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Villain Overview
Don't be too proud of this technological terror you constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
~ Darth Vader to Admiral Motti (about the Death Star and the Force)
When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the Master.
~ Darth Vader to his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you.
~ Darth Vader after defeating Luke Skywalker.
Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Vader: No. I am your father.
~ Vader's famous quote in his exchange with Luke.

Darth Vader, born as Anakin Skywalker, is a major character in the Star Wars franchise. He is a high-ranking Jedi Knight-turned-powerful Sith Lord, and he stands as one of the greatest and the most popular fictional villains of all time. He is the former Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the third and final Sith apprentice of Emperor Palpatine (after Darth Maul and Count Dooku) and the father of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, the protagonist and deuteragonist of the original film trilogy respectively. In the sequel trilogy, he has a grandson named Kylo Ren.

Vader is the secondary antagonist of the original trilogy (before redeeming himself in Return of the Jedi). He also serves as the protagonist of the prequel trilogy, which details how he fell to the dark side.

Vader/Anakin also appears as the protagonist of the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and a major antagonist in the 2016 stand-alone live action film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

In addition to this, he is one of the protagonists of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and a recurring antagonist in Star Wars Rebels, serving as a major antagonist in season 1 and the main antagonist of season 2, especially part 2 of its two-part season finale Twilight of the Apprentice. He did not once appear in season 3 but made a brief cameo in season 4.

Portrayals

  • In the original trilogy, He was portrayed by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones.
  • At the end of Return of the Jedi, he was portrayed by the late Sebastian Shaw.
  • In the prequel trilogy, he was portrayed by Jake Lloyd as a child in The Phantom Menace, and by Hayden Christensen as an adult in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith with James Earl Jones returning to do his voice at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
  • Christensen also played his force ghost in the 2004 DVD version of Return of the Jedi.
  • In Rogue One, he was portrayed by Spencer Wilding, who also played Frankenstein's monster, Grand Marshal Skaldak in the Doctor Who episode "Cold War", and one of the White Walkers in Game of Thrones while James Earl Jones returned to do his voice.
  • In television, he was voiced by Matt Lanter in the Clone Wars series and by James Earl Jones in Star Wars Rebels.
  • In the Family Guy episodes based on the original trilogy, he was played by Stewie Griffin.

Personality

Luke: There is still good in him.
Obi-Wan: He's more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.
~ Luke insists his father can be redeemed, despite Obi-Wan's doubtfulness.

Before Anakin became Darth Vader, he was a kind person who cared about all his friends. He would not give up on them no matter what. Despite his kind and sympathetic demeanor, he was pretty treacherous and aggressive towards people he considered his enemies.

The deaths of his mother and his wife left a strong impact on him, feeling alone and failed, he ultimately embraced the Dark side of the Force and his personality changed completely. He was manipulative and terrifying now, so he was driven by rage, though after his defeat and mutilation on Mustafar at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was no longer as arrogant and overconfident as he previously was. Although he regained confidence in himself, it was never to the point of being outwardly cocky or conceited.

Unlike most members of the Sith Order, Vader was capable of acknowledging and learning from his mistakes, due to the events on Mustafar as he was emotionally traumatized by the experience.

Vader remained an impatient man, but generally presented himself as calm, positive, enthusiastic and level-headed, as he rarely lost his temper and usually had good control over his emotions, something he was not able to do in his early 20s. He had an extremely low tolerance for failure and he did not get along at all with higher-ranking officers in the Imperial military. He had little to no tolerance for incompetence or for those who disrespected him, nearly choking Admiral Conan Antonio Motti to death when he disrespected Vader and challenge his powers of the Force. Many higher-ranking officers disliked the Sith Lord and his "sorcerer's ways" for no apparent reason. Despite his bad relationship with higher-ranking officers in the military, Vader did get along quite well with the Stormtroopers because of his front line leadership.

As a general within the ranks of the Imperial Army of the Empire, Vader was renowned for his leadership skills and admired by stormtroopers, middle-ranking/low-ranking officers and politicians alike.

Because of his former status as a slave, Vader also had distress when the concept of slavery was brought up. Despite what his actions wrought upon both himself and the galaxy, Vader apparently believed he was doing what was good for the galaxy. Deep down, however, he felt enormous guilt and remorse for his actions, whether he wanted to admit it or not. So much that he developed a deep self-loathing, and even nearly committed suicide at one point.

Upon his fateful reunion with his former apprentice and friend Ahsoka Tano, Vader expressed no desire to rekindle the bond he once shared with her and even told her that he had killed Anakin Skywalker, when he was in fact Anakin himself (though he may have been speaking ironically). Though he did offer to spare her if she told him where the other lost Jedi were hiding, he cruelly resolved to kill her when she refused and even when she found out he was indeed her former mentor and offered him compassion.

Vader was cold, brutal and ruthless towards his enemies, as he was perfectly willing to tease, torture and even murder them in cold blood. He was seemingly unfailingly loyal to his master Palpatine; the latter was the closest thing Vader had to a friend. However, in truth, he secretly disliked his master for deceiving him and ruining his life, as he secretly planned to overthrow him one day with his own apprentice. The only reason Vader continued to serve Palpatine after losing his wife was because the Emperor was all he had left; he was the only one that would accept him. All-in-all, Vader was only truly loyal to people he still cared about, like his son Luke, as he did everything possible to protect him from Palpatine.

Upon discovering the existence of his son Luke, Vader became emotionally conflicted and displayed a sense of compassion for his son, revealing that some hint of him still held an attachment towards his family. This attachment ultimately led to his redemption.

Nearing the end of his life, Vader strongly believed he was irredeemable and there was no good left in him. However, when his son Luke was being tortured by Palpatine, he finally broke away from the dark side of the force, becoming the good person he once was, sacrificed himself to save his son from Palpatine. Redeemed by Luke's love, Anakin made peace with his son before he became one with the Force and was at last reunited with his loved ones.

Powers and Abilities

He was the best starpilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior.
~ Obi Wan Kenobi, describing Anakin Skywalker's (who became Darth Vader) abilities.
  • The Force: As the Chosen One, Vader was immensely powerful and had an amazingly strong connection to the Force, stronger than any Force user ever in existence. He also possessed the potential to become the most powerful Force user in the history of the galaxy. However, after being burned alive on Mustafar and forced to become a cyborg, he never reached his full potential, as the physical and emotional trauma caused by his transformation greatly limited his ability to access and control the Force. Nevertheless, Vader still became one of the most powerful Force users in the history of the galaxy.
    • Telekinesis: Vader was a master of Telekinesis, which he used either as offense or defense.
    • Force Choke: Vader was a well known user of the Force choke, which he often used to either weaken his enemies or execute his Naval officers for incompetence. He could also do this from a great distance and seemingly only needs to be in sight of his target to choke him, as he choked Admiral Ozzel several kilometres away.
    • Force Barrier: Vader utilized Force barrier, to created telekinetic barrier or wall around himself or his allies.
    • Mind probe: Vader utilized mind probe to sift through the thoughts of a sentient being.
    • Force Sense: Vader utilized Force sense, to sense another sentient being's emotions, the future, ripples in the Force caused by momentous or traumatic events, or impending danger and the presence of the light side.
    • Force Rage: Vader utilized Force rage to channel his anger to increase his speed, strength and ferocity.
    • Tutaminis: Vader utilized Tutaminis to dissipate concentrated energy such as blasterbolts or lightsaber blades without his lightsaber.
    • Force Deflection: Vader utilized Force deflection, to deflect incoming attacks with or without his lightsaber.
    • Kinetite: Vader utilized Kinetite to subdue his opponents in an electrical field of kinetic energy
    • Force Destruction: Vader utilized Force destruction to immobilize or vaporize his opponents in an energy field.
  • Cyborg Strength: As a cyborg, Vader was physically stronger then most other sentient beings, enough that he can hold the pressure of several tons to effortlessly lift the weight of a grown man or crush bone with his fist. Vader uses this to his advantage in light saber combat; he uses his immense strength to easily subdue, restrain and overpower his opponents. With his cybernetic legs, he can leap great long distances.

Abilities

  • Lightsaber Skills: Vader was extremely skilled in light saber combat and an exceptionally formidable duelist. He also possessed the potential to become the greatest light saber duelist in the history of the galaxy. However, after being burned alive on Mustafar and forced to become a cyborg, he never reached his full potential, as his armored suit greatly limited his mobility. Nevertheless, Vader still became one of the greatest light saber duelists in the history of the galaxy. He specialized in using his skills, weight, endurance and sheer brute strength to overwhelm his opponents into confusion or exhaustion. Vader also regained some of his old agility, and his blade work became brutally effective.
    • Form I: Vader was very skilled in Shii-Cho.
    • Form II: After becoming a cyborg, Vader studied Makashi and became very skilled at it.
    • Form III: After becoming a cyborg, Vader studied Soresu and became very skilled at it.
    • Form IV: Vader was extremely skilled in Ataru.
    • Form V: Vader was a master of Shien/Djem So, considered by many to be the most proficient practitioner of the form. After becoming a cyborg, he created a personal varient that included elements of all seven forms.
    • Form VI: Vader was highly skilled in Niman.
    • Form VII: After becoming a cyborg, Vader studied Juyo/Vaapad and became very skilled at it.
    • Jar'Kai: Vader was highly skilled in Jar'Kai.
  • Expert Hand-To-Hand Combatant: Vader was extremely skilled in unarmed combat.
  • Skilled Marksman: Vader was highly skilled in the use of blaster pistols, though he very rarely used any.
  • Master Pilot: Even before his fall to the Dark side, Vader was praised as the most skilled star-pilot in the history of galaxy, a reputation he lived up to when he single-handedly almost destroyed Phoenix Squadron in a lone Tie Fighter, easily out-flying their entire fleet and forcing their command to abandon ship. Vader's only equal was his son, Luke Skywalker.
  • Master Engineer: Even before his fall to the Dark side, Vader was amazingly skilled in engineering. He was able to successfully construct his red bladed lightsaber in his first try.
  • Genius-Level Intellect/Master Tactician/Leader: Even before his fall to the Dark side, Vader was amazingly intelligent; his intelligence rivaled that of even Yoda and Palpatine. As a Sith General, Vader was a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader.
  • Multilingualism: Vader was capable of fluently speaking English, Huttese, Bitt, and Sith tongue.

In Other Media

Family Guy

Main article: Darth Stewie

Epic Rap Battles of History

Main article: Darth Vader (Epic Rap Battles of History)

Trivia

  • Eric Bui, a psychiatrist at University of Toulouse Hospital who argued at the 2007 American Psychiatric Association convention that Anakin meets six of the nine diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD), one more than necessary for a diagnosis. He and a colleague, Rachel Rodgers, published their findings in a 2010 letter to the editor of the journal Psychiatry Research. Bui says he found Anakin Skywalker an useful example to explain BPD to medical students.
  • Darth Vader's iconic status has made the character a synonym for evil in popular culture. As noted above, psychiatrists have even considered him a useful example to explain borderline personality disorder to medical students.
  • "Vader" is Dutch for "Father", foreshadowing the reveal of his true relationship with Luke and Leia.
  • As of now, the new sequel trilogy will be the only trilogy to not include Anakin (or either of his masters) at any point, but instead focus on a new villain, Kylo Ren being one of the main antagonists. Kylo Ren is Vader's grandson, Ben Solo. The crew considered bringing Anakin back as a force ghost in the seventh film but decided against doing so.
    • Interestingly, Kylo Ren has some similarities where some of them were intentional by Ren himself due to him idolizing Vader when he was still a Sith Warrior where notable intended similarities include wearing mask that can amplify and project their voices.
  • Vader's voice actor also played Thulsa Doom in Conan The Barbarian.
  • Anakin was the protagonist of the prequel trilogy. However since Revenge of the Sith shows him completing his transformation as Darth before A New Hope, Anakin's main character role in Revenge of the Sith can be debatable.
  • Darth Vader's line "No, I am your father!" has become a well known memorable quote ever in Star Wars, receiving many various parodies in many media, fan fiction or merchandise alike. Although, most assume the line was, "Luke... I am your father." One of the best and most memorable ones would be in the 1999 Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 2 where Emperor Zurg, tells Buzz that he is his father, which is a parody of the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells Luke he's his father. Also at the beginning of the movie, Buzz breathes like Darth Vader.
  • In Toy Story 2's 2010 sequel Toy Story 3, the scene where Big Baby throws Lots-O' Huggin' Bear into the dumpster parodies the scene in Return of the Jedi where Vader kills Palpatine.
  • Plus in the 2014 Toy Story TV special Toy Story That Time Forgot, The Cleric parodies one of Vader's lines in A New Hope.
  • Many parodies of Darth Vader appeared in many various media. For example, in the Family Guy episodes based on the original trilogy, Stewie Griffin played the character but renamed him Darth Stewie.
  • Vader is a recurring character in Epic Rap Battles of History, where he often battles againt Adolf Hitler. Here, he is portrayed by series co-creator Nice Peter.
  • Darth Vader also made a guest appearance in Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian alongside with Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street as one of the fictional figures who wanted to join Kahmunrah's army, only to be refused due to that the latter can't understand Vader's breathing, thinking it as his language. Angered, he slams the lid of Oscar's trash can and is never seen again in the rest of the movie.
  • Darth Vader, alongside with Galen Marek and Master Yoda made a guest appearance in Soul Calibur IV as playable characters. In the game, Darth Vader was seeking on both the power of the Soul Edge & Soul Calibur where in his ending, he successfully found what he is looking for after he finishes off Algol and took both weapons with him, bringing the Empire to a whole new level of fear. Unfortunately, it received many criticism where many Star Wars fans complained about having Star Wars characters in the Soul Calibur games universe and stated that they "didn't quite fit".
  • Darth Vader made a cameo in the 2012 animated Disney film Wreck-It Ralph on the side of a game console. The film's title character Wreck-It Ralph also breaths like him briefly.
  • Darth Vader made an appearance in the 2014 Disney special Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars, where he was the master of Darthenshmirtz (the Star Wars version of Heinz Doofenshmirtz) and Candace's C.O., the latter who was later killed for his failure to bring socks.
  • Vader is a recurring character on the critically acclaimed webseries Epic Rap Battles of History. He is physically portrayed and voiced by Nice Peter, who is the creator of the series overall. The beat and music in the videos come from his chest mounted control box. He often goes up against Adolf Hitler.
  • Darth Vader appears in Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion and is the master of the Inquisitor.
  • Each of Palpatine's helpers in each film in the Star Wars prequels foreshadows a different aspect of what Anakin will become when he becomes Darth Vader;
    • Darth Maul - The deadly and merciless apprentice who enforces Palpatine's will as well as surviving a terrible injury from Obi-Wan and becoming a cyborg.
    • Count Dooku - The Jedi turned to the Dark Side desiring to bring order to the Galaxy and plans to overthrow his master.
    • General Grievous - The wheezing, heavy-breathy, Jedi-hunting Cyborg.
  • WatchMojo.com listed Darth Vader as #1 on their "Top 10 Iconic Movie Villains" list. 
  • In the earlier script of The Empire Strikes Back that was written by Leigh Brackett, Darth Vader and Anakin were supposedly separate entities: Darth Vader was Anakin's murderer and when Luke confronted Vader, Anakin's spirit would guide him in their battle. George Lucas was disappointed with this as this likely wouldn't improve the saga, though unfortunately, Leigh had died before they could discuss this. So, he made the plot twist where Anakin and Vader were the same person and Vader revealed this to Luke, which not only was enjoyable for Lucas himself, but also became arguably the most memorable event in the franchise.
  • A quote made by Yoda in The Phantom Menace foreshadows the stages of Anakin's journey to becoming Vader. The quote was "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate, Hate leads to suffering."
    • Fear - Anakin as a boy was afraid of how powerful he is or losing those who are near and dear to him.
    • Anger - When Anakin's mother died in his arms after being tortured by the Tusken Raiders, he retaliated by killing them all. He made a vow to become the most powerful Jedi ever.
    • Hate - Anakin put a lot of his trust in Chancellor Palpatine, despite the Jedi Council's distrust towards him. When they denied to give Anakin the rank "Master", he believed this was because they were afraid of him. He turned his back on the Jedi even his own master to join the Sith.
    • Suffering - Anakin made so many sacrifices to save his family, however everything he did to protect them only took them away from him and left him in a state of depression as a servant for the dark side. He lost the love of his life, his children (unaware that they were alive), his friendship with his master and most of his own humanity.
  • In Star Wars: Rebels, the face of Vader is less damaged than in Return of the Jedi. This could be a result to what happened to him immediately after he threw Emperor Palpatine down into the shaft in The Return of the Jedi, probably because he never threw down a Sith with Force-lightning ever before.

External Links

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           Star Wars Villains

Bounty Hunters
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Confederacy of Independent Systems
Leaders: Darth Sidious | Count Dooku
Separatist Council: Nute Gunray | Passel Argente | Po Nudo | Poggle the Lesser | Rune Haako | San Hill | Shu Mai | Tikkes | Wat Tambor
Military Leaders: Admiral Trench | General Grievous | General Kalani | Lok Durd | Mar Tuuk | Riff Tamson | TA-175 | TF-1726 | TJ 55 | TJ-912 | TV-94 | TV-94B | TX-20 | TX-21 | TX-20 | TX-21 | TZ-33 | Whorm Loathsom
Other Officials: Asajj Ventress | Bec Lawise | Darts D'nar | EV-A4-D | Faro Argyus | K2-B4 | Keeper Agruss | Miraj Scintel | Nix Card | Osi Sobeck | R3-S6 | Voe Atell
Soldiers: Battle Droids | Droidekas | Geonosians | MagnaGuards | Super Battle Droids | Tactical Droids

First Order
Leaders: Supreme Leader Snoke | Kylo Ren
Imperial Officers: Armitage Hux | Captain Canady | Captain Phasma | Colonel Datoo | Colonel Kaplan
Other Officials and Operatives: BB-9E | Carise Sindian
Soldiers: Stormtroopers (FN-2199) | Knights of Ren | Elite Praetorian Guards

Galactic Empire
Leaders: Emperor Palpatine | Darth Vader
Inquisitorius: Eighth Brother | Fifth Brother | The Grand Inquisitor | Seventh Sister | Sixth Brother | Tenth Brother
Imperial Officers: Arihnda Pryce | Cassio Tagge | Conan Antonio Motti | Cumberlayne Aresko | Firmus Piett | Garrick Versio | Grand Moff Tarkin | Kassius Konstantine | Kendal Ozzel | Maximillian Veers | Moff Jerjerrod | Myles Grint | Thrawn
Organizations: Imperial Navy | COMPNOR
Other Officials and Operatives: Alexsandr Kallus | Commander Cody | Gar Saxon | Gideon Hask | Iden Versio | Mas Amedda | Naare | Orson Krennic | Tiber Saxon
Soldiers: Death Troopers | Emperor's Royal Guard | Stormtroopers | 501st Legion

Individuals
Dark Force-Users: Barriss Offee | Darth Bane | Darth Plagueis | Pong Krell | The Son
Other: 0-0-0 | Azmorigan | Bib Fortuna | Car Affa | Cassie Cryar | Chi Cho | Cornelius Evazan | DJ | Dryden Vos | Garnac | Graxol Kelvyyn | Hondo Ohnaka | Jabba the Hutt | Maketh Tua | Moralo Eval | Ponda Baba | Salacious B. Crumb | Sarlacc | Saw Gerrera | Sebulba | Slick | Teedo | Tobias Beckett | Unkar Plutt | Zillo Beast | Ziro the Hutt | Razoo Qin-Fee | Tasu Leech

Other Groups
Black Sun: Ziton Moj
Death Watch: Bo-Katan Kryze | Pre Vizsla | Tor Vizsla
Guavian Death Gang: Bala-Tik
Nightsisters: Asajj Ventress | Mother Talzin | Old Daka | Zalem
Shadow Collective: Darth Maul | Savage Opress | Almec
Trade Federation: Daultay Dofine | Lott Dod | Nute Gunray | Rune Haako

The Headlined Villains
2009

January
Shadow Queen

February
None

March
Lord Voldemort

April
Darth Vader

May
Dahlia Gillespie

June
Smithy

July
Manfred Von Karma

August
Light Yagami

September
Lee Woo-jin

October
Imhullu

November
Gaston LeGume

December
None

2010

January
Leatherface (original)

February
GLaDOS

March
Edward Hyde

April
Dimentio

May
The Chairstealer

June
Walter Sullivan

July
Vlad the Impaler

August
None

September
Audrey II

October
Albert Wesker

November
None

December
Skynet

2011

January
Thanos (Marvel)

February
Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

March
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

April
Lord Zedd

May
Magneto

June
Cthulhu (Lovecraft)

July
Shredder (1987 TMNT)

August
None

September
Cobra Commander

October
None

November
None

December
None

2012

January
Doctor Doom (Marvel)

February
Lucifer (Dante's Inferno)

March
Vilgax

April
Peter Stegman

May
Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal)

June
President Coriolanus Snow

2013

February
Dominic Greene

September
Chase Young

December
Benjamin Willis

2014

May
Kyuubey
Geese Howard
Horace Pinker

July
Kurumi Tokisaki

August
Grand High Witch

September
James Moriarty

October
Koba

November
B.P. Richfield

December
Judge Claude Frollo

2015

January
The Grinch

February
Darth Nihilus

March
Darkseid (DC)

April
Fallen Hana

May
Dick Dastardly

June
Francis Dolarhyde

July
Nyarlathotep (Lovecraft)

August
Pamela Voorhees

September
Frieza

October
Agatha Trunchbull

November
The Beldam

December
Santa Clause

2016

January
Randall Flagg

February
Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

March
Yog-Sothoth

April
Esdeath

May
Count Dracula (Bram Stoker)

June
Jerome Valeska

July
Lord Shen

August
Bill Cipher

September
Tate Langdon

October
Oogie Boogie

November
Dr. Venom

December
Krampus (Krampus)

2017

January
Joker (Nolanverse)

February
Lust

March
Lubdan

April
Sauron (Middle-earth)

May
Aku

June
General Grievous

July
Norman Osborn (Marvel)

August
Jaws (007)

September
It (Stephen King)

October
Ridley (Metroid)

November
Venom (Marvel)

December
Stripe

2018

January
Frank the Rabbit

February
Queen of Hearts (Disney)

March
Bowser

April
Bebop and Rocksteady

May
Ainz Ooal Gown

June
Father (Fullmetal Alchemist)

July
Thulsa Doom

August
Godzilla

September
Yuuki Terumi

October
Freddy Krueger

November
Angel Eyes

December
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