‘Star Wars’ fans ponder if the Empire would have thrived under a different Sith

Darth Vader from Star Wars
Image via Lucasfilm

If there’s anything social media proves, it’s that Star Wars fans never run out of fresh conversation fodder.

The indelible franchise maintains a strong presence on all of the major social media platforms, sparking conversations and inspiring memes even when no fresh Star Wars content is being released. The franchise shines, in particular, on Reddit, where fans gather to dig into its every minute detail with like-minded viewers.

The latest Star Wars topic to dominate the attention of fans cropped up in the official Star Wars subreddit, and poses a tantalizing question: “If Darth Vader had ruled the Empire, would it have lasted longer than Palpatine’s Empire?” The post is accompanied by several pieces of art that reimagine the Star Wars universe with Vader at the head of the Empire.

This is an intriguing question for Star Wars fans, particularly those who’ve spent an inordinate amount of time considering alternate Star Wars histories. With Vader in charge, the Empire would certainly have taken a different shape, but would it truly have been a more successful rule?

Fans don’t really think so. In response to the post from user Dragonic_Overlord_15, commenters provided their perspectives on the query. The majority of them fell into the same camp, noting that Vader’s short-minded nature, paired with his often rash actions and clear temper issues, would have made him a terrible leader for the Empire. Sidious, while vicious and cruel, saw the “bigger picture,” and thus managed to keep the Empire afloat for several decades.

User chuewwey pointed out that “Vader is amazing in battle and leading troops but he’s very shortsighted and not someone that likes playing the long game which is what Politics is all about,” and the majority of their fellow commenters seem to agree. Almost all of the responses to the post echo a similar sentiment, as Star Wars fans gather to unexpectedly declare Sidious the best man for the job.

If all else fails, Vader never really had an interest in ruling. He’s never had what it takes to be a politician, which — at the end of the day— is exactly what Darth Sidious is. Even in his early days, when he was still vying for power as Palpatine, the Master behind Vader was always playing the long game. Without him, the Empire would have been dead on arrival.

The majority of Star Wars fans “give it a week before it implodes” if Vader is in charge. Aptly named user betterthanamaster perhaps put it best, accurately noting that “it wouldn’t have lasted a month,” because “Vader is a hyper powered behemoth of a weapon.”

“As a weapon, he is useless unless wielded by someone. Palpatine was that someone.”