Darth Vader's massive impact with just 34 minutes on screen


I’ve never seen Mrs. Doubtfire looking so young.



Thread. Won.

1 Like


Didn’t Boris Karloff have equally limited (if not less) screen time in James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein? Whale believed that the less that the audience saw of the creature - especially his face, the greater that the impact would be on them.

I can’t find Karloff’s actual screen time in the film listed anywhere, and some footage of Karloff that had been cut many years ago has been restored so the number of minutes would have changed a bit.






Not Vader’s job. That was down to Tarkin failing to take the threat of the Rebel fighters seriously.

He let it go because it had a tracer on board, which he and Tarkin used to find the Rebel base. Thereby making up for his failure in your #2.

That Hitler guy, such a failure: failed to destroy the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, failed to win the Battle of Britain, failed to defeat the Russians, failed to keep the Allies out of Germany, killed himself in his bunker. Why did he have a such a fearsome reputation?

If you have 34 minutes to tell a story about a character, you have to shortcut to tell the story of their fall. For Vader, he looks badass the second we see him on screen. His first act is to ruthlessly kill a Rebel traitor. He’s obviously in command of the boarders to the Rebel ship, which is a clear signal to our hierarchical monkey brains that he’s someone to treat with respect (or to challenge, depending where you are on that axis). He’s got spooky psychic powers, whereby he can remotely choke people as a party trick. And Tarkin, with the planet-destroying battle station, treats him as an equal. It’s a pretty efficient setting up of Vader as a worthy antagonist.

And as he is an antagonist in a fantasy story and not, say, the protagonist in a modernist novel of the rise of a Mafia don, he is going to fail, due to his own flaws, otherwise it wouldn’t be a satisfying story.

Why does Vader have a reputation? Because the storytellers did a good job as setting him up as formidable without getting into lots of tedious detail. (Of course, later on, one of the storytellers got lost and decided that the tedious detail was important, but that’s another story, as they say.)



A measure of badassery screen time is not.



IMO, that’s partly why she resonated so deeply with so many Gen Xers who were into the show; many of us knew someone who was ‘that girl’ at some point growing up.

They made her far too relatable for a mere Red Shirt, hence all the ‘Justice for Barb’ hullabaloo after the first season ended.

In fact, Barb was so relatable, that my own kid was surprisingly eager to add that particular Funko Pop figure to her collection; right after Eleven and the Demogoron. (‘Steve Harrington with the spiked bat’ was also a first choice, but that one costs WAY too much.)



When I saw The Mummy I was pretty surprised to see that Karloff was only in the mummy makeup for like 30 seconds in the opening scene of the film and didn’t do much other than amble out of the room.



Agreed (Jaws and Jaws).



I see both Jaws, and raise you with John Carpenter’s the Thing:

I believe total screen time for that iconic antagonist is like 15 minutes, or a little less.






See also: the titular antagonist from Alien.

(That is, to the extent you can see it at all in those poorly-lit spaceship corridors)



Hmmm… Kinda hard to be sure about that though.



I see what you did there…



Thing is, nobody knows.



A good villain is worth 100 feckless callow heroes. Dart Vader is a great villain.

1 Like


Nah, Kurt Russell has much more screentime than 15 minutes.



The Thing in actual monster form, dear pedants.


1 Like


Plot twist - man was the real monster the whole time!

1 Like


Man always is, if you think about it…