Few movie villains, if any, can claim to be as iconic as Darth Vader. He is instantly recognizable just from his silhouette or the sound of his breathing or the musical cues that signal his arrival. Vader is responsible for some of the most memorable quotes – and, without a doubt, the greatest plot twist – in cinema history.
Part of what makes the character work so well is the mystery that surrounds him, but it also leaves viewers with a lot of unanswered questions. So, here is All Your Questions About The Sith Lord Darth Vader Answered.
10 WHO IS HIS FATHER?
The Star Wars saga is all about family – specifically, the Skywalker bloodline. The original trilogy told us all about Luke and the influence of his father, Anakin. But while the prequel trilogy was all about Anakin’s backstory, his father is nowhere to be seen – the possibility that he even has a father is barely mentioned.
Well, that might be because he doesn’t have a father after all. The story of Anakin, according to his mother Shmi in The Phantom Menace, is very much like that of Jesus: a virgin birth. Shmi got pregnant inexplicably, as if by magic. Qui-Gon Jinn believes the Force brought Anakin into being, which would explain why the Force is so strong with anyone in the Skywalker clan.
9 HOW DOES DARTH VADER EAT?
While we see other Star Wars characters eating and drinking, like the blue milk Luke enjoys on his aunt and uncle’s moisture farm, we never see Darth Vader eat. The closest we get is his appearance at the dinner party in The Empire Strikes Back, but he doesn’t eat anything.
Funnily enough, in an early draft of that movie’s script, Leia asks Vader why he’s not eating and he says, “I have had to forego those simple pleasures.” So, he claims not to eat food to avoid appearing weak. But according to Wookieepedia, the collar of Vader’s suit is fitted with feeding straws. There’s a nutrient paste packet stored inside the suit and it’s pumped into his body through the straws.
8 WHY DOES HIS ACCENT CHANGE?
Darth Vader’s accent isn’t quite British, but it certainly sounds more regal and mid-Atlantic than the accent Anakin has in the prequel trilogy. So, a lot of passive moviegoers wonder why the accent changes between trilogies. This is purely down to two different actors playing the character.
Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin in the prequels, is from Canada, while James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader in the original trilogy, is from Georgia. But Vader’s mask has a voice modulator on it, so the change of voice can be chalked up to that. He might as well be talking into a novelty megaphone from a toy store.
7 WHAT DOES HIS NAME MEAN?
According to George Lucas, the name “Darth Vader” came from a couple of different places. The “Darth” title given to all Sith Lords is, as anyone with half a brain can easily guess, a variation on the word “dark,” because these are the dark warriors on the Dark Side of the Force. “Vader,” meanwhile, is much more interesting.
It’s a play on the German word “vater,” which means “father.” So, since Lucas had plotted out the whole saga beforehand, he threw that in as a little bit of foreshadowing. Any moviegoer who was fluent in German back in 1977 could’ve had a guess at The Empire Strikes Back’s surprising plot twist years before the film was released.
6 WHERE DOES HE 'NUMBER TWO'
Since none of the Star Wars movies are gross-out comedies directed by the Farrelly brothers, we’ve never seen Darth Vader 'drop the kids in the pool.' But it is certainly curious. There was even a Robot Chicken sketch about how Vader would struggle to #2 with his big suit on.
In James Luceno’s novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, it is explained how his bowel movements work. The novel states that his suit uses “catheters, collection pouches, and recyclers to deal with liquid and solid waste.” This was probably left out of the movies because a guy with a permanent colostomy bag is less menacing.
5 WHAT'S UP WITH HIS FORCE GHOST?
There’s actually no good answer for this. When Darth Vader dies in Return of the Jedi, his Force ghost joins Obi-Wan and Yoda at the party on Endor. But, at least in the special edition, he looks like Hayden Christensen. Obi-Wan and Yoda look like they did when they died, whereas Anakin suddenly shows up looking like he did thirty years ago.
Now, one might argue that he appeared as a ghost in the last form in which he was on the Light Side of the Force, which would make sense, but he achieved redemption right before he died. That was the whole point. His death isn’t consistent with the Force ghost rules either. When Obi-Wan and Yoda died, they disappeared because they were becoming one with the Force, hence their spectral afterlife. But Vader was cremated.
4 WHERE DOES HE ACTUALLY LIVE?
All throughout the original trilogy, we only see Darth Vader when he’s in battle mode. We see him captaining his intergalactic warships or leading his armies against the Rebels, but we never see him in his private quarters. His home was not revealed until Rogue One, in which we see his setup on Mustafar. It’s unclear if this is actually his house or not, but he clearly spends a lot of his time there.
According to Wookieepedia, it’s called Fortress Vader and it’s built in an old Sith temple. The fortress is located above a Sith cave. You’d think Vader would want to steer clear of Mustafar, since it’s where he lost his arms and legs and ended up spending the rest of his life in a mechanical suit. But he’s clearly the kind of person who rolls with the punches – just look at the Death Star II.
3 WHY DOES HE WEAR A CAPE?
As it turns out, the fact it looks cool isn’t the only reason Darth Vader wears a cape. The cape is made of armorweave, which adds an extra layer of armor while still being light enough to maintain his agility. It’s the same material that Captain Phasma’s cape is made out of.
For Vader, it doesn’t just protect his back – it protects all the vulnerable technology that’s been built into the back of his suit. His air filtration unit and heat regulation system are on his back, so the cape protects them from Vader’s foes – and also the flurries of sand and snow and dirt that get kicked up on planets like Tatooine and Hoth.
2 WHERE DOES HE SLEEP?
Darth Vader can’t breathe without his helmet unless he’s in his hyperbaric chamber. That’s where he goes to decompress and rejuvenate – it’s where we see his helmet lowered back onto his head in The Empire Strikes Back. So, it stands to reason that he might be able to catch some shuteye in there.
However, the better explanation is that, as a fierce warrior, he has conditioned himself not to need sleep, and instead only needs a few hours of meditation at a time. Like any organism with living tissue, Vader does need some rest and relaxation to avoid a total meltdown, but due to the fact that he’s mostly mechanical, his needs aren’t the same as ours.
1 IS HIS SUIT HINDERING HIS FIGHTING ABILITY?
Anakin Skywalker’s showdown with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar broke him, both physically and mentally. After that day, he would never have the power he once had the potential to attain. If he didn’t have to wear that suit, he would be immeasurably more powerful.
So, Luke has a lot to thank Obi-Wan for. If he hadn’t beaten Anakin so badly during that epic duel in Revenge of the Sith, he’d be even stronger. It’s like when someone struggles for a long time to open a jar of pickles and then you open it immediately – they loosened it up for you!