“I find your lack of faith disturbing…”, said Darth Vader to Admiral Motti of the Galactic Empire. You don’t mess with a Dark Lord of the Sith, people. You just don’t.
For years I wondered if German and Dutch speakers understood the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader connection before anyone else. As it turns out – they didn’t. Darth Vader does NOT mean “Dark Father” in either one of those languages.
George “The Chosen One” Lucas himself had spread rumors insinuating that he had known of that connection all along and had planted seeds from the get go, but the truth is that in early version of Episode IV and V, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were two separate characters.
Also, the German and Dutch words for Dark Father are pretty far apart from that, and while ‘father’ in Dutch is spelled ‘vader’, it not pronounced that way. It is closer to VAH-der, not VAY-der. So, thankfully, nobody had any spoilers. And speaking of that, could you imagine what kind of mayhem would have ensued if that sort of a reveal was attempted today? The studios tried to do it with the ending of The Sixth Sense, and were actually successful. I still don’t know how they pulled that off. There is always the fear that leaks or faulty editing would give too much away, but they managed to do it quite well. Sixth Sense’s ending is still considered one of the best twists in modern cinema, and that says something.
Robert McKee says you need to wow them at the end. If you wow them at the end, you have yourself a hit. This doesn’t mean you can leave your audience hanging for 90-odd minutes. You need to be able to conjure up some kind of a story either way, and be able to allow the viewer to fill in the gaps. Those gaps may or may not be correct. That is where clever writing and editing are your best friends.
Do your job right, and let the audience unconsciously fill in the rest. There is a lot that the audience does, and they are not even aware that they are doing it. This is part of the magic of good storytelling and the power of the screen. In Star Wars, there was a wonderful reveal which is still revered and spoofed and pondered over, so many years after its release. Good storytelling.