Did any German speakers get the "Darth Vader" reveal before it happened because "Darth Vader" means (essentially) "Dark Father" in German? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Did any German speakers get the "Darth Vader" reveal before it happened because "Darth Vader" means (essentially) "Dark Father" in German?
This is a myth.
“Dark” in German is Dunkel. Father in German is Vater.
So if the character’s name was Dunkel Vater, then it would mean “Dark Father.”
How about Dutch? Well, in Dutch, Dark is Donker, and father is, in fact, “Vader,” but it’s pronounced very, very differently; the word for “father” in Dutch, while spelled V-a-d-e-r, is pronounced in a way that roughly rhymes with English “father”. It’s not Vay-der, it’s Vaah-der.
The fact that “Darth Vader” means “Dark Father” is totally wrong. It’s a rumor Lucas himself started after he had decided to make Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker the same person, to make it seem like it was always his plan for Vader to be Luke’s father, when in fact we conclusively know this is not the case.
When Lucas wrote “Star Wars,” (currently known as Episode IV, “A New Hope,”) Darth Vader was not Luke’s father; he was a separate character, and Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, was still alive in some early versions of the script, and then was dead in others. In the final version of the script, “Darth Vader” was the character’s name, and while most of the direct references to Luke’s father were removed, he was still a separate and distinct character.
This was still true when early drafts of The Empire Strikes Back were written. In the earliest drafts of the script for Empire, Anakin and Vader are still two separate people, and Anakin is in fact dead; in fact, Luke actually meets Anakin’s Force Ghost while training with Yoda, and administered the “Jedi Oath” to Luke:
While Lucas has spread the “Dark Father” rumor as part of his largely successful attempt to convince fans that he always had the complete Star Wars story planned out in advance when in fact he did not, there is a record of how he actually came up with the name, based on interviews he gave when “Star Wars” was being released back in 1977 and before he had any idea he’d make more “episodes”:
But Vader, as initially conceived in the rough draft, was a fairly minor character, and it seems extremely unlikely that he was intended to be related to the hero of the story — especially because, in the rough draft, the hero’s father was still alive and was a different character altogether. At the time, Lucas said the name “sort of appeared in my head one day. I had lots of Darth this and Darth that, and Dark Lord of the Sith. The early name was actually Dark Water. Then I added lots of last names, Vaders and Wilsons and Smiths, and I just came up with the combination of Darth and Vader.
If we look at how Lucas later named other Sith lords, I think we can get a real sense of why he settled on something like “Vader”. He has a habit of choosing names that sound vaguely threatening, and that are either real words or are close to real words. “Sidious,” “Maul,” “Tyrannus.” Vader seems most comparable to “Sidious” in this respect; neither is a word, but add “in” to the front of either, and you have an actual yet somewhat sinister word: “invader” “insidious”. They make you think of words that are threatening in some way without actually being those actual words. Darth Vader was a bad guy; he was meant to be scary; his name was meant to sound threatening in some way.
But it definitely, positively DID NOT MEAN DARK FATHER. That’s total nonsense. When Lucas created Vader, Vader was not anyone’s father, and it would be years before that changed and Anakin and Vader became the same person. But Lucas seems to like fans believing that he had a master plan in place from the very start, when the various drafts of the screenplays make very, very clear that that was never the case. It is clear that Lucas changed characters, relationships and concepts frequently in various revisions of the scripts to the first two films of the Original Trilogy. To give just another example, Luke’s sister was originally a separate character from Leia, and was named Nellith Skywalker, while Lucas planned a love triangle between Leia, Han and Luke:
So if you believe the “it means Dark Father in German” lie, then you have fallen victim to a con. It is not true.
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