It’s no secret that Darth Vader is one of the best villains in pop culture, if not the best villain entirely! Legions of Star Wars fans have loved to hate him for over four decades now, from the original movies where he was a full-on evil space lord to even the less acclaimed prequels when he was the young and uncertain Anakin!
But although Vader is known to most people, there may be some trivia that you didn’t know, and here at Tell Tales, we’re devoted to let you know about those!
So get ready for a ride with 22 Darth Vader facts that you may or may not already know.
1. Darth Vader Has No Father
You read that right. Anakin Skywalker’s mother Shmi Skywalker has said to Qui Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace that her son had no father. Which means that either Anakin was conceived by the Force, or by midi-chlorians, an intelligent microscopic life form in the Star Wars universe. Such information would explain why Anakin has such immense powers and, above all, why he is “The Chosen One” in the saga. Check out the Skywalker family tree to understand it in full!
2. He Was Lucas’ First Character
Darth Vader was actually the very first character Lucas thought of when he created the Star Wars galaxy! This makes sense, as we all know that the best villains make the best stories, and what a way to start a story!
3. Darth is the Best Limb Loser
Many Star Wars characters lose their limbs, but Darth Vader beats them all in that category, as the baddie has lost up to five limbs throughout the entire saga. We would feel for him, but he is the space equivalent of a dictator, so here at Tell Tales we do think he had it coming a little bit…
Did you know the MCU secretly honors Star Wars by having its characters lose a hand? Learn more about Marvel’s Star Wars Easter Eggs!
4. His Theme was Used to Foreshadow in the Prequels
Vader’s theme “The Imperial March” is a widely known movie soundtrack, but little do people know that the famous melody was discreetly distilled in Episode I: Phantom Menace, as Anakin’s childhood theme, purposefully hinting at his dark future.
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5. He’s the Most Lucrative Character
One would think that Luke, Leia or Han would be the most profitable protagonists in the franchise, and yet they aren’t. Darth Vader, their arch-nemesis, is! It’s no surprise, though, as there has never been a more emblematic villain around. His likeness being very recognizable, thousands and thousands of items to his effigy are being sold everyday. From Halloween costumes to kids toys, figurines for adults or even mugs, there’s an abundance of Darth Vader merch out there!
6. His Sound was Created with a Scuba Regulator
Here’s something you didn’t know about Vader! His trademark raucous breath was created by sound designer Ben Burtt with quite the unconventional technique – he used a scuba regulator. You’ve read that right! No judgement, though, since it was definitely a good decision!
7. James Earl Jones Was Almost Never Casted
Although most people can’t imagine any other voice for Darth Vader than that of voice actor James Earl Jones, George Lucas actually had thought of Orson Welles in the first place. However, he eventually chose Jones as Orson Welles was a famous radio voice and he would have been too recognizable.
8. Luke Wasn’t Always Vader’s Son
Vader might have been the first character that Lucas thought of, but it wasn’t immediately decided that he would be Luke’s father. Vader was actually supposed to perish in A New Hope, and Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were not meant to be one and the same. We’re obviously glad that Lucas eventually changed this trajectory drastically and gave us the best plot twist in cinematic history!
9. Luke’s Paternity was Almost Spoiled for Fans
Back in 1978, the physical embodiment of Vader, David Prowse, accidentally spoiled Luke’s paternity in a public interview. Fortunately for all the fans who otherwise would have known the outcome of their favorite franchise two years ahead, the absence of social media kept the word from spreading too much, but we can only imagine how much Prowse was berated for the slip!
10. Vader Didn’t Say “Luke, I Am Your Father”
For many years, and still to this day, many people think Vader reveals his paternity to Luke by saying: “Luke, I Am Your Father”, when in fact, he actually said “No, I Am Your Father”. This mistake that literally everyone in the world makes on a daily basis is due to The Mandela Effect, a phenomenon that makes people remember a slightly different and false version of something and leads nearly everyone to believe it to be true.
11. Vader’s Lightsaber was all DIY
Few fans know that Vader’s lightsaber is actually made of a flashgun and windshield wipers as grips. In fact, Luke’s own lightsaber was made in a nearly identical way. Who said that household supplies couldn’t be badass? Certainly not George Lucas!
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12. He Has More Powers Than You Think
Vader’s most famous power is how he uses the Force to choke folks he doesn’t like. But the villain actually has many more abilities! The Force enables him to run faster, turn invisible, breathe without his mask, and even levitate. If that’s not a real villain, then we don’t know what is!
13. Darth Vader is Basically Invisible
As just mentioned, Darth Vader is able to disappear entirely thanks to the Force. Although he is the symbol of the franchise, in a way, the character is figuratively invisible for most of the saga. Our favorite villain does not appear quite as much as the other main characters – in the entire original trilogy put together, he has only 34 minutes of screen time!
14. The Actor Playing Vader was Furious
The actor playing Vader behind the suit, David Prowse, was reportedly not a fan of the fact that his voice was dubbed. It was actually decided to have his voice be replaced because of his thick Bristol accent, which earned him the nickname of “Darth Farmer” on the movie set. Apparently, he believed he was a victim of ‘reverse racism’ as there were also no black actors in the saga.
15. Prowse Constantly Feuded with Lucas
David Prowse and George Lucas were not exactly friends, but far from it. The dubbing of Prowse’s voice as Vader was only the tip of the iceberg that caused the rift between the actor and the director. Prowse was not a fan of Sebastian Shaw as Darth Vader’s face in The Return of the Jedi, nor did he like the fact that Lucas chose a body double to do his stunts in Episode V and VI.
16. Darth’s Hemet was Inspired by Samurai
Darth Vader’s iconic helmet was not initially part of his costume. At first, George Lucas wanted the Sith Lord to wear a black scar, but the illustrator of the concept art, Ralph McQuarrie, suggested a helmet inspired by traditional samurai helmets would be more aesthetically impressive. Less surprisingly, Nazi uniforms were also part of the inspiration for the rest of Vader’s suit.
17. He’s Named Differently Around the World
In some languages, Darth Vader’s name had to be changed. In Italian, “Vader” is a bit too close to the name used for a toilet bowl, so it was changed to the very different “Lord Fener”. In France, too, he is named “Dark Vador”, simply because the “th” in “Darth” is unpronounceable for most French people.
18. Many Actors have Been Vader
Although most definitely being the most iconic embodiments of the baddie, David Prowse and James Earl Jones are far from being Vader’s only physical and vocal embodiments. Over thirteen voices and bodies took on the notorious roles across the many other movies, video games, and animated series.
19. Darth Vader Made Kids Cry
Because a child cried when seeing Darth Vader at an initial screening, (when Captain Antilles was killed in A New Hope), the G rating of Star Wars was changed to a PG. Who would have guessed that a fascist, merciless villain would have such an effect on kids? Darth is definitely a child-friendly villain, come on (kinda)!
20. Both Vaders Were Uncredited
David Prowse and James Earl Jones are, as we’ve said, the most iconic embodiments of Darth Vader, and yet they were not credited in the first film. Prowse didn’t want to have his name attached to a film that he feared would flop, and Jones did not want to be typecast at such an up-and-coming stage of his career.
21. Vader’s Voice and Body Haven’t Met
This may sound crazy, but although Jones and Prowse, who were respectively the voice and body of Darth Vader were working as one to make the notorious villain a reality, the two actors actually never met!
22. There’s a Darth Vader Sculpture in Church
The iconic baddie has his own spot at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. His face blends among the many intricate sculptures of the monument’s high façade, looking down on us from the Northwest tower! Pretty badass for a fictional character from a sci-fi franchise to make its way into a real-life religion, isn’t it? The sculpture was actually created in response to a sculpture idea contest that a little boy won in 3rd place in the 1980s.
It’s difficult to believe such a detestable character has endured so well in pop culture, but after all, that’s what good villains are all about. They can clearly even beat the heroes in the memory of fans for their cheer charisma and impressive abilities!
What did you think of these facts about Darth Vader? Let us know in the comments if you already knew them, or if you yourself know of any trivia that wasn’t listed here…
Want more from the Galaxy? Check out our awesome list of Star Wars facts – includes trivia about the movies and other characters, too!