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50 Greatest Darth Vader Moments

Freeze!

Most Impressive: Vader emerges from the carbonite chamber to face Luke. “The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet” [in The Empire Strikes Back ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Bathed in neon light and dry ice, and demeaning his opponent with back-handed compliments…Vader knows how to make an entrance, doesn’t he?

First Blood

Most Impressive: The newly christened Vader gets his first mission: kill everyone in the Jedi Temple. Including the younglings [in Revenge Of The Sith ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: It doesn’t take long at all for Anakin to justify being called ‘dark father;’ there’s little in his career to rival this for chilling villainy.

Man Under The Mask

Most Impressive: Luke helps Anakin take off his helmet to allow father a first - and last - look at his son before he dies [in Return Of The Jedi ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: It's the original trilogy's guaranteed tear-jerker, as the Skywalkers are reunited only to be cruelly parted.

Promoting Piett

Most Impressive: After Admiral Ozzel makes a tactical blunder during the attack on Hoth, Vader takes swift executive action by killing him with a Force choke [in The Empire Strikes Back ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Aside from the realisation that Vader’s Force-choking power can cross space, it’s the cruel way Vader promotes Admiral Piett while Ozzel is still dying behind him.

Dagobah Duel

Most Impressive: Luke Skywalker decaptitates an apparition of Darth Vader during his Jedi training, only to see his own face under the helmet [in The Empire Strikes Back ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Even when he’s not really there, Vader makes a menacing impression – and the Freudian horror of Luke’s Doppelganger is a great visual symbol of the film’s family drama.

Darth Vader vs Darth Maul

Most Impressive: Huh? How? Well, Vader’s enemies – feeling he’s unfit to serve the Emperor – resurrect Palpatine’s original gimp in order to oust him [in Resurrection , a comic story from Star Wars Tales 9 ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: An inevitable piece of fanwank, but one which answers the must-know question of who would win in a duel. It’s Vader, of course.

Show Of Strength

Most Impressive: Vader scarcely bothers to interrogate Rebel Captain Antilles, before hoisting him off the floor by the neck and throttling him to death one-handed [in A New Hope ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Vader’s first on-screen kill leaves little doubt that this guy means business – and he’s strong, too.

Funeral Pyre

Most Impressive: Vader's funeral proves to be a private affair, with Luke joined only by the spirits of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker himself, who doesn't seem too perturbed by the low turnout [in Return Of The Jedi ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: A superb piece of visual imagery that brings closure to the whole Star Wars saga. Who would have guessed that a burning helmet could be so moving?

Skywalker Becomes Vader

Most Impressive: Anakin makes his choice and disarms Mace Windu so that Palpatine can kill him. His reward: a change of name [in Revenge Of The Sith ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: A betrayal that’s shocking even though it’s entirely expected, because Vader becomes Vader by cutting off Samuel L. Jackson’s hands. Even Tarantino never went that far.

Vaders Apprentice

Most Impressive: Darth Vader secretly grooms apprentice Galen Marek in a bid to topple Palpatine [in video game The Force Unleashed ].

Why The Force Is Strong With This One: Devious, back-stabbing lot, these Sith. This inter-trilogies adventure adds new shades of character to Vader by suggesting he was never all that happy working for Palpatine.