Luke Skywalker as a Child

By Phill Powell

Star Wars mania is again in full swing, as the world lines up to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Viewing Mark Hamill play Luke Skywalker as an older man reminded us of something that showed a much, much younger version of the fabled Jedi pilot. So through the magic of time travel, we return you now to a piece we first published in April 2012:

Ever wonder what Darth Vader would have been like if he raised Luke Skywalker as a child? Thanks to cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, we’re about to find out. In Brown’s book, Darth Vader and Son (from Chronicle Books), the artist explores the legendary relationship in a fresh and funny new way.

Darth Vader takes little Luke Skywalker shopping. Ah, the joys of parenting, from Darth Vader and Son.

“Luke…I am Your Father!”
Officially licensed by LucasArts, the book imagines what might have happened if Darth Vader — despite his ominous role as the Dark Lord of the Sith — had actually been present and actively involved in raising his son, Luke Skywalker.

The concept started out when Brown was approached by Google to create a Father’s Day-themed Google Doodle. While the idea was ultimately abandoned, Brown liked the concept so much that he asked Google if he could pursue it on his own. Google agreed and Brown took the concept to Chronicle Books, which helped broker a deal with Lucasfilm and George Lucas.

Brown’s whimsical illustrations show warmhearted father/son activities such as Trick or Treating.

For Brown, it was a dream project. “Star Wars was the first film I saw in the theater,” he said an interview, “And half my toys growing up were ‘Star Wars’ toys.” He also got complete creative control over the project from Lucasfilm – something that Lucas is not known for. Aside from suggesting a few minor corrections here and there, Brown said he received no interference whatsoever.

Another bonus for Brown was being able to reflect the very real relationship he has with his young son, who was four during the creation of the book. “I think part of what was so fun about this idea is like, as a parent, there’s things you just kind of have to put up with,” he explains.

“They can be really frustrating. So the idea of this dark master, lord of the Sith, having all that power, and in the end, here’s this 4-year-old who can be, ‘No Dad. I don’t want to do it.’ And he’s powerless against it. He’s gotta maintain that presence of power in the universe, but when it’s his own son, he has to rein it in a little bit. That tension is what was fun to play with.”

If the book is successful, Brown hopes to do a follow-up featuring Princess Leia. (That seems very likely since pre-orders for Darth Vader and Son have far exceeded the publisher’s expectations.) Darth Vader and Son can be ordered through Amazon and Chronicle Books.

Even the Empire supports “Take Your Kid to Work Day.”

Turns out that Darth Vader and Son was a huge hit, and Jeffrey Brown followed it a year later with a book for fathers and daughters, called Vader’s Little Princess!

Creating Character

The “Star Wars” films have provided a treasure trove of entertainment for generations of moviegoers. Not only did the franchise create characters that have stood the test of time, but George Lucas created an entire universe with special effects that sparked the imaginations of writers, directors and those interested in filmmaking for years to come.

Creating comic book characters or learning the art of Hollywood visual effects can get you into the film or publishing industry.

And before you know it, you could be the creating the next Star Wars-inspired blockbuster or fan comic that becomes a bestseller…like Darth Vader and Son.

Dreams start early at DMA.