Few villains have stood the test of time like Darth Vader. He is regarded as not only the best villain in Star Wars, but as one of the best villains in cinematic history. Natrally, audiences clamored for more Vader after the original trilogy concluded. Vader's popularity resulted in his own novels, comic books, and video games. This lead to the divisive prequel trilogy, which revolved around the character's origins.
Even the newer films can't resist him, with the crowd-pleasing hallway scene in Rogue One and Kylo Ren talking to his grandfather's burnt mask in The Force Awakens. Many fans agree that the best comics in the new canon focus on Vader and some of the best scenes in the animated television show, Star Wars Rebels, were the ones that featured Vader. Fans are just as excited by rumors of his Force ghost appearing in The Last Jedi and another cameo role in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Both casual and die-hard fans feel like they know Vader well. The endless stories in both the new canon and the Expanded Universe, now referred to as Legends, contain many facts about Vader that fans don't know. The sheer volume of stories both in Legends and the current canon are staggering, with even the most die-hard fans unable to keep up.
The lesser-known facts about Vader are just as intriguing. The original concept of the character went through some drastic changes during the writing process of the original trilogy.
Here are the 15 Facts About Darth Vader That Even Die-Hard Fans Don't Know.
15 He Massacred Some Clone Troopers After Order 66
Whether he went by Anakin Skywalker or Darth Vader, the iconic character frequently fought with Clone Troopers by his side. One group in particular, the 501st legion, frequently fought along side Anakin.
After taking the name Darth Vader, he called upon his favorite legion of troops when implementing Order 66, which resulted in the destruction of the Jedi Temple. But the recent Darth Vader comics changed his chummy relationship status with the Clone Troopers.
The comic series begins after the events shown in of Revenge of the Sith, with Palpatine setting Vader on a quest to create his iconic red lightsaber and to prove himself as a loyal Sith apprentice. The quest requires him to find any remaining Jedi. The information Vader seeks is aboard a ship full of Clone Troopers, who are stripping the ship of it's Jedi artifacts.
When Vader boards the ship, the Clones on-board don't recognize him as he is now donning the suit as a result of his injuries on Mustafar. The troopers ultimately try to stop him, which forces Vader to annihilate them so that he can acquire the information he needs.
14 He Tried To Force-Choke Palpatine
The famous scene of Vader screaming "No!" at the end of Revenge of the Sith, was a result of him receiving news of Padme's death. In the movie, Palpatine just smiles as Vader screams in despair, but the comics take his agony one step further. Vader uses the Force to fling Palpatine against the wall and proceeds to try and Force-choke him.
Unfortunately, The Emperor uses his own powers to stop Vader from doing any more damage. Palpatine then tells his apprentice that his only choices are to either embrace the dark side or die. Vader relents, realizing life alongside his new master is the only way forward. Palpatine proceeds to electrocute Vader with Force lightning to ensure his submissiveness.
This is also a nice prelude to the events of Return of the Jedi, when Vader finally defeats his master with Luke's help
13 He Visited Padme's Mausoleum On Naboo
Padme's death is the main source of Vader's anger, which fuels him to become the formidable villain witnessed in Rogue One and the original trilogy.
The Vader presented in the new Legends content however, is depicted as a more tortured and conflicted soul. This is shown in the Star Wars Galaxy Series 7 trading card collection, which included pictures of Vader visiting Padme's tomb on Naboo.
The beautifully tragic pictures of Vader grieving in the mausoleum, serve as a testament to the fierce love he still has for his dead wife. Beneath the rage and power that made him feared across the galaxy, he still clearly loves Padme. It is this tragic love story that makes Vader one of the most complex and interesting characters in the series.
12 He Tried To Heal His Lungs
Another element of Vader's character often found in Legends, is that he hated wearing the legendary mask. While the mask helped shroud Vader in mystery, it's main function was to help Vader to breathe, following the devastating injuries he sustained after his duel with Obi-Wan.
The thick smoke provided by the lava on Mustafar caused extensive damage to his lungs, making it almost impossible for him to breathe without his helmet. Vader once tried to use the Force to repair the damage while he was exploring the powers of the dark side. Obviously, his efforts were unsuccessful as he continued to always wear the mask throughout the films.
The end of Episode VI is the only time fans were shown Vader's face, before the introduction of Anakin in the prequels.
11 He Owned A Fortress Retreat On Coruscant
There are several Legends novels, such as Before the Storm, Tyrant's Test, and Vision of the Future, that refer to Vader's fortress retreat.
It was located by the planet's Great Western Sea, the only visible body of water left on the urbanized planet of Coruscant. No one knows if Vader ever lived there or what exactly it's purpose was, only that it belonged to him. The fortress was later torn down, when the New Republic liberated Coruscant from the Empire.
Regardless of how Vader chose to use it, he has a new fortress that was shown in Rogue One, this time Mustafar. This seems like a much more fitting location, as Vader he has a personal connection with the lava planet.
10 His Helmet Design Was Influenced By Interesting Headgear
Inevitably, fans started to draw parallels between the Empire and Nazi Germany, as the similarities are undeniable. The parallels aren't just fan-driven either, as Vader's helmet design was in fact influenced by the design of Nazi headgear.
Costume designer John Mollo looked to the headgear as inspiration, given the association of hatred and evil that Nazis still represent to this day. This came after artist Ralph McQuarrie's sketches of Vader, where he depicted the mask for the first time. when drawing the scene of him crossing between two ships, which became the opening scene of A New Hope.
George Lucas envisioned Vader as a “dark lord riding on the winds, with an evil essence about him." The influence from Nazi headgear helped evoke that evil essence, though many other elements were added to the mask to create its distinct, lasting impression on viewers everywhere.
9 The Helmet And Suit Were Sculpted Around David Prowse's Physical Dimensions
Sebastian Shaw man revealed to be the man behind the mask and as Anakin's Force ghost in Return of the Jedi. In addition to Shaw, fans associate James Earl Jones and his iconic voice when it comes to Vader.
However, it was an entirely different actor who physically played Vader for the entire original trilogy. David Prowse was actually the one inside the suit, spending day after day on set in costume. In order to make the costume work, both the helmet and suit were meticulously sculpted around a plaster model of Prowse.
The work certainly paid off, as the costume and helmet remain forever integral to the character's identity. Prowse's performance in the costume was ultimately just as important as the work of James Earl Jones and Sebastian Shaw.
8 He Returned To Mustafar To Create His Red Lightsaber
When Obi-Wan took Anakin's lightsaber after defeating him on Mustafar, Anakin has no choice but to create a new one. Palpatine orders Anakin to find a last Jedi who survived the fallout of Order 66, whom Vader kills. He then takes the kyber crystal from the Jedi's lightsaber, and corrupts the crystal on Mustafar to turn it red. This was revealed in the comic Darth Vader: 1.
The planet is confirmed to be strong in the dark side of the Force, providing the perfect place for Vader to corrupt the kyber crystal and create his lightsaber. His strong personal connections with the planet, as well as the raw power attained from it's lava, help to explain why Mustafar is the perfect home for the villain in Rogue One.
7 He Had A Vision Of Dueling Palpatine And Seeking Obi-Wan's Forgiveness
While on Mustafar to corrupt the kyber crystal and create his lightsaber, Vader ended up in a cave. Similar to the cave on Dagobah that tested Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, this cave also tested Vader with a vision, albeit a much different one.
The vision showed a future in which Vader failed to continue embracing the dark side. In fact, Vader challenged Palpatine to a duel to the death. With the use of a green lightsaber, Vader successfully defeats Palpatine and kills him.
The vision doesn't end there as Vader then confronts Obi-Wan. He bows before his old friend and removes his helmet, asking for forgiveness. The vision proceeds to fade away, leaving Vader to continue on with his mission.
6 He Found C-3PO And Remembered Him On Cloud City
One of the main questions asked after the release of the prequels, was why Vader didn't recognize C-3PO in the original trilogy. How could he forget the droid he worked so hard on as a child?
The Legends comic book, Thank The Maker, answered this question by having Vader encounter C-3PO on Cloud City during the timeline of The Empire Strikes Back. Vader is given the pieces of C-3PO when the defenceless android was blasted to pieces. The sight of the droid does ignite memories of his childhood as he recalls all the time spent working on the droid while living on Tatooine.
The memories spark a rare moment of mercy from Vader, as he orders that C-3PO's parts not be destroyed and instead be given to the captive Chewbacca. That mercy doesn't last long however, as Vader proceeds to torture Han Solo and freeze him in carbonite.
The comic follows the Legends narrative of a more tortured, conflicted Vader and also explains that Vader remember C-3PO after all.
5 Darth Vader Was Originally A Regular Imperial General
In the initial script for A New Hope, everyone's favorite villain was originally known as General Vader. This implies that Vader was almost just a standard Imperial Officer. Perhaps General Vader and Tarkin could've had a rivalry, similar to the one between Tarkin and Krennic in Rogue One.
As the script became more developed, the character's name changed into Darth Vader. His backstory and motives became more fleshed and the Vader we know and love was created. This original version of Vader does lead to some interesting questions. Would we have ever heard the classic "I am your father" line if Vader was just a general?
This was clearly the right direction to take, as General Vader would likely never have reached the heights of popularity that Darth Vader has achieved.
4 Darth Vader Wasn't Anakin Skywalker In Initial Drafts Of The Empire Strikes Back
While there are plenty of people other than George Lucas that worked on the original trilogy, one of the most important was legendary science-fiction writer Leigh Brackett. Lucas commissioned Brackett to write the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back.
While some core elements of her script remain, much of it changed later on. Most importantly, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were not one and the same in Brackett's script. Luke actually met a spirit version of his father while training on Dagobah. Luke and Vader still have a confrontation, but Vader is no longer Luke's father, which completely changes the nature of their conflict and everything moving forward into Return of the Jedi.
This is actually why Obi-Wan tells Luke in A New Hope that Vader killed his father, as they were originally different people. Since they were made to be one and the same, it now just sounds like Obi-Wan is alluding to the fact that Vader destroyed all that was good in Anakin when he went to the dark side.
3 Darth Plagueis Had Visions Of Anakin Becoming Darth Vader
Palpatine's tale of Darth Plagueis in Revenge of the Sith intrigued countless fans, eventually leading to a Darth Plagueis novel. The Legends novel not only reveals the truth behind Plagueis and his relationship with Palpatine, it also mentions that Plagueis believed Anakin could be the one to destroy the Sith.
Plagueis was convinced otherwise when he saw visions of the future, including a vision of a black-suited cyborg rising from a table. This undoubtedly was the birth of Darth Vader at the end of Revenge of the Sith that he saw. Plagueis then believes that Darth Vader would be integral to the future of the Sith, thereby leading to the conviction that Anakin needed to live.
In a strange sense, even though they never met, Plagueis was the first one to give Anakin the blessing to become Darth Vader. It also proves that his vision was correct, as Anakin is ultimately responsible for Palpatine's death.
2 Many Of His Bones Were Replaced After The Near-Fatal Duel On Mustafar
The damage done to Vader's body on Mustafar was hard to witness. Not only did he lose most of his limbs, receive severe burns, and have difficulty breathing, but many of his bones were seriously damaged as well. In the book Darth Vader: A 3-D Reconstruction Log, detailed how many of his damaged bones needed to be replaced with artificial components.
The extent of physical reconstruction further drives home Obi-Wan's famous quote in Return of the Jedi that "He's more machine now than man." The machine wasn't just the helmet and suit around him, but was extended to the artificial elements in his bones and beneath his burnt and scarred skin.
1 He Learned Luke Was His Son From Boba Fett
The reveal that Darth Vader is Luke's father is so ingrained in popular culture, it is considered common knowledge. The prequel trilogy asks the question: How did Vader know about his children, seeing as Palpatine tells Vader that he is responsible for his wife's death?
The comic Star Wars 6: Skywalker Strikes, Part VI brilliantly answered this question. It featured Vader obsessed with finding the rebel pilot who blew up the Death Star, as he was able to sense that the pilot responsible was Force sensitive. Vader decides to send out bounty hunters across the galaxy to track down the suspected pilot.
The famous bounty hunter Boba Fett is the one to eventually find Luke and discover his family name is Skywalker. This makes Vader realize that Padme gave birth before she died and perfectly sets up Vader's merciless hunt for Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.
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