“I AM your father” might well be Lord Vader’s most famous line. But his most striking line in the new “Rogue One” surely is his groaner of a dad pun.
In the scene, the power-hungry Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) comes before Darth Vader on Mustafar, to offer the lowdown on the Death Star, even as Grand Moff Tarkin is taking credit for Krennic’s work in these darkest of turf wars, putting the “pall” in “office politics.”
Before Krennic is dismissed, his naked ambition begins to show that he has a little too much sniveling skin in this game. Vader, of course, has been known to Force-choke a windpipe in previous films, when someone’s opinion begins to displease him. And so here, the Sith lord telekinetically drives Krennic to his knees and gasping for air, lest the director not see the error of his ways.
Just then, for dramatic effect, Vader turns to his right, reveals his Force-clenching hand and tells Krennic: “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations.”
And just like that, Vader has executed the rare double-pun — an uncommon feat for Star Wars villains.
This is the sort of arch, cheesy wordplay we expect from Sean Connery’s James Bond or Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, but not from Grandpa Skywalker. Sure, he has a flair for putting the “dead” in deadpan, but under droll director Gareth Edwards, that’s how he rolls.
The question then becomes, amid Vader’s otherwise dynamic scenes: Dost Darth maul the joke, or do you rather appreciate the pun?
Here are a few of our favorite social-media responses so far:
That Darth Vader pun was a bit
— Ryan North ☃⛄☃ (@ryanqnorth) December 18, 2016
I have now lived long enough to see Darth Vader make a pun and I don't know how I feel about that.
— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) December 16, 2016
ok Rogue One is great and all but i really don't think Darth Vader is the pun type of guy
— Ryan Simpkins (@ryan_the_ryan) December 18, 2016
Me, when Darth Vader made that pun pic.twitter.com/7JyCMQixoQ
— Carlos Murillo (@LosMurillo126) December 20, 2016
So does Darth pull off the wordplay? Well, perhaps nothing says “Who’s your daddy?” better than heavily exhaling a dad pun while your aspiring subject is on the edge of expiring.
But just for a glimmering moment, Darth is instead relying on the power of the Farce.