It had long been a matter of speculation what caused the most powerful Sith Lord, Darth Vader, to die after having his arm cut off by his son Luke Skywalker during the VI-th installement of the popular Star Wars saga. Indeed, Vader’s arms and limbs had been cut off multiple times earlier, and he had managed to have them replaced successfully by well engineered prosthetics, leaving him more machine than man, but with no other observable ill effects.
Still, in the fatal for him Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, Lord Vader appeared to grow weak and quickly die from a simple light saber amputation of one of his artificial prosthetic hands. Considering it wasn’t even his physical arm that had been cut off, it appeared unlikely that the Dark Lord had died from this almost harmless injury that under normal light saber fighting would be considered merely a scratch.
With that in mind, Lord Vader’s body (mostly a metal shell with barely anything organic in it) was exhumed and a small amount of organic material was successfully retrieved from his burnt helmet.
Analysis of the sample found a startling, but more logical cause of death.
Lord Vader appeared to have died of poisoning caused by frequent inhalation of Xenon, a colorless, odorless noble gas frequently used for entertainment at Dark Side parties.
Xenon, being denser than air, causes vocal chord vibrations to produce lower frequency sound waves, resulting in deeper and more evil sounding voice timber, which Dark Side supporters find particularly appealing both at planet-blowing celebrations and in their day-to-day evil routines.
Additionally, since it activates production of the transcription factor HIF-1-alpha, which leads to increased production of erythropoietin, Xenon can be used as a performance enhancing drug, which makes it popular among Dark Jedi who lead an active light saber fighting lifestyle.
Darth Vader had likely started inhaling Xenon as a teenager, while he was still being called Anakin Skywalker, as he was getting more and more drawn to the Dark Side, which was strong with him. Over time, this inhalation had become more than just a daily routine. Vader was known to always carry with him a pressurized Xenon container, which connected to the inside of his black helmet. The noble gas was released within Vader’s helmet every time he exercised his characteristic heavy breathing, giving him an energy boost, and making the timber of his voice low and scary.
Forensic Scientists who had retrieved the likely very last piece of organic matter from Darth Vader’s body did not stop their investigation at cause of death. The tiny amount of organic material was submitted to Vibrant Gene Consulting, an Earth-based Genetic company which, among other things, specializes in paternity testing. Running genetic tests on the last cells that remained of Vader was seen as the last opportunity to shed more light on the genetic makeup of the most powerful of the Sith Lords.
(The following might contain spoilers for future films in the Star Wars franchise, particularly films XVII and XVIII)
In a shocking turn of events, Darth Vader was found to not be Luke’s father after all, but was, instead, his uncle. Since twins ran in the Skywalker family, Anakin Skywalker had in fact been conceived in a twin pregnancy. Being a powerful Dark Side Lord from conception, Anakin had destroyed his fraternal twin in the early phases of his ontogenetic development. As a result, Anakin’s twin was never born, but cells from him had been absorbed in Anakin’s body, making him a chimera: a two-genome individual. It was his unborn brother’s genome that had impregnated Queen Amidala, technically making Vader’s unborn twin the real father of Luke and Leia.
We were glad that Darth Vader was dead, because he likely would have been angry at the surprising revelation. That being said, since the Dark Side of the Force gives rise to many abilities some consider to be unnatural, including the potential of bringing people back from the dead, there is a chance that Vader will come back to life around the XX-th installment of the saga. If so, it would be only a matter of time before Vader finds a way to punish his dead brother for fathering his lover’s children.
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