…If Darth Vader Had A Motorhome, A Star Wars Story
By Neil Wright
For some reason, I’ve spent a lot of time recently wondering what it might look like if Darth Vader owned a motorhome. At first, my thoughts jarred with me, because the idea of anybody in the Star Wars universe driving a motorhome made no sense at first.
The Star Wars universe is filled with anti-gravity technology, magic-like powers, and faster-than-light travel, so it is hardly realistic. But it is exactly because of these conventions that the words “motorhome” and “Star Wars” sounds so oxymoronic in the same sentence.
But then I thought: poverty is rife in Star Wars, and anti-gravity tech must be pretty expensive. Besides, in A New Hope, the Jawas slowly traversed the dunes in Sandcrawlers — which are kind of the closest thing we’ve seen to a motorhome in the franchise.
So ‘crawling’ technology does exist, and mostly in the creatures that stick to their planet of origin. Sandcrawlers — and things like them — probably exist all over, in thousands of star systems in the Republic, even if their appearance doesn’t make for great storylines. Jawas simply have no need for interplanetary travel, and neither do the “Sand People” (both described as nomadic, desert tribal peoples).
When I finally came to that realisation, mentally placing a motorhome up against a Star Wars backdrop no longer seemed so unbelievable.
But the jarring feeling never entirely went away — because I had only solved part of the problem. Darth Vader is hardly impoverished, and he is probably one of the most well-traveled people in the galaxy. With his infinite fleet of star destroyers, TIE fighters, and imperial shuttles — all formidable tech that can place him anywhere in almost no time at all — the idea of a ‘crawler’ of any type must be torture. Let’s not forget that even as a slave boy, young Anakin was a podracer, and not a… Sandcrawlerer.
Establishing a plausible plot contrivance involving Darth Vader and a motorhome
The beauty of the Star Wars universe is its richness and depth. There are limitless possibilities. (Don’t believe for a second the claims that Star Wars is superficial — maybe in Hollywood it is, due to a fear of trying something different.)
Because of this richness, and because I’ve immersed myself in plenty of Star Wars media beyond the movies (the Timothy Zahn novels; the Knights of the Old Republic series, etc.) I was able to use my Star Wars lore to come up with something that not only sounds plausible, but even a storyline that’s worth telling.
Picture the scene: It’s sometime between the events of the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Vader is searching the galaxy for the Rebels, when rumour comes of a Jedi knight in hiding on a distant, Outer Rim planet. A surviving Jedi from the days of the Old Republic.
The planet itself is called Ventus (not only does this sound cool, it’s the Latin word for ‘wind’). It’s a behemoth of a planet, sparsely inhabited, and natural resource-poor (which explains why the Empire has largely overlooked it thus far, and why no one seems to have heard of it).
One of the reasons behind Ventus’ poverty is the cruel character of its upper atmosphere — mainly a permanent spin of hurricane-force winds, the Coriolis effect gone wrong — which gives the planet its name and also helps to limit trade. On the plus side, the planet’s surface is calm, if not almost always overcast. The only way down to the surface is through a shield gate (if you’ve seen Rogue One, you know what a shield gate is). There is only shield gate, and it hangs above the capital and only major settlement on Ventus.
The hurricane winds are the crucial plot element that makes Vader’s usual choice for transportation impossible. The only way he can get down to the surface safely is through the shield gate, and if he is to traverse Ventus’ vast terrain he is going to need to cover ground fast.
Enter the motorhome.
As for the rest of the story, I’ll leave that up to you. Have it be a good ending or a bad ending for the Jedi-in-hiding. The point is: the road trip seems totally plausible, right? Because Vader always seemed to take flight in an imperial shuttle, I figured his motorhome would look something like this:
It’s a similar model to the imperial shuttle (nerds only: its technical name being the Lamdba-class T-4a) in that it has a sleek metallic coat of imperial grey paint and a polygon look. In fact, it wouldn’t be unusual at all if the manufacturers of the shuttles (Sienar Fleet Systems and Cygnus Spaceworks) made transport vehicles of all varieties. In this case, the navigation fin and the cockpit are probably like-for-like the same parts that would be on the shuttle.
As for whether a Lamdba-class motorhome would really exist in the first place… I’m sure if Vader requested one, the manufacturers could put the thing together pretty darn quickly.
As for the inside, I took some creative license and had a little goof around. Even if there was ever a motorhome scene in another Star Wars story, I doubt much of it will be inside the thing:
Quite frankly, how Darth Vader stores food and eats is beyond my comprehension, hence the comic relief. As for the rest, the meditation chamber, the conference table and even the cloak carousel, well, it’s totally plausible the manufacturers would have put them in to avoid being force choked to death.
So, what do you think? Is this a plausible scenario, or is it too unrealistic, even for a science fantasy series?
Neil Wright is a (very amateur) graphic designer, writer, and someone who perhaps has too much time on his hands. He has designed motorhomes for other villians and heros that you might recognise, including Daenerys from Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.