Darth Vader

From Academic Kids

Template:SW Character Darth Vader (41 BBY4 ABY) is a fictional character from Star Wars. He is given the name "Darth Vader" in 19 BBY.

In A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Vader is the epitome of pure evil—a man who holds the entire galaxy under the boot of an evil Empire; and in doing so, dispassionately commits torture, oversees the destruction of an entire planet, and murders even his own officers. In later films, his redemption, as well as his initial fall from grace, are explored in greater depth. Darth Vader is widely considered to be one of the most iconic movie villains of all time.

Darth Vader was born Anakin Skywalker and is the father of twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Throughout the six films, the character is portrayed by five different actors. Anakin Skywalker is played by Jake Lloyd as a child and Hayden Christensen as a young adult. David Prowse portrayed his body in the original Star Wars Trilogy. His voice was supplied by James Earl Jones. Sebastian Shaw portrayed the face of the dying, middle-aged (and redeemed) man behind the mask in the (original) theatrical release of Return of the Jedi and shortly after, as the ghost of Anakin; in the most recent DVD release, however, it's Christensen who plays the ghost of Skywalker, digitally inserted in Shaw's place. Also, in the closing scenes of Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, the fully armoured Vader is played by Christensen, again with James Earl Jones' voice.


Anakin Skywalker

Template:SW Character Anakin "Ani" Skywalker is believed by many, notably Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, to be the prophesied Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith, according to Jedi Master Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace. He is taken as a young boy and trained as a Jedi, and becomes a legendary figure during the Clone Wars. However, Anakin's arrogance and emotional insecurities eventually turn him to the Dark Side, leading him to become Darth Vader.

Son of Shmi Skywalker, Anakin is born in about 41 BBY. Shmi claims that there was no father and that her pregnancy with Anakin resulted from a virgin conception. Some viewers have drawn narrative parallels between this tale and the New Testament stories of Jesus' conception and birth, as well as classic mythological stories. The wise Qui-Gon Jinn suggests that Anakin might have been conceived by the midi-chlorians—the implication being that Anakin is a creation of the Force itself. (According to Chancellor Palpatine, the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis learned to provoke midi-chlorians into producing life—some have viewed this as a clue to Anakin's origins.) George Lucas has stated that these issues were left deliberately ambiguous, and that it has been left for the audience to decide how Anakin was created.

In the prequels, and especially in the third episode, Revenge of the Sith, Anakin is a tragic hero whose tragic flaw is his fear of loss.

Childhood and discovery

In The Phantom Menace, he appears as a kind, selfless nine-year-old boy (played by Jake Lloyd). Anakin and his mother are slaves owned by the curmudgeonly scrap-shop owner Watto. Even at this young age, he has a reputation for being able to build or repair anything, evidenced by the creation of his own protocol droid C-3PO and podracer, each from salvaged parts. A child prodigy, Anakin excels at mathematics and engineering. Among his many talents, he also is a remarkable pilot with quick reflexes—Qui-Gon Jinn states that the Force allows Anakin to "see things before they happen."

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He is found on Tatooine by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon is convinced that Skywalker is the Chosen One foretold by prophecy to bring balance to the Force—not only because the boy's incredible abilities indicate Force-adeptness, but also because his midi-clorian levels read at a record-high and because of his most unique situation of birth. Qui-Gon manages to win Anakin's freedom with a clever wager involving the boy being entered in a podrace, in which Anakin succeeds hands-down. Having won his freedom, Anakin must leave his mother, and he is brought to Coruscant along with Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, and the Gungan Jar Jar Binks.

Master Jinn requests that the Jedi Council allow him to train Anakin as his student; this being proposed to take place after Qui-Gon's current apprentice, Obi-Wan, completes the trials necessary to become a Jedi Knight. This request is denied, as Anakin is much older than the usual padawan, and he exhibits much fear and anger left over from his days as a slave, further intensified by the separation from his mother and his home.

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you."Yoda speaking to Anakin in front of the Jedi Council

Ultimately, Anakin helps to lead Naboo and Gungan forces to victory over the Trade Federation by taking a Naboo spacefighter and destroying the Federation flagship, the Droid Control Ship. Later, a dying Qui-Gon, slain by Darth Maul, urges Obi-Wan to train Anakin, and the Council reluctantly approves. Meanwhile, the newly-elected Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine, befriends the boy, promising to "watch [his] career with great interest."

Anakin and Padmé form a strong bond, Padmé being one of his first glimpses of the galaxy beyond Tatooine.

The Clone Wars

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, (2002), Anakin is now a young adult and cocky Jedi apprentice (played by Christensen). Anakin develops as an arrogant, socially awkward loner, doubtless in part because of his transition from scrapyard slave to rising star of the Jedi Order. His natural abilities place him leaps and bounds above his peers, and this feeds his ego. He frequently shows off. His relationship with Obi-Wan is complicated; though he says that Obi-Wan is like a father to him and claims his mentor possesses the wisdom of Master Yoda and the power of Master Windu, he chafes against Obi-Wan's authority and believes he is holding him back. Frustrated, he turns to another teacher for advice: Palpatine, who would flatter the young padawan in an attempt to turn him against Obi-Wan.

Anakin is assigned to guard Padmé, who is now a senator. His childhood fascination with her has now become a powerful infatuation. In conversation, he reveals his affection for her, as well as his distrust of the political process and the need he perceives for there to be one strong leader. Anakin and Padmé ultimately fall in love with each other. Anakin's pursuit of this relationship is in violation of Jedi tradition, which holds that although celibacy is not required, Jedi must avoid attachment in their relationships.

While still guarding Padmé, Anakin senses that his mother, Shmi, is in danger. After arriving on Tatooine, Anakin finds that his mother has been freed from slavery and has been living in the desert with her new husband, Cliegg Lars, when she is captured by Tusken Raiders. The young Jedi discovers their camp, and slips into the tent that contains his mother, presumably locating her with his Jedi senses. He arrives to talk to Shmi shortly before she dies. Battered, sleep-deprived, and dehydrated, she dies in his arms. Enraged, he slaughters the entire tribe of Tuskens, including the women and children. Yoda, as well as the deceased Qui-Gon's spirit, sense his Force presence turn "dark," and fear that this signals a downfall for Obi-Wan's young apprentice. Padmé is clearly troubled by what he has done, but being in love with him, she is not truly repulsed, and instead tries to soothe him with sympathy.

Anakin and Padmé learn that Obi-Wan has been taken hostage by the Geonosian-engineered Separatist forces. Padmé argues that they must go free him and Anakin has little choice but to accompany her. However, they also are soon captured. Faced with their impending demise in a gladiatorial-execution arena, they profess their undying love to one another. Thankfully for the trio, the timely arrival of the Jedi along with new clone troopers allows them to escape and fight in the ensuing Battle of Geonosis. After losing his right arm in a lightsaber battle with Count Dooku, Anakin finally marries Padmé in a secret lakeside ceremony on Naboo, to which R2-D2 and C-3PO are the only witnesses.

In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin goes through many battles in the war, earning him the moniker the "Hero Without Fear." One of such major events in it is his battle with Asajj Ventress. He is later knighted a full-fledged Jedi, despite the fact that he never takes the final test. During a mission to save the Nelvaanian Braves, Anakin goes through a cave that reveals what would become of him in the future. Despite Anakin's periods of separation from his wife, the twins Luke and Leia are conceived during the Clone Wars.

Transformation to Vader

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Anakin Skywalker during his fall to the dark side of the Force and transformation into Darth Vader.

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, after performing exquisite aerial maneuvers in the Battle of Coruscant, Anakin and Obi-Wan board the Separatist flagship The Invisible Hand, where Dooku appears to be holding Palpatine hostage. They confront Dooku, who manages to disable Obi-Wan before being defeated and disarmed by Anakin. At Palpatine's urgings, Anakin kills Dooku, but immediately regrets it; to kill a foe who surrenders is not the way of the Jedi.

Upon his return to Coruscant, Anakin is reunited with his wife and she informs him of her pregnancy. He is later troubled by visions of Padmé dying in childbirth.

Palpatine makes Anakin his representative on the Jedi Council. The other Jedi reluctantly accept Anakin's placement on the council, but deny him the rank of Jedi Master. Further, the Jedi Council exhorts him to spy on Palpatine. Anakin loses his trust in them, and reveals to Padmé that he is plagued with uncertainty.

Palpatine meets with Anakin again, and he tells him the legend of Darth Plagueis. As he continues to meet with Palpatine, the Chancellor offers him the chance to learn the Dark Side of the Force. Anakin realizes that Palpatine is a Sith Lord, but is reminded by Palpatine that only through Palpatine's teachings can he save Padmé from the death he has foreseen. He reports to Mace Windu that Palpatine is a Sith Lord, following which Windu, ordering Anakin to stay behind, goes with three other Jedi to arrest the chancellor. Palpatine duels with the Jedi, slaying three of them before engaging Windu in a prolonged battle. Anakin, in the meantime, is troubled by an overwhelming thought: with Palpatine's death, he will lose the chance to save his wife. He will not stand by, powerless, while another loved one dies.

Windu comes out on top in the duel, holding his weapon on the disarmed and cowering Sith just as Anakin arrives. Palpatine attacks Windu with Force lightning while pleading to Anakin for help. Windu screams at Anakin not to listen. Windu blocks the Force lightning with his lightsaber, reflecting it back at Palpatine and scarring him horribly. Palpatine begs for his life, but Windu is determined to kill him and destroy the Sith. Anakin demands that Palpatine must stand trial— mirroring his prior afflictions concerning Dooku's right to live, Anakin states that executing him is not the way of the Jedi. Windu attacks anyway, but before he can kill Palpatine, Anakin draws his lightsaber, severing most of Windu's arm. Before Windu can respond, Palpatine uses Force lightning and sends Windu plummeting to his death. Anakin is horrified and guilt-ridden, but Palpatine reassures him that he is fulfilling his destiny by embracing the Dark Side. Anakin says he will do anything Palpatine desires, but he must help save Padmé's life. Palpatine insists that he and Anakin, together, can find the secret, tacitly admitting that he does not have the ability to hold back death. Anakin then pledges himself to the Dark Side and is endowed with a new name: Darth Vader.

In order to increase his new apprentice's power with the Dark Side, Palpatine orders him to lead a battalion of Clone Stormtroopers to the Jedi Temple and kill every Jedi, Padawan, and Youngling inside. Anakin does this without question, killing venerable Jedi and children alike. Next, he is sent to the planet Mustafar where he assassinates the Separatist Council, including the Trade Federation Viceroy, Nute Gunray, Sidious's former ally who invaded and occupied Naboo and was defeated by Anakin in the Battle of Naboo, ten years before the Clone Wars. Padmé then travels to Mustafar to reunite with Anakin. She is afraid for him and wanting to leave public life to live together and raise their child. Anakin refuses, telling her that they no longer have to run because his new powers are enough to not only save her, but to overthrow the Emperor and make the Republic "the way we want it to be." Unknown to Padme, Obi-Wan stows away on her ship to find him. Upon seeing his now former master, Anakin suspects betrayal and uses the Force to choke Padmé until she loses consciousness. Obi-Wan tries to reason with Anakin, but once Anakin proves he has truly fallen to the Dark Side, Anakin and Obi-Wan fight an intense battle throughout the mining complex and down the river of lava outside. The battle ends on the banks of the lava river, where Anakin, overconfident, leaps to strike his former master, only to lose his left arm and both legs to Obi-Wan's blade. Anakin is stranded on the embankment, desparately trying to claw his way up the scree with his remaining arm, as Obi-Wan watches from above.

Obi-Wan: "You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!
Anakin: "I hate you!"
Obi-Wan: "You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you."

Anakin's clothing and body catch on fire and he is nearly immolated. Having retrieved Anakin's lightsaber, Obi-Wan abandons his former apprentice to the flames. Anakin ultimately manages to crawl high enough to prevent falling directly into the lava flow, but is left badly burned. After Obi-Wan and Padmé leave the planet, Palpatine arrives and finds Anakin, barely alive, next to the lava river.

Meanwhile, Padme dies in childbirth, just as Anakin had feared. Obi-Wan, knowing Luke and Leia would never be safe from the Sith if anyone knew who they truly were, gives Leia to Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan and Luke to Owen Lars, Cliegg's son, to raise on Tatooine.

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Vader and the Emperor overseeing the construction of the Death Star
Palpatine learns of Padme's death as he returns with Anakin to Coruscant and repairs the damage to his body through intensive cybernetic enhancement. Palpatine revives Darth Vader as a cyborg in a manner reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein.
Emperor Palpatine: "Lord Vader, can you hear me? "
Darth Vader: "Yes, master. Where is Padmé? Is she safe? Is she all right?"
Emperor Palpatine: "It seems, in your anger, you killed her."
Darth Vader: "I-I couldn't have! She was alive! I felt it! Nooo!"

Vader shakes the room with the Force, breaks his bindings on the operating table and struggles to walk under the sheer weight of his new legs. Overwhelmed by his despair in the belief he has killed his wife and unborn child, the only thing that remains in his life is his service to his master, the new Emperor of the galaxy.

Darth Vader

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"He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil."Obi-Wan Kenobi

Within the Empire, Vader is viewed as a cruel and frightening figure, frequently utilising his ability to choke people using the Force. In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Vader's aggressive instincts are somewhat restrained with orders to serve under Grand Moff Tarkin for that time: when Admiral Motti challenges Vader's "sad devotion" to the Force, Tarkin does not allow Vader to choke Motti to death, only long enough to make his point. The death of Tarkin aboard the Death Star removes any apparent check on Vader's power, and throughout the rest of the trilogy, Imperial officers universally react with fear and dread at Vader's presence. This fear is not unwarranted, as both Admiral Ozzel and Captain Needa die by Vader's hand in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Admiral Piett curiously survives, despite failing to recapture the Millennium Falcon. In the DVD commentary, George Lucas states that this is because Vader feels conflicted about his son, Luke Skywalker.

Fighting the rebellion

At the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Vader intends to retrieve the stolen plans of the Death Star, and to locate the hidden base of the Rebel Alliance. He boards the Tantive IV, choking its captain, Raymus Antilles, to death while sending teams of stormtroopers to search the ship for the plans. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is captured and brought to the Death Star, only to be tortured by Vader and to see her home planet destroyed under the orders of Grand Moff Tarkin. The elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi, along with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are in the meantime engineering a rescue of Leia and an escape from the Death Star aboard Solo's captured ship, the Millennium Falcon.

Obi-Wan disengages the tractor beam holding the Falcon in one of the Death Star's hangar bays. On his way out, Vader stops him and engages him in a lightsaber duel. Obi-Wan vaguely warns Vader that striking him down will make him "more powerful than you can possibly imagine." As Obi-Wan sees that Luke and company have escaped, he leaves himself open to Vader's attack and becomes a spirit in the Force in order to guide Luke.

To determine the location of the rebel base, Vader allows Luke and Han Solo to rescue Leia and escape with the plans to the construction of the Death Star. During the Rebel attack on the Death Star, Vader pilots a distinctive TIE/Advanced fighter in pursuit of the Rebel X-Wing starfighters. Just as Vader gets a lock on Luke's X-wing, Han Solo then flies the Millennium Falcon into the region and shoots down one of Vader's two support craft. This causes the other to veer into Vader's fighter, which is sent spinning away from the Death Star. Vader regains control and escapes.

Battling his son

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Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Vader is at the forefront of the continuing attempt to suppress the Rebellion, as he orders the fleet to to prepare a full military assault on the rebel base hidden on the ice world of Hoth. Admiral Ozzel makes the mistake of jumping into the system too close, alerting the rebels to their presence and allowing them to evacuate and escape. While most of the rebels escape to the safety of the rebel fleet, the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive fails, following which Vader sends TIE-Fighters to pursue the Falcon through an asteroid field.

While on this pursuit, the Emperor contacts Vader via hologram, giving him a new mission—to capture Luke Skywalker, his own son and the pilot who destroyed the Death Star. Vader suggests that he could be turned to the dark side of the Force, and the Emperor agrees, noting that he would be a "powerful asset".

Vader continues pursuing the Falcon, resorting to hiring bounty hunters. Ultimately, the Falcon appears and just as quickly disappears, hiding in a blind spot on the back of the bridge tower of Captain Needa's Star Destroyer. Captain Needa takes responsibility for losing them, and apologizes to Vader. After Needa dies at Vader's hand, the fleet disperses and the Falcon breaks off, floating away as the Star Destroyer it was attached to dumps its garbage before going to hyperspace. The Falcon then sets course to Cloud City, a mining colony administered by Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. Boba Fett, one of the bounty hunters hired by Vader, had deduced their strategy and followed them to Cloud City, alerting Vader.

Vader lands on Cloud City, making a deal with Lando and waiting for the Falcon's arrival. When the Falcon arrives, Vader captures and tortures Han Solo. Promising to compensate Boba Fett if the experiment fails, Vader freezes Solo in carbonite as a test subject to see if the method would be viable for Luke Skywalker. Luke, training under Yoda on Dagobah, sees a vision of his friends in pain and rushes to Cloud City to save them, despite the sternest warnings from Yoda that he would risk falling to the dark side. Luke arrives, but Leia warns him it's a trap within the corridors of Cloud City. Lando, Chewbacca, and Leia engineer an escape from Cloud City as Boba Fett takes the frozen Han Solo to collect the bounty from Jabba the Hutt.

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"No. I am your father."

Luke finds Vader, and they battle, Luke not knowing his opponent's true identity. As Yoda and Obi-Wan warned, the inadequately trained Luke is no match for the powerful and experienced Vader who ultimately defeats him, cutting off his right hand.

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 tells Luke to join him so that they can destroy the Emperor and rule the galaxy as father and son. Luke, however profoundly shaken by this stunning claim, refuses to join Vader and escapes.

The redemption of Anakin Skywalker

In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Vader oversees the construction of a second Death Star. On the forest moon of Endor, Luke Skywalker surrenders to Imperial troops where he attempts to turn Vader from the Dark Side. Vader states, "It is too late for me, son," and delivers Luke to the Emperor onboard the new, incomplete Death Star. Luke reluctantly engages in a lightsaber battle with Vader.

Vader uses the Force to discover that Leia is Luke's sister, and threatens to turn her to the Dark Side if he should fail with Luke. Realizing the threat to his sister, Luke's rage is finally unleashed, and he attacks his father, driving him back with a whirlwind of blows, finally severing Vader's right hand.

Luke's fury is suddenly cut short—as he stares at his own cybernetic hand, he realizes with a visceral horror that he has already begun transforming into Vader's successor. As the Emperor approaches, encouraging Luke to finish Vader and take his place, Luke throws down his lightsaber, refusing to perform the killing blow.

Luke: "Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
Emperor: "So be it, Jedi."

Enraged, the Emperor uses Force lightning to attack Luke. Luke writhes in agony under the Emperor's torture, begging his father for help. After being consumed by Darth Vader for more than twenty years, Anakin Skywalker resurfaces and saves his son by throwing the Emperor into a deep shaft where he explodes in a fury of dark energies. In the process, Anakin is mortally wounded by the Emperor's lightning.

As the Death Star crumbles under Rebel attack, the dying man pleads with Luke to remove his mask.

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Sebastian Shaw as the dying Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
Vader: "Luke, help me take this mask off.""
Luke: "But you'll die."
Vader: "Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes."

Luke removes Vader's mask and sees the face of an old, deeply worn man underneath. In his dying breaths, Anakin Skywalker is redeemed, finally admitting to Luke that the goodness within him was not destroyed after all.

Vader: "Now go, my son. Leave me."
Luke: "No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you.""
Vader: "You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right."

According to Steve Sansweet of Lucasfilm and the script for Return of the Jedi Special Edition, Anakin's body disappears at death in the same way as Obi-Wan's and Yoda's had, [1] (http://www.starwars.com/community/askjc/steve/askjc20000131.html) though some argue that the movie would have shown his disappearance explicitly if that were the case. In either case, Vader's life support suit and whatever remains inside is burned by Luke in the manner of a Jedi's funeral on the forest moon of Endor.

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Sebastian Shaw (left) as the spirit of Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.

Later that night, during the celebration on Endor, Luke is able to see the spirit of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker, along with those of Obi-Wan and Yoda. In the original version of this scene, Anakin was played by Sebastian Shaw, who played Anakin in his death scene. The latest version of Return of the Jedi as of 2005 is the 2004 DVD release where Anakin's spirit is replaced by Christensen. According to Lucas, this change was made because Anakin goes back to his "inner persona" once one with the force, and appears the way he was before he turned to the Dark Side.


Darth Vader is a brilliant strategist and one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy. Vader still possesses his former persona's amazing engineering skills, having overseen the design of the TIE/Advanced fighter. His talent with the lightsaber is legendary. All of these skills, however, are secondary to his incredible mastery of the Force. He is born with the greatest known midi-chlorian count (a measure of Force-aptitude) in the galaxy, surpassing that of both Yoda and the Emperor. However, George Lucas states that his injuries on Mustafar (including the severing of all three of his remaining limbs) cost Vader much of his Force potential. Lucas claims that, as a masked and suited Darth Vader, Anakin has roughly 80% the strength of the Emperor. Had he sustained none of his injuries on Mustafar, he would have been about twice as powerful.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader was able to block Han Solo's blaster bolts with his hand. One explanation is that Vader used the Force while an Expanded Universe novel states that Vader's right glove was indestructable. In the Expanded Universe, Corran Horn demonstrated the ability to channel energy from outside attacks into Force power in similar ways.

Vader also appears to have great physical strength, which he demonstrates in his first and last appearances in the original triology: lifting the Rebel captain by the throat with one hand in A New Hope, and picking up the Emperor and hurling him to his death in Return of the Jedi.

Besides the life support it provides his ravaged body, Vader's armor may also offer some moderate degree of protection against lightsabers. In the climactic duel of The Empire Strikes Back, a blow from Luke's lightsaber appears to bounce off Vader's armor, although it still elicits a yell of pain from the Sith Lord.


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Anakin is a human of normal appearance. As an adult, he stands 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 metres) in height. His hair goes from straight and blond as a child to wavy and light brown as an adult. After Count Dooku severs his dominant right arm below the elbow, he is fitted with a cybernetic prosthetic replacement that is later enhanced and covered with a black leather glove. During the Clone Wars he acquires a vertical scar near his right eye, as a result of a duel between him and Asajj Ventress. Anakin dresses in traditional Jedi garb, though he ominously wears darker colors than most Jedi (dark brown and black), with a tunic made partially of synthetic leather.

As the Dark Lord of the Sith, Anakin's irises turn fiery yellow when he intensely experiences the Dark Side; however, in his redemption, the colouration returns to normal. At first, he continues to dress as a Jedi to hide his new identity. After sustaining lightsaber injuries from Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin is further disfigured by burns, receives lung injuries and suffers from smoke inhalation.

Subsequent to being rescued by Palpatine, new mechanical limbs are attached and a breathing modulator is incorporated into an obsidian armored suit. Even amongst his Imperial subordinates, Vader's frightful form invokes dread. Vader must wear his armour at all times when he is not meditating or healing in his pressurized containment-chamber. A towering figure, the suited Darth Vader is nearly 6 feet 8 inches (2.02 metres) tall. The artificial respirator emits a distinctive breathing sound. Ahead of his portentous footfalls, Lord Vader's distinctive, cold, raspy breathing sends chills down the spine as it heralds his villainous presence.

After his redemption, when he at last fulfilled the Jedi prophecy by killing the Emperor and destroying the Sith, Anakin's dying wish is that he should see his son Luke "with his own eyes." Luke complies, and removes the fearsome mask that had caged his father's face for 23 years. What is revealed is the ghostly pale visage of a sad and withered man in his late forties. His head bald and browless, Anakin's skin is pastely white from not having been exposed to sunlight for two decades, his face still carrying the scars of the tragic duel with Obi-Wan. His weary eyes stare out from dark, sunken sockets at his son, and back at a life filled with sorrowful regret. Once more they shine blue, as Anakin Skywalker makes peace with the Force and forever joins it.

Depending on which version is seen (VHS or DVD, respectively), the appearance of Anakin's redeemed Force spirit is either that of a robust, middle-aged man with greying brown hair and a kindly face, or that of the younger Anakin in his twenties just before his fall from grace to the dark side, though now he is dressed in the robes of a Jedi Master.

Behind the Scenes

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An early conceptual drawing of Darth Vader

The character of Darth Vader was not originally planned to be a suited cyborg. The current image of Vader was created when concept artist Ralph McQuarrie drew the opening scene where the Rebel ship Tantive IV was being boarded. It was initially imagined that Darth Vader would fly through space to enter the ship, necessitating a suit and breathing mask. This was later made permanent and incorporated in the story.

It is interesting to note that "Vader" is the Dutch word for "father" and that the German word for "father" (Vater) is similar. Thus, it may be tempting to read the character name "Darth Vader" as "Dark Father", a word-play that may well be the root of the Sith title. However judging by the origin of the other Sith names, Vader may also possibly be a derivative of the word "invader". It is worth noting that in the original scripts for Star Wars, the name "Darth Vader" was given to a normal Imperial general. The title "Darth" may also come from "Dark Lord of the Sith."

Creator George Lucas took the name "Anakin" from his friend and fellow film director, Ken Annakin.

Some have noted that Vader bears more than a passing resemblance to the classic Marvel Universe supervillain Doctor Doom (This is further alluded in Stephen King's Dark Tower novels in which so-called "Doombots" that wears green hoods and iron wolf masks much like Doom while carrying lightsabers appears.). Darth Vader's head gear appears to be modelled on a Japanese kabuto (兜), which is consistent with the samurai-like order of the Jedi and kendo-like lightsaber duels. It also resembles a German World War II-era Stahlhelm. The evil brother Hakaider, from the anime Kikaider, is also seen as an influence for Vader.

Legendary fencer Bob Anderson was a stunt double for David Prowse during lightsaber duels in Episodes V and VI. Vader's deep breathing sounds were provided by sound editor Ben Burtt using a scuba respirator.

Vader's leitmotif is The Imperial March.

Expanded Universe

Anakin Skywalker plays the protagonist in The New Droid Army, a video game made for the Game Boy Advance. In the game, Anakin is sent to investigate rumors of the Separatists making a new type of droid, superior to other droids and invulnerable to lightsabers. Anakin travels to Tatooine, but is hunted down by Aurra Sing and eventually held in the captivity of Jabba the Hutt. Anakin breaks out, and is called to Coruscant. There, Anakin chases and defeats a Dark Jedi named Trenox, and uncovers Count Dooku's plot to destroy the Jedi Archives. Anakin stops him, but Dooku escapes. Anakin is next sent to Metalorn, where he is to destroy the Cortosis Droid Factory and capture Wat Tambor, the leader of the Techno Union. Anakin completes both objectives, but has to face his Force-doppelganger Trenox while leaving the factory. Anakin defeats this false Dooku, and moves on.

In the young adult series, "The Last of The Jedi", Boba Fett, at the early age of fourteen, is hired by imperial leader Inquisitor Malorum to investigate Padmé Naberrie's death at the request of Lord Darth Vader. Fett travels to Polis Massa and Naboo to gather this information. Polis Massa is the small moon planet where Padmé gave birth to Luke Skywalker and Leia Skywalker-Organa shortly before her own death. Fett fails to procure any information pretaining to Padmé's last days. We can only assume that Vader was not satisfied with the Emperor's explanation of Padmé's demise. These events take place a year or two after Episode III,Revenge of the Sith.

According to the Alan Dean Foster novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (which takes place shortly after the events in A New Hope), Vader first faces Luke in combat on the planet Mimban, where he discovers that it was Luke that destroyed the Death Star, and both enter lightsaber combat. Luke puts up a valiant fight, but is no match for Vader, though he does manage to cut off the Dark Lord's mechanical arm. Vader's victory is near, but he trips over his own severed arm and falls into a well, though he soon escapes Mimban and recovers from his duel. It has been adapted as a comic book by Dark Horse Comics.

Vader also has a prominent role in the 1996 novel/comic/video game Shadows of the Empire, which took place between Empire and Jedi. He also makes occasional appearances in Dark Horse's Star Wars comic books set between the movies, especially "Star Wars: Empire".

In the Thrawn trilogy, it is explained that Darth Vader was the first representative of the Empire to find the Noghri. They are a race with exceptional combat skills, but their planet had been devestated by a battle between orbitting space ships. They attacked Vader's party, and it was only through Vader's personal intervention that his soldiers survived. Vader pretended to help them restore their planet, and in exchange they served as his personal commandos, and came to revere him as their master. Later, Vader transferred their services to Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Cultural figure

Due to his central role, Vader has entered the public consciousness as the quintessential frightening villain; the American Film Institute's list of the greatest movie villains placed him third, after Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates.

Lord Vader's powerful, baritone voice coupled with his heavy breathing is easily recognizable to moviegoers. He has been parodied by such figures as "Dark Helmet" from Spaceballs and countless other parodies from cartoons, such as "Duck Vader" from Tiny Toon Adventures and "Darth Koopa" from Super Mario Bros. (TV).

Vader's name has become a synonym for frightening evil; for example, political strategist Lee Atwater was known as "the Darth Vader of the Republican Party". Darth Vader's "Imperial March" is sometimes used as the leitmotif for Mr. Burns on The Simpsons to show a comical comparison between the two fictional characters.

The Polish death metal band Vader took their band name from this character.

During a major renovation, Washington National Cathedral held a competition for children to design new gargoyles for the west towers. One winner was a design featuring Darth Vader (see external links).

The professional wrestler Leon White wrestled under the names, "Big Van Vader", "The Man Called Vader", and just "Vader". The name and gimmick, which originally included a large gargoyle-like helmet worn to the ring, were based on Darth Vader. Vader wrestled in Japan and WCW, where he was their world champion, and in the WWF (now WWE).

With the release of Star Wars Episode III, the popularity of Darth Vader has seen an increase, due to his reappearance on the silver screen. His exaggerated and mournful howl of "NOOO!" achieved notoriety: see Notable lines in the Star Wars series.

In British military involvement in Kosovo in 1999, General Sir Mike Jackson was nicknamed "Darth Vader" by his men.

See also

External links


Preceded by:
Darth Tyranus
Sith Apprentice to Darth Sidious
19 BBY-4 ABY
Succeeded by:

Template:End boxca:Anakin Skywalker da:Darth Vader de:Figuren aus Star Wars#Darth Vader es:Darth Vader fi:Darth Vader fr:Dark Vador he:דארת' ויידר nl:Darth Vader no:Darth Vader ja:ダース・ヴェイダー pl:Darth Vader pt:Darth Vader sl:Darth Vader sv:Darth Vader


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