Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Star Wars Darth Vader and Servants

Go To

All spoilers regarding the Skywalker Saga and The Clone Wars are unmarked. Examples relating to Disney's EU and the new movies can be spoiler-tagged if deemed necessary.

Tropes specifically applying to the characters based on their appearances in Star Wars Legends can be found here.

To return to the Character page for Star Wars, go here.

    open/close all folders 

Lord Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker)
"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Species: Human (Cyborg)

Portrayed by: David Prowse (1977–1983), Bob Anderson (1980–1983)note , Sebastian Shaw (1983, unmasked), Hayden Christensen (2005), Spencer Wilding (2016), Daniel Naprous (2016)note 
Voiced by: James Earl Jones (movies, Rebels), Matt Sloan (Commander; Battlefront 2015; LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures), Matt Lanter (Rebels)note 
Voiced by (Latin American Spanish dub): Federico Romano (1997–2005), Blas Garcìa (Rebels), Juan Carlos Tinoco (Rebels and Battlefront 2015), Sebastián Llapur (Rebels)
Voiced by (European Spanish dub): Constantino Romero (1977-2005), Pedro Tena (Rebels and Rogue One)
Voiced by (Japanese dub): Koji Nanbara, Mizuho Suzuki, Toru Ohira, Taiten Kusunoki (Rebels and Rogue One), Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Taro Ishida, Ryuzaburo Otomo, Takaya Hashi
Voiced in by (European French dub): François Chaumette (1977), Georges Aminel (1980–2005), Philippe Catoire (Rebels and Rogue One)
Voiced by (Canadian French dub): Denis Mercier (2005–)

Darth Vader was the Sith identity of Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi Knight and father of Luke Skywalker who was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force in addition to helping the Galactic Empire eradicate the Jedi Order and put an end to the Galactic Republic. While he was the evil Emperor's top enforcer and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces, he sought to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance by any means necessary while pursuing goals of his own.

For info on Anakin Skywalker, see his page. For the Self-Demonstrating Article on the Darth Wiki, go here.

  • 24-Hour Armor: Vader's armor holds all his life support systems, and if removed outside of a special chamber he will die rather quickly. Somewhat lessened in a departure from Legends, where it is shown that he can also be in a relaxing bacta tank, where in Legends he explicitly could not as it would kill him.
  • Abusive Parent:
    • He lops off his son Luke's hand in a lightsaber duel - doing the same thing to Luke what Count Dooku did to Anakin 25 years before - and then has the audacity to ask him to join the Dark Side with him so they can rule the galaxy together. What makes this so disturbing is how nonchalant Vader is about the anguish he causes Luke and how sincerely he implores his son to join him — as if any pain he causes Luke is simply his way of being a good father.
    • He also tortured his daughter, Leia, though he didn't know that she was his daughter at the time. He showed remorse for his actions towards her later, though.
    • Heck, he was mistreating them before they were even born, choking their pregnant mother to unconsciousness in Revenge of the Sith and believing (mistakenly) that he’d caused them to die alongside her in childbirth (though he was devastated by this).
  • Abstract Apotheosis: Due to his occasional brutal slaughter of Sand People, the remaining raiders have started to think of him as their death god, as seen in the Coda to the Darth Vader comic.
  • Ace Pilot: A holdover skill from his days as a Jedi. Despite being outnumbered due to being the only pilots smart enough to scramble against the rebels' "futile" attack, he and his handpicked Black Squadron shoot down many rebels during the Final Battle of A New Hope, and would have done the same to Luke Skywalker if not for Han Solo's Big Damn Heroes moment. In Rebels he single-handedly curbstomps the fledgling Phoenix Squadron, putting the rebel cells in Lothal's vicinity in complete disarray.
  • Achilles' Heel: Force lightning, which he can't use at the risk of destroying his own life support system. Logically enough, Palpatine mortally injures Vader from the stray bolts that hit him.
  • Action Dad: His paternal instincts kick in just in time to save his son from Palpatine.
  • Act of True Love: Saving his son at the end of Return of the Jedi.
  • Actually, I Am Him: He says outright to Luke that he is his father after Luke asserts that Darth Vader killed his father, Anakin.
  • Affably Evil:
    • To his wife Padmé after his initial turn to the Dark Side. The very first thing he does after committing a massacre at the Jedi Temple is rush to her apartment to "make sure she and the baby are safe". Although he lies to her (or at least bends the truth quite a bit), he is genuinely affectionate and protective towards her, reassuring her that everything will turn out alright and entrusting her with the knowledge of his mission to Mustafar. Even when she confronts him with her knowledge of his crimes, Vader still tries to reassure her and sincerely asks her to rule the galaxy with him (although in this case it comes across as rather disturbing more so than heartwarming, due to how unhinged and out-of-touch with reality he's becoming). Eventually though, he starts losing his temper with Padmé and his compassion towards her goes completely out the window when he (falsely) thinks she's plotting to kill him. Even after strangling her however, Vader regrets harming her and the first thing he asks Palpatine after his operation is if Padmé is safe. When Palpatine informs him he killed her in his anger, his initial response is complete shock and denial, before he starts telekinetically smashing up the room around him in rage and grief.
    • He is also this towards Luke after his Face–Heel Turn. Normally Vader is permanently pissed of and feels at best mild irritation towards everyone and everything and at worst loathes existence and everything in it, EXCEPT for Luke when he learns that the young hero is his son. Vader since then stopped at nothing to find and capture him, justifying to the emperor and perhaps to himself that the boy would be a useful tool when in actuality its because deep down, Even Evil Has Loved Ones. After finally meeting Luke on Bespin and challenging him to a duel, Vader's demeanor was uncharacteristic for him. Where he would normally show only contempt for his adversaries while sarcastically mocking or belittling them, there was a distinct lack of fury and aggression in Vader's fighting style. More than that he continuously praises Luke whenever he does something unexpected or shows off what he's learned. At the end Vader beats him and instead of threatening his life, tries to reason with Luke and have him come in willingly. Seriously Vader had never treated anyone with that much concern or respect since the tragedy on Mustafar.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: His redemption at the end of Return of the Jedi elicits sympathy from Luke, in spite of the terrible things he did up until that point.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: His armor comes with a black cloak draped around him.
  • Almighty Janitor: Ultimately despite being The Chosen One of a prophecy, and having great power and ability, Darth Vader never amounts to anything more than a lackey of Darth Sidious, and before that occupying a middling position among the Jedi, and before that, a slave at Tatooine. As noted by Lucas in an interview, this makes his life "even more tragic, because he’s not even an all-powerful bad guy, he’s kind of a flunky" and affirming the views of his interviewer:
    Gavin Edwards: He’s not Satan, he just goes down to the corner and gets Satan’s cigarettes.
    Lucas: You got it.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: By the time of episode 2 and 3 Anakin has signs of this. It's unclear exactly what it is, but seems like a combination of narcissism, borderline, and paranoia. Unfortunately there isn't much in the way of mental healthcare in a galaxy far far away, which is a part of why he turned evil in the first place.
  • Ambiguously Human: Within the Star Wars Canon, most people aren't sure if he's even a human being; some think that he might have been an alien or a droid. It isn't until he is unmasked as Anakin Skywalker after the Emperor is killed that it's discovered he IS human, but a tired, old human with a mostly cybernetic body.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: When Luke won't give in to his rage during their final duel, Vader cheekily threatens to go after Leia. This causes his son, who was utterly composed for the entire film up until that point, to snap and wrathfully disarm him in both senses of the word.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • He essentially became one by Return of the Jedi. For one thing, it is hinted that his attempts to turn Luke to the Dark Side were as a means of protecting him (the only alternative was to kill him), and when mentioning that it's too late for him to redeem himself, he seems to say it with a tinge of remorse. This, combined with the fact that he even breaks his general rule of You Have Failed Me when Luke and co escape from him at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, shows that the Dark Side has begun to lose its grip on him.
    • He also believes that the Empire is the best way to maintain order in the Galaxy... despite the sacrifices.
  • Arch-Enemy: He has several of these:
    • Luke Skywalker: His estranged son. For years, Luke believed that Darth Vader was the one who killed Luke's father, not knowing they were one and the same. In addition, Luke personally witnessed him killing his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his friend, Biggs Darklighter. On the flip side, Vader believed Luke never existed due to his mother and Vader's wife Padmé Amidala supposedly dying accidentally by Vader's hand, not knowing Luke WAS born and was brought to the Alliance by Kenobi, Han Solo, and Leia. After learning about Luke's existence and realizing the truth about what happened with Padmé (partially), Vader spent years attempting to capture and convert Luke, and harms Luke's friends to do so. Vader eventually cuts off Luke's hand and tells Luke the truth about his heritage, severely traumatizing him. After accepting the truth, Luke is determined to redeem Vader, despite the fact that he was told that he must defeat him in order to become a Jedi Knight.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi: His former mentor and friend. After a fateful duel on Mustafar, Kenobi severely injured and crippled him, forcing him to spend the rest of his life in his trademark suit. Kenobi spent the following years watching over Luke and preparing him for the day that Luke would be ready to confront Vader. Vader eventually killed him during their rematch, but his spirit continued to guide Luke in his journey to become a hero capable of defeating Vader.
    • Princess Leia Organa: An important member of the Rebel Alliance. Vader exposed her as a rebel, captured her, tortured her for information, and forced her to watch Vader's superior, Grand Moff Tarkin, destroy Alderaan, Leia's homeworld. He later allowed her to escape in an effort to lead the Death Star to the Rebel Base, but this backfired when the information that Leia escaped with led to the destruction of the Death Star. Years later, Vader captured her again on Bespin, and once again she escaped. Unbeknownst to either of them, Leia was his daughter, hidden from him by Obi-Wan Kenobi as a backup in case Luke failed to defeat Vader. It's only in his final battle with Luke that Vader deducts that Luke had a sister and Padmé had twins, though it's not stated if Vader realized that Leia, who he had abused on the first Death Star, was Luke's sister before Vader died.
    • Ahsoka Tano: Vader's former Padawan was one of his most prominent enemies during the early days of the Rebellion. Ahsoka coordinated the Rebels on Lothal, who proved to be enough of a problem that Vader was forced to step in personally. Vader sent multiple Inqusisitors to hunt down Ahsoka and her Jedi allies, culminating in a duel between the two on Malachor, where she would have been killed if not for future Ezra's extradimensional intervention.
  • Archnemesis Dad: An archetypal example to Luke and Leia, following the big reveal. This is Played With, as Luke only considers him an Arch-nemesis before the big reveal. Once Luke is made aware of their lineage, he goes out of his way to redeem him.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He shows many of these qualities: lacks respect for authority, resorts to violence with minimal provocation, etc.
  • Artificial Limbs: All of them, three of which he lost during the duel that left him in his mechanized suit.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Joins Obi-Wan and Yoda as a Force ghost after he dies in Return of the Jedi.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: His official title in the Empire is Supreme Commander of the military, the sort of job that, in Real Life armies, typically entails stamping a lot of paperwork. Vader, however, prefers to be down in the trenches with the Mooks.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Vader's armor is one of the most bizarre, albeit famous, examples in fiction, yet also Zig-Zags the trope. His armor enhances his strength, durability and senses while looking pretty intimidating. However, rather than being a straight-up upgrade, it mostly serves as life support and has several faults that limit his capabilities. First, the armor is heavy, forcing him to adopt a Mighty Glacier fighting style. Furthermore, the cybernetic nature of his suit renders Vader vulnerable to electric overloads and prevents him from using force lightning. In Star Wars: Darth Vader, the one who designed the armour in the first place even has an off-switch that he can use to incapacitate Vader should the need arise. Finally, the armor is far from enjoyable to wear, it keeps Vader under constant physical pain (the helmet even has needles that puncture his brain which allow Vader to use his Artificial Limbs), which is why he needs occasional rejuvenation sessions. At the same time, however, the isolation and pain provided by the armor allow Vader to call upon the Dark Side of the Force with greater ease than he would otherwise.
    • Furthermore, as he found it "acceptable" and he personally maintains it (with Sidious' permission), he didn't see any point to further upgrade it as he exploits any "advantages" to tap in the dark side of the Force. With time, he fully embraces it.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: All Sith Lords come with this.
  • Ax-Crazy: A very subtle example. He's cool, calm and quiet, but homicidally brutal and violent when fighting. Rogue One shows him cutting down Rebel troops with vicious cruelty (similar to what certain Slasher killers like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers would do), and then there's him cutting off Luke's hand for nicking him in the shoulder in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Badass Boast: While under attack from an army of rebels:
    Rebel: Darth Vader! Lay down your weapons! You are surrounded!
    Vader: All I am surrounded by is fear. And dead men.
  • Badass Cape: Wears a long black cape as part of his garb.
  • Bad Boss:
    • His tendency to kill his subordinates for even the slightest mistake has made him a memetic archetype of this trope. In-universe, many officers fear working under him due to his lethal tendencies.
    • His appearance in the first issue of Star Wars, where he uses his own Stormtroopers as human shields through telekinesis immediately after it was established that he could block the blaster bolts with his lightsaber.
  • Baddie Flattery:
    Darth Vader: Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well.
  • Bald of Evil: Due to the burn tissue on his scalp preventing hair regrowth, although it's usually covered by his mask.
  • Basso Profundo: James Earl Jones provides the deep, booming voice of Darth Vader.
  • Batman Gambit: In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader wants Luke but has no idea where to start looking for him after the Hoth evacuation. Instead, he pursues and captures Han and the others, correctly anticipating Luke sensing their suffering through the Force and racing to the rescue.
  • Benevolent Boss: Despite a few instances of abuse, it's noted he actually engages in rapport with many of his Stormtroopers (mirroring his relationship with the Clones under his command when he was Jedi) and generally treats them well. In fact, In-Universe, it's stated the Stormtrooper Corps practically worships him.
  • Being Evil Sucks: When Luke insists he can be turned from the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi, the way that Vader says "It is too late for me" implies that he despises what he's become on a fundamental level, but he sticks around largely because he believes it's too late to back out.
  • Berserk Button: While Vader is usually very stoic, there are a few things that set him off:
    • The first is lying to his face. He will give you an earful if he needs to, or choke you to death with one hand if he doesn't.
    • The second is insulting his Jedi religion, in which case he will Force-choke you.
    • Third, as is typical for evil overlords, is failure. In that event he'll also Force-choke you, to death, and since he's in charge, there will be no one around to protect you.
    • Fourth, he hates his past as Anakin Skywalker and he hates anyone knowing who he is under his mask. If you see him without his mask, he'll Force-choke you until your neck snaps. If you reveal you know his real identity, he'll kill you and everyone within earshot, even if you're valuable to the Empire.
  • Big Bad: While he is usually The Heavy with Palpatine being the Man Behind the Man or Big Bad, there are a few instances where Vader is the central villain.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, he commands all of the Imperial officers in the film, hires the bounty hunters to hunt after Han Solo, and sets a trap for Luke at Cloud City by luring him in with Leia and Han held hostage, with the goal of turning Luke to the Dark Side. Empire is the one film out of Vader's cinematic appearances where he is the definitive main antagonist.
    • In the second season of Rebels, he takes over the operation to hunt down the Ghost following the Inquisitor's failure, cueing a truly grand Oh, Crap! from the heroes, and is the primary threat they deal with throughout the season.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The big guy to Palpatine's little guy.
  • Big "NO!":
  • Big "WHAT?!": In A New Hope when one of his TIE Fighter escorts is destroyed by Han Solo, preventing him from shooting Luke's X-Wing.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's Hebrew text written on his chest panel. It reads "His deeds will not be forgiven, until he merits."
    • A Hilarious in Hindsight example: "Vader" is Dutch for "Father". This is entirely coincidental, though, as the character was named long before his connection to Luke is established in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Black Cloak: Originally omits the cloak from his personalized leather Jedi attire, but as he gets darker, he starts donning it as well. He upgrades to the signature black cape and life-support system of Darth Vader after losing to Obi-Wan.
  • Black Knight: His appearance was modeled after the archetype, albeit in such a way where it would fit in a futuristic setting.
  • Blood Knight: Whether before or after his transformation, he loves a good fight. In Rogue One, Tarkin remarks with utter certainty that Vader will handle any business which requires going toe to toe with the Rebels. This earns him the respect of most of the Stormtroopers as they appreciate the fact that he's a top ranking member of the military who's willing to fight in the trenches alongside the grunts.
  • Body Language: Lacking of facial expressions, Darth Vader uses hand gestures to express himself.
  • Body Horror: Underneath his armor, his body consists of a horrifically scarred head and torso, with virtually every part of him damaged in some way, to the point where his suit is necessary for him to hear because his eardrums melted.
    • Even worse in behind the scenes pictures, where one realizes his Jedi robes are fused into his skin.
  • Bond One-Liner: Usually when he Force-chokes someone, whether lethally or not.
    • "I find your lack of faith disturbing." — Admiral Motti, right after the latter dismissed Vader's Force powers in A New Hope.
    • "Apology accepted, Captain Needa." — The Empire Strikes Back.
    • "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director." — Krennic in Rogue One.
    • "Then you will die braver than most." — Ezra Bridger in Rebels after the latter declared he did not fear Vader.
  • Book-Ends: Palpatine begins his corruption of Anakin into becoming his Sith apprentice by goading him into killing his current apprentice Count Dooku, an act which accelerates Anakin's slide into the dark side. He later tries to repeat this scenario with Luke and Vader. But Luke proves to be incorruptible and Vader, who has been through this exact situation before already, loses any reason to value his master's life over his son's.
  • Breakout Villain: He only has nine minutes of screentime in the first film, and when he does, he's usually being subordinate to Grand Moff Tarkin. He was even slated to be killed in the Death Star trench run, and was never intended to be Luke's father. However, George Lucas decided to insert a shot of him escaping as a Sequel Hook, and he ended up becoming the iconic villain of the series, enough to warrant a three-movie-long Start of Darkness arc and appear in a spinoff film. He's also one of the few villains in fiction to become the Series Mascot.
  • Broken Ace: By the time Luke confronts him again, he's given up on ever defeating the Emperor and tells his son to likewise submit to Palpatine.
  • Broken Pedestal: His son, Luke, used to think he was a noble Jedi Knight that died years ago at the hands of Darth Vader. Now he knows not only did he not die at Vader's hands; he is Vader.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Downplayed. Before he was critically injured on Mustafar, Vader had the potential to become the strongest Force-user in the galaxy. Even after, he was still able to use his Force powers and remained an effective Hero Killer and symbol of fear.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: This exchange from the comics, complete with a delicious serving of Dramatic Irony:
    Luke Skywalker: You killed my father.
    Darth Vader: I've killed very many fathers, you'll have to be more specific.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Fully and proudly embraces The Dark Side of The Force, regardless of whatever good intentions he may have had at first. However, as seen above, by Return of the Jedi he's become rather disillusioned with the Dark Side and all that he's sacrificed to it.
  • The Chessmaster: Vader is good at manipulating in order to get what he wants. His Master, the Emperor/Darth Sidious, is notches ahead of him in this department though.
  • Classic Villain: Fits all of the criteria of a Wrath villain: brought to the Dark Side through his anger, clad from head to toe in black armor, and has a very personal relationship with The Hero. He even has a classic death scene.
  • Clingy Costume: His armor is also his life-support system, and cannot be removed outside a special chamber. And as noted above, his Jedi tunic was burnt into his skin on Mustafar.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: His Cool Helmet and Black Cloak are so iconic that just their silhouette in the first teaser posters for The Phantom Menace was enough to let everyone know just who the cute kid in the picture would become.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He tortures Leia in A New Hope, then again in The Empire Strikes Back, where he tortures her and Luke's friends in Cloud City, knowing that Luke would sense them through the force.
  • Cool Helmet: The most noticeable piece of his "clothing". In-universe, it's Awesome, yet Impractical like the rest of his armor; while it looks sleek and scary and heightens his senses, its main purpose is as life support, and it has needles on the inside that puncture his brain.
  • Cool Mask: If he's not the most powerful villain in the galaxy, his full mask certainly ranks him amongst the scariest.
  • Cool Starship: The Devastator, the Executor, and the TIE Advanced x1.
  • Covered with Scars: His remaining human body beneath his armor is completely covered by severe burns.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The fight between Luke and him in The Empire Strikes Back. As the fight goes on, it's clear Luke is hopelessly outmatched especially after Vader cuts his hand off. Worse, Vader is beating up Luke spiritually, taunting Luke to use his anger to defeat him and then, just as Luke is clinging for dear life over an abyss, reveals that he is Luke's father. By the time Luke is rescued by his friends fleeing Cloud City, he's a physical, emotional and mental wreck.
    • Their canonical first duel in the Star Wars comic is even more one-sided — Luke clashes lightsabers with him once before effortlessly being knocked down and having Vader yank his lightsaber from his hands using the Force.
    • Dave Filoni said that if Kanan and the crew of the Ghost are "Level 4" by the end of the first season of Rebels, Vader is "Level 80". Sure enough, he seems pretty bored when handily defeating Kanan and Ezra in "The Siege of Lothal".
    • Inflicts this on the soldiers on the Rebel capital ship in Rogue One.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Obi-Wan calls Vader "more machine now than man; twisted and evil", but the prequels reveal that Vader is actually a subversion — his fall to the dark side happened before he was confined to his cyborg exoskeleton.
  • Cyborg: Vader has lost all of his limbs and receives extensive damage to his internal organs, particularly his lungs, hence the Cool Mask and the Vader Breath.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: He had no choice but to "abandon" Luke and Leia because he didn't even know that they were still alive, or that Padmé was having twins to begin with. As soon as he learned that he had a son, he planned a nice family bonding experience so that they could get to know each other.
  • Dark Is Evil: His dark costume compliments his use of The Dark Side. In the end, though, Luke proves that there is still good buried deep within his twisted and evil form.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support:
    • The trope codifier and certainly the most famous example; he can't live without his suit for more than a few minutes.
    • As Rogue One visualizes, Vader needs his suit just to walk, and a bacta tank to stay alive outside it. It's no coincidence that everything about his lair on Mustafar is designed to make him seem superhumanly imposing to visitors.
  • Darth Vader Clone: The trope codifier. Vader is such a successful character that he has a ton of official expies in Star Wars and unofficial ones in other franchises, to the point that Kylo Ren was created to deconstruct the concept.
  • David vs. Goliath: Luke vs. Vader. Not only is Vader taller and bigger, he's also much more skilled and experienced with the Force.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Kylo Ren keeps his cremated helmet on display in his quarters.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He certainly has his moments. "We would be honored if you would join us" and "I find your lack of faith disturbing" are some particularly notable examples. Rogue One ups the ante a bit and gives him some Black Comedy in his dialogue.
    Darth Vader: Director Krennic.
    Orson Krennic: ...Lord Vader.
    Vader: You seem unsettled.
    Krennic: No, just... pressed for time, there's a great many things to attend to—
    Vader: My apologies. You do have a great many things to explain.

    Krennic: I delivered the weapon the Emperor requested. I deserve an audience to make certain he understands its remarkable ... potential.
    Vader: Its potential to create problems has certainly been confirmed. A city destroyed. An Imperial facility openly attacked.

    Vader: I expect you not to rest until you can assure the Emperor that Galen Erso has not compromised this weapon in any way. (walks away)
    Krennic: I'm... still in command? (Vader stops moving) You'll speak to the Emperor about —
    (Krennic's voice cuts off - after a second's confusion, he clutches his throat and collapses)
    Darth Vader: (while Force-choking Krennic) Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director. ( releases Krennic and walks away))
  • Death by Irony: Had a low opinion of Death Stars, but ended up dying on one.
  • Death Seeker: Disney EU material depicts him as this on a couple of occasions, when Vader's innermost thoughts have been shown. It is revealed that he wants to die, both out of shame of his crimes as well as a desire to be freed from his tormented existence. Much of his hatred of Obi-Wan stems from the latter not killing Vader when he had the chance.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Vader himself is deconstructed in Revenge of the Sith. After years of admiring him as a symbol of evil, viewers finally get to see the tragic circumstances that would lead Anakin to betray the Jedi and give himself to the dark side, namely manipulation from Palpatine, distrust towards the Jedi and fear of losing his wife. By the end of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin is so ashamed of himself that he feels being Vader is the punishment he deserves.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • The news of Padmé's death, coupled with the belief that he was the one who killed her and his natural assumption that their child died with her, crushes whatever humanity he had until that point in Revenge of the Sith.
    • Being rejected by Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back makes him visibly crushed, especially after the Millennium Falcon enters lightspeed at the end. His body language is entirely slack and he walks past his crew who are shocked by his total silence and refusal to punish anyone. By the time, Luke meets him again in Return of the Jedi, Vader has lost most of his swagger, and gives up tempting Luke to join the Dark Side, more or less telling his son that he's Palpatine's slave and soon he will be too.
  • Determinator: One of the most persistent and determined characters in the Canon. Vader was utterly determined to get his own son to turn to The Dark Side and join him so that they could rule the galaxy together as father and son.
  • Disappeared Dad: He is to his twin children, Luke and Leia. Obi-Wan decides to conceal their lives from Vader back in Revenge of the Sith. Vader doesn't learn the truth until his self-titled comic, and Luke doesn't find out until The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: His blunt dismissal of Moff Jerjerrod's flattery in Return of the Jedi provides the trope name.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At the end of Revenge of the Sith, he lashes out with the Force in an attempt to kill Palpatine after learning his wife died, but is too weakened to do anything more than destroy the surgical equipment. Darth Vader shows that he became increasingly furious with Palpatine for treating him like a lackey and secretly grooming his replacements for twenty years, i.e. ever since they first teamed up. Discovering via Boba Fett's information that he has a son, and realizing that Palpatine lied at least partly about the circumstances of Padmé's death, is the straw that breaks the camel's back, leading Vader to decide to overthrow his master and claim both the Empire and his son for himself, ruling with Luke at his side. He finally gets back at Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, but for different reasons.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: The Trope Namer, during his famous conversation with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. The reason that he doesn't want to destroy Luke is because he's his dad.
  • The Dragon: He is Emperor Palpatine's main enforcer who personally dispatches any major threats to the Empire. The Emperor can also lend him to Grand Moff Tarkin, as shown in A New Hope, and Season 2 of Rebels.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Word of George Lucas is that Vader was intended to be this early on (possibly sharing the spot with other Imperial officers). Traces of this remain as late in the game as the novelization of A New Hope, which describes the Emperor as a weak-willed man controlled by ambitious underlings. The actual movies as released, however, make it plain that while Vader is incredibly powerful and evil, the Emperor is worse on every imaginable scale. In the prequel trilogy, it was strongly implied that Vader was initially well on his way to becoming this when he first joined the dark side: his powers were growing so rapidly that even The Emperor himself theorized that Vader would soon eclipse his own abilities and potentially overthrow him. However, after Vader suffered his near-fatal injuries on Mustafar (including having all of his natural limbs amputated), his powers with the Force were greatly reduced and he was never able to exceed the Emperor's raw power. Even then, he's still this in A New Hope. Despite being subordinate to Tarkin, he's much more of a threat, not only because Tarkin is a Non-Action Big Bad, but because he's also far more competent.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: He's implied to be concocting a plot to overthrow the Emperor via his offer for Luke to rule by his side in The Empire Strikes Back, which would be confirmed decades later in Darth Vader #6.
  • The Dreaded: A six-and-a-half-foot-tall, caped black knight with magical powers and super strength. He makes a triumphant entrance to the film's famous soundtrack, cape swirling, and lifts a captive soldier up and snaps his neck with one hand as an Establishing Character Moment. It just goes from there. This is most explicitly shown in Rogue One, when he shows up in front of a bunch of Red Shirt rebel grunts, who metaphorically shit themselves before he slaughters all of them in under a minute.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • In France he's known as "Dark Vador" (pronounced "Vah-dohr"), and while the awkward name changes in A New Hope (such as "Yan Solo" or "Princess Leila") were corrected later on, his has stuck even to these days, to the point that future Sith Lords would also have "Darth" translated as "Dark", such as "Dark Maul". Except in French Canada; despite the original trilogy not getting a local redub, he's officially known as "Darth Vader" and is called such in Revenge of the Sith and later material. Funnily enough, both French versions translate "Lord Vader" differently: France uses "Lord Vador" while Canada uses "Seigneur Vader".
    • In Italy, he's known as "Dart Fener". A poll was held for the Italian release of Revenge of the Sith to decide whether the dub would use his original name or Italian translated name, and "Fener" won out by a slight margin.
    • Most drastically, his name is changed to "Svarthöfði" in Icelandic, which translates to the utterly unmenacing "black-head".
  • Dying as Yourself: His act of redemption reverts him back to Anakin Skywalker, but also ends up costing him his life.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Picks up the Emperor (despite missing a hand) and tosses him into the Death Star's bowels while Force lightning surges through his body. While he doesn't survive, his spirit becomes one with the light side of the Force and is finally at peace.
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Darth Vader, the most iconic and imposing villain in the franchise, is sometimes depicted in this pose.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Vader shows his ferocity by marching into the Tantive IV, along with the sinister music heralding his arrival, interrogating Captain Antilles by holding him up by the throat and with one hand, and choking the life out of the good captain and throwing his corpse to the floor when he makes a futile attempt to dissuade Vader's accusations.
    • In the Rebels special that brought him on the show, Vader completely destroys everything the Ghost crew has managed to attain on Lothal. On another level, Kanan and Ezra have the dubious honor of having their first encounter with a Sith Lord with him.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Played with. He is a seemingly soulless monster who is "more machine than man", but a few of the heroic characters still love the man he used to be, Anakin Skywalker. His wife Padmé loves him and believes he still has good in him right up to the moment Vader Force-chokes her in rage for trying to help him. Obi-Wan tells Vader he loves him like a brother, though it doesn't stop them from trying to kill each other — unlike Padmé, Obi-Wan believes Anakin is lost forever. Former apprentice Ahsoka, who was like a sister to him, has a similar attitude to Obi-Wan - she loves Anakin but hates what he's become and treats killing Vader as avenging Anakin's 'death'. Vader's son Luke never knew his father, but he grew up hearing stories about Anakin and loves him all the same, being convinced that he's simply forgotten who he really is. Turns out, Luke is right.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Padmé, for whom he turned to the dark side in an attempt to protect. It's telling that, in spite of how monstrous he became in Revenge of the Sith, the first thing he asks about is if she's safe... Which makes the fact that he was responsible for her death all the more saddening.
    • His son, Luke; you can tell by his hesitance to kill him or force him into a Face–Heel Turn that he really cares. This ends up being what ultimately causes Vader's redemption in Return of the Jedi.
    • Ahsoka Tano, his old apprentice; come Rebels, fifteen years after their last encounter, he's visibly hesitant to attack her when she appears to fight him and offers to spare her if she reveals the location of the remaining Jedi, clearly hoping she'll take the offer and in complete defiance to his attitude towards any Jedi not named Luke. When she refuses, however, he attempts to kill her with little hesitation, at first. Near the end of the Dual, after being unmasked, and Ahsoka declaring she won't leave him again, Vader's face contorts for a few seconds to be highly conflicted and then downright anguished, before hardening. It seems a small of Vader really didn't want to kill her, which is more then can be said about alot of other Vader's former allies.
    • It’s implied he loves his daughter Leia, though he only found out they were related not long before his death. As he’s dying, he asks Luke to tell Leia that “you were right about me”, indicating he wanted her to know he regretted his evil actions in the end.
    • He also loved his mother Shmi deeply, with her death actually pushing him closer to the dark side (see Momma's Boy).
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even as Vader he despised slavery and called the Emperor out for using slave labour.
    • He was against the destruction of Alderaan and the Death Star in general, though why depends on the adaptation.
    • Despite his Bad Boss tendencies, he points out to Moff Jerjerrod that the Emperor isn't as forgiving as he. Coming from the guy that spent the last film force chocking officers to death, that's saying something.
    • Vader is downright disgusted with Barr, and his plan to cause the death of billions of innocent civilians to light a fire to destroy the Empire, declaring him "no Jedi".
  • Evil Albino: Not a true albino, but his skin is completely white from over twenty years in a dark suit.
  • Evil Counterpart: Darth Vader is naturally the evil counterpart to Luke Skywalker (a living incarnation of the evil that Luke is perfectly capable of).
  • Evil Cripple: He is a severe burn victim and was repeatedly mutilated, so he has to rely on his suit to survive, let alone move around. Given his slow descent into villainy, the deformities were more icing on the cake than the direct cause. In Rogue One, it is shown that he needs to remain in a bacta tank to rest when not in his armor.
  • Evil Former Friend: He was once a good friend to Obi-Wan before he fell to The Dark Side.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: When he's not the striding, merciless force of death incarnate he can be, he's delivering insults and snark to the people he's bullying and/or murdering in the name of the Empire. In one case, he went so far as to deliver an obvious pun while forcing a bureaucrat to suffocate at his feet.
    Vader: [Force-choking an ambitious underling] Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Vader stands over 2 meters (though the good guys have Chewbacca, and in Rogue One Kaytoo, both of whom are even taller).
  • Evil Is Hammy: Definitely not as much as the Emperor. Vader can come off overly expressive because he wears a mask.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Anakin's plan after converting to the Sith seems to have been to live with Padme and raise his children to be his heirs, and then supplant Palpatine and make the Skywalkers the royal family of the galaxy, with himself and Padmé as the Ruling Couple. Even after that backfired spectacularly, he hasn't let go of that ambition by the time of The Empire Strikes Back, where his plot to get Luke to join him as "father and son". Only after being rejected a second time by his family, does Vader give up on it completely, and by the time of Return of the Jedi, he admits that Palpatine will always be master, and Luke will only amount to being his slave in the Empire. Vader's dream of a Skywalker dynasty to reign supreme is finally picked up and brought to fruition by his grandson Kylo Ren when he usurps Snoke and becomes Supreme Leader of the First Order.
  • Evil Is Petty: He's normally too disciplined to indulge in this, but he does voice this in a few instances. Rogue One shows that Vader has taken up residence in a castle rising several stories above Mustafar's soil, apparently his response to Obi-Wan's line of "I have the high ground" from their duel on the planet. He also taunts Obi-Wan in his follow-up battle at the Death Star, calling him an "old man" (when Vader isn't especially young himself at that point), and even in The Empire Strikes Back, for all his fondness for Luke, he does let in a snide, "too easy" when he initially seems to entrap Luke in the carbonite chamber.
  • Evil Makeover: Goes from a heroic Jedi to a merciless, frightening Sith Lord covered in armor after being severely burned and injured.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: He got all his flesh burned off and earned a black skull-faced suit.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Vader (Anakin at the time) wouldn't have lost the rest of his limbs and gotten his horrific burns if he hadn't turned evil. Even before the duel on Mustafar, Vader (Anakin) experienced slight changes in appearance (the glowing yellow eyes in particular).
  • Evil Overlooker: Vader does this a lot so much that he could be the Trope Codifier.
  • Evil Overlord: Despite being The Dragon, Vader still maintains a position of high command (second only to his master) and has his own set of troops (the 501st Legion, AKA "Vader's Fist") and Cool Starship (the Executor).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: An archetypal film example, courtesy of his voice synthesizer. In fact, David Prowse's voice needed to be overdubbed with that of James Earl Jones to get the desired effect. Without the synthesizer, Vader's voice is weak and raspy by the time his helmet comes off at the end of Return of the Jedi.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: He owns an obsidian castle on Mustafar, the planet where he lost his humanity.
  • Evil Wears Black: Once he officially becomes Darth Vader, he wears black robes that cover his head — all before he dons his iconic black armor.
  • Eye Colour Change: After killing the Separatist leaders on Mustafar, Vader's eyes are shown to have changed from blue to red-rimmed yellow, signifying his complete fall to the dark side.
  • The Faceless: Spends almost the entire original trilogy as this, until he is finally unmasked at the end of Return of the Jedi.
  • Facial Horror: Due to suffering severe burns, his real face is pale-skinned from lack of sunlight and completely ravaged.
  • Fallen Hero: He's not just a former Jedi; he was also The Chosen One prophesied to destroy the Sith and bring balance to The Force.
  • Family Values Villain: Once Vader realizes that Luke is his son, he places the latter's safety above all else. When the Emperor attempts to kill Luke with his Force lightning, he redeems himself by killing his former master.
  • Famous Last Words: "Tell your sister... you were right..."
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • The operation that placed him into his suit was extremely painful, and left him stuck in an elaborate iron lung in constant physical pain, as well as emotional torment from believing he killed his wife and child. Lords of the Sith reveals that he actually uses this to his advantage by letting his pain and anger guide and strengthen him.
    • In issue 24 of Star Wars: Darth Vader, he has a vision of his fateful duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. The vision breaks with what actually happened when Vader utters this response to Obi-Wan saying he loved Anakin like a brother:
    Anakin: If you'd loved me Obi-Wan, you would have killed me.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He has his moments. His famous line to Motti (while choking him) is delivered like a mild scolding.
    • "Apology accepted, Captain Needa."
    • "We would be honored if you would join us."
  • Foil: He and the Emperor are this for each other:
    • The Emperor is only the dark side, with no hint of Light in him, while Vader has the light buried deep within himself under years of anger and regret.
    • The Emperor is only out for himself, despite being a schemer, manipulating from the shadows; while Vader is more of an action type, and an enforcer/believer in law and order.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: He encourages his son to join The Dark Side along with him. Luke refuses to ever do so.
  • Force-Choke: Trope Codifier, having first done this to Admiral Motti in A New Hope. That time he was stopped by Tarkin, but in The Empire Strikes Back he executes two of his officers this way.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: By the time of The Force Awakens, Leia has accepted Anakin's redemption, but she's still unnerved by his horrific deeds as Darth Vader, seeking Luke's help when she saw similar signs of darkness in her son Ben, the future Kylo Ren. Even in The Last Jedi, Luke still calls him "the most hated man in the galaxy" and given his regret over the Jedi and his legacy, and that "mighty Skywalker blood", he has mixed feelings about his Dad too. Kylo Ren and the First Order's activity likewise ensures that most in the galaxy in the period of the Sequel Trilogy will remember him as Darth Vader and not as the reformed Anakin Skywalker.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: One of the best examples in popular culture. He was once just a slave on Tattooine who ended up becoming one of the most powerful and feared people in all of the Galaxy. He even serves as the image for the trope.

  • Genius Bruiser: His cybernetics may make him one of the physically strongest characters in the series, but he also displays a cold and calculating nature and attacks at a surprisingly high speed. Case in point, the plot of The Empire Strikes Back is his personal Batman Gambit to trap Luke and get him to convert to the Dark Side, and possibly even to help him overthrow the Emperor. He also retains the piloting and technological skills he's had since childhood. In addition, he is a brilliant battlefield tactician and a highly skilled warrior with decades of experience.
  • Gloved Fist of Doom: His fists are clenched all the time, except when he's blocking lasers with his hands.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Beneath his mask, Vader's eyes are a intimidating shade of yellow in order to signify his corruption by the Dark Side.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Vader is (supposedly) so scarred and mutilated he can't survive long without being encased in a pressurized suit of life support systems and has four artificial limbs. He chooses to armor this suit and uses it to make himself more intimidating. Before Anakin became Darth Vader and was made of scar tissue and mechanical replacement parts, he had a scar on the right side of his face near his eye and had already lost one arm.
  • Handicapped Badass: His ability to use the Force is stunted due to his injuries and cybernetic suit, forcing him to adopt a combat style based around brute force and proper swordsmanship. The, "handicap" in question is dubious at best for 99% of the galaxy's population.
  • Head Bob: David Prowse does this very well, making Vader an emotive character despite being perpetually masked.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He is revealed to be this trope in the Prequel Trilogy. Sure, he was pretty badass during the Clone Wars as Anakin Skywalker, but as soon as his wife died by his own hand, well, Rogue One, A New Hope, and The Empire Strikes Back can testify to just how more threatening he became.
  • The Heavy: The most prominent villain in the Canon, although he is always subservient to Palpatine, the true Big Bad. In A New Hope, he and Tarkin are somewhat equals, save that Tarkin is the one actually in charge of the Death Star, thus making him Vader's superior; however, later works reveal that Vader outranks any Moff, meaning that he likely listened to Tarkin more out of respect than an actual need to. Indeed, the moment Vader and Tarkin disagree on anything (Tarkin's order to not scramble fighters against the Rebel attack during the Battle of Yavin), Vader simply ignores Tarkin and does his own thing anyway.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Turns back to the light side of the Force as Anakin Skywalker in order to protect his son.
  • Heel Realization: Vader's conversation with Luke in Return of the Jedi, before they depart for the Death Star, suggests that Vader underwent a Heel Realization at some point, or at least enough of one to realize what he had become, and to convince him that he was beyond redemption. He managed to prove himself wrong when, while watching Palpatine torture Luke, Anakin overcomes the Dark Side and kills his Sith Master.
  • Hero Killer: He was already infamous for killing several Jedi during Order 66 and the decades afterwards, but he truly establishes himself as one to the audience in A New Hope when he kills Obi-Wan.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices his life to save his son from Darth Sidious, effectively turning him back to the light side of the Force.
  • Hidden Depths Dark Lord of the Sith reveals that Vader, deep down, still believes himself to be The Chosen One, the one who bring balance to the Force, which adds a rather complicated layer to his extreme self loathing.
  • High-Voltage Death: One of Vader's armor's biggest flaws is its vulnerability to electricity. Indeed, his armor is shorted out by Sidious's Force lightning, and he dies soon after killing his master.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: All of the pain, horror, and loss that Anakin has suffered is entirely his fault and he knows it which feeds his rage and dark-side powers.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: By the time of The Force Awakens, the First Order's propaganda paints him as a fallen hero for the Empire. Only Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke know the true circumstances of Vader's death, and Kylo Ren, for his part, sees it as the only way that Vader could have been made weak enough to be killed. From a Certain Point of View, he's right.
  • Hot-Blooded: Initially. Shortly after his transformation, Vader was just as openly aggressive and hot-tempered as when he'd been Anakin. This resulted in him losing his remaining organic limbs and almost being dunked in lava, and he subsequently masked his rage with stoicism and Tranquil Fury.
  • Hypocrite: Actually averted. In Darth Vader #6, he calls the experimental cyborg soldiers developed and trained by Cylo "abominations". Palpatine mentions it seems hypocritical coming from someone who himself is "more machine than man". Given Vader hates his hastily-constructed body and was made a cyborg not by choice, but because it was the only way save his life, this is very true to his character.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Tells Luke that he's his father in The Empire Strikes Back, contradicting what Obi-Wan had told Luke about Vader killing his father in A New Hope.
  • Immune to Bullets: He can stop blaster shots with his bare cybernetic hand combined with the Force.
  • Implacable Man: It's almost impossible to beat him and if you do, he will come back and hunt you down with determination. Vader never backs down.
  • Informed Ability: Vader appears to have a reputation as a great general and formidable opponent. While a formidable and terrifying physical combatant and warrior, his actual record as general, commander, and enforcer during the Original Trilogy however is pretty spotty and more or less a series of failures:
    • In A New Hope, he fails to find the stolen blueprints of the Death Star. His plan to recover it at Tatooine fails, his torture of Princess Leia fails to provide information about the Rebel Base, and his plan to finally find it ends up compromising the Death Star's security, leading to its destruction.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, he wins the Battle of Hoth, but the rebels evacuate with the bulk of their forces, allowing him a minor victory of capturing an empty military base. He fails to accomplish Palpatine's order of capturing Luke Skywalker, and of course his own secret plan to convert him to the Dark Side and pull a coup. As military governor, he ends up alienating Cloud City, a neutral territory into the Rebel Alliance due to his poor handling of the Occupation, granting the rebels another great pilot like Lando Calrissian to replace the decommissioned Han Solo.
    • By the time of Return of the Jedi, Vader is assigned a minor position as an overseer and Palpatine takes a more active and hands-on role, with Vader given no command of the ground forces. But it's not made clear in the final film if this is because of Vader's failures, because Palpatine distrusts him, or simply that the Emperor wants to trade him in for a younger apprentice (Luke).
  • In the Back: This is how he killed Eeth Koth.
  • I Reject Your Reality: In Revenge of the Sith, he goes completely into denial about Palpatine's evil nature and his own atrocities, and ignorant about the fact he is Palpatine's servant:
    "I have brought peace, freedom, justice and security to my new empire!"
    And the classic: "From my point of view the Jedi are evil!"
  • Irony:
    • His personal fortress is located on Mustafar, the same planet where he received life-threatening injuries (life-support suit for the rest of his life) and he accidentally killed his wife.
    • He chose the Dark Side to find the personal strength to protect loved ones, establish justice, and earn the respect of his fellow Jedi. Now doesn't have the strength to function without cybernetics, he's lost all his loved ones, he's the pawn of a totalitarian dictatorship, and the few remaining Jedi remember him as their greatest betrayer.
  • I've Come Too Far: The only reason he sticks around with Palpatine and the Empire after learning about his wife's death is because he believes that it is too late to redeem himself — and given that he murdered many of his former allies personally (some of whom were children), this perspective makes a degree of sense.
    Vader: [to Luke in a sad tone] It is too late for me, son.
  • I Want Them Alive: He prefers to take his prisoners be alive – he says this verbatim as one of his first lines in Return of the Jedi.
    • Once he learns that Luke is his son (or more specifically that he has a son), he does everything he can to have his son brought to him. He even places a bounty on him to ensure that he doesn't get killed.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader explicitly says this to the gathered bounty hunters aboard the Executor in regards to the pursuit of the crew of the Millennium Falcon, making a point to tell Boba Fett "no disintegrations".
  • I Was Quite a Looker: He was a Mr. Fanservice before he got completely mutilated.
  • The Juggernaut:
    • In Rogue One, the audience sees just how unstoppable Darth Vader is when he effortlessly massacres a group of Rebel troopers in pursuit of the Death Star plans.
    • It shows in Rebels as well when he duels Ahsoka. Throughout the entire duel he's constantly advancing and gaining ground while Ahsoka can barely keep up.
      • Earlier in that same season, the crew of the Ghost barely manages to hold him off long enough to escape. Even setting off a bunch of detonators and burying him under collapsing AT-AT walkers buys them precious little time.
    • In the original prequels and the sequels though, this is a little downplayed. He canonically lost the only duel he had with a capable opponent at the height of his powers at Mustafar. After that his opponents are mostly non-force sensitive soldiers, under-trained novices like Luke at Bespin, and even his final triumph over his master amounts to attacking him while his back is turned.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: The little Tatooine slave boy who was The Chosen One grew up! ...And became a murderous, cybernetic evil wizard.
  • The Kingslayer: In Jedi he throws Emperor Palpatine down the reactor shaft to his doom to stop him from killing Luke.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Any sort of levity or goofiness stops whenever he shows up, and characters often die. Case in point: the Rebel operation in the first issue of Star Wars was going swimmingly. And then he showed up. This is played up very heavily in Rogue One, where his scenes are among the most tense and gruesome in the saga. Vader, after receiving the suit, never shares a direct scene with comic relief C-3PO and R2-D2 in the movies (except for scenes on Bespin with Threepio in the freezing chamber, but they never see each other directly and editing ensures neither are sharing a major shot), which helps drive his seriousness home.
    • Note that Vader shoots and nearly destroys Artoo (his old co-pilot) with space fighter fire as soon as he comes within range of Luke's X-Wing during the climactic space battle in A New Hope. Threepio (the droid he built as a child) is already severely disabled by the time he barely encounters him again for the first time in decades in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Knight Templar: Genuinely believes instilling order through fear and tyranny is a necessary evil for the greater good.
  • Large and in Charge: Vader is by far the tallest human in the Canon, played by the 1.98m (6'6") actor David Prowse in the original trilogy; later suit actors were either as tall as Prowse (in Spencer Wilding's case) or wore inserts and lifts to appear as tall (in Hayden Christensen's case). He would have been even taller had Prowse and the 2.10m (7'3") Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) not mutually agreed on which parts they would play.
  • Large Ham: As Prowse (or whoever else is in the suit) gestures plentifully and Jones speaks bombastically, the result is simply glorious. Justified since his face is rarely visible and as such he needs to emote in other ways .
  • Leitmotif: The Imperial March. Major and minor key versions of it are all over the place during his key scenes.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Rogue One shows that, just like many video game Final Bosses, he has a castle located in one — on Mustafar more precisely, the very planet where his near-lethal injuries took place and where his Anakin self symbolically died.
  • Love Redeems: His love for Luke, his son, redeems him in the end and reverts Darth Vader back into Anakin Skywalker.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Trope Namer, derived from the climactic scene in The Empire Strikes Back wherein he tells Luke he is his father (though not with those exact words).
    "No. I am your father."
  • Luke, You Are My Father:
    • In the DVD/Blu-Ray Special Edition of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine tells him that "the offspring of Anakin Skywalker" survived. He feigns surprise at this and it's implied he knew already. Given that the opening crawl already announces that he's looking for Luke, and after the rebels evacuate at Hoth, he specifically targets Luke's friends, and of course the fact that he wants to topple and pull a coup on Palpatine, means he has to put a facade of covering his activities.
    • Issue 6 of the Darth Vader comic reveals how Vader learned the truth: he had Boba Fett try to track the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, but all he learned was his name. His name was "Skywalker." It also confirms that his reaction to the Emperor's news about Luke in The Empire Strikes Back is just an act, an attempt to prevent Sidious from learning that he has been searching for young Skywalker behind his master's back for nearly three years. And Palpatine calling Vader in the first place might be his way of telling his apprentice, "I know exactly what you are up to and you can hide nothing from me."

  • Magic Knight: He's a skilled and very strong swordsman, and is also very proficient in using Force powers, although his injuries prevent him from using them to their fullest.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: His mask and armor are modeled after ancient Sith armor, and make him a Perpetual Frowner.
  • Master Swordsman: The premier master of Form V Djem So lightsaber combat, and an expert in, or possessing advanced knowledge of, all 7 classic styles of lightsaber combat. Combines elements of multiple styles to become a devastatingly effective duelist despite his bulky cybernetics and inability to use Force lightning. Quite possibly the greatest lightsaber duelist alive (in terms of pure skill at least) at the time of his death, if one considers that Luke only beat him because he was conflicted.
  • Meaningful Name: "Vader" is derived from the word "invader". It's also Dutch and German for "Father". Though the last was a happy accident, though Lucas later did acknowledge it as serendipitous. Initially, the names were formed because Lucas wanted something that sounded intimidating, and by means of word association "Dark Water" became modified to it current form. While Darth, initially his character's first name, later a title, was intended to combine the sounds of Dark and Death into a Portmanteau.
  • Mighty Glacier: Vader is quite slow (though he is faster than he first appears). However, his attacks are devastating, due both to the strength his cybernetic limbs give him and his strength in the Force.
  • Military Mage: Vader mostly acts as an officer, "motivating" the admirals of the Imperial Fleet with the threat of a Force-choking and commanding starships to hunt down the Rebels. Occasionally, he also takes the field himself and uses his Force powers to act as an elite soldier, as when he pilots a TIE Advanced starfighter in the Battle of Yavin.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Exaggerated movement is necessary for a masked character, and Vader is a well-played example.
  • Momma's Boy: He really loved his mother, Shmi, who was tortured and killed by Tusken Raiders. He loved her to the point that, even after turning to the dark side and ceasing to be Anakin Skywalker, Vader retains a hatred of the primitive sand-people and he goes out of his way to massacre them.
  • Mook Horror Show: At the end of Rogue One, he tears through Rebel soldiers trying to retrieve the Death Star's plans.
  • Mouth of Sauron: In addition to serving as The Dragon, he also performs this duty for Emperor Palpatine. It's not obvious at first glance, but notice that Vader has frequent contact with Imperial commanders, to whom he frequently gives commands. Palpatine is never shown speaking to any of his other underlings except Vader in the original trilogy (with the exception of "Fire at will, commander!")
  • Mutual Kill: Palpatine obviously wasn't going to survive a fall into the core of the Death Star, but the stray lightning bolts he fired shorted out Vader's life support.
  • My Greatest Failure: Not being able to save Padmé from dying during childbirth.
  • Mysterious Parent: To Luke and Leia. Luke discovers that he is Vader's son in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Mysterious Past: In Tarkin, it's revealed that to the galaxy-at-large and the center of power, Vader had this, with no one knowing where he had come from. Some suspect he was a secret experiment created by the Emperor as a final trump card for ending the Clone Wars. Tarkin, however, is one of the few to believe that Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker are the same person.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Vader displays traits of this with his master Palpatine... when he's not actively trying to subvert him.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His Star Destroyer in A New Hope, the Devastator, and his Super Star Destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the Executor.
  • Necessary Evil: How he views himself and, by extension, the Galactic Empire.
  • Neck Lift: Does this to Captain Antilles in A New Hope. The good captain does not survive the interrogation.
  • Never Bareheaded: He's seen only thrice in the films without his helmet: the first time in a special pressure chamber, the second time in a bacta tank and third and final time while dying.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Vader is a black cloaked psychic human cyborg sorcerer samurai Sith swordsman with a severe breathing problem.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Invoked by Vader at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, when explaining the significance of the Emperor's arrival to his subordinate. Also, unlike Palpatine, part of Vader's motivation is to make the galaxy a better place.
    Darth Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am!
  • Nom de Guerre: Combined with That Man Is Dead; when he became a Sith Lord, he ditched "Anakin Skywalker" in favor of "Darth Vader".
  • No Sense of Personal Space: During his meeting with Orson Krennic, he gets up close to Krennic to unnerve him. Then he chokes him with the Force from across the room, seemingly just to remind Krennic that he can.
  • Not So Different: He and Luke. Like Anakin, Luke sees that he has just repaid Vader's violence in kind, but also sees his own prosthetic hand as symbolizing the possibility that he's becoming like his father. This was foreshadowed earlier in The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda sends Luke into a cave to be attacked by a vision of Vader. Luke quickly defeats the vision, decapitating it. Vader's mask falls off, and he has Luke's face. Yoda pointed out before Luke went in that the cave only contains what you take into it (i.e. it shows you yourself, and your weaknesses), in fact telling Luke he won't need his weapons. Luke completely ignored him, leading to that sequence.
  • Not So Stoic: His mask and vocabulator give off the illusion that he is largely emotionless, but his power stems from intense, near-perpetual rage.
  • Obviously Evil: He wears a very large black suit, a menacing cape, and a face-concealing helmet. His name also sounds like "invader", and translates to "dark father" in Dutch.
  • Offing the Offspring: Or it was what he believed at least.. The first thing he heard when he woke up form his surgery was that he killed his unborn child along with his wife and lived with that grief for nearly two decades. When he found out that his child was alive however he threatened to murder him twice. But when it came to it in the end, his fatherly insincts kicked in and he refused to let his son die.
  • Oh, Crap!: After three films of being The Dreaded personified, he finally loses it when he hits Luke's Relative Button by threatening to find Leia and corrupt her into succumbing to the dark side. When Luke screams and attacks him, he gasps in shock and desperately tries to hold him off, but to no avail.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: He has a large, black cape.
  • One Handed Is Cool: He often wields his lightsaber, a notoriously difficult-to-control weapon, one-handed in order to intimidate enemies. Being a cyborg helps.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Best exemplified when he singlehandedly lays waste to the Phoenix Squadron in Rebels: Vader has one fighter, and he takes on four corvettes, the frigate Phoenix Home, the Ghost, and a squadron of A-Wings. End result? The frigate and most of Phoenix Squadron are destroyed, while the rest are sent running for their lives. Vader isn't even scratched.
    • During the climax in Rogue One, Vader plows down a dozen Rebel soldiers, cutting them down with his lightsaber, deflecting their blaster shots, and sending them flying across the hallway without so much as a singed cape.
    • In the Darth Vader comics, he destroys a Rebel regiment, complete with armor and air support, by himself.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Vader is obsessed with killing Jedi survivors, and Obi-Wan in particular, and will go out of his way if he believes he may get an opportunity to do so. Interestingly, Sidious, who (obviously) has no problem with killing Jedi, doesn't really approve of this obsession, as he believes it not only clouds Vader's judgement, but is a link to Anakin Skywalker that Vader needs to let go.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In A New Hope, his usual Tranquil Fury is absent when he yells commands at his subordinates during the raid on the Tantive IV. Rogue One contextualizes why this is — he was mere moments away from reclaiming the Death Star plans from a group of rebels that he slaughtered on the Rebel capital ship that they had been transmitted to, only for them to get away from him. He had a reason to be pissed.
  • Overarching Villain: After the rise of the Galactic Empire, where's he the most visible face of the Empire, given Palpatine's willingness to stand back in the shadows. Though he only really serves as main villain in The Empire Strikes Back, whereas he's demoted to a smaller role in Return of the Jedi.
  • Papa Wolf: This is ultimately what causes him to redeem himself. Unable to stand by and watch while his son is tortured to death by the Emperor's lighting, he finally breaks the dark side's hold and throws the bastard to his doom.
  • The Paranoiac: Vader fits this personality type quite well, as years of war, the deaths of his mother, wife and — so he believes — his child, and mountains of shame and guilt over the atrocities he committed turned him into a ruthless Control Freak determined to bring order to the galaxy at any cost, and who rarely ever shows mercy, even to his own men. It's strongly implied that he wants revenge on the Emperor for manipulating him into being this way, but he is simply too afraid of him to do anything about it, at least until his son comes into play.
  • Parental Favoritism: Even in spite of his injuries and the handicap they put on his potential, Sidious admits that, of his three apprentices, Vader is the one he values the most.
    Sidious: Maul was a regrettable loss, but Tyranus... he was a proton torpedo. He served his purpose and was gone. (puts his hand on Vader's shoulder) I had a superior candidate in mind.
  • The Penance: A part of Vader feels that becoming Palpatine's lackey and a Sith Lord is what he deserves for destroying everything he cared about. He knows that while it was his own hand responsible for all of his misfortunes, Palpatine was also largely to blame for his manipulations. Anakin decided to become a monster and serve a man he despises partly as a way to punish himself.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • His Affably Evil behavior toward Luke after he learns that he's his son. Throughout his duel with Luke on Bespin, he never insults the young Jedi, but simply challenges him to fight more effectively — or surrender before he would endanger himself any more. He sincerely proposes that they overthrow the Emperor and rule as a family (in spite of his decision to chop Luke's hand off moments before), and addresses him as "son" after the revelation. He also was impressed by Luke building his own lightsaber, and actually listens when Luke says there is still good in him (even though he disagrees at the time).
    • He allows Chewbacca to rebuild C-3PO shortly after the latter's capture, explaining why Chewbacca was seen repairing C-3PO without too much fear of being caught in The Empire Strikes Back. This is taken further when he forces Boba Fett to lower his rifle when Chewie flies off the handle, even though it would have saved the both of them a lot of trouble if Boba had just killed the Wookiee then and there. The fact that Anakin was C-3PO's creator wasn't established until about 20 years later, when The Phantom Menace came out.
    • In Darth Vader, his Bad Boss tendencies are clearly being dialed back for Aphra.
    • Also in Darth Vader, the Pragmatic Villainy of it aside, he has a moment of this when he pulls out and mercy kills Aiolin after her own brother throws her into a lava pit.
    • In Lords of the Sith, he demands that a group of Stormtroopers get to their escape pods after they volunteer to stay behind and escort him off the exploding Perilous. He was likely just making sure they didn't get in his way, but it says a lot about how much respect he commands among the Stormtroopers that the men even offered to stay in the first place, especially since he'd already made it clear they were under no obligation to do so.
    • He is, in general, very kind to the Stormtrooper legions, who are trained to think of themselves as expendable. His experience with their predecessors, the Clone Troopers, probably has a lot to do with this.
    • In the Season 2 finale of Rebels, when he encounters his old apprentice Ahsoka Tano for the first time in fifteen years, he's visibly hesitant to attack her and offers to spare her if she reveals the location of the remaining Jedi, clearly hoping she'll take the offer. However, when she refuses, he tries to kill her with little hesitation.
  • Posthumous Character: Following his death, Darth Vader became a hugely influential symbol to people in favor of reinstating the Empire and followers of the dark side. Kylo Ren in particular idolizes him, while Leia has never forgiven him, especially once her status as his daughter ruined her political reputation.
  • Power Limiter: Downplayed in the Canon but played straight in Legends :
    • In the Canon, it's shown that Vader personally maintains and repairs the suit via telekinesis from his Bacta tank. Since Anakin is a first rate engineer and the Emperor allows him to do his own work on the suit, the power limiting aspect is more downplayed and most likely just due to the fact that he's wearing an iron lung/life support system/full body armor. Also, he is missing large portions of his body and in constant physical agony. He might be a scary space wizard but if you took away his force powers and suit then Vader would really be the same as a sever trauma patient lying in a bed on life support.
    • In Legends, his suit is fully this: it was intentionally made to hinder him severely and was made using extremely obsolete technology (the artificial hand he previously had was actually superior to the ones he was rebuilt with). Palpatine intentionally had his suit be made this way, rather than a more advanced suit like Grievous' that could have restored or even enhanced his abilities, to keep him under control.
  • The Power of Hate: How Sith in general get their powers, though Vader is possibly the most notable example.
  • The Power of Love: While his love for his wife and fear of losing her is what drew him to the dark side, the love for his own son was what allowed him to break free of its grasp and redeem himself.
  • Powered Armor: Vader's black suit is essentially a mobile iron lung, but is made out of extremely durable material and augments his damaged senses.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • In Rogue One, Vader seems to disapprove of Director Krennic's attack on Jedha city, if only because it creates unrest when the Empire's is yet not ready to reveal the existence of the Death Star.
    • During the trench run finale in A New Hope, Vader lets Wedge go after his ship gets crippled. Why waste valuable time chasing a neutralized ship?
    • Outright tells Aphra that as long as she continues to serve him loyally and without failure, she has the protection of the second-most powerful being in the galaxy.
  • Precision F-Strike: A mouthed "fuck you" while battling his former master Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith.
  • Pride: A recurring element of his personality all his life. Even as a child, he boasted of his skills at podracing. Come A New Hope, and he's casually choking officers who question his abilities. Palpatine lampshades this, right to his face no less, in Revenge of the Sith.
    Palpatine: Ever since I've known you, you've been searching for a life greater than that of an ordinary Jedi. A life of significance.
  • Progressively Prettier: Inverted; His burn scarring is way worse in Revenge of the Sith than when he will chronologically be unmasked in Return of the Jedi. It’s likely because his injuries in Revenge of the Sith were fresh whilst his injuries in Return of the Jedi had healed (though not completely) over the course of two decades.
  • Psychic Powers: His most frequent uses of the Force involve telekinesis and choking.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: His behavior on Mustafar towards Padmé and Obi-Wan has shades of this, as he's clearly not in his right mind. This was likely a temporary effect of his initial turn, as he's clearly regained most of his wits by the time he starts serving as the Emperor's enforcer.
  • Putting on the Reich: His helmet was obviously inspired by the German Stahlhelm. Word of God also stated that his life support suit being all black was deliberate in an attempt to create an analogy to the Schutzstaffel of Nazi Germany.
  • Rage Helm: His iconic helmet has a chillingly penetrating stare.
  • Rated M for Manly: One of the most iconic examples for Star Wars, sci-fi, and film as a whole, with his deep voice, hulking build, sleek armor, and overwhelming strength and intelligence. Vader's masculine power is a major factor behind his success as an iconic villain.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Or afterlife, in this case. After his Heroic Sacrifice, he is able to become a Force Spirit - making him the only former Sith in existence to actually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sacrifices himself to save Luke and kill the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • A very brief, unspoken one in Rebels; after Ahsoka realizes that Vader is indeed her former master, she proclaims that she won't abandon Anakin again. Vader's reaction (his face is partially visible due to Ahsoka slicing off a chunk of his mask) indicates he's surprised and even touched by her words, and almost considering joining with her... unfortunately, the "Vader" half of Anakin quickly reasserts himself, declaring Ahsoka will die as a result of her gesture, and their duel promptly resumes.
    • His initial response to Luke's attempts to turn him back to the light as well:
    Vader:Obi-Wan once thought as you do... it is too late for me, son.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: He wears mostly black armor and he wields a red lightsaber.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In A New Hope, his helmet's goggles have a subtle reddish tint to them. His design in Rebels goes with this version of the suit and exaggerates the red eyes a little more (but very exaggerated in promotional artwork).
  • Resistance Is Futile: "You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did."
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Vader simmered under Palpatine's control for twenty years, confined to his suit and little more than a blunt instrument for the Emperor. Then he finds out Palpatine commissioned Dr. Cylo to create new apprentices for him, dating from the moment Vader agreed to serve him — effectively preparing his replacements ever since they teamed up. What seals the deal is his learning about Luke's existence, realizing that Palpatine lied about what happened to his wife and child and that he played him like a fiddle to get what he wanted. Vader has finally had enough, and plans to overthrow Palpatine and take his place.
  • Rousseau Was Right: He wasn't born evil, and Padmé; believed that there was still good in him, even after he had killed dozens of Jedi and strangled her. She was right.

  • Same Language Dub: Vader is one of the most prominent examples in fiction; James Earl Jones always voices him in live-action appearances, while he's had numerous suit actors but was never portrayed physically by Jones. This applies in-universe as well; Jones' legendary voice actually comes from a voice synthesizer that amplifies Vader's speech, and without his helmet his voice is that of the actor portraying him physically (even if it's an actor switch, like in Sebastian Shaw's case).
  • Samurai: Vader's armor was created to evoke the image of a samurai warlord, which is more apparent without his cape.
  • Scars Are Forever: The scarring Anakin incurred in Revenge of the Sith is what made Darth Vader's iconic appearance and sfx in the Original Trilogy possible — even necessary. Though two decades worth of bacta baths have healed the worst of it come Return of the Jedi.
  • Secret Identity: Very few people know that he was once Anakin Skywalker and the only time he brings up his past is if someone mentions it.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Palpatine was strongly implied to be one of two people directly responsible for his conception via the midi-chlorians (the other being his Sith Master, Darth Plagueis), so Vader/Anakin killing Palpatine late into Return of the Jedi would qualify as such, technically speaking.
  • Sensor Character: He can sense when other Force-sensitives—like Obi-Wan and Luke—are nearby. Might have also picked up Leia this way on Echo Base in The Empire Strikes Back, although he seemed to mistake her for Luke.
  • Serial Prostheses: He'd already lost his right arm before the duel on Mustafar, and as a result of that duel wound up with three more prosthetic limbs.
  • Series Mascot: He is the character most often used to represent the Star Wars franchise as a whole. He made the cover of Time magazine twice, in 1980 and 2005.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Luke. Both expert lightsaber duelists, both masters of The Force, both reliant on prosthetics, and the family connection only added to their similarities. The prequel trilogy tried to emphasize them further by giving Anakin's backstory parallels to Luke's. Luke was even offered a chance to turn to The Dark Side; the difference between Vader and Luke was that Luke opted to remain in the light.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: He forcibly gets Admiral Motti to shut his mouth after the latter doubts the effectiveness of the Force.
  • Signature Move: The Force-Choke, though he rarely uses it against enemies, instead preferring to use it against former allies or subordinates who have failed him.
  • Sinister Geometry: His obsidian-black helmet is designed to evoke a human skull, from angular cheekbones to rictus grin to Black Eyes of Evil.
  • The Slow Walk: Vader does this in his very first scene in A New Hope.
  • Sole Survivor: Was the only survivor of the destruction of the Death Star in the first movie.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: A lot of his aggression comes from the pain and misery that his Face–Heel Turn brought him in the first place. This is first made apparent in Return of the Jedi, and becomes obvious in hindsight when one considers the events of the Prequel Trilogy.
  • Space Fighter:
    • His prototype TIE Advanced x1.
    • As shown in Lords of the Sith, he piloted a customized black Jedi Interceptor during the early years of the Empire.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Towards Luke, which is justified considering that he's looking for his son.
  • The Starscream: In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin believes he can overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy with Padmé, likely foreshadowed in Attack of the Clones with his mistrust in senatorial politics. Then he tries it again with his son in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It does not involve the typical Sith MO of killing their masters over power; it seems more like Anakin doesn't like how Palpatine rules, and wants to supplant him and perhaps do it better. Darth Vader #6 features the exact moment Vader decides to overthrow Palpatine, having just learned that his master lied to him about the nature of his wife's death and has been training potential replacements for him for twenty years, and that he has a son who is extremely powerful in the Force.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Beneath his helmet, his eyes have yellow irises, which only appeared once he became a Sith.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He has the central role in the series and is its most iconic character, but never has the leading role. In the prequels, he's The Lancer to Obi-Wan's Hero, and in the original trilogy he is The Dragon to Palpatine's Big Bad.
  • Talking to the Dead: Does this to Obi-Wan throughout the comics. Perhaps he suspects that Obi-Wan's consciousness endures in the Force, due to his experiences in The Clone Wars. Or perhaps he's just that unhinged.
  • Taught by Experience: Losing his three remaining organic limbs and sustaining third and fourth degree burns to his body apparently taught him restraint and caution when dueling in the Original Trilogy, where he uses Breaking Lectures, Psychic Powers, ambushes, and intimidation rather than the berserker tactics that lost him the duel on Mustafar. Of particular note, when Luke gains the high ground during the fight in Return of the Jedi, Vader throws his lightsaber to cut down the platform instead of jumping up to engage Luke in melee.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • Subverted. Although he and his Master refer to Anakin Skywalker in third person, the comics and novels that actually get into his head make it clear that he doesn't really think of his former self as a separate person. Indeed, the use of third person seems to be largely for Sidious' benefit, who sees clinging to the past as a weakness. This continuity of identity is also demonstrated in how he refers to Ahsoka as "my apprentice" in Rebels, refers to Obi-Wan as his former master in A New Hope, and clearly thinks of Luke as his own son. He does, however, try to avoid thinking of himself by his old name, because it makes him remember things he'd rather stay buried. In other words, he doesn't like thinking of or being called by his old name, but he doesn't think of Anakin Skywalker as a separate person.
    • Played straight in a dream sequence in the Darth Vader comic where Vader murders Anakin and Padmé, and declares "Anakin is dead. I killed him."
    • Also played straight when Vader confronts Ahsoka in an episode of Rebels:
      Vader: Anakin Skywalker was weak... I destroyed him.
    • He claims it in Return of the Jedi.
    Vader: So, you have accepted the truth.
    Luke: I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.
    Vader: That name no longer has any meaning to me.
    • In Thrawn: Alliances, Vader refuses to even think the name "Anakin Skywalker," only referring to his old identity as "The Jedi."
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When that sword is a lightsaber and you can control it telekinetically, it actually does.
  • Tin Tyrant: Vader is the most obvious example, if not the Trope Codifier: he was most likely inspired by the Witch King of Angmar and Sauron, Doctor Doom, and armoured samurai from Japanese films, but he is the most famous example in popular culture. His armor also doubles as a life support system, stemming from injuries he sustained in an old battle with Obi-Wan.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Several, in fact, including rising through the Jedi ranks in the prequel trilogy. By A New Hope, he's risen to be one of the principal figures in the Empire, but some of the other Imperial brass are still skeptical and derisive of him. But by The Empire Strikes Back; that's no longer the case; now he appears to have complete command of the Imperial fleet, answers to no one except the Emperor himself, and kills with impunity whenever one of his officers fails in his duty.
  • Tragic Hero:
    • The Prequel Trilogy (along with The Clone Wars) and the Original Trilogy as a whole are ultimately about the story of Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side and how his redemption saved the galaxy.
    • The Force Awakens puts a twist on this. From Snoke and Kylo Ren's perspective, Vader, not Anakin, was a tragic hero whose Fatal Flaw was his compassion for his son, which got him killed. It helps that Kylo Ren is his grandson.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He still has Padmé's old ship from when they first met, all the way back in The Phantom Menace.
  • Tragic Monster: Vader counts in a physical sense. He became a bad guy before that, but his massive injuries and horrific reconstruction made him a monster that could never be fully whole again.
  • Tragic Villain: Knows what he does is evil, and hates himself for it; he must obey his master. In George Lucas's own words, Vader is less a monster and more "a sad man who made a deal with the Devil... and lost."
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • This is pretty much Vader's default state. While he's usually stoic, rarely speaks unless necessary, and wears a helmet that cover's his entire head which hides his face, people around him tend to believe he's cold and emotionless. In reality, he's perpetually seething with rage and is never not angry. It's very likely that this is the reason while he has such a low tolerance for failure as being in a state of constant fury (and pain let's not forget) doesn't help with patience.
      • In the short story Time of Death, Obi-Wan can feel Vader's rage through the Force when he confronts him:
    He appears so calm, so controlled, but I can feel his rage, seething like the perdition nebula beneath that heartless faceplate. His fury threatens to overwhelm him, just as it always did, but he keeps it in check. I can't help but be impressed.
    • A major aspect of Vader's scariness is that he is often quiet and no-nonsense when fighting other Jedi or executing officers. He never laughs, and rarely breaks out of his stoic tone. This is exemplified in Darth Vader #6, when he learns of Luke's identity as his son. He doesn't speak or lash out in rage or confusion in light of this news, but remains dead silent while his hand curls into a fist and the window before him acquires a spiderweb of cracks.
    • In Rebels, when he discovers that his old apprentice Ahsoka is alive (and vice versa), he seems quite calm, while Ahsoka is clearly traumatized by the revelation.
  • Ultimate Evil: His mask symbolized not only his evil, but the notion that his face must be so horrifying that concealing it could not make it worse. This was intentionally subverted at the end of Return of the Jedi, which showed that the face behind the mask was that of a pale, tired old man — and that this unfathomably evil being was not as evil as once thought.
  • The Undead: While he is not this trope, he certainly does invoke it between his skull-like mask, stoic demeanour and overal Death of Personality. In-universe, some wonder if he's human at all.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: If you can believe it, the Dark Lord of the Sith used to be an adorable little Tatooine slave that had dreams of seeing the Galaxy.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Part of Vader genuinely believes that The Empire is the best way to ensure peace and security for the whole galaxy, although by Return of the Jedi he doesn't seem to believe this anymore.
    "I have brought peace, freedom, justice and security to my new Empire!"
  • Vader Breath: The Trope Namer. Especially prominent in The Empire Strikes Back. In Revenge of the Sith, you get to see his first breath.
  • Villain Ball: Provoking Luke into an Unstoppable Rage when duelling him in Return of the Jedi.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Vader admonishes Admiral Motti for calling the first Death Star "the ultimate power in the universe", saying that the ability to destroy a planet doesn't compare to the power of the Force. Forces of nature — such as supernovas that can destroy more than one planet at the same time — have proven themselves to be more powerful than anything humanity can create, and the Force is another force of nature.
    • He orders Minister Tua killed for failing to catch the rebels on Lothal despite her claims that she's doing everything in her power to track them down. Seems harsh, but once properly motivated by the fear of death Tua is able to get in contact with the rebels within several hours, which proves she was ignoring valuable information sources like known rebel supporters and contacts.
  • Villainous BSoD: He's in one for the Original Trilogy, as shown by the unenergetic, almost catatonic way he goes about his duties. Contrast that with the fiery passion he had as Anakin for an idea of just how hard Padmé's death hit him. It takes watching his son being brutally tortured by Palpatine to finally snap him back to his senses.
  • Villainous Legacy: Somebody took the trouble to recover his scorched and melted mask from Endor in The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren also consciously models himself after Lord Vader and vows to "finish what [he] started", i.e. destroying the Jedi and/or imposing order upon the galaxy and installing the Skywalker bloodline to the role as leader of the Empire. He's also his grandson who, much like Vader himself, betrayed and murdered his fellow Jedi when lured to the Dark Side, and in the process betrayed his master and uncle, Luke.
  • Villainous Rescue: In Revenge of the Sith, he saves Palpatine from Mace Windu, marking his Face–Heel Turn. It's worth noting, however, that Anakin never intended to kill Mace — he just wanted to keep the Jedi from killing the Chancellor, regardless of whether or not he was a Sith Lord.
  • Villain Protagonist: According to George Lucas, the franchise is fundamentally about Anakin and his progression from innocence to a force of good, his fall to evil, and subsequent redemption. He's also the Villain Protagonist of his own eponymous canonical comic series.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: In Luke. Especially after he learns that he is his son.
  • Vocal Evolution: In A New Hope, his voice is noticeably higher-pitched at points, particularly in his introductory scene. Later on, it became deeper and more threatening. This happens unintentionally in Rogue One, because James Earl Jones' own voice had changed with age, making Vader's tone a bit slower and deeper.
  • Weapon of Choice: A red lightsaber.
  • We Can Rule Together: Suggests this to Luke during his Breaking Lecture in The Empire Strikes Back. Prior to that, he suggests this to Padmé in Revenge of the Sith.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His reasons for turning to the Dark Side involved trying to prevent Padmé's death. Once that backfires, he rationalizes his crimes as being necessary to bring order to the galaxy. To his mind, the Jedi betrayed their principles, the Republic was corrupt and inefficient, and he's still "fighting the good fight" that he started during the Clone Wars.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Vader suffered from this until the fight with the Rebellion began in earnest. He has no real rank within the Empire but as the Emperor's personal enforcer, he's above everyone else unless Palpatine says otherwise. However, his primary occupation was hunting Jedi who survived Order 66, a task that was pretty much finished after the Empire's first few years. Other than that, Palpatine sent him off on missions of political intimidation and assassination, something Vader considered beneath his skills and it became more and more infrequent as Imperial power grew. Tarkin once even accused him of being bitter at the first Death Star's creation, remarking that once it became the greatest weapon and threat of the Empire, Vader would have no real value left to the Empire.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Even when the main focus of Lucasfilm's marketing is an installment that doesn't involve Vader as a Sith Lord, such as the Prequel Trilogy's first two films and The Clone Wars, one can be absolutely sure to see zillions upon zillions of different products featuring Vader in the current merchandising line. Often, the characters in the Original Trilogy are included in the line, or the line itself becomes partly original trilogy-focused, for the sake of including Vader merchandise. His inclusion in Rogue One sent many fans into ecstasies. Ironically, The Force Awakens advertised Vader less than the Prequel Trilogy's first two films and The Clone Wars despite the fact that he has some presence as a Posthumous Character in the movie.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He was revealed to be one in Return of the Jedi. Anakin's final transformation into Darth Vader is shown to be caused by losing everything and everyone he cares for, albeit due to his own actions.
  • Worthy Opponent: Even when hunting Jedi, the only people who really stand a chance against Vader, he only ever views them with contempt or digust. None of them are really worthy to face him in his eyes and he merely views them as a nuisance to be eradicated. There are only a few exceptions.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Killed males, females and children alike in Attack of the Clones in retaliation for his mother's death. Slew dozens of Jedi during Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith, among them at least one female (Bene). Vader later Force Chokes his own wife Padme, causing her demise.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Anakin wipes out an entire camp of Tusken Raiders (including females and children) in revenge for his mother's death in Attack of the Clones. Years later, in Revenge of the Sith, as Vader, he butchers a group of Jedi younglings during the assault on the Jedi temple, and even later threatens to forcefully extract information from Ezra Bridger. There's also this harrowing quote:
    Vader: (to an apparition of his past self) You were a child. I am well-accustomed to killing children.
  • You Are in Command Now: He promotes Captain Piett to Admiral just after Force-choking Admiral Ozzel, whose body hadn't even hit the floor yet, in the trope-naming scene.
  • You Are What You Hate: If young Anakin came face to face with his future self as Vader, it's very likely he would either try to kill Vader or kill himself so that Vader would never be. In The Clone Wars, Anakin turns to the Dark Side a year early after receiving a vision of his future as Darth Vader to prevent that from coming to pass. Ironically, this is the symbolic conflict within Vader, as Anakin genuinely despises what he's become and only continues on from a combination of I've Come Too Far and penance.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Word of God states that the reason Obi-Wan took Luke Skywalker to Tatooine after his birth to live with Owen and Beru Lars, despite it being Vader's home planet, is because Vader is unwilling to ever return to Tatooine due to painful memories of the place. He is later forced to return to his homeworld in Darth Vader, and seizes the opportunity to slaughter some Sandpeople.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • The Trope Namer. He says "You have failed me for the last time" while choking Admiral Ozzel and promoting Captain Piett to replace him before the body hits the floor. True to form, Piett survives a number of failures, once Vader realizes the heroes may actually count as a legitimate challenge. It helps that he didn't take any foolish chances like Ozzel was punished for (Ozzel was already condescending to Vader, second-guessing the Rebels being on Hoth, and then orders the fleet to come in close as a "surprise", which only tips the Rebels off that the Empire and Vader are there). Ozzel's death deserves special mention, as Vader is doing it over the intercom/viewscreen. He's not even in the same room as Ozzel.
    • He does it again to the hapless Captain Needa before the film's even halfway done, even when Needa had the foresight to apologize to Vader for losing track of the Millennium Falcon (there's a reason Vader says "Apology accepted, Captain Needa"). The turnover rate for Imperial officers must be appalling.
    • Subverted by the end of The Empire Strikes Back, when the Falcon escapes to lightspeed. Piett is visibly terrified as Vader strides toward him, only to brush right past, apparently too depressed about losing his son to kill any more underlings.
    • This carries into Rebels as an informed trait. When the Inquisitor fails to capture Ezra and Kanan, he merely says "My master will not be pleased," in a tone that indicates he dreads reporting it. In the season finale, he willingly falls into a burning reactor rather than live to report his defeat by Kanan, believing that the latter would be a Fate Worse than Death.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He is completely aware of the fact that Palpatine views him as an asset only as long as he is useful, and has no qualms about admitting as much to his face, as shown in the Darth Vader comic.
    Palpatine: My true apprentice would frustrate the copies. Eventually, driven by pride and desperation, Cylo would go too far... and then, when he was simply a traitor, we could purge him. Do you understand, Vader?
    Vader: I do. And if any of Cylo's toys had succeeded, you would be making this speech to them.
    Palpatine: [Stunned Silence]
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Vader is in his forties when he dies, but due to his previous injuries, usage of the Dark Side and twenty-three years on a life support system without sun exposure, when the helmet comes off at the end he's a pale, scarred, exhausted old man.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Vader is 22 years old. This is very obvious before his scarring and transformation, but with his injuries and with his suit, he looks and sounds very similar to his middle-aged original trilogy self.

Servants and Allies



Species: Human

Portrayed by: Martin Gordon
Appearances: Dark Lord of the Sith | Rogue One

"My Lord, Director Krennic has arrived."

Darth Vader's servant, tending to his master's castle on Mustafar.

    Darth Vader's droid 

Darth Vader's droid

Species: Droid

Appearances: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

"As long as I serve you, I will do both—if I ask a question it is because I believe the answer will enhance my service."

A droid that assists Vader on his journey to find a new lightsaber crystal.

  • Extra Eyes: He resembles an Imperial probe droid
  • Guy in Back: He comes with a new starship that Palpatine gives Vader.
  • Mr. Fixit: He repairs Vader's ship after Kirak Infil'a shoots it down.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: As a droid, he often suggests the most straightforward and practical solutions, not understanding Vader's need for violence. For example, Vader decides to fight several clone troopers guarding confiscated Jedi inventory when the droid could easily transmit access codes and allow them to access the facility nonviolently

Former Servants

    Crew of the Ark Angel 

Dr. Aphra and Associates

For Dr. Aphra, Triple-Zero, BT-1 and Black Krrsantan, see their entry on the Dr. Aphra and Crew page.


Example of: