The gargoyles date from the 13th century when they began to adorn Gothic churches. Their counterparts, less functional but no less formidable grotesques, trace their origins even further back, to ancient Rome. But a menacing face that towers over Washington’s National Cathedral has a much more recent history. At least he does in this galaxy. Because he lived a long, long time ago. Star Wars’ Darth Vader is the most impressive and real part of the church.
Mental Floss shared the story of how Washington DC ended up celebrating the infamous Sith Lord in an unlikely location. In the 1980s, the cathedral held a competition through National Geographic World magazine. Submissions by four young people to the “Draw-A-Grotesque” contest later saw their drawings added to the church. This included 13-year-old Christopher Rader’s drawing of Darth Vader.
Artist Jay Hall Carpenter carved the head out of limestone. It was then installed near the northwest tower of the cathedral where it remains to this day overlooking the entrance ramp to the church. But reading about the Sith Lord’s place in the church doesn’t seem as weird – or as cool – as actually seeing him. We’re all so used to the weirdest and most unusual creatures that inhabit the facade of a church that a famous fictional character seems ten times weirder. But that’s not even as weird as the time in 2015 when “Darth Vader” went to see his own face in person. Yes, Darth Vader went to church.
If in this moment we said, “Gotcha!” you would probably say, “I knew it! But not only does it really exist, you can also find out more about the Darth Vader statue at Washington National Cathedral Official Site. Of course, in typical Sith Lord fashion, it’s a grotesque, which serves no function, unlike a gargoyle which is also a rain spout.
The church should really consider adding a Luke Skywalker gargoyle to its facade. Not only was he a Jedi, but he was also a moisture cultivator.