During the early stages of their careers, before one became the lord of all things dark side, Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu seemed to be at odds with each other. It is said that Mace believed that Anakin was reckless, rebellious, and had an untameable darkness within him.
In hindsight, Mace was correct. However, it can be argued that his distrust and standoffish demeanor towards Anakin pushed him toward becoming the ruthless, rage-filled, Jedi killer we see today.
The pair’s interesting dynamic piqued the curiosity of the Star Wars community. In particular, fans have been asking the question: Can Darth Vader beat Mace Windu?
This is exactly what we are going to answer. So keep reading as we dive into this topic.
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Who is Darth Vader?
Whether you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan or you’ve never seen a single movie in the franchise, chances are you have heard of Darth Vader.
Whether it’s because of his famously misquoted line, “Luke, I am your father,” or his iconic strained breathing, Darth Vader is one of the most famous characters in film history. So much so that he was voted the greatest movie villain of all time.
Back when he was still going by his given name, Anakin Skywalker was dubbed the “Chosen One” on account of how talented he was from the get-go. For starters, with a midi-chlorian count of 20,000 per cell, Anakin had the highest known level in galactic history.
From that point onwards, he began to quickly climb through the ranks of the Jedi Order’s hierarchy in record time.
Although Anakin was considered to be old for a padawan when he joined at the age of nine, he still passed training and became a knight in a mere ten years time. Usually, it takes at least double that amount of time.
Just like most gifted people who are praised at a young age, Anakin blatantly disregarded some of the rules stipulated in the Jedi Code. He formed attachments and held strong emotions even though it was clearly against the rules of the Order.
Still, he was held in high regard within the Order. What’s more, he caught the eye of the illustrious Emperor Palpatine.
He knew that Anakin would become a powerful individual once he embraced his darkness. Palpatine was so enamored with Anakin that he would have him sit in on the Jedi Council for him.
It is now heavily speculated that Palpatine was merely manipulating Anakin as a part of his plan to dominate the galaxy. Still, it cannot be disputed that he made it seem as though he was the only one who could help Anakin.
Eventually, Palpatine got exactly what he wanted when Anakin rejected his Jedi lineage and became Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Who is Mace Windu?
Mace Windu was a force-sensitive male who made a name for himself as a Jedi Master.
Up until the Battle of Geonosis, Mace fought valiantly for the good of the Republic and, by extension, the Jedi Order, earning him the legendary title of Master of the Order. After that point, he passed the title on to Jedi Grand Master Yoda.
While he was in the Jedi Order, he was appointed to serve as the Jedi General in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars.
Mace was one of the last members of the Jedi High Council before the events of the Great Jedi Purge. Naturally, his dedication to the Order played a role in him having a seat on the council.
In his day, Mace was trained as a Jedi Guardian, which understandably allowed him to grow his skills. To such an extent, he was considered to be one of the best swordsmen to serve the Jedi Order.
He was so good that he, together with Jedi Sora Bulq, developed his own fighting style known as Vaapad.
Needless to say, Mace Windu was arguably one of the most powerful Jedi. That was until the era of Anakin Skywalker.
As Anakin rapidly ascended through the ranks of the Jedi Knighthood, he was monitored closely by Mace Windu.
Given how devout Mace was to the Jedi Code, he was understandably put off by Anakin’s propensity for breaking the rules.
While many believed that Mace purely disliked Anakin, that was not truly the case. What seemed like disdain was actually mistrust.
Mistrust, because Mace rightfully saw Anakin as having the potential to be disingenuous. Not only that but Anakin basically spat in the face of all the Jedi believed in.
As such, Mace knew that Anakin was too overcome by emotions, and all these things added up to his not appointing Anakin to a seat on the Jedi High Council.
This is the event that many have attributed to being the metaphorical “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Or in other words, the final event that served as the catalyst that finally pushed Anakin to the dark side, but more on that later.
Darth Vader vs. Mace Windu
Given how different Mace Windu and Darth Vader are, it’s no wonder they did not see eye to eye. Let’s take a look at this pair in comparison to each other.
As we have established, Mace Windu was impressively talented, to the point where he crafted his own fighting style, Vaapad.
This form of fighting was adapted from Form VII, dubbed the most vicious type of lightsaber combat there was. So much so that, as time passed, the Jedi Order banned the use of Form VII because they believed it would cause the wielder to fall to the dark side.
Mace’s new take on Form VII, known as Vappad, is claimed to be a mental state rather than a fighting style. It involves the wielder channeling his inner darkness and opponent’s rage into battle.
As something that was created by a Jedi, Vaapad seems to be teaching the opposite of the Jedi’s preaching of peace. Therefore, it’s understandable that this technique was banned.
Even Count Dooku admitted that Vaapad blurred the line that separated the light from the dark side. Still, as the creator, Mace Windu was one of the few who could use this technique without having to remain on the dark side.
On the other hand, Darth Vader had more of a traditional fighting style. He used strong, precise, calculated strokes. Formally, this was known as Form V, which is an aggressive form of lightsaber combat that focuses on overwhelming the opponent.
Just as he did before joining the dark side, it’s clear that Darth Vader favored a practical, straightforward approach to lightsaber fighting. Added to this is the fact that Vader was no longer bound by the moral responsibilities of the Jedi.
Therefore, he was completely ruthless in his fighting, as every strike was filled with hatred, seething rage, and all the self-loathing that Vader possessed. This made him arguably more powerful than most, if not all, of his opponents.
Can Darth Vader Beat Mace Windu?
Given how different the two are, many have wondered if Darth Vader could defeat Mace Windu in battle. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no.
Solely looking at the pair’s varied fighting styles alone would not allow this conclusion to be made, as each fighting style has its perks and drawbacks.
Mace’s Vaapad fighting style is intense and effective but it runs the risk of tainting the wielder’s soul with the dark side.
Then there is Darth Vader’s more traditional take on his technique in battle, known as Form V. This allowed him to tap into generations of developed skills and talent, which allowed him to attain expert status in the field.
Yet, there are disadvantages to the style. For one thing, in comparison to the Vaapad fighting style, Form V could be seen as a bit outdated.
This, coupled with Darth Vader’s declining health, means that he would be slower than Mace in battle.
What’s more, Mace Windu was one of the few people who was able to beat Emperor Palpatine, which was quite a rare feat to achieve.
Now, it has been common chatter that Emperor Palpatine let Mace defeat him as a part of his larger ploy to get Anakin to the dark side. Even so, Mace held his own against the Sith Lord, which was not an easy task.
Based on this, and the fact that the Vaapad fighting style uses Mace’s opponents’ darkness against them, it means that Mace can do some serious damage to Darth Vader.
If we are speaking in terms of Star Wars: Canon, Mace would be able to defeat Darth Vader, given the factors we identified above, or at the very least, he could hold his own.
Conversely, if this hypothetical battle occurs during Star Wars: Legends, chances are Darth Vader would obliterate Mace.
In Legends, Darth Vader is an absolute beast. He took on five Jedi Masters, two Knights, and a Padawan at the same time. Even more impressively, he won battles while he was missing an arm.
Needless to say, this version of Darth Vader is head and shoulders above the rest and would theoretically have no problem beating Mace Windu.
Could Anakin have beaten Mace before becoming Darth Vader?
Before Anakin became the Dark Lord we know today, he did have some impressive accolades as a Jedi Knight.
He was extremely skilled in the Force and hand-to-hand combat, allowing him to live up to his title of “The Chosen One.”
Still, at that time, Anakin was supposedly holding himself back so he could fit into the mold of a light-side Force user. Hence, with how powerful Mace Windu was, Anakin wouldn’t have had a chance against him.
Anakin would have reached a point where he was free of his light-side constraints and began to embrace his darkness. This version of Anakin had not only fully submitted to the dark side, but he was also slowly stepping out of his role as a Jedi.
At this point, his skills would have become far more intense than they previously were thanks to his acceptance of the dark side. In this state, Anakin would be able to put up an impressive fight against Mace Windu.
Even with the improvement to his skills in the aforementioned state, the chances of pre-dark side Anakin defeating Mace are slim. If he is able to defeat Mace, it would be after a long-drawn-out battle in which Anakin would sustain damage.
Anakin was one of the most powerful Jedi/Sith in galactic history. When he became Darth Vader, he only grew to be more powerful.
His rage, freedom of emotional expression, and his already established awesome swordsmanship meant that Anakin was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.
Comparatively, Mace Windu was one of the strongest, if not the strongest, Jedi there were.
His connection to the Force, along with his handle on combat, was so great that he eventually modified the Form VII fighting style. Thus, bringing it back into circulation under the name Vaapad
In fact, Mace was so great, that he was one of the only Jedi who could use the Vaapad fighting form without the fear of becoming a part of the dark side.
Before becoming one with the darkest elements of the galaxy, Anakin would have had a pretty difficult time facing off against Mace Windu, causing Mace to emerge victoriously.
Nonetheless, the closer Anakin edged to the dark side of the Force, the stronger he got, and the higher his chances of beating Mace became.
When Anakin finally became Darth Vader, he was considerably stronger than he’d ever been. To such a great degree that Vader was able to annihilate hundreds of Jedi with ease, regardless of their rank.
This means that if Mace Windu were to go one-on-one against Darth Vader as the God-tier Sith Lord he later became, chances are Mace Windu would have been defeated, despite his proven strength.
Regardless, Mace Windu would still be incredibly capable, and he would certainly put up a good fight against Darth Vader.
Next to each other, it seems like Darth Vader and Mace Windu are neck in neck in terms of physical strength and propensity for the Force. As a result, if the two are pitted against each other, the battle that ensues would surely be one for the ages.