Darth Vader is perhaps considered one of, if not the king of, cinema’s greatest villains of all time. From the foreboding presence amplified by that helmet, the black cape and suit, and the breathing to his great control of the Force, Vader is the Dark Side personified. Yet one part of his character isn’t discussed as much, and that is his want to be a father to his son, Luke. This huge, foreboding presence has inside a small core of love that the Dark Side hasn’t been able to break, and that is explored in The Force Unleashed.
Vader already knows he has children out in the galaxy but the time isn’t right for him to announce that fact, and hides any of those feelings behind the mask successfully. That is until the fateful day he descends on Kashyyyk, the Wookie homeworld, to hunt a Jedi who escaped Palpatine’s purge. During this conflict Vader senses the presence of another force wielder besides the one he went to kill, and discovers the child Starkiller. We already know Vader has no qualms killing children thanks to that scene where he wipes out the Jedi younglings in Revenge Of The Sith, but something stops him killing Starkiller and instead smuggles him back to base.
Why does Vader do this then, instead of wiping out a potential threat early? It’s because his own son would be around the same age, and since Vader doesn’t know where he is Starkiller becomes his adopted son. Of course this isn’t solely an altruistic move on Vader’s part, as to him Starkiller is also a tool to use in the hunt for the Jedi. However at the core of it Starkiller is his opportunity to pass on his own lessons, and to be a father.
There’s a reason why Vader keeps Starkiller a secret for so long from the Emperor, and that is to protect the both of them. He raised and teaches Starkiller in secret, training him to use the Force and to become a powerful force in his own right. If the Emperor finds out about his existence then not only does Starkiller lose his life, but Vader loses his adopted son, someone he has raised for years, nurturing him to be like him. Vader thinks he can do this forever, but this isn’t the case and soon the Emperor finds out.
When that happens Vader is met with a choice, obey or rebel. Of course Vader obeys but this isn’t the submission of a man scared of the Emperor, but of a person who has already planned for this contingency. Vader kills then retrieves Starkiller but this move is all for his selfish gain as he motivates Starkiller to start the rebellion and build the Rebel Alliance. To Vader this is the perfect ploy to both continue to use Starkiller, and to create a thorn in the Emperor’s side and weaken him.
Darth Vader’s secret is out so what better way to use Starkiller than to start a new war and shoulder very little of the blame. Vader acts like he doesn’t know how this rebellion starts or why Starkiller turned. Darth Vader shows his tactical genius and also shows that he doesn’t agree with the way the Empire is being handled. Then again the true sign someone has fully turned to the Dark Side is when they kill their master.
However, the fact Vader doesn’t try to deal the final blow himself is possibly another example of the fact that he hasn’t truly lost the good inside him at this point either. It’s a weird concept because if he is good he would have killed the Emperor anyway and freed the Empire, but by not killing him he also doesn’t technically ascend to Sith Master. Of course this is countered by the other darker things he does within the game like have Juno, Starkiller’s pilot and love interest taken captive and possibly tortured because she knows too much, and also as a power play to show his apprentice who is in charge.
Starkiller himself falls for this play because Vader is basically his father who he trusts, even though he has many misgivings. But he gets to a point to where he decides to actually fight back and turn against the Empire, but it’s far too late. Starkiller has been on the Dark Side for too long that his exposure to the light is so brief that he doesn’t have a truly coherent plan. His whole perceptive is shattered within a few short days and he can’t cope so turns to the one thing he is good at to try and solve his problems; murder.
In his broken state Starkiller doesn’t have full control of his skills either, the conflicting emotions running through him are tearing his own control of the Force apart. He only sees the deaths of the Emperor and Vader in his mind, letting his hate consume him. He is a Sith struggling to become a Jedi and can’t handle the transition, so he goes to fight and dies as a result. He dies full of hate with loathing for his father and the Emperor. This is the worst death for him because Vader wins in more ways than one.
He made sure Starkiller died a Sith.