Darth Vader began his life as one of the galaxy’s best Jedi Knights. Naturally, he carried his work ethic, talent, and tenacity with him when he moved from the light to the dark side of the Force.
This doesn’t mean that the Dark Lord was infallible. In fact, Darth Vader sustained so many injuries that it’s almost surprising he survived. Fortunately, Darth Vader had a life support system that has to be credited with his long life.
One major injury almost ended his life. As a matter of fact, it seems that this injury is the entire reason for Darth Vader’s suit. This severe injury was the extensive burns that Lord Vader sustained.
How did the Sith Lord even get burned? How bad were his injuries? Both are important questions that will be answered as this article progresses. Keep reading as we dive in.
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How Did Darth Vader Get Burned?
Darth Vader’s burn was a result of an intense battle between him and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
During the Great Jedi Purge of 19 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), the newly initiated Darth Vader faced off against his former friend and mentor, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, on Mustafar.
This entire fight began with good intentions.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi learned of Anakin’s fall to the dark side and wanted to try and reason with his friend. Obi-Wan refused to believe that Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) had fully taken over Anakin’s mind.
This prompted him to think he could save Anakin before he was fully consumed by the darkness. Unbeknownst to Obi-Wan, it was already too late and Anakin was already lost to the dark side.
Fully relinquishing his birth name, Anakin, now known as Darth Vader, no longer viewed Obi-Wan as a friend. To him, all Jedi (and anyone serving the Galactic Republic) were the enemy. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan fell into this category.
Naturally, this meant Vader wasn’t willing to hear anything Obi-Wan had to say, and with that, the battle began.
The new rivals drew their lightsabers and seemed to be matched in wit. They fought through the blood bath Darth Vader left in the Klegger Corp Mining Facility and progressed to the rest of the facilities that sat above Mustafar’s menacing lava.
Before long, the pair found themselves fighting on a collection arm that was separated from the facility by the lava. To get out of harm’s way, Obi-Wan jumped onto a high slope and reasoned that the fight was over because of his clear advantage.
Not accepting the loss, Darth Vader attempted to make the same jump as Obi-Wan. In his haste, he was unable to block the Jedi Master’s attack. This led to his left arm and both legs being severed and his body rolling down to the edge of the lava.
The Sith Lord was consumed by the fires of the lava, and Obi-Wan could do nothing but bear witness to the blood-curdling screams of his friend. In the end, Obi-Wan Kenobi took his rebellious apprentice’s lightsaber and retreated, knowing the duel was won.
How Badly Was Darth Vader Injured?
Being that close to the lava completely wrecked Darth Vader. Not only was he externally burned, but his lungs were completely obliterated by the noxious gasses he inhaled.
Luckily for Vader, Darth Sidious sensed there was something wrong with his mentee, and as such, he journeyed to Mustafar to save him.
Arriving at the Klegger Corp Mining Facility, Sidious and his team found Darth Vader clinging to life. Astonishingly burned, Darth Vader had crawled out of immediate danger while taking short, labored breaths.
Initially considering letting his apprentice die, the Emperor felt it would be a waste to let his years of molding Anakin into the near-perfect Sith go to waste. As such, he opted to save Darth Vader’s life.
The badly hurt Sith Lord was taken back to the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center, where he was given his respirator and life support system.
At this point, Darth Vader was in such bad shape that he no longer had organic limbs and had third-degree burns on the majority of his body. Thus, the Sith Lord had to be outfitted with prosthetic limbs and a suit to soothe his extremely burned skin and perhaps avoid infection.
Additionally, Lord Vader’s lungs were so damaged that he could no longer breathe atmospheric air. As a consequence, he had to be given a pressurized mask (respirator) to live.
Apart from his suit, which was purposefully created to be immensely painful and uncomfortable, Darth Vader was given a hyperbaric meditation chamber. His meditation chamber and Bacta Tanks were the only places Darth Vader could be without his suit or mask.
It’s clear that the Dark Father never fully recovered from the injuries he sustained on Mustafar.
How Strong Would Darth Vader Have Been If He Wasn’t Burned?
Even after his injuries, Darth Vader still went on to amass impressive achievements. Darth Vader’s ability to accomplish all that he did while being utterly reliant on his life support system is nothing short of impressive.
This raises the question of what would’ve happened if Darth Vader had never been burned.
The theories surrounding Darth Vader’s life, had he not been burned, are generally split. Some think all the events of Star Wars would’ve played out the same as they did, while some think things would’ve been drastically changed.
Regardless of what side you’re on, the general consensus is that Darth Vader would’ve been inconceivably powerful.
For starters, being devoid of burns wouldn’t have meant that Darth Vader was the picture of health, as he had injuries and a missing limb ever since his days as a Jedi. Even so, Anakin had a long, illustrious career before falling to the dark side.
His previous injuries weren’t as intense as the burns were, and as such, he could’ve easily maneuvered without fear of dying from his ailments. Ergo, if Darth Vader had never been burned, he would’ve been able to take more risks without being as vulnerable as he was with his suit.
Darth Vader’s suit made him far more vulnerable than anything else. Because the entire thing worked on electricity, it barred the Dark Lord from using Force Lighting. Vader knew that if he did, he could potentially short circuit the suit, consequently ending his life.
Therefore, if Darth Vader had never been burned, he would be free to use whatever techniques he wanted without having to consider the suit. This, in turn, would’ve made Darth Vader much stronger in the Force.
Darth Vader’s suit was extraordinarily painful. This led to the Dark Lord not being able to sleep. To get a bit of relief, Lord Vader would spend a significant amount of time in his meditation chamber and the Bacta Tanks.
If he had not been burned, then there would’ve been no need for the Dark Lord to do this. As a result, more time could have been spent on training and bettering himself physically.
This would’ve allowed Darth Vader to become so strong that he could have possibly defeated Emperor Palpatine, instead of being heavily dependent on him for survival.
Ever since his early life, Darth Vader was insanely talented. What made his feats all the more impressive was the fact that he accomplished many of them while critically wounded.
In particular, the external and internal burns Darth Vader sustained on Mustafar would’ve been fatal to a regular person.
But, of course, the Dark Father was resilient and survived until he received help from the Galactic Empire.
They gave him a life support suit and mask. From there, the Sith Lord went on to do even more great things for the dark side.
Darth Vader’s ability to still be the cold-hearted, ruthless annihilator we know (even with all his injuries), proves that if he was never burned, he would have been unfathomably powerful.