Depending on how you look at it, Darth Vader is one of the most complicated, layered characters in movie history or one of the whiniest "Chosen Ones" of all time. Plenty of Star Wars fans opt to pretend as if the prequels don't exist, allowing them to pretend his backstory is much harsher gives a better explanation of how he became so ruthless. There are plenty of heroes who faced similar, if not worse, fates and easily dodged the dark side, going after their dreams without offing a bunch of Padawans.
Did Anakin Skywalker truly believe that his wife would really appreciate that? Not only were we given a troublesome story line in which Padmé Amidala Naberrie, an impressive and tough young politician, perished not of physical trauma from the domestic violence she suffered at Anakin's hand but from a "broken heart," but we also had to bear witness to the wickedest man in the Galactic Empire developing as a spoiled brat who couldn't grow up.
Watching Vader commit more and more atrocities sure makes him look even less sympathetic. When you think the man can't do any more evil than he's already demonstrated, you read the graphic novels and Star Wars novels and watch the animated series, only to realize this guy has to be evil to the core. Just between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope alone he proved himself beyond redemption. Don't believe it?
Check out the 20 Most Wicked Things Darth Vader Did Between Episodes III And IV.
20 Eliminated a Jedi And Stole His Lightsaber
Palpatine's first mission for Darth Vader was to seek out the Jedi Master Kirak Infil'A and take his lightsaber for his own. The mission also served as a test for Darth Vader's capabilities in his new body, which he passed with flying colors though not without a struggle.
Infil'A, a combat expert, made quick work with Darth Vader at first, throwing him off a mountain in the comic and making it seem like the fight was over before it had really even begun, but Vader kept coming at him until he destroyed the Jedi and completed his mission.
19 Corrupted A Kyber Crystal To Create His Lightsaber
What does it take to turn a lightsaber red? A lot of corruption, it turns out.
In order to create a red lightsaber, a Sith locus must bleed and essentially torment the kyber crystal within it, corrupting it beyond measure and rendering it "fit" for Sith use.
That's exactly what Darth Vader did in the Marvel comic as one of his first tasks working for the Empire-- not only as a test of strength, but also so he'd have his important weapon at his side. It's a journey that involves the corrupting the kyber crystal taking out its owner and everyone he meets along the way, proving that Anakin has truly chosen the dark side.
18 Crushed A Heart Using The Force
Long before the evil queen of Once Upon a Time fame collected and crushed hearts at her leisure, Darth Vader used the Force to do so, keeping his hands cleaner in the process. He does this for minor annoyances, making his use of the Force even more corrupt. In the novel Tarkin by James Luceno, Darth Vader crushes someone's heart during a meeting with a group of crime lords, displaying his cruelty for all to see.
This time, his swift vengeance was out of anger rather than annoyance but the results were all the same. Tarkin at least chides Vader for the act, but he does it so cavalierly to begin with that we know Anakin is completely lost.
17 Destroyed His Jocastu Nu and his own army
Plenty of great generals have sacrificed their own men for the good of the many, justifying the means with the end. We all do it with pawns when we play chess, but Darth Vader seems to see most people as pointless pawns he can destroy on a whim.
When your warriors are clones, perhaps they feel more dispensable.
Jocasta Nu, the Jedi librarian, attempted to save the Jedi teachings and the kyber crystal with the knowledge of all Force-sensitive children. When Nu threatens Vader's image by telling his clones that he's actually Anakin Skywalker, he takes all of them out, Nu included, to preserve himself and to keep other children from finding the Force.
16 Trained The Inquisitors To Eliminate Jedi Survivors Of Order 66
Darth Vader is an effective teacher. There aren't many pupils who'd disobey him, which is ironic given how much he disobeyed his own Jedi Master's orders on a regular basis. In the Rebels TV show, Vader was responsible for training the merciless Inquisitors to hunt and take down the survivors of Order 66, the decree that called for the end of the Jedi.
That explains not only how most of the Force-sensitive children were discovered but also how the Inquisitors became so cutthroat in the first place. Even if the Inquisitors were successful enough to capture Ahsoka Tano, they did still often lose to the Jedi. Perhaps fear-based training isn't all its cracked up to be.
15 Maimed And Dismembered Randomly To Assert His Power
It's not enough for Darth Vader to strut with non-nonsense swagger, swing the most vicious-looking lightsaber and utilize the smooth voice of James Earl Jones to display his dominance.
He has to hurt people with meaningless violence in order to demonstrate that he's the alpha.
Although he also did worse, Vader began chopping off random parts of anyone who disagreed with, threatened or otherwise annoyed him, proving his callous and cruel nature. While Anakin Skywalker showed less and less empathy for anyone other than himself and Padme the older he grew, by the time he was wearing the mask he didn't seem to have any left. After we witnessed so much bloodshed, it's no wonder Vader saving Luke managed to be one of the greatest upsets in film history.
14 Destroyed All The Twi'Lek Troops
While on Ryloth, Darth Vader, and Palpatine executed all kinds of mayhem, going as far as to order the execution of all of the Twi'Lek troops. To be fair, the Twi'Lek troops were attempting to off Vader and Palpatine in the first place, and they'd already been subjected to several different attacks by both freedom fighters as well as creatures from the planet.
In fact, the attack occurs after Vader was surrounded, prompting him to call for his own people to surround the Twi'Lek army. This is warfare we are talking about, and a leader's got to defend himself. That said, Vader wanted all of the people wiped out, civilians and all.
13 Eliminated Minister Tua
Minister Maketh Tua, an Imperial soldier who oversaw Lothal's industries, not only failed in her duties to fight off forces of the Rebellion but also to find the Rebels after they took out the Sovereign ship.
We all know what happens when anybody fails the Imperial agenda: they get a visit from one Lord Vader, Palpatine's right hand of doom.
Tua located the rebels and promised them information in exchange for their help in getting her as far away from Vader as possible. Vader, who had anticipated the move, ensured that the shuttle exploded, taking her out and ending what aid she could have given the Rebellion in the process.
12 "Punished" All Of The Insurgents In Tarkin
When Darth Vader says that someone has been "punished," we can pretty much picture what went down: dismemberment, pain, and the ultimate loss of life. It all goes without saying. When, in the Tarkin novel, Darth Vader assures Tarkin that all of the insurgents have been dealt with, and that the scientists, ship builders and factory works who all had their hands involved with the insurgency at all were "punished," we take it to mean that they were not sent to the corner to think about what they'd done.
We're able to witness some of this at play during Rogue One and can imagine what fates befell all of these citizens, who were likely not trained in combat.
11 Destroyed Clones That Asked For His Security Clearance
As Vader seeks Jedi Master Infil'a at Brighthome, a couple of clones ask for his security codes. He could have easily acquiesced to their request.
He had the clearance, no doubt, but he refused and offed the clones for absolutely no reason other than expediency.
This is a man who would rather waste the lives of his own soldiers rather than spend the seconds it would take to submit security clearance to them. The clones were merely doing their job and Vader wasted them, and the sad thing is that had he ordered them to do their duty and they'd refused, he'd have taken them out, too. You just can't win with with Vader; he doesn't play well with others.
10 Flooded an entire city
It's one thing to take out another Jedi in order to corrupt his lightsaber for your own, but to destroy everything he loves in front of him before you do it just adds insult to great injury. During his battle with Infil'a, Darth Vader grew tired of not gaining any ground against the Jedi Master and used Infil'a's own weakness against him: his love for his people.
Destroying a water reservoir, Vader held Infil'a captive as he powerlessly watched his people become lost beneath the relentless flood, allowing Vader to get the upper hand during the Jedi Master's despair. When Vader is obviously evenly or outmatched, he resorts to the worst tactics possible to achieve his objective.
9 Dismembered His Own Inquisitors To Teach Them About Loss
Loss of limb should be something to be avoided for any soldier, right? While many brave warriors carry on after losing a limb, it's definitely not one of your goals-- unless you're on Team Vader. In order to make sure that his own Inquisitors appreciated the value of loss, Vader dismembered them during training, randomly severing off body parts in a wicked display of bloodthirstiness.
The High Inquisitor at least had the decency to question these methods after seeing how many soldiers Vader was willing to slice and dice.
Vader maintained that his training exercises would develop a more offensive line of Inquisitors rather than continue the defensive style they seemed to operate under most often.
8 Tricked Kanan And Ezra Into A Trap
It may not have been as dastardly as taking out all of the younglings, which remains one of the worst things Darth Vader has ever done, but tricking Kanan and Ezra into a trap completely lacked honor, something that Darth Vader has never really exhibited.
In the Rebels show, it appears that Kanan and Ezra are going to have to battle Darth Vader, but it was all a trap set up to have the Rebels lead the Imperial army to their secret base in order to flush them out. Not only does Vader play with the two like a cat with a couple of mice, nearly ending them out of boredom, but he also walks away from their big attack, whole and unharmed.
7 Took Out Five Officers At Random For Every Person Who Tried To Off Him
When there was a hit placed on Darth Vader, he warned all officers than, for every person who tried to off him, he'd take out five of them-- at random. Granted, it's frustrating when you don't even know who's got your back and who's against you, but Vader believed that for every person, friend or foe he took out, there were another dozen he could rule over through his intimidation tactics.
After informing the officers of his intentions, Vader proceeded to follow through with his threat right then and there in the Emperor's office.
If anyone doubted how important he was to the Empire before then, they surely didn't after he got away with these actions.
6 Used Civilians As Weapons Against
One of the true measures of a hero is whether or not he's willing to sacrifice an innocent to save another. Darth Vader proved that he didn't care for innocents one way or another when he used civilians as ammunition against the bounty hunters that sought him out.
While he was on the hunt for any Jedi left over from Order 66, he was tricked by the Cha family on Canbarria. Instead of feeling as if his life were truly in danger, he used the Force to pick up and launch civilians caught in the crossfire as actual projectile weapons against the bounty hunters. We often see bad guys hide behind innocents but to actually toss them around as ammo is the true mark of evil.
5 Executed Dozens Of Repair Crew Members
Repair crews don't really endanger anyone. They are there to fix your ride, and they are an integral part of any mission-- until they're not. When Darth Vader discovered that the Twi'Lek repair crews sent out to repair his and Palpatine's ship, the Perilous, on Ryloth were actually only there to sabotage the them, he ordered them all to be taken out.
There are dozens of repairmen--over 100 in all-- and he doesn't bat an eye calling for this mass destruction.
Vader's known to take out his own people, too, so why should a repair crew be any different? He pretty much lays waste to everyone else he meets on Ryloth anyway.
4 Took Out Dozens Of Rebels In Rogue One
It was one of the most exciting moments of the movie, and connected Rogue One with the rest of the Star Wars universe. Near the end of the film, after the entire crew of Rogue One is destroyed and the Death Star plans are on their way to Princess Leia, the plans themselves are nearly intercepted as Darth Vader makes an impressive and haunting appearance. He syncs his flagship up with the Rebel fleet and takes out Rebels left and right.
It's one of the many moments that proves that quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality. His presence is brief but effective.
3 Took Out A Droid And Used It For Spare Parts
During his journey to find Kirak Infil'a to steal the Jedi Master's lightsaber and corrupt int into his own in the comics, Infil'a's training droids assisted in taking Vader down, nearly ending him with a flood, some knee damage, and a tumble down a mountain.
To repair himself, Darth Vader actually destroyed the droid that tried to protect its master in order to use its parts to fix his own.
Long gone was the young boy who loved to build droids, tinker on ships, and improve the galaxy with his mechanical skills. The man that replaced him has little time or for droids, unless it's for his own selfish reasons.
2 Destroyed People On Ryloth With Palpatine
For fans who watch the Star Wars films but don't venture into its cartoons or literature, it can be difficult to see why Darth Vader is so close with Palpatine. Many wonder how he could possibly allow his corrupted Jedi to talk to him the way he does, but the books shed some light onto the situation. In Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp, we get a peek at what happens to Darth Vader immediately following the events of The Revenge of the Sith.
While on the planet Ryloth with his buddy Palpatine, Vader was stranded after an assassination attempt and did what any survivor whose ship was destroyed might do: take out a whole local horde, commandeer a couple of V-wing starfighters to bomb a couple of villages.
1 Disregarded A Vision In Which He Redeems Himself
Here's the thing about a man who is supposed to be acting from good intentions most of the time: you'd think he'd want to do better if the opportunity presented itself. We're led to believe that Darth Vader has the best intentions at first, turning toward the dark side to save his wife. It seems like he had no shot at turning to the light again until his son Luke came into the picture. That's totally not true.
Darth Vader was given a vision by a corrupted kyber crystal in the Marvel Darth Vader comic books.
Instead of embracing this better alternative future for himself, Vader continues to bleed the crystal with all of his anguish and anger, fulfilling his mission rather than redeeming himself, as he saw was possible.
What other wicked things did Darth Vader get up to in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!