— -- Marco Rubio seems to know the power of the dark side.
Presidential candidates are often scrutinized for their flip-flops on matters of policy, but it’s Rubio’s references to the hit sci-fi franchise that have people buzzing like lightsabers -- including appearing to confuse two of the movies.
“I used to hate Darth Vader. Now I kind of feel a little bit sorry for him because I know what he went through to get to that point,” Rubio said of the iconic “Star Wars” villain during a campaign stop at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
With a new “Star Wars” movie set to hit theaters in December, Rubio fielded a question about the original film, offering a detailed character analysis of one of the most famous screen villains of all time.
“It started out as this individual with a tremendous amount of talent and promise,” Rubio said of Vader, “then something went wrong, something really went bad, and he went dark, and went nasty.”
But, by the end of his answer, Rubio appeared conflicted.
“So now I am torn, do I still hate Darth Vader?” Rubio asked rhetorically. “I don’t know.”
In the same breath, Rubio also revealed that he had a toy version of the Death Star, the fictional base for the movie’s darker forces, and re-told a key moment in the series’ plot.
“I think I had the Death Star, but it kept breaking just like it did in part two -- in ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when it blew up cause that guy got that rocket to go into that hole,” Rubio said. “Remember that?”
Turns out, Rubio was one movie off: The destruction of the Death Star Rubio described actually took place in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”
Disney, which owns Lucasfilm, the production company for “Star Wars,” is the parent company of ABC News.
ABC’s Jason Kurtis and Jeffrey Cook contributed reporting.