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Darth Vader

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Darth Vader
Anakin Skywalker
Star Wars character
Darth Vader.jpg
First appearance Star Wars (1977)
Last appearance Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed by
Voiced by

Darth Vader

Anakin Skywalker

Full name Anakin Skywalker
Nickname(s) "Ani" (by family & friends)
"Sky Guy" (by Ahsoka Tano)
Aliases Darth Vader Sith name
Species Human cyborg
Gender Male
Occupation Darth Vader: Sith Lord, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet
Anakin Skywalker: Jedi Knight, General in the Grand Army of the Republic
Affiliation Darth Vader:
Galactic Empire
Anakin Skywalker:
Galactic Republic

Padawan (Episodes I-II)
Jedi Knight (Episode III)
General in the Grand Army of the Republic (Episode III)
Leader of the 501st Legion (Episodes III-VI)
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's representative in the High Jedi Council (Episode III)
Sith Aprendice (Episode III)

Sith Lord (Episodes IV-VI)
Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet (Episodes III-VI)

Shmi Skywalker (mother)

Kylo Ren (grandson)
Spouse(s) Padmé Amidala

Luke Skywalker

Leia Organa

Cliegg Lars (stepfather)

Owen Lars (stepbrother)
Homeworld Tatooine

Darth Vader, also known as Anakin Skywalker, is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe.[1][2][3] Vader appears in the original trilogy as a pivotal figure whose actions drive the plot of the first three films while his past as Anakin Skywalker, and the story of his corruption, is central to the prequel trilogy.

The character was created by George Lucas and has been portrayed by numerous actors. His appearances span the first six Star Wars films, and his character is heavily referenced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is also an important character in the Star Wars expanded universe of television series, video games, novels, literature and comic books. Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force, he falls to the dark side of the Force and serves the evil Galactic Empire at the right hand of his Sith master, Emperor Palpatine (also known as Darth Sidious).[4] He is also the father of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, grandfather of Kylo Ren, and secret husband of Padmé Amidala.

The American Film Institute listed him as the third greatest movie villain in cinema history on 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates.[5]

Concept and creation

Ralph McQuarrie, who designed Darth Vader, visiting ILM in 2008
Brian Muir sculpted Darth Vader's costume using McQuarrie's design.[6]

In the first draft of The Star Wars, tall, grim general "Darth Vader" was already close in line with his final depiction,[7] and the protagonist "Anikin Starkiller" had a role similar to Luke Skywalker's as the 16-year-old son of a respected warrior.[8] Vader's mask was originally designed by Ralph McQuarrie as part of Vader's spacesuit and not intended to be part of the regular costume.[7] Brian Muir sculpted Vader's costume based on McQuarrie's design.[6]

After the success of Star Wars, Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write the sequel with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment. The treatment is similar to the final film, except that Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke's father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke.[9] Lucas was disappointed with the script, but Brackett died of cancer before he could discuss it with her.[10] With no writer available, Lucas had to write the next draft himself. In this draft, he made use of a new plot twist: Vader claiming to be Luke's father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the year-long struggles writing the first film.[11]

The new plot element of Luke's parentage had drastic effects on the series. Michael Kaminski argues in his book that it is unlikely that the plot point had ever seriously been considered or even conceived of before 1978, and that the first film was clearly operating under an alternate storyline where Vader was a separate character from Luke's father.[12] After writing the second and third drafts in which the plot point was introduced, Lucas reviewed the new backstory he had created: Anakin had been Obi-Wan's brilliant student and had a child named Luke, but was swayed to the dark side by Palpatine. Anakin battled Kenobi on the site of a volcano and was badly wounded, but was then reborn as Vader. Meanwhile, Kenobi hid Luke on Tatooine while the Galactic Republic became the tyrannical Galactic Empire and Vader systematically hunted down and killed the Jedi.[13] This change in character would provide a springboard to the "Tragedy of Darth Vader" storyline that underlies the prequels.[14]

After deciding to create the prequel trilogy, Lucas indicated the series would be a tragic one depicting Anakin's fall to the dark side. He also saw that the prequels could form the beginning of one long story that started with Anakin's childhood and ended with his death. This was the final step towards turning the film series into a "saga".[15]

For the first prequel, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Lucas made Anakin nine years old to make the character's separation from his mother more poignant.[8] Movie trailers focused on Anakin and a one-sheet poster showing him casting Vader's shadow informed otherwise unknowing audiences of the character's eventual fate.[16] The movie ultimately achieved a primary goal of introducing audiences to Anakin.[1]

Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, offers evidence that issues in Anakin's fall to the dark side prompted Lucas to make massive story changes, first revising the opening sequence of the third prequel, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, to have Palpatine kidnapped and his apprentice, Count Dooku, murdered by Anakin as the first act in the latter's turn towards the dark side.[17] After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more massive changes in Anakin's character, re-writing his entire turn to the dark side; his fall from grace would now be motivated by a desire to save his wife, Padmé Amidala, rather than the previous version in which that reason was one of several, including that he genuinely believed that the Jedi were plotting to take over the Republic. This fundamental re-write was accomplished both through editing the principal footage, and new and revised scenes filmed during pick-ups in 2004.[18]


Darth Vader was portrayed by bodybuilder David Prowse and by stunt performer Bob Anderson during the character's intense lightsaber fight scenes.[7][citation needed] James Earl Jones provided Vader's voice, but was initially uncredited in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back because he felt his contributions were too small to warrant recognition.[7] The character has also been voiced by Scott Lawrence and Matt Sloan for several video games. Hayden Christensen portrays Vader in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Brock Peters provided the voice of Darth Vader in the NPR/USC radio series. Spencer Wilding will portray Vader in Rogue One.[19]

Anakin Skywalker has been portrayed by Sebastian Shaw in Return of the Jedi, Jake Lloyd in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,[20] and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Christensen appears briefly reprising the role in the new edited final scene of Return of the Jedi. The character has also been voiced by Mat Lucas for the 2003 micro-series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Matt Lanter in the CGI animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and television series of the same name. Lanter and Jones contributed their voices for the second-season finale of Star Wars: Rebels, at times with identical dialogue spoken by both actors blended together in different ways.[21]


Darth Vader appears in six of the seven live-action Star Wars films and The Clone Wars. He has a recurring role in Star Wars expanded universe material.

Original trilogy

Darth Vader first appears in Star Wars (1977), the first original Star Wars trilogy film, as a ruthless cyborg serving the Galactic Empire. He is tasked, along with Imperial commander Grand Moff Tarkin, to recover the secret technical plans of the Death Star, which were stolen by the Rebel Alliance. Vader captures and tortures Princess Leia Organa, who has hidden the plans inside the droid R2-D2 and sent it to find Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet Tatooine. During Leia's rescue, Vader kills Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel. Vader later attempts to shoot down Luke's X-wing fighter as the Death Star prepares to destroy the Rebel base on Yavin 4. However, Han Solo sends Vader's TIE fighter spiraling off course, allowing Luke to destroy the Death Star.

In the 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back, Vader leads the Imperial attack of the Rebel base on Hoth, but the Rebels escape. The Emperor tells him that Luke has become a threat and must not become a Jedi. Vader persuades the Emperor that Luke can be turned to the dark side of the Force. Vader negotiates with Cloud City administrator Lando Calrissian to capture Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO on Cloud City, luring Luke into a trap. Vader tortures Han, freezes him in carbonite, and delivers him to bounty hunter Boba Fett. Calrissian betrays Vader and helps the other prisoners flee. A lightsaber battle between Vader and Luke ensues, and Vader easily defeats him. Revealing that he is Luke's father, Vader implores Luke to join the dark side. Horrified, Luke falls through an air shaft and escapes. Vader telepathically tells Luke that it is his destiny to come to the dark side. Beginning with Empire, Vader's appearances are accompanied by "The Imperial March" theme. This music is also used in the latter two films of the prequel trilogy in scenes where Anakin becomes more aggressive and unstable.

Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker, unmasked and redeemed in the special edition of Return of the Jedi (1983)

In 1983's Return of the Jedi, Vader travels to the second Death Star and orders its commander, Moff Jerjerrod, to accelerate its construction. The Emperor assures Vader that together they will turn Luke to the dark side. Luke surrenders himself and unsuccessfully implores Vader to abandon the dark side. Aboard the Death Star, the Emperor invites Luke to join the dark side. However, Luke engages his father in another lightsaber duel. Discovering that Leia is Luke's twin sister, Vader threatens to turn her to the dark side if Luke will not submit. Luke, enraged, subdues Vader and cuts off his father's robotic right hand. The Emperor tells Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi as his father had been. The Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning. Moved by Luke's pleas for help, Vader throws the Emperor into the Death Star's reactor shaft to his death, but he is mortally wounded in the process. Having redeemed himself, Vader asks Luke to remove his mask. Vader says he had good left in him after all and dies peacefully. Luke escapes the Death Star with his father's remains, which he later ceremonially burns in a pyre. As the Rebels celebrate the Death Star's destruction and the fall of the Empire, Luke sees his father's spirit, standing alongside those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.

Prequel trilogy

A blonde boy wearing a gray robe and a black backpack walks in a desert.
Jake Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace (1999).

In the 1999 prequel The Phantom Menace, which takes place 32 years before Star Wars begins, Anakin is depicted as a nine-year-old slave from the planet Tatooine. He lives with his mother, Shmi. Anakin has no father[22] and he can foresee the future. In addition, Anakin is a gifted pilot and mechanic, and he has built a protocol droid called C-3PO. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn meets Anakin after making an emergency landing on Tatooine. After discovering that Anakin's blood has an unusually high number of midi-chlorians, which is a measure of Force potential, Qui-Gon becomes convinced the boy is the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. Anakin wins his freedom in a podrace, but is forced to leave his mother behind. During the voyage to Coruscant, Anakin forms a bond with Padmé Amidala, the young queen of Naboo. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council are concerned that the boy is vulnerable to the dark side and they decline. Later, Anakin unintentionally helps thwart the Trade Federation's invasion of Naboo by destroying their command ship. After Qui-Gon is killed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul, his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, promises to train Anakin, a proposal the Council reluctantly accepts. Palpatine, the Galactic Republic's newly elected Chancellor, befriends Anakin, telling him that he will "watch [his] career with great interest".

In the 2002 sequel, Attack of the Clones, while investigating a failed assassination attempt on Padmé, Anakin travels with her to Naboo, where they fall in love. Sensing that Shmi is in pain, Anakin goes to Tatooine and learns she was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. He eventually locates Shmi at a Tusken campsite as she dies from the tribe's torture. Anakin, enraged, massacres the Tuskens and returns to the Lars homestead with Shmi's remains. He tells Padmé of his misdeed as well as his desire to prevent death. Later, Anakin and Padmé travel to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan from the Sith Lord Count Dooku, the leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, but Dooku captures them both and sentences them to death. Anakin and Padmé profess their love for each other before being rescued by an army of clone troopers and Jedi. Obi-Wan and Anakin duel with Dooku, but they are easily defeated and Anakin's arm is cut off in the process. After being rescued by Yoda, Anakin marries Padmé in a secret ceremony.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith (2005). Christensen also portrayed Skywalker in the previous film, Attack of the Clones (2002).

Anakin makes his final live-action film appearance in Revenge of the Sith (2005). During a mission to rescue Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous, Anakin and Obi-Wan again confront Count Dooku. Anakin subdues Dooku and kills him in cold blood on Palpatine's orders before they return to Coruscant. When Padmé tells Anakin that she is pregnant with his child, Anakin begins to have prophetic visions of Padmé dying in childbirth. Palpatine entices him with knowledge of the dark side, including the power to "cheat death", and eventually reveals himself as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Anakin reports Palpatine's treachery to Jedi Master Mace Windu, who attacks and subdues the Sith Lord. Fearing that he may lose Padmé without Palpatine's teachings, Anakin intervenes and allows Palpatine to kill Windu. Anakin pledges himself to Palpatine, who dubs him "Darth Vader".

Palpatine dispatches Vader to kill everyone inside the Jedi Temple and then to assassinate the Separatist leaders on Mustafar. Padmé travels to Mustafar and implores Vader to leave the dark side, but he refuses and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness when he sees Obi-Wan emerge from her ship. Vader duels with Obi-Wan, but Vader eventually loses both legs and one of his arms, and gets burned by one of the planet's lava flows. Obi-Wan leaves Vader for dead.

Sensing that his apprentice is in danger, Palpatine travels to Mustafar and finds Vader still alive. After returning to Coruscant, he rebuilds Vader's ruined body with the black armored suit from the original trilogy. Palpatine then tells Vader that Padmé was killed in the heat of Vader's anger, breaking what remains of his apprentice's spirit. As the film concludes, Vader watches the original Death Star's construction, with Palpatine and Wilhuff Tarkin at his side.

Sequel trilogy

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Vader's grandson Ben Solo, trained in the ways of the Force by Luke Skywalker following the events of Return of the Jedi, has been turned to the dark side of the Force by Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order. Taking upon the name of Kylo Ren, he acquires Vader's semi-melted mask and uses it as a symbol of his dedication to Vader. Kylo's obsession with Vader, the dark side and eradicating his own weaknesses ultimately lead him to kill his own father, Han Solo.

Anthology films

Vader is set to appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as the voice of the character.[23]


Anakin Skywalker is a lead character in the 2003–05 animated microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars. As a Jedi Knight, Anakin has adventures such as battling Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress and liberating the planet Nelvaan from the Confederacy.

In the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Yoda assigns Ahsoka Tano as Anakin's messenger and padawan, and Anakin is frustrated by this decision. By the end of the film, Anakin reveals a newfound affection for his new apprentice, abandoning a duel with Count Dooku when he believes her life to be in danger. Anakin also appears in all five broadcast seasons of The Clone Wars, as he continues to teach Ahsoka the ways of the Jedi. The two develop a mutual fondness, at times taking great risks to protect or save one another.

Darth Vader is a recurring character in the television series Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place 14 years after The Clone Wars concludes. James Earl Jones and Matt Lanter reprised the roles of Vader and Anakin, respectively. In this series, Vader leads a squadron of Force-sensitive Imperial Inquisitors who are actively searching for and killing any remaining Jedi and Force-sensitive children. In the first season finale, Vader eventually discovers that his former Padawan Ahsoka Tano has joined the Rebels, and the Emperor orders him to hunt her down. In the second season, Ahsoka passes out in shock when she discovers Darth Vader's identity as Anakin. A vision of Anakin blames her for leaving him and allowing him to the fall to the dark side in the episode, "Shroud of Darkness". In the second season finale, Ahsoka duels with her former master inside a Sith Temple, allowing her friends from the Ghost to escape Vader and the temple's destruction. As the episode concludes, Vader escapes from the temple's ruins.


Star Wars: Lords of the Sith was one of the first four canon novels to be released in 2014 and 2015.[24] In Lords of the Sith, Vader and Palpatine find themselves hunted by revolutionaries on the Twi'lek planet Ryloth.[25][26]


In 2015, Marvel released a 25 issue series called Darth Vader,[27] which focused on the title character learning about the existence of his son, and the aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star. He also appeared in the Star Wars comic.[28] Both series were set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

Virtual reality film

In the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, it was announced David S. Goyer is helping to develop a virtual reality film based on Darth Vader. It is said that the audience as "visitor" will be able to walk, pick up, push and open things, and might even have some effect in the story.[29]


With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.[24][30][31]


Darth Vader appears numerous times in comic books such as Dark Horse Comics's Star Wars Tales and Marvel Comics' Star Wars series (1977–1986).

In James Luceno's Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (2005), set a few months after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Vader disavows his identity as Anakin Skywalker as he systematically pursues and kills the surviving Jedi and cements his position in the Empire. The novel also reveals that Vader plans to eventually overthrow Palpatine, and that he betrayed the Jedi because he resented their supposed failure to recognize his power.

Vader's Quest (1999) depicts Vader hiring a bounty hunter to bring him information about the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, ultimately meeting Luke for the first time. In the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), Vader and Luke duel for the first time, and Luke cuts off Vader's right arm.[7] Shadows of the Empire (1996) reveals that Vader is conflicted about trying to turn his son to the dark side of the Force, and knows deep down that there is still some good in him.

Anakin's redeemed spirit appears in The Truce at Bakura (1993), set a few days after the end of Return of the Jedi. He appears to Leia, imploring her forgiveness. Leia condemns him for his crimes and exiles him from her life. He promises that he will be there for her when she needs him, and disappears. In Tatooine Ghost (2003), Leia learns to forgive her father after learning about his childhood as a slave and his mother's traumatic death. In The Unifying Force (2003), Anakin tells his grandson Jacen Solo to "stand firm" in his battle with the Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong.

In The Dark Nest trilogy (2005), Luke and Leia uncover old recordings of their parents in R2-D2's memory drive; for the first time, they see their own birth and their mother's death, as well as their father's corruption to the dark side. In Bloodlines (2006), Jacen—who has himself turned to the dark side—uses the Force to "watch" Darth Vader slaughter the children at the Jedi Temple.

Vader also turns up as the unlikely protagonist of a series of tongue-in-cheek children's books by Jeffrey Brown.[32] In Brown's series, a somewhat hapless Vader sets out to be a father to a young Luke and Leia, with some scenes directly based on their darker film counterparts (for example, one scene shows Vader, Luke and Leia at the carbonite freezing chamber on Bespin, with Vader pronouncing the freezer adequate for making ice cream).

Video games

Darth Vader plays a central role in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008). He is a playable character in the first level of the game, where he and his armies invade Kashyyyk to hunt down a Jedi who had survived the Order's destruction. Vader kills the Jedi and kidnaps the man's young Force-sensitive son, whom he raises as his secret apprentice. Vader sends Starkiller (the game's protagonist) on various missions throughout the galaxy, with an ultimate goal to assassinate Palpatine so that Vader can rule the galaxy himself. Toward the end of the game, however, it is revealed that Vader isn't planning to overthrow Palpatine at all; he is merely using his apprentice to expose the Empire's enemies. At the game's climax, the player chooses between attacking Palpatine to help his Rebel friends escape the Death Star or killing Vader to become the Emperor's new apprentice. He also appears in the sequel Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II as the main antagonist and final boss.

Vader is also a playable character in the video games Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Soulcalibur IV, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, Star Wars Commander, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Star Wars Battlefront. He also is an active but non-playable character in Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: Battlefront, (as an evil pig) is a non-playable character in Angry Birds Star Wars and is a playable character in Angry Birds Star Wars II. Vader's helmet and mask appear as a selectable attire for created superstars in WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth.[33]

Anakin Skywalker is a playable character in the video games Star Wars: Battlefront II, Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Jedi Alliance, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Republic Heroes and is featured (as an Angry Bird) in Angry Birds Star Wars II.


Vader is featured as a combatant in the popular series Death Battle, in which he is pitted against Marvel Comics villain Doctor Doom. He loses the fight due to Doom's superior weaponry and abilities.


According to Mark Hamill in the documentary Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel, samurai armor was the conceptual inspiration for Darth Vader's armor.

In Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker feels "smothered" by Obi-Wan Kenobi and is unable to control his life.[34] By Revenge of the Sith, however, his "father-son" friction with his master has matured into a more equal, brotherly relationship.[35] Once he becomes Darth Vader, each evil act he commits makes it harder for him to return to the light,[36] but he ultimately escapes the dark side and redeems himself by sacrificing his life to save his son Luke Skywalker and kill Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.[37]

Eric Bui, a psychiatrist at University of Toulouse Hospital, argued at the 2007 American Psychiatric Association convention that Anakin Skywalker meets six of the nine diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD), one more than necessary for a diagnosis. He and a colleague, Rachel Rodgers, published their findings in a 2010 letter to the editor of the journal Psychiatry Research. Bui says he found Anakin Skywalker a useful example to explain BPD to medical students.[38] In particular, Bui points to Anakin's abandonment issues and uncertainty over his identity. Anakin's mass murders of the Tusken Raiders in Attack of the Clones and the young Jedi in Revenge of the Sith count as two dissociative episodes, fulfilling another criterion. Bui hoped his paper would help raise awareness of the disorder, especially among teens.[38]

Cultural impact

Darth Vader's iconic status has made the character a synonym for evil in popular culture; psychiatrists have even considered him as a useful example to explain borderline personality disorder to medical students.[38] Anakin's origin story in The Phantom Menace has been compared to signifiers of African American racial identity,[39] and his dissatisfaction with his life has been compared to Siddartha's before he became Gautama Buddha.[40] A Mexican church advised Christians against seeing The Phantom Menace because it portrays Anakin as a Christ figure.[41] The slime-mold beetle Agathidium vaderi is named after Vader,[42] and several buildings across the globe are regularly compared to him.[43][44][45][46][47][48] A grotesque of Darth Vader looms over the east face of the Washington National Cathedral's northwest tower.[49] During the 2007–08 NHL season, Ottawa Senators goaltender Martin Gerber performed so well in an all-black mask that fans endearingly termed him "Darth Gerber".[50] In 2015, a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Odessa, Ukraine, was converted into one of Darth Vader due to a law on decommunization.[51]

Many commentators and comedians have also evoked his visage to satirize politicians and other public figures, and several American political figures have been unflatteringly compared to the character, including General George Custer, the subject of the acrylic painting Darth Custer by Native American artist Bunky Echohawk.[52] In 2005, Al Gore referred to Tele-Communications Inc.'s John C. Malone as the "Darth Vader of cable",[53] and political strategist Lee Atwater was known by his political enemies as "the Darth Vader of the Republican Party".[54]

On June 22, 2006, US Vice President Dick Cheney referred to himself as the Darth Vader of the Bush administration. Discussing the administration's philosophy on gathering intelligence, he said to CNN's John King, "It means we need to be able to go after and capture or kill those people who are trying to kill Americans. That's not a pleasant business. It's a very serious business. And I suppose, sometimes, people look at my demeanor and say, 'Well, he's the Darth Vader of the administration.'"[55] Jon Stewart put on a Darth Vader helmet to address Dick Cheney as a "kindred spirit" on The Daily Show on January 25, 2007.[56] Cheney's wife, Lynne, presented Stewart with a Darth Vader action figure on her appearance on the show on October 10, 2007. Both Stewart and Stephen Colbert have occasionally referred to Cheney as "Darth Cheney". In the satirical cartoon show Lil' Bush, Dick Cheney's father is portrayed as being Darth Vader. At her presidential campaign event on September 19, 2007, Hillary Clinton also referred to Cheney as Darth Vader. At the 2008 Washington Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner, Cheney joked that his wife Lynne told him that the Vader comparison "humanizes" him. George Lucas told The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, however, that Cheney is more akin to Emperor Palpatine, and that a better stand-in for Vader would be George W. Bush.[57] An issue of Newsweek referenced this quote, and compared Bush and Cheney to Vader and Palpatine, respectively, in a satirical article comparing politicians to various Star Wars and Star Trek characters.[58]

Many films and television series have paid homage to Darth Vader. Marty McFly in Back to the Future (1985), dressed in a radiation suit, calls himself "Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan" to convince the past version of his father to ask his mother to a dance. Rick Moranis plays "Dark Helmet" in the Star Wars parody Spaceballs (1987). In Chasing Amy (1997), Hooper X speaks at a comic convention about Darth Vader being a metaphor for how poorly the science fiction genre treats black people; he is especially offended that Vader, the "blackest brother in the galaxy", reveals himself to be a "feeble, crusty old white man" at the end of Return of the Jedi. The character was also parodied in the Nickelodeon cartoon Rocko's Modern Life in the episode "Teed Off".[59] On another Nickelodeon cartoon, Jimmy Neutron, Darth Vader's infamous line was interpolated in the mini-episode "New Dog, Old Tricks".[60] The line was also alluded to in Toy Story, a film franchise also owned by Disney.[61]

The character has gained much positive reception as a classic film villain. Darth Vader ranked number two on Empire magazine's 2008 list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters.[62] Premiere magazine also ranked Vader on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.[63] On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, ranked Vader at number 6.[64] Darth Vader was also the #1 supervillain on the Bravo series Ultimate Super Heroes, Vixens and Villains.[65] Darth Vader was also ranked as #1 in IGN's list of top 100 Star Wars characters.[66] Furthermore, Darth Vader's quote in The Empire Strikes Back — "No, I am your father" (often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father"),[67] — is one of the most well known quotes in cinema history. The line was selected as one of the 400 nominees for the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes, a list of the greatest American movie quotes.[68] Vader received the Ultimate Villain recognition at the 2011 Scream Awards.[69]

In 2010, IGN ranked Darth Vader 25th in the "Top 100 Videogames Villains".[70]

In Ukraine the Internet Party of Ukraine regularly lets people named Darth Vader take part in elections.[71][nb 1]

Family tree

Main article: Skywalker family


  1. ^ Two men named Darth Vader were candidates at the 25 May 2014 Kiev mayoral election and the Odessa mayoral election of the same day.[72][73][74] A man named Darth Vader earlier had submitted documents to be registered as a presidential candidate in the 25 May 2014 Ukrainian presidential election; but his registration was refused because his real identity could not be verified.[75][76][77] In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Darth Vader and Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca, Princess Amidala and Yoda ran for seats in the Ukrainian parliament.[71] Candidates named Darth Vader reappeared in the 2015 Ukrainian local elections.[78]


  1. ^ a b Bowen 2005, p. 94
  2. ^ Helinski, Keith. ""Revenge" Is Just Too Sweet", Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  3. ^ Winzler, Jonathan W. "The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars)", Powell's Books, April 2005. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  4. ^ Thornton, Mark. "What is the "Dark Side" and Why Do Some People Choose It?", Ludwig von Mises Institute, May 13, 2005. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  5. ^ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains" (PDF). Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Insider Excerpt: Vader Sculptor Brian Muir,, March 24, 2010
  7. ^ a b c d e "Vader, Darth". Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Skywalker, Anakin". Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  9. ^ Biodrowski, Steve. "Star Wars : The Original Trilogy – Then And Now". Hollywood Gothique. Retrieved March 28, 2008. 
  10. ^ (Bouzereau 1997, p. 144)
  11. ^ The Empire Strikes Back (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2004. 
  12. ^ Kaminski 2008, pp. 120–121
  13. ^ Kaminski 2008, pp. 164–165
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Further reading

External links