Silent Star Wars Still Packs Emotional Arm Sever

By Nick Venable | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Sure, we all know the densest thing in the universe is a black hole, or maybe Jabba the Hutt’s colon. But I’m of the impression the Earth’s most dense object is the Star Wars universe, with so strong a gravitational pull that I couldn’t even introduce this paragraph without making a reference. In this century, the franchise hasn’t done well to please me outside of video games and parodies, and the faith of the Force hasn’t truly developed in me over all the newness coming this decade. So, with all this Lucas-xaustion I’ve been having, never would I have expected a years-old fan-made silent film treatment of the series’ most pivotal scene to completely whitewash my negativity, replacing it with the awestruck enthusiasm of my youth.

I’ll admit, when I was a youth, I only had eyes for silent comedies and horrors, since slapstick and murder were the easiest ways to distract my addled mind. So had I seen this as a kid, even within the context of it being a Star Wars scene, I wouldn’t have appreciated it. But as an adult, it’s as perfect an entertainment capsule as exists.

In further dating the already dated “future” aesthetic with artifacts and scratches to the black-and-white filmstock, as well as the shuffling of the film’s speed, the scene gains an eerie quality that wasn’t present before, and Darth Vader is far more monstrous. Without James Earl Jones’ soothing voice giving fans the lines they’ve memorized long ago and seen countless times, Vader is a big, black demon, more like an alcoholic stepdad than someone peer-pressuring another to join the Dark Side. It’s the opposite of how King Kong came to present its misunderstood villain.

The masterful drive of the piano’s plinks draw emotion from every moment. The dialogue cards impress upon me how George Lucas must run through these scripts in his head before filming them; when they’re not uttered by human lips, they’re not half bad. And finally, I can only hope the new sequels steal this idea and completely overexpose the light coming off of the light sabers. Now I’m in the mood to blindfold myself and hit a ball with a stick. But enough about my private webcam shows.