Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader

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Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
AuthorJames Luceno
CountryUnited States
SeriesCanon C
GenreScience fiction
PublisherDel Rey
Publication date
November 22, 2005
June 27, 2006
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
PagesHardcover: 336
Paperback: 368
Preceded byStar Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 
Followed byJedi Twilight 

Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader is a novel set in the non-canonical Star Wars Legends continuity, written by James Luceno, that was published by Del Rey on November 22, 2005. Dark Lord takes place in the immediate aftermath of the events in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and focuses on Darth Vader and his rise to power in the newly inaugurated Galactic Empire.


Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader begins in the final hours of the Clone Wars, just before the implementation of Order 66 as depicted in Revenge of the Sith. When a contingent of clone troopers on the planet Murkhana refuses to open fire on Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak, along with Padawan Olee Starstone, the Jedi with whom it has fought alongside during the war, Emperor Palpatine orders Vader to investigate the matter. Vader's query soon becomes a hunt for the fugitive Jedi, and takes him back to Coruscant, and from there on to Alderaan and Kashyyyk. During the course of Vader's search the whereabouts of several characters from Episode III, including Bail Organa, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, are revealed. The beginnings of Vader's partnership with Grand Moff Tarkin are also shown.

Luceno devotes much of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader to the internal conflict that Darth Vader undergoes as he tries to shed his former identity of Anakin Skywalker and relearn to master the Force. Palpatine intends for these early missions that he sends Vader on to be as much about learning what it means to be a Sith as they are about consolidating the rule of the nascent Empire.

The final chapters of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader depict the beginning of the Imperial enslavement of the Wookiees of Kashyyyk, an act that will eventually lead to the partnership between Han Solo and Chewbacca.

The novel ends with Obi-Wan Kenobi learning of Vader's survival after their duel on Mustafar (depicted in Revenge of the Sith). Fearing for safety of the infant Luke Skywalker whom he is watching over, he communes with the spirit of his late master Qui-Gon Jinn, who tells him that Luke will grow to confront his father when the time is right and that Darth Vader will never return to Tatooine; as Qui-Gon explains, the planet is the whole of everything that was Anakin Skywalker, someone Vader wants to forget forever.

It is revealed that the general public of the galaxy believes that Anakin Skywalker perished in the attack on the Jedi Temple (which Skywalker led as Darth Vader).


The novel received largely positive reviews among the Star Wars fan communities, and was described as a successful narration of Vader's emotions and perspectives.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Luceno told the magazine Star Wars Insider about a discussion he had with Ryan Kaufman, formerly of LucasArts, who had worn a Darth Vader costume during the production of a number of LucasArts Star Wars video games. Kaufman's description of what it was like to wear the suit led Luceno to dedicate a substantial amount of the novel toward Vader's struggling with the discomfort of his new prosthetics and armor.

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