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I love "What if...?" stories. Especially the ones that look at well trod ground in new ways. Some of the best comic book limited series have come from these grounds, stories like Superman: Red Son, Kingdom Come, and Age of Apocalypse. I don't know yet if this'll become a "thing" but I had an idea and I needed to write about it, hopefully some of my readers will enjoy it.
In the weeks before the Battle of Yavin Darth Vader had begun to feel a disturbance in the Force. It was weak at first, but slowly and steadily it gained in power. When he came face to face with Junior Senator Leia Organa on board the Tantive IV that feeling came to a head. He recognized in young Leia something of her mother and in searching the Force learned the truth of her parentage.
On board the Death Star as the Sith lord saw to the interrogation of the suspected rebel collaborator Vader saw an opportunity. He awoke Leia to the Force and tempted her with knowledge of her birth mother. When Tarkin ordered her death Vader intervened and removed her from the Death Star to his personal retreat, claiming to Tarkin that further interrogation was needed, and telling Leia that he desired her aid in destroying the Emperor.
With Vader and Leia no longer on board Luke, Han, Chewie, and Obi-wan were able to escape the Death Star and the Battle of Yavin went similarly to the established history. Without Leia to draw out the better part of him Han turned his back on the Rebellion and never returned, but without Vader present Luke was still able to make the shot and destroy the Death Star.
With time Vader wore down Leia, slowly drawing her to the dark side in secret while elsewhere in the galaxy Obi-wan, with a little help from Yoda, once more took it upon himself to train a Skywalker in the ways of the Force. Two years later the battle of Hoth ended disastrously. Luke died of exposure in the frozen wastes without Han to save him, and likewise without Han and Chewie finding the probe droid the Imperial attack was entirely the shocking ambush that Admiral Ozzel intended. Trapped on the planet, Obi-wan and forced to confront Darth Vader and Leia and was killed, but not before making Leia aware of her true relationship with Vader.
The leadership of the Rebellion was killed and the entire movement destroyed, but a wedge was driven between Vader and Leia. At first the dark princess remained loyal to Vader's ultimate goal to overthrow the Emperor and take his place with her at his side. Emboldened by their victory the pair struck the Emperor and together slew him. Leia immediately took the initiative and destroyed Vader, rising to position of Empress of the Galaxy.
How do you think it would have gone had Vader recognized his daughter on-board the Tantive IV?