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50 Greatest Darth Vader Moments

Groomed

Most Impressive: Young Anakin Skywalker meets Senator Palpatine, who promises to watch his career with great interest [in The Phantom Menace ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Uh-oh. Anakin’s only a kid, and already he’s being groomed for Dark Lord duties. This isn’t going to end well.

Dispense With The Pleasantries

Most Impressive: The Death Star puts on a full military drill to welcome Vader, only for him to bollock them for falling behind schedule [in Return Of The Jedi ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Too often in Palpatine's shadow in this film, Episode 6 's opening scene captures Vader in no-nonsense mood: “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them,” he ponders menacingly of his workshy employees.

The Be All And Endor

Most Impressive: Vader arrives on Endor to have a father/son heart-to-heart with prisoner Luke [in Return Of The Jedi ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Vader is in in a rare contemplative mood, insistent that the name Anakin "no longer holds any meaning for me" - but how come he's so bothered to escort Luke personally?

Force Choke Takes Hold

Most Impressive: Anakin interrogates Separatist rebel Poggle the Lesser and tries out a technique that will become Vader’s trademark: the Force-choke [in Clone Wars episode Brain Invaders ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: A signpost on the route towards the Dark Side, as Anakin opts for torture where other Jedi can only lecture.

Off With His Head

Most Impressive: Anakin Skywalker’s dark side comes out as, encouraged by Palpatine, he finishes off the defenceless Count Dooku by lopping off his head with a lightsaber [in Revenge Of The Sith ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Ordinarily, despatching Dooku would be cause for celebration – but it’s a cold move from Anakin, well en route to becoming Vader.

Vader's Rival

Most Impressive: Vader joins forces with crime boss Xizor to capture Luke, only to realise that – while Vader wants his son taken alive – his partner wants both Skywalkers dead [in multi-media arc Shadows Of The Empire ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: A sign of Vader’s increasingly subtle characterisation, as he cold-bloodedly dispatches Xizor to protect his plans for post-Palpatine rule.

Flying Lightsaber

Most Impressive: Luke thinks he's got a safe vantage point during his duel with Vader. The latter casually throws his lightsaber to slice through the gantry and send Luke tumbling [in Return Of The Jedi ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: A sneaky move from a master swordsman.

Treated Unfairly?

Most Impressive: Vader revises the terms of his agreement with Lando Calrissian, who hisses "This deal's getting worse all the time!" [in The Empire Strikes Back ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: We love the way Vader does business. If only Alan Sugar would threaten his apprentices by asking, "Perhaps you feel you're being treated unfairly?"

Darkness Falls

Most Impressive: Anakin, enraged at the death of his mother, goes loco on the community of Tusken raiders who kidnapped her [in Attack Of The Clones ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Anakin’s first major flashpoint on the road to becoming Vader; from here, he’ll become steeped in more and more blood.

There Can Be Obi-Wan

Most Impressive: Vader stops in his tracks as he feels the familiar presence of Obi-Wan Kenobi aboard the Death Star [in A New Hope ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: One that gains added resonance when you know the backstory, as the stage is set for old friends-turned-enemies to face each other once more.