John Ostrander: Redeeming Vader

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

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4 Responses

  1. Steve Chaput says:

    I completely agree and I think that’s one of the reasons (besides some poor acting and writing) that the Prequels leave such a bad taste in the mouths of fans. They undermine the emotional impact of the original films. As an Agnotic raised Catholic myself I also feel the same as you.

    I’d rather Disney not to back to try and change things. Just make good films that will make us forget.

  2. Dan Keller says:

    Funny you should bring up Roman Catholic doctrine, because I was thinking along the same train of thought, but more from the Lutheran doctrine of divine grace. Suffering is not necessary for redemption, and in light of Vader’s sudden change of heart, the Force can see his remorse and offer redemption and afterlife in the Light Side without having to first suffer penance.

  3. Mindy Newell says:


    Can redemption truly be earned. Can a devil reverse his life and become an angel?

    Or is redemption really in the acceptance of self and the self’s actions?

    A brilliant character study of this is Angel, “the vampire with a soul,” in the eponymous series created by Joss Wheedon. Angel is driven by his need to be redeemed by “the powers that be” for all the horrible sins and acts he committed as Angelus. It is what drives his story.

    And, in fact, in the last season, Angel comes to realize and accept that there is no TRUE redemption for him–his burden is to carry the remembrance of his sins forever (or until he is staked and turned to ash). His reasoning for “helping the helpless” then becomes a realization that it isn’t the end result that matters, but the JOURNEY itself. In other words, there is no gold star at the end of the day, no Medal of Valour, no “Shanshu Prophecy”–it states that “the vampire with a soul will be gifted int the end by having his humanity restored–no reward waiting for Angel;

    In fact, in the penultimate episode, Angel signs away the Shanshu Prophecy. It is an act that signals that Angel has accepted who and what he is, that good and bad exist in every being side by side….”I yam what I yam.”

    GREAT column, John!!!!!!! I could go on and on and on about this–and maybe I will in next week’s column–

    Oh, and by the way, besides the “Han shot first” stuff, Lucas made another HUGE error in the trilogy. In REVENGE OF THE JEDI, in the scene in which Luke reveals to Leia that they are sibling, Luke asks Leia if she remembers her mother. She answers (and I’m paraphrasing): “A little. She was very beautiful. And kind. And sad.”

    BZZZZZZZZ! Sorry, Lucas. How could Leia remember her mother when Padme died giving birth to them???? In truth, neither sibling should remember Padme AT ALL!

  1. November 13, 2014

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