The Acolyte Episode 6 Darth Vader Reference, Explained

The sound of Darth Vader’s breathing is arguably the most ominous auditory cue in the entire “Star Wars” franchise. Narratively speaking, it’s also an ever-present sign that the character on screen when you hear it is the Sith Lord Vader instead of Anakin Skywalker. From the moment the mask goes on and the mechanized breathing begins to the “Return of the Jedi” moment Anakin finally asks Luke (Mark Hamill) to remove the helmet, the character is coded as an unfeeling, unstoppable black-clad monster.

Even when viewers get a peek of Vader without his mask — such as the brief glimpse of his meditation chamber in “The Empire Strikes Back” or Obi-Wan Kenobi breaking Vader’s mask in “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi” — such scenes immediately lead to Vader chillingly chiding an underling or outright explaining that his Anakin side is long gone. It’s not until the helmet comes off for good and the breathing effect stops that he fully regains his humanity.

The fact that the helmet scene in “The Acolyte” Episode 6 references the very moment that marks Anakin’s transition to Vader could mean that Osha has now officially been corrupted and will join Qimir. It could also be a deliberately Sith-coded cliffhanger designed to suggest that Osha has turned, only for her to back away from the brink at the last moment. Either way, there’s virtually no chance it’s a coincidence that her big helmet scene bears such a strong similarity to a pivotal moment in the tragic life of Darth Vader.

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