Ah, fandoms. You gotta love ’em, and this post is definitely all about a fandom thing I see happening regularly. Star Wars fans will post images, GIFs or whatever and tag them as either “Anakin” or “Darth Vader”. Technically, there’d be grounds to argue that Anakin is Darth Vader, and Darth Vader is Anakin because they are the same person. But for the sake of those that like to see the separate content, Anakin fangirls (me) and Darth Vader fans everywhere (also me), there are unique points in the Star Wars Universe timeline where Darth Vader is definitely “dark side” and evil, and Anakin was obviously not walking around in a black suit of heavy armour breathing through a respirator.
There are also events in the timeline where Anakin and Darth Vader are both present and (we might say) fighting over the “soul” in the body these two personalities inhabit. The scene in Revenge of the Sith is one that comes to mind where Anakin is crying and visibly and emotionally disturbed by the events unfolding (killing the Younglings).
We could safely say that Anakin was struggling to overcome the dark side of the force taking over but eventually gives into the suffering and pain and goes full-on dark side, killing everyone he meets and almost killing his wife, Padme.
The majority of fans would know about these things, right? I can only assume that when I see fans tagging content on social media, they are labelling it for a reason (otherwise why bother tagging it at all?) I will see people tagging images of Darth Vader, even when he has fully embraced the dark side and is now wearing his dark side suit of armour with “Anakin”.
I am just gonna come right out and say it… no, just no. If you’re tagging stuff on social media for the love of all things Star Wars, please don’t tag content as “Anakin” when clearly that’s not the case. The same thing happens with Ben Solo and Kylo Ren images as well. I know people want that redemption story arc really really badly but please tag correctly; when it’s Kylo Ren, it’s Kylo Ren. There is only one scene in the films where Kylo Ren is actually Ben (and even then I’d argue that “Ben” was already turned to the dark side by Snoke, but we’ll let that go for now). And we could probably say the scene before the fight with Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guard is also one where I’d consider tagging images as “Ben Solo” because Rey is appealing to Ben Solo and addresses him as Ben throughout and not as Kylo Ren. But that’s it. Promo pics are ALL Kylo Ren, not Ben Solo and any other scenes other than the two noted above are, in my opinion, all Kylo Ren.
Tagging is a great tool when it’s used correctly. The power of the hashtag gives us a reason to use “search” and not just stare blankly into oblivion hoping our search query will hit the bulls-eye and come up with content we actually want to see. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t tag content correctly, but my endless search for hidden star wars treasure in the vast reaches of the interwebs will be so much easier if you do ☺