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SW peeve - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
SW peeve
I've been out of SW long enough that LJ friends may not know my big SW fandom peeve, up there on a level with "Ted Tonks is a Muggle" in HP-dom as far as wanting to smack people around with a canon-ball.

That is, "Darth Vader blew up Alderaan."

I've seen that in a couple of comments now while messing around on RotS, and, while I've given up arguing with Vader-bashers, I really must vent on it. It's true that he stood there and stopped Leia from rushing up and killing Tarkin, but Vader neither comes up with the idea nor gives the order to destroy Alderaan. That's Tarkin, beginning to end. The dialogue even implies that that Vader didn't particularly support the decision--he tells Tarkin, "I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion," and given the sequence of events, the most likely place for that admonition would have been in a conversation about the Death Star. Now, he may have followed it with, "But what the heck, let's blow the sucker and head home anyway," but he does seem to have told Tarkin that it would serve no purpose. It was Tarkin's idea when Vader's methods fail to work with Leia, and Tarkin who gave the order. Even Leia acknowledges that Tarkin has Vader on a leash.

So can we stop with the whole "Vader blew up Alderaan" thing? It has even less basis than Muggle!Ted, which can at least be blamed on a badly placed hyphenation in the American edition. ANH has no indication at all that anyone other than Tarkin gave that particular order.
37 comments or Leave a comment
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: May 22nd, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


This is also one of my pet peeves. Vader is guilty of a *lot* of stuff, and my Vader-muse admits that he sort of *helped* (if you count not arguing all that much about it helping) with the destruction of Alderaan, but he didn't order it himself. He didn't even think of it. It was pointless in his mind.

::growls at all those who put forth fanon otherwise::

Maybe we should make shirts with pictures of Vader on the Death Star bridge with the caption "Vader was framed"?
drakyndra From: drakyndra Date: May 23rd, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dude, I want an icon of that.
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: May 23rd, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I can find screencaps, I'll do it.
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: May 23rd, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)


(link provided because LJ is being difficult today::
drakyndra From: drakyndra Date: May 24th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)

I'll add it my amazing collection of icons that I can't USE, what with me being cheap on LJ. Seriously, at last count there were about a hundred on my computer...
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: May 22nd, 2005 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you ever so much. I'm now stuck trying to imagine "But what the heck, let's blow the sucker and head home anyway," in Vader-voice. This is even weirder than the discovery that it is possible to Macarena to the Imperial March.
limegreen_sloth From: limegreen_sloth Date: May 23rd, 2005 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, you're right!

...well I had to try it.
drakyndra From: drakyndra Date: May 24th, 2005 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
*immediately makes a note to try this out*
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: May 22nd, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, after seeing RotS, I'm starting to want to get back into the whole EU thing. I used to be a big fan as far as reading the books went, and then after a while I just couldn't be bothered anymore. That happened at about the same time I dropped SF for fantasy. And after trying to talk to my brother and dad about what I thought about the movie and having them really not getting it, I actually felt like reading them again.

Um, yes, big OT.
chickadilly From: chickadilly Date: May 23rd, 2005 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Word. Word. Word.
(Deleted comment)
From: psalm_27 Date: May 23rd, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, random Farscape moment! I was very disappointed that Scorpy was left hanging with nothing in RotS. :-(
(Deleted comment)
From: psalm_27 Date: May 24th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Let the beatings begin! While we're at it, lets send Aeryn over to Padme's apartment to instruct her on the fine art of kicking a$$ while being pregnant.
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: May 23rd, 2005 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

off topic...sorry

but...I was just wondering what exactly is Star Wars written canon? I read the original series (George Lucas) many years ago, too long to remember if it was just _A New Hope_ or if it was all three of them. It was all my library had though. Did he write all nine episodes as books or are all the offspring series considered canon? Specifically, I wanted to find out what happens after episode VI. Sorry to bother you about it, but I searched on amazon and there's 3000 results for my search. :-)
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: May 23rd, 2005 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Here's something pretty much argued over among fans. If you want to say strict canon, you have to say the six films (although in the eighties Lucas said there were nine episodes, there's been no indication that he'll ever produce the final three and I think I've read more interviews recently saying he won't then interviews saying he will).

If you want to expand a little bit you can read books, graphic novels, even gaming information. Most of them don't contradict each other on a horrific level, but there's many minor contradictions or mischaracterizations - in my opinion, in the books. My personal recommendations, and granted I've read nothing from the New Jedi Order books, but my thoughts are the books, and anything by Timothy Zahn, particularly his original Thrawn trilogy (Heir to the Empire) is worth reading. But as to whether you want to consider anything outside the movies canon, I think that's kind of up to the personal fan. Don't know if that helps! ;)
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: May 23rd, 2005 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Oh, ok, thanks! I had just read somewhere that Luke did such and such after episode VI and I wanted to know if this was Lucas-writing -- as in he wrote out all the screenplays -- or in one of the series. Thanks for the recommendations! I plan on doing a lot of reading this summer (just finished first year of grad school :-))
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: May 23rd, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Oooh, congratulations on the first year of grad school! :)

Like I said, there's a lot of feelings on this one and although I've read a lot of the EU, the only ones I personally consider canon-ish are Zahn's original Trilogy. It's the one that I hear the music in my head when I read the books. ;)

But if you were to ask me what I absolutely consider canon? It'd have to be the films, cause really, the books do get awfully convoluted due to being written at various points in the timeline and authors not necessarily being paid attention to, and so on and so forth.

Really the main point of this comment was to jump on board the Jedi Apprentice series also, cause I forgot to mention them. And as Fern mentioned, the first half of the Jedi Apprentice series is fun quick reading. Yeah, they're children's books, but they've got a better feel for the characters than some of the adult books do!
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: May 24th, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Thanks! I'll have to try those out. As a Harry Potter fan, I'm in no position to avoid children's books because they are children's books. :-)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Oh, that's a rat's nest in SW, but as long as I've got you first, I'll give my answer and pretend like it's the only one.

Canon is the movies. All six of them, in their final forms (please G-d that Uncle George doesn't put some junk back into the RotS DVD). SW started out as movies, so what's in the movies is the definitive answer (just as it's books in Harry Potter). The books... I haven't read any that I enjoyed except for the first half of the Jedi Apprentice series and Rogue Planet--I'm a heretic on the latter; it had a lousy plot so most people hate it, but I like it because it's the only one that nailed the characters--but a lot of people enjoy them. There are also comic books, RPGs, and so on. My verdict is that they can all be safely ignored by fanfic writers.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Drat. Didn't get you first. ;)

The truth is, I loathe the SW Expanded Universe with a deep, Dark Side loathing--I think it's out of character, totally out of sync with the universe, and dull--so I'm definitely an extreme minimalist on what I would ever consider canon... canon being what I think binds Lucas in creating new SW, which the prequels have pretty well shown excludes most of the Expanded Universe. He may use a bit or piece of it, but given that it featured Jedi with big families, a timeline that Lucas ignored entirely, and an off-kilter back story on the Sith, it really is safe to say that they aren't binding on the franchise.
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: May 23rd, 2005 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Well, you were almost first. :-)

I guess I wanted more backstory. Like I said before, I had only read the Lucas-version of the movie a few years back. I liked reading it b/c I picked up on a few things that I didn't notice in the movies...like names of people (I'm horrendous at picking up people's names in movies!). But somewhere I read an LJ comment saying that Luke did blah blah blah after Ep. VI and I didn't know if there was some official storyline following those movies or if that was from one of the many SW series I'd noticed floating around.

At any rate, HP was my first fandom, but I was looking into poking around in SW and wanted to be a bit more informed. :-) Thanks for your help!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Actually, even the novelizations--though closer to canon because they include the same events--aren't canon. The RotJ novelization had Owen Lars as Obi-Wan's brother, which was accepted for years as inevitable... until it turned out that he was Anakin's stepbrother.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: May 23rd, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Canon is the movies.

Agreed. In their most current forms, no less. They are Lucas' story, and are as Lucas wants them to be.

If I recall correctly, even the ANH novelization was not actually written by Lucas, but was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster.

(and for those who get mad at Lucas for changing stuff, are they aware that even Tolkien did that in Lord of the Rings?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

Yeah, people seem to have a really strict dichotomy in their heads: Either Lucas had every single line of dialogue in mind three decades ago, or he's just messing around making it up as he goes along. Everything I've seen of old scripts suggests that he had an idea of what kind of story he was telling, but, as with any writer, he let it grow and evolve as it took its final form.

And yes--people don't seem aware that at one point in writing, Frodo led the Scouring of the Shire! This doesn't mean that Tolkien was "winging it." It means that Tolkien learned more about his story as he told it, the same as happens to all of us.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: May 23rd, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: off topic...sorry

And yes--people don't seem aware that at one point in writing, Frodo led the Scouring of the Shire! This doesn't mean that Tolkien was "winging it." It means that Tolkien learned more about his story as he told it, the same as happens to all of us.

Not to mention the "Riddles in the Dark" fiasco. I actually got ahold of the original version a few years back: I believe it's still in print as part of the Norton Anthology of Children's Literature! There's also a couple passages in LotR that were rewritten after the original publication.

Lucas=Canon. How hard is that to figure out?
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: May 23rd, 2005 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Although I' never really considered it, I'd have to agree with you. Tarkin very clearly gives the order, and Vader does not give any indication that he's the one who gave the order behind the scenes. He's interested in finding the plans and ending the rebellion, and if I may say so, seems less interested in the Death Star altogether. Or at least his 'Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've created' would seem to indicate that!
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: May 23rd, 2005 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Even in the ANH novelization almost every single line of dialogue is different.

Use to read the original trilogy EU but I got bored by it. It was hurt by the fact that the prequel history hadn't been established but to me, the original trilogy EU was just not that good. The prequel trilogy books have been a little better and I was a fan of the Jedi Quest series.

The Clone Wars EU (books, comics, cartoon) has been outstanding and I've very much enjoyed it.
pacoman From: pacoman Date: May 23rd, 2005 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Question: would the Clone Wars EU be considered canon? I ask this because, while my exposure to it begins and ends with the cartoon, said cartoon stays close to the characterization of the movies (save for Palpatine's unsubtle amounts of smarm and Grievous being less talkative and more agile) and the last 5 chapters build up to Episode III's opening act.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't say so. I mean, there are people who don't even know about the cartoons. Canon is only the primary format.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 23rd, 2005 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
On the whole Alderaan thing, I've just got to add bits from the book, ANH, even if they didn't make it to the movie -

1. In the book, Vader is of two minds whether it's even worth the effort to get the plans (assuming anyone who finds them is more likely to tape over them than anything else [he doesn't know about the droids, yet]). He sends in the troops but orders them to be as subtle as possible and not attract attention.

2. Tarkin tells Vader they might get better results by threatening something Leia cares about. Vader asks (rather sharply, I always thought) what he means. That's when Vader sends the Death Star to Alderaan.

3. After this, in another scene not in the movie, Vader is hurrying down a hallway with his subordinates struggling to keep up telling them to never mind the protests of the planetary governor, send in more troops if they have to, he must have those plans. He then says that it's the hope of the plans being used against them that is the main pillar of Leia's resistance to the mind probes.

One of his aides then says (quoting from memory but I think I've got it right), "Until then, we must put up with Governor Tarkin's foolish plan to break her.

So, initially, Vader barely cared. Of course, he didn't know about the droids then. Still, the big change seems to come from trying to stop Tarkin from blowing up a planet.

Then, in the scene where Alderaan is destroyed, Leia lies. It's been established that we could reasonably expect Vader to know if someone a few inches from him was lying her head off (in fact, in a later scene [again, in the book, not the movie, alas] Vader mocks Tarkin for having believed Leia). He not only doesn't tell Tarkin she's lying, when Tarkin says "There, you see, Lord Vader? She can be reasonable." Vader nods. He backs up her lie.

Then, Tarkin turns around and orders Alderaan destroyed.

Vader could have acted then, and different arguments could be made why he didn't. Some reflect better on him than others (he'd been telling himself Tarkin wouldn't really do this, and shock slowed his brain, for example). Some look worse (Dang! I wanted to get a good picture of me standing by the screen when we toasted the place!).

author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 23rd, 2005 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi - no offense, really, but could you please put that under a cut? Thanks.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2005 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
For spoilers from a 1977 movie? It doesn't address anything in RotS.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 23rd, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
*Hugs* I'm sorry, I kinda assumed with RoTS out, it did. I've just seen so many spoilers... but yeah, didn't mean to snap at you.

darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: May 23rd, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the radio drama, Vader questions whether it is legal or wise to destroy Alderaan. Tarkin pretty much slaps him down.
(Deleted comment)
kattahj From: kattahj Date: May 26th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup. I've been hesitant to point this out to people since it seems like making excuses for Vader, but it's very obvious from the film.
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