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New York Man Legally Changed Name to Darth Vader

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on December 22, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

People are crazy about the movie "Star Wars." They will wait in line weeks to get a ticket to the premiere of a new franchise release and cry when they finally see it on screen. True devotees are many and they are committed like few other super fans.

The Star Wars frenzy is reaching new heights with the recent opening of "The Force Awakens," and geeks everywhere are competing to show they're the most into the movie. But no one will beat what Darth Vader already did last year. A New York man legally changed his name to that of the movie villain, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Darth Vader In Real Life

A 43-year-old former marine, Darth Vader is reportedly a tattooed gym owner raising funds online for a bone marrow transplant. He made the official name change because he's inspired by the villain, who exudes toughness and leadership. The real life Vader competes in endurance events and trains to keep up his strength, despite being diagnosed with leukemia in 2002.

Formerly named Eric Welch, the Darth Vader of Canandaigua, New York said he was not attached to his former name because he grew up in foster homes. "I had no strong family ties to my name. I wanted a separation from my self and my past." He had lived in eight foster homes and attended 15 different schools.

He Really Did It

Reporters verified the name change with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, which confirmed that there is a Darth Vader on its rolls. For anyone else who doubts the commitment that this man has shown to his assumed role, Darth Vader can also be seen on the scene in his hometown dressed in a black outfit and gas mask.

Darth Vader runs races in his costume and wears it at the local coffee shop and he's done so for years. Clearly, he took Yoda's advice about trying seriously. In the words of the Jedi Master, "Do or do not do. There is no try."

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