Darth Vader. Sith Lord and agent of evil. Formerly the fallen Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Vader is easily the most iconic of all Star Wars characters and among the top on the list of greatest villains of all time. When you think of Darth Vader, you may think of these two words: fear and pain. The first because of not only what a terrifying person he is in every facet of Star Wars where he is present, but also because of the fear he instills in everyone around him, even on his own side. Secondly, pain, because if you’re unlucky enough to stand in Vader’s way or even irritate him slightly, that’s exactly what you will endure.
Of course, by the end of the first six episodes of the trilogy saga, Darth Vader is redeemed by his son Luke Skywalker and returns to the light side by destroying his master, Darth Sidious. However, in the course of the twenty plus years that he functioned as the Emperor’s main enforcer, he brought serious destruction and death wherever he went. Some of the most impressive feats performed by using the force in the Star Wars Universe were done by him, and as fans, we were lucky enough to see a majority of them on screen. Vader never failed to show us just how powerful he was, and what exactly that power looked like in action.
Here are 15 Times Darth Vader Showed Us The True Power Of The Dark Side.
15. Rogue One’s Hallway of Terror
Possibly one of the most impressive displays of power Darth Vader has ever shown us in live-action cinema, Darth Vader’s infamous ‘Hallway of Terror’ in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wowed audiences everywhere. What truly made the entire scene nerve wrenching and exciting was also the build up; from Vader standing on the bridge of his Star Destroyer, to his shuttle traveling towards the failing rebel flagship, the scene builds a sense of impending terror coming to whomever held those sacred Imperial plans. The lighting and sense of urgency within the scene also provided a fear that not only could the rebels not successfully transfer the plans (although we already know that they had from A New Hope), but that Vader could show up at any moment.
When that moment finally came, not only were fans on the edge of their seat, but you could see the fear in the eyes of the soldiers in the hallway as the lights went out. Out of the darkness, you could suddenly hear the iconic heavy breathing of Vader right before igniting his lightsaber in a visual shot so impressive and terrifying, you knew that the soldiers had no chance of escaping his wrath. This scene and display of power instantly became one of the most terrifying moments in all of Star Wars.
14. Vader survives a massive explosion while dueling Ahsoka
Another shock and awe moment came when Vader shows up in the season 2 finale episode of Star Wars Rebels to destroy the rebel cell, Phoenix Squadron, led by his former apprentice Ahsoka Tano and Jedi Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus. When Vader enters the depths of Malachor standing atop his Tie Fighter, lightsaber ignited, you can immediately see the fear in Ezra’s eyes. He gives a few one liners with an especially terrifying one (“You will die braver than most“) as Ezra refuses to back down before Ahsoka shows up to take on her former master.
Surprisingly, he offers her mercy at the cost that she must help him track down more remaining Jedi. When she refuses and they spar, she almost breaks through to him when she severs a section of his mask and hears his voice calling for her. But after telling him that she won’t leave him, the dark side again takes hold of him once again with a cold, “Then you will die“.
Not only does this scene show what a great duelist Vader is, but it demonstrates his sheer size as well as his ruthlessness to those who oppose him – even somebody he once cared for deeply. By the end of the episode, we see the former master and apprentice dueling to the death while the Sith temple shuts them in, with the Phoenix Squadron escaping. After a huge energy explosion at the heart of the temple, we finally see Vader emerge to the surface alone and injured, but alive.
13. Deflects Han Solo’s blaster shot with his hand
Over the course of the Star Wars saga, we see many examples of blaster bolts being deflected by lightsabers from people on both sides of the conflict. We’ve even seen blaster bolts being stopped mid-air by powerful force users. However, nothing can top the moment that Han Solo pulled out his blaster and fired at Vader, which Vader responds to by simply deflecting the blast with his hand and an almost genuine welcome.
The scene from The Empire Strikes Back begins on Cloud City, with Lando Calrissian leading Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa into a trap for the Empire. The Rebels are surprised to see Darth Vader casually ready to greet them, and Han Solo instinctively reacts by drawing his gun and firing a shot into Vader. Not only does he effortlessly block it, but not even a second after, he rips the blaster out of Han Solo’s hand with even more ease.
12. An Imperial Walker collapses on top of him and he tosses it aside, nbd
Darth Vader’s first Rebels appearance certainly didn’t disappoint. The first encounter with the Dark Lord comes during the first episode of season 2, “Siege of Lothal”, when the Phoenix Squadron are about to leave, but stop because they feel Vader’s presence.
After an extremely impressive show of brute power by Vader during a duel between himself, Kanan, and Ezra, some of the other members of the Phoenix Squadron set a trap for Vader. With the help of Sabine Wren detonating the legs of two Imperial Walkers, together, Ezra and Kanan push Vader under them as they collapse. They walk away thinking the impact must have crushed him, only to see the remains being lifted into the air and Vader rising up, barely phased him at all. So yeah, he’s a badass.
11. Slaughters all the Jedi at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant
Before he dons the iconic black suit that makes him truly embody the identity of Darth Vader, the newly appointed apprentice of Darth Sidious marks his transformation by leading a legion of clone troopers to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and executing Order 66, a purge of all Jedi in the galaxy.
Not only does he take on fully trained Jedi and best them all, but he finds each and every youngling in the Temple and slaughters them, which is how Yoda and Obi-Wan find out that Anakin had truly turned to the dark side. The Emperor orchestrated events to warp Anakin’s mind into thinking the Jedi actually betrayed him, justifying the slaughter in his mind. It’s all pretty dark stuff.
10. Singlehandedly destroys all the Separatist leaders at Mustafar
Following the purge in Revenge of The Sith, Sidious instructed Vader to go to Mustafar and wipe out the remaining Separatist leaders, ending the Clone Wars. The Separatist leaders didn’t quite know who or what to expect when the new apprentice of Darth Sidious showed up. Without speaking a word, Vader shut all the doors, trapping the leaders inside the main building, and proceeded to slaughter all of them with no remorse.
With almost no resistance, it took the young Sith mere minutes to cut down everyone in the room, even with some of the leaders begging him for their lives. We see the effect of this ruthless slaughter immediately take effect on Vader, as the hate and anger consume him, turning his eyes a bright yellow and red. There’s no doubt that Vader in his suit is a terror to behold, but Darth Vader pre-suit was terrifying in his own unique way.
9. Vader’s reaction when he awakens in his robotic suit
The moment at the end of Revenge of The Sith when Anakin Skywalker is officially reborn as Darth Vader is one of the most iconic scenes in all of Star Wars. The slow rise of him on the operation table is one we waited for tirelessly through the prequels.
Upon hearing that in his anger, he’d killed his wife Padme (which wasn’t quite accurate), Vader truly shows us the extent of power in the dark side for the first time, as we see machines and all sorts of objects within the room being crushed and exploding. The room itself is left trembling from his power. We see Vader break free of his metal constraints as his grief and anger consumes him, all while the Emperor smiles ever so deviously in the background.
8. Probes Luke’s mind to find his weakness and uses it against him
One of the last times we see Darth Vader use the dark side to his advantage is at the end of Return of The Jedi, when Luke and Vader are dueling and Luke hides from the Sith Lord. In search of Luke, he calls out to his son, at first telling him it’s useless to resist the dark side and the influence of the Emperor, and when that doesn’t work. he uses the dark side to probe Luke’s mind.
In doing so, he discovers a great secret – that Luke has a twin sister. He tells Luke that Obi-Wan’s final failure is complete, and that if the young Skywalker doesn’t turn to the dark side, that he’ll have no choice but to destroy him, leaving his sister to take his place. This angers Luke, and, well, any real Star Wars fan knows the rest. Here, fans see more of Vader’s subtle power to break through any adversary’s mind, a skill few force users ever got a handle on.
7. Wipes out an army of Rebel soldiers singlehandedly
In the comic book Star Wars: Vader Down, the Sith Lord’s ship is brought down by Luke Skywalker on the planet Vrogas Vas. Vader, now completely alone, finds himself surrounded by the Rebel soldiers and tanks. With thousands of guns drawn on him and being ordered to surrender, he has but one response:
“All I am surrounded by is fear….and dead men.”
The barrage of fighting ensues with Vader igniting every grenade on all the Rebel soldiers, and he even deflects a tank blast with his lightsaber. At one point in the battle, he spots Princess Leia, but he allows her to escape. Why? He wants his location known, as it will entice more rebel forces to advance to his position – he’s ready to destroy them all, all on his own.
6. Pulls a Moses
In the new comic series Marvel’s Darth Vader #3, the evil Sith shows us his immense power yet again when he’s on a personal mission to kill a Jedi and take his lightsaber crystal in order to make his own Sith lightsaber. He encounters what may be considered the ‘Darth Vader of the Jedi Order,’ Master Kirak Infil, whose sole purpose was for wartime, and nothing else.
At some point during the battle between the exiled Jedi Master and the new Sith Lord, Vader is distracted with a large flood of water rushing towards him. At first, he outright blocks it, which is impressive enough, but then he goes straight up old testament and parts the waves around him using his power. His adaptability is on full display here, as is a pretty creative use of the force.
5. Kills Doctor Aphra
Doctor Aphra is not a particularly well-known Star Wars character. Self-classified as a “rogue archaeologist“, she’s a complex anti-hero that essentially becomes a sidekick of sorts to Darth Vader, at least for a brief period of time. She eventually betrays Vader by revealing to Palpatine his apprentice’s plans to go behind the Emperor’s back. Vader decides to kill her for her betrayal, of course, and in Marvel’s Darth Vader #41, the former Anakin Skywalker finally takes out his former #2.
Vader quietly listens to Alphra’s assertions that she wasn’t actually betraying him, but when that fails, she pleads for him to give her a quick death with his lightsaber – rather than being sent out an airlock, which is obviously way worse. Her pleading gets her nowhere, however, and Vader ends up pushing her inside and sending her out into the cold vacuum of space. A brutal way to go, to be sure.
4. Throws his loyal subject off a balcony
In the comic Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, we meet a young loyal Imperial officer named Admiral Trachta. He demonstrates his ruthlessness to the Empire when he orders a ship carrying inmates of the secret Ghost Prison to be blown up, despite the fact that they’d helped the Emperor.
At the end of the final issue of Ghost Prison, the Emperor tells Vader that he sees promise in the young Admiral and instructs him to take him under his wing, because he could see him being a good successor for Vader in case he ever falls. (Lovely guy, that Palpatine.) Obliging his master, Vader invites Trachta to his chambers, where the two meet on the balcony for one final lesson: “Never suffer rivals“. Vader then grabs the young Admiral and throws him over the balcony to his death. Darth Vader does not compete.
3. Force chokes an imperial officer to death through a hologram
Darth Vader had a reputation within the Empire for not only murdering Imperial officers whenever he felt like it, but for seemingly enjoying it.
Over the course of the Original Trilogy, we see multiple Imperial officers dying at the hands of Lord Vader, but the one that sticks out the most is Admiral Ozzel. His untimely and inefficient approach to the ice planet Hoth alerted the Rebel Base there to the Imperial presence, giving them time to escape. We see Darth Vader use the full effect and reach of his Force Choke when he snatches the life out of Ozzel over a hologram. The officer standing next to Ozzel does his best to keep his composure the whole time, but it’s not hard to see the fear that Vader has instilled of him due to his comrade’s death.
2. Defeats Darth Maul using his hatred of himself to fuel his power
In the comic book series Star Wars Tales 9: Resurrection, Darth Vader goes to the volcanic planet of Kalakar Six in order to intercept a Rebel cell that has the stolen Death Star plans. While they’re there, Vader’s troops are attacked by a mysterious figure with a red lightsaber, leading the Dark Lord to seek out this mysterious enemy.
Vader then finds a group called Prophets of the Dark Side, who reveal to him that they don’t believe he is worthy to be the Emperor’s apprentice – oh, and that they’ve resurrected the fallen Darth Maul to take Vader’s place. In an epic battle between the two Sith Lords, Darth Vader eventually gains the upper hand, and when asked by Maul what he hates so much that it fuels him so completely, Vader responds rather simply: “Myself.”
1. ALL THE DAMN TIME
It’s been noted in multiple Star Wars movies, comics, and TV shows that whenever Darth Vader is near, characters tend to feel a chill, which is due to Vader’s distinguishable cold nature. Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger both notice it the first time they encounter Vader in Star Wars Rebels, and they become familiar enough with that presence to immediately know who it belongs to in later episodes.
Luke Skywalker feels the cold presence of Vader emanating from the Dark Side cave on Dagobah. In the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back he notes how he can feel it when on Cloud City as well. The reason people tremble or shudder isn’t just out of fear of the Sith Lord, it’s because he carries a presence so cold that it reaches down into the very bones of those around him.
What other times as Darth Vader proven his immense strength/awesomeness? Let us know in the comments.
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