While most of Darth Bane’s history has been technically erased by Disney, relegated to “Legends” status, his indelible mark will always be felt on the world of Star Wars. With a proliferation of new Star Wars titles— via monthly comics, annual movies, upcoming TV, and various other content— there’s little doubt that Darth Bane won’t be given future focus and reinstated on his throne, as one of the fully fleshed-out and in-canon Sith badasses of the Old Republic. Hopefully, we’ll see new comics or even a spin-off feature film down the line.
Since Bane lived a thousand years before Vader was born, the two never managed to go toe-to-toe in what would be the ultimate villain dream match in a Galaxy Far Far Away. Bane and Vader are arguably two of the most powerful Force-wielders that ever existed, but it’s hard to say who would come out on top, for various reasons. However, there are plenty of examples of Bane’s sheer strength and power that could likely give him a serious edge over Vader.
Without further adieu, here are 15 Reasons Darth Bane Would DESTROY Darth Vader.
15 BANE CAN TAME WILD MONSTERS
When Jabba the Hutt dumps Luke Skywalker into an underground pit via trap-door in Return of the Jedi, we get our first complete look at the vicious beast known as a rancor. Luke barely survives the encounter with Jabba’s razor-toothed monster, who was actually a bit housebroken, having been tamed by a handler. Now imagine the rancor in its natural habitat, completely unchained, untamed, and roaming freely. Scary thought, eh?
In Drew Karpyshyn’s 2006 novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Bane comes face to face with a wild rancor on the planet Lehon. Not only is Bane able to immediately control the raging monster - he is able to make it his personal steed.
Bane’s animal connection doesn’t end with rancors, though. In Karpyshyn’s 2007 follow-up entitled Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Bane visits Onderon and uses the Force to control yet another highly-volatile wild creature, the flying drexl. These towering carnivorous lizards, the plague of Onderon, are handled with the greatest of ease by Bane. This is especially impressive because the drexly species is supposed to be totally immune to the Force!
14 BANE HAS MORE EXPERIENCE FIGHTING FORCE-USERS
Vader fights some of the best Force-users in the galaxy, from Maul and Count Dooku to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. But living in the Galactic Empire era, after the purge of the Jedi and with the Rule of Two firmly in place, the selection of powerful combatants that are fully in-tune with the Force are few and far between, especially in comparison to what the galaxy looked like during Bane’s era, a thousand years prior.
In his time, Bane is able to spar at the Sith Academy, train with a handful of great masters, and wage war against dozens of high-profile Jedi (and other Sith). Experience goes a long way when it comes to shaping a fighter. And, put bluntly, there are just more Force-using and lightsaber-wielding folks for Bane to fight. Had Vader lived in the days of the Old Republic, who knows how dominant he might have become?
13 BANE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN “HONORABLE DEATH”
Both Vader and Bane are ruthless murderers, killing wantonly and without mercy, but a canyon seems to separate the two when it comes to the psychology of death. What sets Vader and Bane apart in this realm— as fleshed out in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction— is that the latter does not believe in the concept of “honorable death.” This makes Bane a much more sneaky and conniving killer with no battlefield etiquette to speak of.
Prior to becoming Vader, Anakin lives a large chunk of his life outside of the direct influence of the dark side. This influenced his views to some degree, sometimes giving him pause while committing fatal acts. On the other hand, Bane doesn’t think twice about killing.
There also exists a certain old school military strategy that Vader employs in deciding which opponents live, die, or get captured. This chess-like engagement might work well when commanding soldiers, but it could be a hindrance during a face-off with a warrior that simply wants to kill everyone in sight, using any means necessary - no matter how unsavory.
12 BANE USES A CURVED HILT-LIGHTSABER AND FURY-DRIVEN SWORDPLAY
Unlike Vader, Bane eschews technical sophistication for fury-driven— ostensibly out-of-control— strength-oriented lightsaber combat. Combined with the use of an extra powerful curved-hilt lightsaber, which allows for more precise movement and almost-perfect flexibility, Bane is one of the most formidable warriors to ever step onto a battlefield in all of Star Wars history. In Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Bane shows that there is method to his madness when it comes to his unrefined battle-style. By allowing himself to be completely wild and free while fighting, Bane becomes something of an unstoppable force of nature.
Vader’s much more precise movements, deliberate parries, and upright fighting stance— as seen in Empire Strikes Back and the end scene of Rogue One, for example— stand in stark contrast to what Bane brings to the table. It would be interesting to see such dramatically different combat forms pitted against one another. If we can glean anything from Karpyshyn’s novels; it wouldn’t be unwise to place your bets on the raging and far more unpredictable Bane.
11 BANE USES DUN MÖCH STYLE, TO WHICH VADER IS SUSCEPTIBLE
One of the most psychologically devastating and sophisticated fighting styles in the galaxy is Dun Möch. Aiming to dominate an opponent’s spirit, Dun Möch involves spoken taunts, which are meant to expose weakness or hidden doubt. These mental Force attacks often lead to shattered concentration and absolute victory.
Aside from the aforementioned wild-style employed by Bane, the Sith master is also an expert at Dun Möch. Vader is also a Dun Möch expert, as demonstrated to perfection during his lightsaber skirmish with Luke during Empire Strikes Back—culminating in the “I am your father” moment.
What separates Vader from Bane in regard to the use of Dun Möch is not on how effective they are at implementation, but how they defend against the technique. While Bane has never fallen victim to Dun Möch, Vader definitely has.
In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Jedi Galen Marek used Dun Möch quite effectively against Vader. It is easy to imagine a stronger warrior, like Bane, employing a similar tactic with successful results.
10 BANE STUDIED AT THE SITH ACADEMY AND LEARNED FROM SITH MASTERS
Anakin Skywalker is turned to the dark side of the Force by Palpatine, his primary guide and mentor in regard to all things Sith-related. Having a capable master like Palpatine might seem like a benefit on the surface, but once you start looking at how deeply manipulative the Emperor is, you start to quickly see the drawbacks of Vader’s education.
On the other hand, Bane studies at the Sith Academy and is able to learn from the holocrons of wise masters such as Darth Revan, Darth Andeddu, Freedon Nadd, and Belia Darzu. In fact, in Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, Bane is even able to create his own personal holocron. This is no small feat.
The dark side of the Force that Bane learns to brandish is certainly more pure and, at the very least, free of the many strings attached to the Emperor’s abridged version. With such unbridled might and knowledge, Bane has a certain advantage over Vader on the field of battle.
9 BANE FEEDS ON THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS
While Vader and most Sith masters are focused on both channeling their inner hatred and making others suffer, Bane takes this concept to the nth degree. Bane doesn’t just want others to feel pain; he literally feeds on other people’s suffering. Having developed the capability to absorb the horror and misery of others, and then turn it into energy that gives him extra vigor, Bane is a true conduit of unadulterated malevolent power.
In a scene in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (which is partially based on Dark Horse's Jedi vs Sith series), a weakened and poisoned Bane seeks to heal himself. Sighting a family— a father and his two sons— Bane slaughters the children first, giving himself time to syphon the father’s grief. Once healed, Bane then kills the poor dad. With this uncanny ability to feed on the agony of others, Bane can kill strategically in order to gain more power.
8 BANE WEARS ORBALISK ARMOR
One of Bane’s greatest assets is his impervious orbalisk armor. In Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Bane encounters the beetle-like orbalisk creatures, which attach themselves to Bane’s body. Forming a symbiotic armor (albeit an incredibly painful-to-wear one), these creatures enhance Bane’s connection to the Force by increasing his rage, thus boosting his power in action.
The orbalisks also provide a constant flow of chemical enhancements into Bane’s midichlorian-filled bloodstream, enhancing his senses, stamina, strength, and speed. Not only that, but the armor also gives Bane a Wolverine-esque healing factor ability.
To top it all off, the orbalisk armor is completely lightsaber proof! There is literally nothing that can penetrate it. While Vader’s mostly robotic body and special armor are pretty nifty, they pale in comparison to the truly inconceivable specs of the orbalisk protection.
7 BANE CAN CREATE A DARK FORCE WAVE
One of Darth Bane’s greatest abilities is the power to unleash a Dark Force Wave; basically a tsunami of unstoppably destructive energy. Able to knock down entire buildings with the relative flick of his wrist, this devastating telekinetic move has killed more than its fair share of victims, including Bane's fellow student, Fohargh, and the powerful master Kas’im, in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction.
In a straight comparison of force-wielding talent, Darths Vader and Bane are definitely closely matched. But the Dark Force Wave is something unique to Darth Bane’s repertoire. Darth Vader would be hard-pressed to defend against it. Darth Bane's deeper connection to the dark side, as manifested through this Force wave gives him a significant advantage.
6 BANE CAN TRANSFER HIS ESSENCE INTO OTHERS
Another amazing feat of Dark Force power, which puts Bane in the upper echelon of the Sith warrior class, is his ability to do an “essence transfer.” Bane can temporarily transfer his spirit into another’s body, taking complete control of them.
The “essence transfer” ritual is very dangerous. In fact, it is potentially fatal to its user, yet Bane is one of the rare characters in the Star Wars universe who is strong enough to complete the task with relative ease and very little discomfort. With a move that makes Jedi Mind Trickery look like child’s play, Bane could potentially turn Vader into a puppet on invisible strings, instructing him to press his lightsaber against his own throat.
5 BANE IS FASTER THAN VADER
In Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, we learn the true scope of Darth Bane’s speed. The ultimate warrior of the Old Republic is so fast that he not only puts Darth Vader to shame, but superheroes like Superman and Flash as well. Not only is Bane fast in regard to running speed, but he is so nimble that he can actually deflect torrents of rain with his lightsaber.
Vader is no slouch either when it comes to agility and acceleration, but Vader’s way on the battlefield is one of a more direct and methodical approach; based less upon deft or quick maneuvering. In a direct confrontation, Bane’s superior swiftness surely would give Vader a run for his money.
4 BANE CAN EMIT A DEATH FIELD
This one is as scary and malignant as it sounds. In Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, Bane unleashes a “Death Field” with devastating results. While similar to the Dark Force Wave, the Death Field differs in that it isn’t a directed wave of carnage.
With the Death Field, Bane essentially amplifies another dark side technique known as “Force Drain” (or “Life Drain”), turning a smaller localized telepathic strike into a wide-ranging invisible web of energy that casts instant death over a large area. Using this skill, Bane is able to execute dozens of people in one blow.
Despite the fact that this move is quite taxing, Bane proves the near limitless nature of his toughness and power, as most Force-wielders— including Vader— likely wouldn’t even be able to attempt this without putting themselves in serious danger.
3 BANE CAN APPEAR AS A FORCE SPIRIT AFTER DEATH
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” This is the unforgettable line Obi-Wan delivers prior to his death at the hands of Vader in A New Hope. An incredible power of the Force is the ability return as a spirit or ghost after death.
Vader is able to return as a spirit after having a change of heart and returning to the Light at the end of Return of the Jedi. This is because this power is usually reserved for users of the light side of the Force. The main exception in Star Wars lore is, you guessed it, Darth Bane.
In the Clone Wars episode “Sacrifice,” Yoda comes face-to-face with the apparition of Bane, nearly a thousand years after the Sith lord’s death. Bane is not only able to appear as an energetic specter, but he is also able to directly challenge Yoda (albeit unsuccessfully).
There is some doubt on whether this ghoul was really Bane in spirit form or just an illusion spawned by the Valley of the Dark Lords. Without any definitive answer, the mere idea that Bane can do what almost all others of his ilk cannot, places him one step ahead of Vader yet again.
2 BANE DOESN’T HAVE ANYONE GETTING IN HIS WAY
Compared to Vader, Bane is an independent operator. While Bane starts out working with other Sith, he quickly branches out on his own, taking only an apprentice here and there along the way. Lightweight travel without burden is the name of Bane’s game— with little or no micromanagers standing in his way.
Vader, on the other hand, was forced to take a different tack in the age of the Empire. We’ve already mentioned Palpatine’s manipulative mind games and ulterior motives, but beyond that, Vader has to deal with disagreeing admirals, bumbling stormtroopers, and doofus TIE-fighter pilots getting in his way all the time.
The Imperials, whether beneficial or not, are always surrounding Vader at every turn. If not for his own men screwing things up, Vader might have shot down Luke’s X-Wing in A New Hope or defeated the entire neophyte rebel fleet in Rebels. If not for the miscalculations of his generals, Vader might have won the Battle of Hoth more decisively.
Picture the scene: Vader is about to land the final blow upon a downed Bane— only for a stormtrooper to bump his head on a door and accidentally fall in the way of the would-be decisive strike.
1 BANE IS PURE EVIL
The biggest advantage Bane has over Vader is that fact that the former has eliminated all vestiges of his humanity. Vader claims to have done the same, but this is proven wrong thanks to Luke. Unlike Vader, Bane has no ties to his past, no ties to mankind— no Lukes or Leias haunting him in the recesses of his mind. In another sense, Bane is fully detached and has no regrets, only looking ahead, with war, hate, and chaos on his mind.
If doubt ultimately saves Vader’s soul and brings him back to the Light Side, it is that same doubt that, according to the record books, ends his life in Return of the Jedi. Bane has no self-doubt; not one shred of it. In the Vader versus Bane dream match, Bane might have fundamental leverage simply by being more evil than Vader.
Did we forget anything about Darth Bane or Darth Vader from Star Wars? Have your say in the comments section!