Super Powered Characters: The Real ApocalypseMarch 8, 2012 at 9:14 am | Posted in Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 5 Comments
Star Wars is home to many different types of characters. From the films to the Expanded Universe, we have seen a plethora of humans and aliens, Force users and non-Force sensitives, good guys and bad guys. Lately a new type of character has become apparent: the superhuman. The superhuman doesn’t actually have to be human, and they can be good or bad. The defining characteristic is that they have powers beyond anything we have seen before in the EU. When looking at this new class of character, one example jumps out above all the rest.
*** Note: The Old Republic: Revan spoilers follow ***
Lord Vitiate, aka Tenebrae, was born in 5,113 BBY on his homeworld of Nathema. As of the time period of The Old Republic game, this makes him around 1,472 years old. Keep in mind that he’s not a member of some long lived alien race. His normal lifespan should have been around 200 years tops. How did he accomplish this? Well, he accomplished this impressive little feat with a little help from the dark side.
Vitiate’s long life, however, is rather insignificant compared to the process he used to gain his immortality. Remember when Darth Vader said that the Death Star was insignificant to the power of the Force? Well Vitiate showed what it’s like to one up the Death Star. After the Great Hyperspace War, he tricked the remaining Sith Council and around a 100 Sith Lords to come to Nathema. There he enslaved them with the Force and used them in a ritual which killed every living thing on the planet. With all the animals, plants, and people dead, Vitiate absorbed their lifeforce and became immortal. Unlike the Death Star, he did not destroy the planet.
Now keeping tally here: Vitiate is more or less immortal, and can wipe out an entire planet of all life. He is also able to enslave full blow Sith Masters. Not only is he able to bend the will of a Sith Master, but he can bend the will of a hundred Sith Masters at the same time. This is a guy who enslaved his whole village around the age of six, killed his Sith Lord father at the age of 10, and in between slaughtered thousands in his rise to power. At age 13 he was made a Sith Lord and controlled the entire planet of his birth.
Let us think about that for a moment. Anakin Skywalker was 9 years old in The Phantom Menace. Imagine if he was already Darth Vader at this point and was so powerful he could kill other Sith Lords like Darth Maul and Dooku. Keep in mind that even Yoda had trouble with Dooku, and it took two Jedi to kill Darth Maul. Vitiate, on the other hand, was well on his way to ruling an entire planet while at the same age Anakin was still dreaming of winning a podrace.
Let us fast forward to the time of The Old Republic game. Vitiate is the ruler of the Sith Empire and plans to wipe out the entire galaxy. The entire galaxy. The Death Star can kill a planet. The suncrusher can kill an entire system. Vitiate, it seems, can wipe out the entire galaxy.
Nearly immortal and all powerful, Emperor Vitiate is without a doubt the most super powered character in all of Star Wars. So far he hasn’t even died. The argument here is that this makes Vitiate the perfect example of why such characters do not belong in Star Wars. To kill something so powerful, you would logically have to have an opponent of equal power. With two super men in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, the questions then become: where does it stop? How do you top the last guy? Do we really want to see Force users who are so powerful they can wipe out the entire galaxy and can live forever?
There is no doubt that Star Wars is escapist fiction. Whether it’s books or video games, the fans are seeking an adventure that takes them away from their mundane lives. Yet there is an aspect of canon to Star Wars that tries to bind video games and books. It may be fun to crash Star Destroyers into planets using the Force in a video game, but in novels such a thing is a bit farfetched. Typically readers expect the novels to be more realistic than the video games. Vitiate, however, seems to be completely beyond realism. Taking Star Wars characters to this extreme is very dangerous. It opens up the doors to super powered characters capable of unbelievable feats. Surely Luke Skywalker, the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy during his time, can accomplish feats equal to Vitiate. After all, Luke is the offspring of the Chosen One. If Vitiate can wipe out all life in the galaxy, then Luke could save all life in the galaxy.
The problem with super powered characters is simple: the next time Luke fights a really tough enemy, do you want him to carry on as usual, or instantly squash them with his limitless Force powers? By staying away from these overpowered characters, readers can continue to enjoy a more believable story where the good guys still have to struggle against villains and vice versa. If the villains become so powerful that Jedi demigods are needed to slay them, what will happen to the Han Solo’s and Wedge Antilles’ of the GFFA?
I don’t think I’m alone when I say the GFFA will be a far lesser place without them.