch of upstart hooligans. We’d even take great pains to keep it safe until the entire structure was finished, and we’d make sure all of the exhaust ports were securely covered, and that none of them lead directly into the power core.

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