Mixed Grille or will the real Darth Vader please stand up?

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Title: Mixed Grille or will the real Darth Vader please stand up?
Creator: Karen Osman
Date(s): May 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Wars
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Mixed Grille or will the real Darth Vader please stand up? is an article by Karen Osman in Jundland Wastes #2.

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One final aspect of fan writing about Vader that we can hardly avoid is the Dark Lord's relationship with the opposite sex. While Han Solo is more superficially "sexy" and has been pursued by hordes of fannish MarySues, Darth has his share of groupies as well. His appeal is more ambiguous, both attractive and threatening, composed of such heavy-handed but effective sexual-fantasy images as his shiny jackboots, symbolic saber, swirling black villain's cape, air of power, and resonant voice, not to mention Prowse's nice broad shoulders and muscular body. This rather overwhelming image completely unnerves the sort of fans who respond to Luke's clean-cut teenybopper appeal, Tracy Duncan in "The Dark Path" (AGAINST THE SITH #9) responds by making Vader a nasty but safely impotent voyeur. Even such a strong-minded and sensitive writer as Maggie Nowakowska is unable to imagine the Dark Lord as a functional sexual partner. In the as yet unpublished story "Notions" [1], she describes his physical and emotional reaction to Leia, frustrated by the damage to his body.

Thus, as we have seen, Darth Vader is the most protean figure of STAR WARS fan fiction, ranging from unredeemed evil to chivalrous heroism and provoking lively (and occasionally acrimonious) debate among fannish authors. Villains are more complex than heroes, and in the Dark lord of the Sith,STAR WARS has presented us with an epic villain indeed, steeped in romantic and mythic imagery. Fan response has been as ambiguous as the character, varying with each author's personal reaction to the archetypical qualities of power, pride, darkness, cruelty, aristocratic elegance, and warrior spirit embodied in Vader. Above all, each of these writers has come to terms with the one most constant element of Vader's character, his arrogant pride, and presented her opinion on Vader's decision, voiced for him by Milton's Lucifer, that: "...in my choice, to reign is worth ambition, though in Hell.

Reactions and Reviews

Osman explores fanlit versions of Vader concerning his background and how he came to be at odds with the Jedi. She rejects the tendency to use Vader as an easy villain who needs little characterization. Her emphasis is on sympathetic presentations, and what sympathetic aspects exist in stories not supportive of the Dark Lord. She is fascinated to discover a tendency to grant the man mythic grandeur, whether an author approves of Vader or not. Most writers accept the title “lord” as Vader’s given social status; many assume he is royal as well as noble, although he is most often ranked as a younger son. There is a Miltonic aura to many of the stories; Vader as the fallen Lucifer, Star of the Morning, is preferred to Vader as venal power broker. Osman also points out in print (for the first time I believe although the subject has been the focus of fannish gossip for years) the apparent sex appeal of the man despite the mask, the menace he presents, or the problems his implied and obvious handicaps present. [2]


  1. ^ This story was eventually published in 1990 in an issue of A Tremor in the Force
  2. ^ [1] by Maggie Nowakowska