He is the Dark Lord of the Sith, the villain whose malignant presence lingers over the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and even the sequel taking place thirty years after his death
The character ‘Darth Vader’ has had more of a lasting impact than the Death Star blast that took out Alderaan. He is a blend of a tragic figure and evil presence, Vader’s story takes all the great twists and turns, even ending in redemption with the help of Mark Hamill’s Luke.
Darth Vader is the principal villain of the original Star Wars trilogy, but in a nice twist, he is instead the principal hero of the prequel Star Wars trilogy. Anakin Skywalker was thought by some of the Jedi council to be “The Chosen One” meant to bring balance to the Force, Anakin was brought into the Jedi Order at an older-than-usual age.
The temptation of the Dark Side was too much for the young Jedi, turning him into the Sith Lord Darth Vader, who along with his Master the Emperor Palpatine would be a scourge upon the galaxy for more than two decades.
It is the original trilogy that first introduced the audience to this instantly imposing figure, even though his screentime is relatively brief in that first film, the character made a long-lasting impression on the audience. With movie history’s greatest heavy breathing villain enters the fleeing rebel ship in that opening scene in A New Hope, Darth Vader made an emphatic entrance into movie history.
The looming presence of David Prowse and the booming voice of James Earl Jones. Vader stalks across the screen and inspires awe in every scene. He also wears a mean cape, which not many men can pull off.
The Empire Strikes Back was Vader’s time to shine. In a desperate fight between Luke Skywalker and Vader, we see Luke strike as hard and fast as he can, with Vader without any effort easily deflecting every attack. Then, of course, we all learn that Vader is indeed Lukes’s father.
In Return of the Jedi we get Vader’s redemption, and in the prequels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we get his backstory. Then we got the standalone spin-off film Rogue One that gave Darth Vader his fangs back. The final scene in Rogue One directly ties into the opening scenes of the original 1977 Star Wars. Vader bulldozing through rebels at the end of Rogue One is one of the best scenes of artistic villainy in all of the Star Wars films.
In short, Vader is one of the movie history’s most villainous villains. Audiences watch in awe when Darth Vader comes on screen. He is classic and relevant, good and evil, strong and weak. He continues to embody infamous perfection, making him an immortal icon of villainy.