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Sep 24th 2018 at 8:15:49 PM •••

This entry was removed:

  • General Failure: Expanded Universe and off-screen reputation aside, his on-screen conduct in the Original Trilogy is nothing but a record of continuous military failures:
    • In A New Hope, he fails to find the stolen blueprints of the Death Star. His plan to recover it at Tatooine fails, his torture of Princess Leia fails to provide information about the Rebel Base, and his plan to finally find it, ends up compromising the Death Star\'s security, leading to its destruction.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, his plan to hunt the Rebels at Hoth fails to prevent their escape, as they break past his blockade, allowing him to capture an empty military base. His plan to capture Luke Skywalker fails. He ends up alienating Cloud City, driving a neutral territory into the Rebel Alliance entirely due to his poor handling of the Occupation, granting the rebels another great pilot like Lando Calrissian to replace the decommissioned Han Solo. His plot to pull a coup on Palpatine fails when Luke refuses to join the Dark Side.
    • This leads to Reality Ensues in Return of the Jedi, where Vader is assigned a minor position as an overseer, and Palpatine takes a more active and hands-on role, with Vader given no command of the ground forces.

The poster who removed it said it was cherry-picking, but this is major plot threads from the films, on-screen action and so on. The fact is at the start of Return of the Jedi, Vader is assigned as overseer and foreman for building Death Star II, a very minor bureaucratic post. He is stripped of command. Something which the deleted scenes show him complaining and venting about where subordinates and the Emperor\'s guards tell him to back away. Lucas probably removed it because he didn\'t want audiences to think Vader\'s redemption wasn\'t purely selfless or that petty revenge factored into it. But that still informs the on-screen action of what we see, where Vader is basically downgraded to the Emperor\'s footman.

Every objective that Vader is given he fails. He was told to retrieve the Death Star plans from Tatooine, which he fails to do. His torture of Leia also fails to break her. His plan to track the rebels as they fly back to Yavin works, but it also brings the Death Star in orbit and firing range of the X-Wings, which you could partially blame on Grand Moff Tarkin, but that was Vader\'s idea and Tarkin considered it a risk in any case. And of course he fails to defeat Luke in battle. In The Empire Strikes Back he wins the minor but inconsequential Battle of Hoth, since the rebels evacuate with the bulk of their forces. He fails his directive, i.e. capture Luke Skywalker, and he fails his secret objective, pull a coup on Palpatine. Most of the rebels escape, and as military governor of Cloud City, rather than annex a neutral territory, he ends up driving them into the Rebel Alliance. Sending more allies to the enemy is a failure i.e. unable to win \"Hearts and Minds\".

I can also mention Rogue One, his swishy light-saber massacre and force powers was no match for a Red Shirt relay that slides what looks like a space-floppy disk through doors.

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Sep 24th 2018 at 8:34:40 PM •••

Look, if Star Wars only stuck to the movies, then yes, Vader would qualify as a General Failure; but here\'s thing, nobody thinks of him as such. Everyone in the Empire treats Vader with fear and sees him as an accomplished military officer. The Expanded Universe can obviously give him more victories that are obviously not possible in the movies, so he can avert the trope there. It\'s not like Vader is like Cobra Commander or anything.

Sep 24th 2018 at 8:57:42 PM •••

I did specify the Vader of the movies. Vader being personally terrifying because of his power and control of the force, and his skill as a warrior, is not inconsistent with him being a weak general. It happens a lot in real life, and it does fit with Vader\'s overall issue of being Palpatine\'s \"flunky\" as Lucas called him.

I can also make this an Informed Ability or Informed Attribute that way I can acknowledge the discrepancy between implied reputation and what we see on-screen.

Besides, nobody says Vader is a great general or anything in the movies. Only that he\'s scary, powerful, cold and tortures people. Which we see him do all the time. Nobody ever really says so-and-so is great, only great pilots, soldiers and so on.

Sep 25th 2018 at 6:49:33 AM •••

Really have to say, I find it legitimately interesting that you\'re putting credence in a deleted scene here whereas in the discussion on Kylo Ren you say, and I quote, \"In film production, stuff is left off the script for a lot of reasons.\"

In the films themselves, Vader is something of the opposite of a Badass On Paper. He\'s portrayed as terrifyingly effective even though, on paper, he\'s full of failures. And \"General who has failed\" is stretching the trope well past its breaking point. General Failure is supposed to be a commanding officer who is an out-and-out moron and treated as such in the work.

Informed Ability is likely at work here, but he\'s never presented as a General Failure by the works themselves.

Sep 25th 2018 at 7:49:30 AM •••

I only brought the deleted scenes to show the story intent for Vader\'s failures having consequences. The on-screen stuff in the original films is enough to judge that. I do agree that the deleted scenes should never be put on the trope example and what I said about \"stuff being removed for reasons\" is true. I mentioned that Lucas removed those scenes, and the reason is that it foreshadowed Vader\'s turn from the Dark Side far too much, and it also suggested that his turn against Palpatine was out of some petty office politics rather than the pure Act Of True Love in the final film.

Petty motivations are there far more in The Empire Strikes Back where his love for Luke still rests with his ambitions to take over the galaxy and pull a coup on the Emperor.

Informed Ability works better so I\'ll add that and shorten it.

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