Star Wars: 10 Powers Fans Didn’t Know Darth Vader Has (And 10 Weaknesses)

Darth Vader is one of the most imposing figures in the history of cinema. The reason why Vader was so intimidating was due to the combination of the awesome suit black suit wrapped around the gigantic David Prowse, topped off with the commanding voice of James Earl Jones.

When Darth Vader entered the scene, you knew bad things were going to go down.

The Star Wars prequel movies, as well as the new movies, have turned the Jedi Knights and the Sith Lords into super-athletic video game characters.

It's hard to imagine someone as clunky and slow as Darth Vader from the original trilogy keeping up with the likes of Darth Maul or Yoda in battle.

The lore of Star Wars has rectified the power creep of Force-users by giving Darth Vader a wide-range of powers that he can call upon to destroy his enemies.

This is to say nothing of the power granted by his suit, which can even the odds against the agilest of Jedi Knights.

The path that turned Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader also weakened the Sith Lord, due to the slow destruction of a man into a machine. Darth Vader may have been a powerhouse, but there were still ways for an intelligent opponent to take him down.

Here are the 10 Powers Fans Didn’t Know Darth Vader Has (And 10 Weaknesses).

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Darth Vader Uses Force Lightning
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20 Power: Kinetite

Darth Vader Uses Force Lightning

It's dangerous for Darth Vader to attempt to use Force lightning (for reasons we will discuss below) but there are other methods through which he can manipulate energy.

Darth Vader possesses the ability to create a ball of Kinetite, which is a sphere made of condensed Force lightning that is generated outside of the body.

Kinetite lacks the ability to shock people like Force lightning can, but it possesses enough kinetic energy to blast the enemy away.

It's risky to use Kinetite against a Jedi Knight, as those who are skilled in the use of the Force can deflect a ball of Kinetite back at its creator, but it can be a very effective weapon against everyone else.

19 Weakness: Electricity

Force lightning was a powerful technique that was used almost exclusively by Sith Lords. It took a single-minded desire to inflict pain upon another individual to transform the Force into such a destructive weapon.

Darth Vader possessed the skill to use Force lightning, but the limitations of his suit prevented this.

A lot of the systems that were keeping Darth Vader alive were maintained by electricity, which is why Force lightning was so destructive towards him.

One of the main reasons why Darth Vader perished at the end of Return of the Jedi was due to the damage that was done to his system by the Emperor's Force lightning.

18 Power: Cybernetic Articulation

It took a while for Darth Vader to become used to moving in his suit, as his limbs had been damaged beyond repair by the injuries he suffered on Mustafar.

Darth Vader's arms and legs were replaced by prosthetics, which were operated by a special neuron rig that was connected to his brain.

It took a while for Vader to learn how to fight effectively in his new form, but when he did, he realized that his prosthetic limbs offered him tremendous power.

The prosthetic arms used by Darth Vader had incredibly powerful mechanisms within the elbows and wrists, which increased his physical power to a point beyond what was capable by most Jedi Knights or Sith Lords.

A single strike from Darth Vader was enough to disarm lesser opponents, due to the sheer power that was behind the blow.

17 Weakness: Rage

Anakin tried to defeat Dooku alone

The power of a Sith Lord flows from their emotions, which is the opposite of the Jedi Knight philosophy of emptying the mind and giving yourself over to the Force.

When Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side, he started to draw power from his anger, which had built-up over years of disappointment and resentment towards the universe.

It was this rage that turned out to be Anakin's undoing, as the Revenge of the Sith novelization explains that he became wasteful with his energy in combat.

This was the reason why Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to defeat him, as Obi-Wan fought defensively throughout their battle and conserved his strength, allowing him to slowly gain the advantage over his old friend.

16 Power: Forcefield

The technology exists in the Star Wars universe that can create fields of energy that can be used to block passage or projectiles.

These kinds of barriers are one of the most popular defensive measures available and we have seen them used multiple times throughout the series.

It's possible for Force-users to create a barrier made from the Force itself, though this ability is rarely seen compared to the technology-based forcefields.

Darth Vader was capable of creating a Force barrier whilst in the middle of combat. He did this during the events of Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison when a group of Imperial soldiers was being attacked by insurgents.

Vader proved that it was possible to deflect blaster fire with the Force several years before the release of The Force Awakens. 

15 Weakness: Taunting

A New Hope and The Force Awakens both proved that facts can quickly turn to myths in the Star Wars universe. The Jedi Knights were the peacekeepers of the galaxy for centuries and they entered the realm of fiction within two decades of their destruction.

The knowledge of Anakin Skywalker's descent into becoming Darth Vader isn't known by the galaxy at large, with many people seeing Vader as nothing more than the Emperor's enforcer.

Those with knowledge of Darth Vader's past possess a distinct advantage over him, as it's possible to cause him to lose focus when presented with the failures of his past.

Galen Malek used this to his advantage against Vader during their battle in the novelization of The Force Unleashed, as he taunted his former master about his failings, which resulted in a similar situation to the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. 

Malek was able to grind Vader down and turn his own anger against him.

14 Power: Force Cloak

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader on Bespin

It's possible for Force-users to sense each other's presence, as Darth Vader did when Obi-Wan Kenobi came aboard the Death Star.

The ability to sense other Force-users would make it incredibly risky for any Jedi Knight or Sith Lord to attempt espionage, as it would be easy for their cover to be blown.

There is a rare ability that both Jedi and Sith can call upon, called the Force Cloak. This allows them to prevent other Force-users from sensing their presence.

Darth Vader used this power while on Cloud City, in order to prevent Luke Skywalker from sensing his presence before their battle.

13 Weakness: Low Battery

Darth Vader Star Wars Sith Force Choke

Darth Vader's suit has several different systems that are active at any one time in order to keep him alive.

These systems include the neural net that allows him to move his prosthetic limbs, the life-support systems that allow him to breathe, and the sensory systems that allow him to experience the world outside of his mask.

The problem with this system is that it needs recharging. Darth Vader has to spend time recharging the various units on his suit during his time traveling aboard a spaceship, otherwise he risks a failure that could take his life.

It's possible to dispose of Darth Vader by marooning him on a location where he cannot access a power point.

Vader carries a few backup battries with him at all times, but even these have a limit, which means that it's possible to defeat Darth Vader by wearing down his batteries.

12 Power: Force Destruction

There are a selection of powerful energy weapons available in the Star Wars universe, which can do everything from stun an enemy to turning them into a pile of powder on the floor.

It's possible for a Sith Lord to create a blast of energy made from the Force itself.

This ability is known as Force Destruction, and it allows a Sith to focus their anger and rage within their own body, which can then be manifested as a beam of powerful energy that can be fired from their hand.

Darth Vader has used variants of this ability on several occasions, including his time in the Soul Calibur universe, where it formed the basis of one of the most powerful attacks in the series.

11 Weakness: Shoddy Life Support

Darth Vader's respiratory system was badly damaged after his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi, to the point where he cannot survive for long without the aid of his suit. Vader requires the aid of a special breathing & meditation chamber if he is to survive for long without his helmet on.

The suit that Darth Vader works has parts within its life support system that need regular maintenance.

This means that Vader relies on the aid of Imperial scientists in order to survive, as he requires a steady stream of replacement parts in order to be able to breathe.

It's likely that the life support problem is an even bigger issue than potentially running out of power, as there are methods by which Vader could generate energy with the right materials, but if the life support system breaks, then he is screwed.

10 Power: Robotic Synergy

Darth Vader relies on prosthetic limbs in order to be able to function. He lost the use of his arms and legs following the battle of Mustafar, which led to them being replaced by powerful robotic limbs.

One of the advantages of possessing prosthetic limbs is that it's possible for Darth Vader to easily replace them if they are damaged or lost.

He did this during the Darth Vader comic book series that was released in 2017, as he used his knowledge of technology, combined with his skill in the Force, in order to take limbs from fallen robots and affix them to his suit in order to replace the limbs that he had lost in a crash.

9 Weakness: Neuron Interface

In order to be able to control his prosthetic limbs, Darth Vader needs to use a neural net that is connected to his brain and spine, which is done through the use of medical needles and an artificial sensory system that is generated by electricity.

Darth Vader requires the aid of his artificial neural net in order to be able to move within the suit.

This means that it's possible to disable his body with a sufficiently fine-tuned EMP device, as any disruption from the system connecting the brain to the suit will cause a shutdown that will totally paralyze Darth Vader's body and leave him totally helpless until it can function again.

8 Power: Enhanced Eyesight

One of the best scenes in Revenge of the Sith involved a wounded Anakin Skywalker being put into the Darth Vader suit, culminating at the moment when the mask is placed over his face and the iconic breathing sound plays for the first time.

We are given a brief glimpse inside of the Darth Vader mask and it's clear that he has some kind of interface over his eyes.

The Star Wars: Darth Vader: A 3-D Reconstruction Log revealed that Darth Vader can see within the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums when necessary, allowing him to see in the dark and make out the heat signatures of those who attempt to hide from him.

7 Weakness: Chest Panel

The panel on Darth Vader's chest wasn't just for show, as it was used to control the various systems that were running in his suit.

It probably wasn't the best idea to leave it out in the open like that, as it would be possible for someone to screw with Vader's suit with the push of a button, but you'd have to stand in front of Vader to do it, which is easier said than done.

It's possible to stop Darth Vader from breathing by pressing the right combination of buttons on his chest panel.

This happened during the events of Evasive Action Recruitment, which was a series of webstrips set after the events of Revenge of the Sith. 

6 Power: Magnetic Feet

Star Wars Rebels Darth Vader

The power of the Force is meaningless if your spaceship is blown to smithereens. Princess Leia may have been able to Super Saiyan herself out of trouble in The Last Jedi, but she would have been screwed if her ship had been totally destroyed, as she wouldn't have had a place to fly too.

Darth Vader actually has a way of surviving a hull breach on one of his ships, as his prosthetic legs possess powerful magnets that allow Vader to attach himself to metal surfaces.

This has allowed Vader to survive attempts on his life by both the Rebellion and traiterous Imperial officers, as he can use his magnetic feet to protect himself from being blown out into space.

5 Weakness: Suit Reliance

Darth Vader Gets Suit

Darth Vader's suit has numerous weaknesses, which makes you wonder why he just doesn't make a new one and use that instead.

The possibility of Darth Vader moving into a new suit was brought up in the Death Star novel, but it would have required his life support system being temporarily disabled in order to move his damaged body to a new environment.

The process was considered to be too risky, which meant that Vader had to stay in his old suit.

This reliance on his old suit meant that Darth Vader was indebted to the Empire, as the numerous issues with the suit required enough maintenance that he couldn't break away from the Emperor without risking his own life.

4 Power: Underwater Action

The fans wondered for a long time if Darth Vader could be defeated by pouring a bucket of water on him, as he relies on so much technology to live that his circuits may short out from exposure to liquid.

The Darth Vader comic book series revealed that Darth Vader's suit is indeed waterproof, so he can't be taken out by the Wizard of Oz crew. It's also possible for Darth Vader to use the power of the Force in order to be able to function underwater.

Darth Vader was capable of creating a bubble made of the Force that not only provided his suit with air, but protected his body from collapsing under the pressure that is present within the depths.

3 Weakness: Sleep Deprivation

Darth Vader in Star Wars

The various systems within Darth Vader's suit made it incredibly difficult for him to sleep.

This was partly due to the agony caused by the wounds that he suffered on Mustafar, which required a frequent amount of chemical pain-killers that were administered by the suit in order to make them bearable.

Darth Vader had numerous needles inserted into his head and spine in order for the suit to function, which caused him pain on a daily basis.

He also had to endure the noise of his life support systems, especially the ones that allowed him to breathe, which were particularily noisy.

The lack of sleep was also partly inspired by the horrible nightmares that Darth Vader experienced whenever he did drift away, where he relived the terrible traumas that he had endured himself and inflicted upon others.

2 Power: Bleeding

One of the key components in a lightsaber is the Kyber crystal, which is a rare kind of mineral that is connected to the Force.

These crystals were mostly destroyed during the reign of the Emperor, which meant that new Jedi Knights were often forced to rely on artificial crystals in order to power their lightsabers.

It was possible for skilled users of the dark side of the Force to corrupt Kyber crystals, so that they would better serve Sith Lords and create a red blade.

This process involved pouring all of their negative emotions into the crystal, in a process known as "Bleeding."

Darth Vader was able to convert a Kyber crystal, but the process was incredibly difficult and the strain almost drove him mad.

1 Weakness: Ruined Potential

Darth Vader lost a great deal of his ability to control the Force after being wounded on Mustafar and being placed in the suit.

The reason Darth Vader became weaker with the Force was partly due to his injuries, as he lost a great deal of his physical body and with it, his connection to the Force at large. Vader began to rely more and more on the physical power of his suit over the abilities granted by the Force.

Darth Vader also lost touch with the Force due to his change of identity. He turned from a vengeful Anakin Skywalker into the broken monster that was Darth Vader.

The dark side was something that Anakin never sought out like other prospective Sith Lords did, which is why he never fully mastered the darker Force abilities in the same way that Darth Sidious had.

Anakin Skywalker's potential as the "Chosen One" was curbed by his transformation into Darth Vader, which is something that Darth Sidious may have planned all along.


Can you think of any other powers or weaknesses that Darth Vader has in Star Wars? Sound off in the comments!

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