Summary: Spike has an unlikely role model.
Note: I checked and double-checked the dates of all the releases to try to make sure I had it right. And I did. And it worked together better than I thought it would.
The first time Spike saw Star Wars, it was in a theater filled with over-awed teenagers. He'd been looking for a light snack at the time… It had just been released, and while the effects did awe him a little bit (he remembered the first moving picture, and this was nothing like that) the overall story did more than that.
William, before the change, had been a classically educated little bugger. The kind that lived and breathed the old myths, the archetypes. The demon had left all that behind, rebuilding himself into something so far from that it wasn't funny. Something that used those bits to craft a new myth, one that was dangerous and low-bred, something that was far scarier than anything else it could imagine.
But he remembered all that education, all those bits and pieces. And staring at the screen, seeing all those old myths wrought large with special effects and cheesy acting, with big music and bigger explosions, he couldn't help but be a little bit moved. Watching the Big Bad swagger, long black cape billowing behind him, he decided that soon, very soon, he would have a big black cape like that.
It reminded him of the coat he had seen the Slayer wearing, the last time they'd fought. He decided that when he killed her, he was keeping the coat. Because he was Darth Vader, the Big Bad. He was going to be all that.
Later, he would claim he'd been doing the whole long black coat thing before Darth Vader, but that was just a lie to cover up how deeply he'd been moved. Some people loved the bounty hunting prat; some the roguish charmer; some the farmboy. But Spike had a deep and abiding love for villains who weren't afraid to kill their enemies with their own hands, who loved a little torture of a fair maiden, who didn't mind killing the occasional bone-headed minion, and whose enemies feared him so clearly.
Then came a sequel, and Vader was more badass. He loved it. Even with the family ties revealed, with that whiny farmboy as a son, it couldn't diminish the power of the fight. The torture. The way Vader destroyed ruthlessly.
Then came the third one, and Darth Vader turned on his wicked ways, killing his master and dying to save his whiny son. Spike killed every man, woman and child in the movie theater when he saw that, disgusted and unhappy.
He knew they were going to do something like that, of course. He had expected them to kill Darth Vader at the end, good triumphing over evil. He'd been to enough movies to know how the normals liked their movies to end.
Still, that would have been a more fitting way to cap off the story. Going out in a big, bad fight.
Instead, there was a father and son reuniting, evil falling away in the background. Spike could imagine nothing worse.
When the first prequel came out, he was just a few months shy of having a chip stuffed in his head. He knew he would hate it, but he still watched it. Maul was lifeless, the sort of minion Angelus would have liked. And the movie made no sense to him. What was all this obsession with Anakin's mother? And there was a hint of a love story, but that just made him angry, since he had just lost Drusilla again, and love was something that filled him with rage those days.
If it inspired him to anything, it was to make a plan to become a more ferocious vampire, get the Gem of Amara, and kill the Slayer. (which was, in a way, the plan that led to him getting chipped by the Initiative)
He missed the second prequel in theaters. In came out days after he left for Africa to get his soul back. When he returned, and he was crazy, he managed to watch it on a computer, before the DVD release. Crazy, but still driven by the same things that made him so very much HIM.
The soul turned things around altogether.
Then he had understood what all the mumbo-jumbo was about mothers, and anger, and redemption. And it wasn't really the same story, not just like his own story. But there was love, and blood, and he'd come to understand Darth Vader in a new way. It was chilling, the way the pieces fell into place.
He and Angel had burned LA into Hell before the final prequel came out, and that was just as well. He had no mood left for any more revelations about Anakin Skywalker. He was afraid it would show him more of himself.
And he was already pretty well screwed in that department.
Because when he was evil, all that evil on display, all the terrible imagery, had appealed to him. He hadn't realized the reasons it appealed, or what he was running from. He hadn't realized that inside of that big dark idol on the screen was the same screaming little child hidden deep within him.
Especially deep within himself, of course, given the 'soulless' status.
But these days he keeps the cape, his trophy, the coat. He revels in appearing to be Darth Vader, and at the same time, he carries with him all that whiny nancy-boy crap he had disdained. He tries hard not to let it show at all.
He wants enemies and friends alike to still see him as Darth Vader.
No matter how many freaking times he saves the world.