It can be argued whether or not Darth Vader is in fact the central character in the Star Wars Saga. With the prequel films setting up his tragic turn to the dark side from his time as a child, the original three movies followed his villainous life right up to his death. Add that to Star Wars series such as The Clone Wars, Star Wars comic books, novels, and various other media that Darth Vader appeared in, and what you’re left with is a story that hinges on Darth Vader everywhere you look. But whether you argue about Vader’s status in the Star Wars Saga or not, the one thing that isn’t up for argument is Vader’s status as a pop culture icon.
He’s one of the most recognizable characters in the history of film. His iconic black mask has been everywhere for nearly 40 years. We all know that he’s a certain someone’s father. He's the most terrifying part in a movie about a planet-destroying superweapon. But what don’t we know is just how much power the Sith Lord actually holds. What can Darth Vader do that we haven’t seen all that much of in the main Star Wars films? What abilities does he possess that aren’t simply a part of any Force user’s arsenal? We’re here to find out.
Let’s take a look at 15 Powers You Didn’t Know Darth Vader Had.
15 Forcefield Blast
Using the Force has some pretty cool benefits, but being able to master it like Darth Vader does brings about some of the greatest powers one could ever imagine. Forget about choking someone using the force; we’ve all been there, seen that. What many don’t know is that Darth Vader’s mastery of the Force is so strong that he’s actually able to manipulate it into pure energy, then project it outward into a massive Force(field) blast.
Essentially, with immense concentration Vader is able to concentrate the Force and turn it into destructive ripples. These ripples have the power to disintegrate anything and anyone in their path, and the only limit to how much damage they can do is how powerful Vader is when projecting the blast. Although the power is highly effective, like any great power it leaves Darth Vader exhausted and worn, and as a result it can’t be used over and over.
14 Rage Focusing
As the ultimate villain in cinema, you’d be correct to imagine that Darth Vader has some pretty serious rage. And not even simmering rage, but the type of unchecked crazy rage that leads to entire planets being destroyed. So you can imagine just what sort of things Darth Vader would be able to accomplish if he were able to focus and channel his rage into something greater. Oh, it turns out that’s exactly what he can do.
By using his dark side powers, Darth Vader is able to focus his rage and use it to his own benefit. Just as powers of the light side benefit their user, so too does this power. By channelling rage Darth Vader is able to increase his own top speed and strength, thus allowing him greater power than normal. The only problem is that too much use of this power and his own health is impacted, but then again, we’d only imagine that would make him angrier.
13 Force Lightning
This is the type of power that an entire supervillain could be based around, but when it comes to Darth Vader it’s just another in a long list of scary cool powers. While it’s not something we’ve seen much of inside the Star Wars films, there’s been plenty of times that Darth Vader has welded this power like the (bad) bad-ass that he is.
Essentially, Vader’s power of lightning creation sees him taking the energy of the force and moulding it into something resembling kinetic energy. Explained in an issue of Star Wars Insider Magazine – based on the comic adaptation of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye – it’s said that Vader is able to channel the energy through his mechanically enhanced arms. From there he can release bolts of it like lightning, which can then burn or electrocute its target on demand. So yeah, that’s something you gotta watch out for if you see Darth Vader coming.
12 Telekinetic Murder
The supervillains we know and love generally like to rely on the same old bag of tricks over and over in their attempt to destroy the hero. Doc Ock has his mechanical arms that he uses to wreak havok. The Joker has his weapons and intellect. These villains are defeated by the heroes time and time again because of this. Now think about Darth Vader with his nearly limitless powers, and you get an idea of just how scary he is.
Darth Vader doesn’t need to scrape and claw to defeat those who try to defeat him. If it came down to it, he could kill just about anyone he wants. In what may be one of the scariest powers ever, Vader has the ability to telekinetically kill people. He does this by focusing the Force on his victims’ organs and crushing them in fatal ways. Whether he pops someone’s heart like a balloon or squeezes the air out of their lungs like an accordion, once Darth Vader gets his telekinetic abilities inside of you it’s pretty much game over.
11 Lightsaber Boomerang
If you’re Darth Vader, you’re not going to be happy simply being one of the best lightsaber duelists in the world. You’re going to want more. You’re going to get more. You’re going to learn how to use the Force to manipulate your lightsaber in menacing ways, and in turn you’ll add a new power to your arsenal. It’ll be called the Lightsaber Boomerang, and it will be exactly what it sounds like.
This power works by applying telekinesis to lightsaber combat. While some (simple) users of the Force can hover their lightsaber or simply throw it in a straight line, Darth Vader perfects the art by launching his lightsaber like a deadly arrow and then having it return back to him gracefully. With the ability to course-correct mid-air and throw his lightsaber boomerang long distances, it’s safe to say that Darth Vader has successfully avoided being simply one of the best at lightsaber combat in the world; he’s taken it to a new level.
When you think of Star Wars you often don’t think of flying. That’s more in the realm of superheroes and fantasy rather than Jedis and sci-fi, isn’t it? Well, not exactly. Although it’s not often shown, Darth Vader is actually able to levitate himself against gravity and take himself anywhere he wants.
We’ve all seen characters in Star Wars use the Force for simple levitation of an object, but Darth Vader’s skills are so adept that he’s actually able to channel the Force into himself and levitate off the ground. Using no physical powers whatsoever – only the powers of his mind and his manipulation of the Force – Darth Vader can achieve this power without the use of any external devices or help. With this power Vader is able to hover, move swiftly in any direction, or just generally scare people that aren’t expecting a Sith Lord in a black helmet to fly nimbly through the air a la Harry Potter.
9 Animal Control
No, this isn’t Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but that doesn’t mean that good old Darth Vader can’t enjoy a little beast taming every once in a while.
Considering that the Star Wars universe isn’t exactly short on strange and unique creatures, it only makes sense that someone like Darth Vader should be able to control them. And that’s exactly the case thanks to Vader’s mastery of the Force; specifically the part that allows him to mentally link his brain with a wild animal’s.
More useful in battle than you’d think (Vader once tamed a destructive Reek in an arena), the ability to control animals is one that we wish we’d see in more Star Wars movies, and not just thrown off to the fringes of the Clone Wars. With multiple powerful creatures running around that Vader is able to communicate with and control using the force, there’s endless possibilities in just how much damage someone like him could do with a power like this. And that’s someone we’re dying to see.
Also known as Force Cloak or Force Camouflage, Darth Vader’s power of invisibility isn’t exactly as sinister or original as some of the powers on this list. While some of the greatest heroes and villains of our time have achieved invisibility through one means or another, what’s so fascinating about Vader’s invisibility is just how tricky it actually is to pull off.
The talent required to use the Force in a way to manipulate light waves and have them bend around you is so rare that only the most skilled Jedi can pull it off. What’s more is that over the years the power has dwindled as knowledge becomes lost with generations of Jedi. Nonetheless, Darth Vader is one of the few still able to have the power of invisibility, although the power is one that requires immense concentration and often doesn’t last long enough to be totally effective in the battlefield.
7 Breathe Without Oxygen
If there’s one thing to know about Darth Vader it’s that he can’t breathe all that great. Also, he’s pretty evil. So, it looks like there’s two things to know about Darth Vader. But before you go feeling sorry for the villain based on his breathing condition, you should know the true extent of his powers and how he’s able to go longer than any normal human without oxygen.
Being in space and all, this is certainly a useful power to have. With it, Vader is able to control his breath using the Force. By using the Force to store reserve air in his lungs, he’s able to breathe more slowly and sporadically than anyone else. Whether he needs to go a long time without oxygen or simply needs to stop breathing for a while if on a stealth mission, Darth Vader has the power to breathe without technically breathing oxygen. Who knew?
6 Enhanced Healing
Another staple on the lists of superheroes around the world, Darth Vader’s ability to heal himself is something that too often gets overlooked in the Star Wars universe. Whether hurt in battle or simply the victim of a paper cut while photocopying flyers regarding the Death Star, Darth Vader is able to accelerate the normal human process of healing, thus making himself, essentially, into a superhuman.
By – you guessed it – using the Force in a delicate and complex way, Darth Vader is able to heal himself in a greatly enhanced way from that of other humans. Although it may not be on the same level as Deadpool or Wolverine, thanks to Darth Vader’s self-healing prowess he isn’t actually as frail as he seems, as he’s constantly working on little tweaks and upgrades to keep himself healthy and running at full capacity. Seen in Star Wars: Episode III, this is another power that we would love to see explored in more depth at some point down the road.
5 Super-Speed and Agility
If you’re getting prepared to type in the comments that this power is the same as rage focusing, hold your horses! Although the end result of rage focusing may indeed be a higher top speed and better agility for Darth Vader, make no mistake that it’s a very different power to this one. While rage focusing is a dark and intensive ability, Vader’s super-speed and agility comes not from his proclivities with the dark side but rather from his own superior knowledge of how to use the Force.
With the Force Vader allows himself speed boosts that can last longer than that of any human, as well as agility that can see him evade attacks with startling skill and accuracy. As well, Vader’s super-speed isn’t just fast running, but rather it allows him to slow down the world around him, thus creating an effect similar to that of the speedster Quicksilver in X-Men.
4 Super Jumping
Although you might not think of Darth Vader as the most athletic person in the world, don’t let his ability to kill from a distance trick you into thinking he’s just your everyday lazy villain. With his self-made bodily enhancements, Darth Vader has more than enough athletic skill to take you down without any fancy organ crushing tricks. This is not to mention Super Jumping, a power seen in Clone Wars that makes Vader quite formidable, and is something that shouldn’t be laughed at as merely a cool party trick.
The power has in the past been attributed to Luke Skywalker, who utilized a massive Force jump when fighting Darth Vader on Cloud City. But the younger Skywalker isn’t the only one who is able to make use of crazy jumps. Vader has been known to manipulate the Force in order to carry him as he leaps large distances, and the result is often something Hulk-like and a more than a little intimidating.
3 Energy Absorption
Energy Absorption is a tricky power to get right in film, which is perhaps why we haven’t seen Darth Vader use this power much outside of Star Wars: Clone Wars. Although its infinitely cool, Vader’s ability to absorb any kind of energy thrown at him would understandably throw off casual fans of the series who would wonder why he doesn’t just use this power at all times to fend off any attack against him.
Although it’s still unclear if Vader encounters any physical damage when using this power, what we do know is that he learned the power while training to be a Jedi and he brought it with him to the dark side. Rare and complicated, it’s said that it can be used to fend off even concentrated energy from a lightsaber. Although the power isn’t seen much these days, Vader’s ability to dull and perhaps withstand any energy attack against him is a huge one, and it’s one we hope that we see play an integral role in a huge battle soon.
2 Sphere Shield
Players of most Star Wars videogames will recognize this power as something essential to surviving the games, but it isn’t simply something that videogame designers threw in for tactical reasons. In fact, Darth Vader’s blue protection bubble is one of his greatest powers, and although it may not be as glamorous as some powers on this list, it’s still an essential tool in his arsenal.
A blue sphere of pure energy derived from the Force, Vader can cast this orb around himself to protect him from nearly any weapon or power that anyone else throws at him. Although there’s nothing inherently difficult or rare about this power, it’s still something that we don’t see a lot of; perhaps because hiding behind a shield isn’t the most exciting power in the world. Still, we somehow don’t believe that a guy who can kill anyone with his thoughts has any trouble hiding behind an unsportsmanlike bubble of energy during battle.
Just like the best powers, Precognition was something that was seen in all Jedi at one time before the power became lost to the generations. Eventually it only manifested itself in people with very specific Force-sensitivities, and now it’s something we rarely see. Of course, like all the best powers Darth Vader has it, and he uses it to manipulate the world around him and gain a distinct advantage over others.
With his ability to have visions of events that haven’t yet happened, Darth Vader is able to play the Force like a fiddle and alter his behavior accordingly. While the power sometimes manifests itself as warnings regarding future events, Vader’s precognition can be as specific as what movement an opponent will make in battle in the next second. With nearly limitless applications and a user hungry for power, it’s easy to see why precognition is Darth Vader’s top power; and one that he’s able to use to further the goals of the dark side and cause endless global suffering.
Which of these powers were you most surprised to learn that Darth Vader has? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!