There is arguably no other character as iconic as Darth Vader. Regardless of whether you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or you have never seen any of the franchise, there’s a high chance you still know who Darth Vader is.
On the surface, Vader was a ruthless, stone-cold killer who would stop at nothing to accomplish his goal. However, the Dark Lord was much more than that.
Ever since his days as a child slave, Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker) had a tumultuous life. Still, he did not let that stop him from wanting better for himself and his family.
Rather, Vader used his pain to propel him even closer towards his dreams. At first, Anakin wanted to become the strongest Jedi there was.
Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) sensed this thirst for power within Anakin and put a plan in motion to lure him to the dark side.
After Anakin lost his mother, Palpatine saw how deeply Anakin cared for his family and convinced him that the dark side would be the best way to save his loved ones.
Anakin joined the dark side, adopting the role of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Anakin’s strength only intensified after he became Darth Vader. His already unparalleled connection to the Force only grew in intensity. That, coupled with his sheer determination and unquestionable combat skills, easily made Vader one of the galaxy’s most powerful individuals.
But how powerful was he? Did Darth Vader surpass Palpatine in power? Without further delay, let’s get right into the piece.
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For good reason, Darth Vader was voted television’s number one villain.
He was cut-throat, seemingly callous, and contained more power than most in the galaxy. This is exactly why Palpatine knew he would do great things for the Galactic Empire.
Palpatine was arguably the most powerful person in the galaxy. With this in mind, Darth Vader’s rising strength has many fans wondering if he surpassed Palpatine’s power.
To begin with, Palpatine’s power came more in the form of his influence than anything else. He was the puppet master behind many of the major incidents that occured in Star Wars.
He orchestrated Order 66 (the Jedi Purge), poisoned Anakin’s perspective on the Jedi Order (and the Galactic Republic at large), and convinced the confused, depressed Jedi that he (Emperor Palpatine) was the only one who could be trusted.
What’s more, Palpatine promised Anakin that through the dark side he could prevent his wife, Padme Amidala, from suffering the same fate as his mother, Shmi Skywalker.
However, after the events of the duel on Mustafar, Palpatine drained Padme’s life force to save his prized Sith, Darth Vader. Palpatine then further broke Lord Vader’s spirits by telling him that he killed his own wife in a fit of rage.
Was Darth Vader More Powerful Than Palpatine?
As we can see, from the get go, Palpatine intended to keep Darth Vader under his control. This is especially clear when he purposefully left Vader in a terribly painful and somewhat faulty suit.
But why was this?
Well, it is theorized that Palpatine had known of Lord Vader’s potential since before his life-threatening injuries. In fact, in a conversation with Jedi Grand Master Yoda, Palpatine claimed, “You will not stop me, Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.”
After Vader lost all his limbs, scorched his lungs, and needed life support, Palpatine assumed he would never reach his full potential, but he was wrong.
You see, despite how painful the suit was, how injured Vader was, and how dependent he was on the Empire, Lord Vader never lost his Force potential. As a matter of fact, this only proves just how powerful he was.
To that end, Darth Vader was one of the few characters who was able to defeat Palpatine. This was done in the Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader saved his son, Luke Skywalker, by pushing the Emperor down a reactor shaft.
This just goes to show that Lord Vader’s willpower and strength are far more than what meets the eye. Interestingly enough, after Vader’s injuries, he was required to spend extra time meditating, which possibly propelled him deeper into the Force.
The Emperor was so fearful of Vader that he tried to replace him with Luke Skywalker. Ergo, it’s safe to assume that Lord Vader did, in fact, become more powerful than Palpatine.
Is Darth Vader Good Or Evil?
Although the Force has a clear divide between good and evil (i.e. the light and dark sides of the Force), when it comes to personal matters, it isn’t that simple.
When it comes to Darth Vader, the fandom’s opinions are divided. Some think he is actually good, whereas others believe the Sith Lord is pure evil. I’m on the side of the Star Wars community that thinks Darth Vader was actually good.
Let me explain.
In theory, Darth Vader was good but simply naive and misguided. He began his life by wanting to do good for his family and the galaxy in general. Anakin was on track to do exactly that. However, with all the fame he began to garner, he understandably grew a bit of an ego.
Still, one thing never changed, and that was his love for his family. Thus, when his mother was brutally tortured and murdered by the Tusken Raiders, Anakin was distraught. It was then that he vowed to do whatever it took for him to protect his loved ones going forward.
Emperor Palpatine took advantage of this and lured Anakin to the dark side with empty promises of protection for his wife.
Once she was gone, and the blame was placed on Darth Vader, he was plunged deep into depression, seething rage, guilt, self-hatred, and a plethora of other negative emotions.
While this worked out perfectly for him being connected to the dark side, this toxic cocktail of negative feelings depleted Darth Vader’s mental health status.
Hence, his actions, ruthlessness, and hunt for power can be chalked up to his internal trouble. Even though this does not excuse the hundreds of people he slaughtered during his career, there is a saying that “hurt people, hurt people.”
Was Darth Vader More Evil Than Palpatine?
It is understandable why some would say Darth Vader is more evil than Palpatine, on account of his kill count and how powerful he is. Still, it can be argued that Palpatine is more evil than Vader.
As we previously established, the Emperor was the mastermind behind many of the events that unfolded in the galaxy.
Palpatine was a professional manipulator. He played with the emotional and mental sanity of many people in the galaxy. He was so talented that he knew exactly what he needed to say and do to get what he wanted.
He took special care to control Darth Vader. Palpatine was so involved in Vader’s life that there was a fan theory floating around that the Emperor was Vader’s father.
Darth Vader was the most powerful Jedi and Sith in the galaxy. His sheer force potential alone made him one of the most feared beings.
Darth Vader was so powerful that he even surpassed the notorious Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor was concerned that Lord Vader was able to accomplish outstanding feats despite his near-fatal injuries.
Palpatine’s fears were justified, especially with how persistent Vader was; he eventually surpassed the Emperor’s power level.
With this power came a decent amount of backlash for Lord Vader. His pursuit of power led to him massacring many, which gave off a persona of evil.
However, it is possible that Darth Vader was truly good but simply hurting so much that he lashed out in the only way he knew how.