How Did Darth Vader Die?

Darth Vader remains to be one of the most iconic villains in the history of movies. He is a fictional character playing a primary antagonist in the American space opera franchise Star Wars. Numerous actors have portrayed the character, including David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw, Jake Lloyd, and Hayden Christensen. Fans were saddened when he died in the Return of the Jedi. I know Darth was not a hero but you ought to agree with me that villains keep movies interesting. Darth had become the Dark Lord so I honestly expected him to stay in the show longer.

How did Darth Vader die? He was struck by his former master, Emperor Palpatine, with force lightning while trying to save his son Luke. The bolts of malign energy shot by Palpatine tore into Vader. He fell as the electric currents crackled down his helmet and into his heart. He died in his son’s arms.

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The scriptwriter George Lucas introduces this character as a protagonist Anakin Skywalker; a hero of the Clone of Wars and a goodhearted Jedi. Anakin remains on the light side until he succumbs to the dark side trying to prevent his wife’s foreseen death. This becomes the rise of Darth Vader, a ruthless agent of evil. Talking of his death, he nearly died when he attacked his former friend and Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader was severely burned and injured so the Emperor encased him in black armour that had a mechanism which kept him alive. His state made his death possible, don’t you think?

The Death of Darth Vader

There are a series of events that led to the death of Darth Vader. He served Emperor Palpatine as his fearsome enforcer. Under his order, he joined the ruthless Grand Moff Tarkin in overseeing construction of the Death Star. When plans for the Death Star were stolen, Vader set out to attack the empire rebels, among them being Luke Skywalker. He was attacked by the Millennium Falcon, ricocheted from the star and flew deep into space. He was unable to stop Luke, who destroyed the space station. From then, Vader became obsessed with finding Luke. He traced the rebel base to a remote ice planet called Hoth.

The rebels had escaped but he managed to capture Luke’s friends. He tortured one of them named Han and froze another named Solo in carbonite to lure Luke. Luke, who was at Jedi training at the time, had to cut it short and go to save his friends. A duel between the two began. All this time, Luke still had hope that there was still some good in Vader. Vader threatened to turn Luke’s twin sister Leia to the dark side if he refuses to submit. Luke was beyond furious therefore he brutally attacked Vader with flying debris and finally severed one of his cybernetic hands with his lightsaber.

Darth Vader Dies Trying To Save His Son Luke

In an effort to convince Luke to join the dark side, Vader finally revealed that he was his father. The young Jedi was rattled to the core. Palpatine had other plans though. He entreated Luke to kill Vader and take over his place in the empire but Luke still refused and threw away his lightsaber. Emperor Palpatine was raged and attacked Luke with force lightning.

Vader could not watch his son being tortured so he stepped in to destroy the emperor, throwing him down the reactor shaft where he dies. Unfortunately, when Vader came into contact with the emperor, he was still shooting lightning all over the place. Vader was fatally electrocuted. Remember the physical state he was in already? Surviving this would have been very difficult. He was already in a vegetative state, breathing only with the help of the black armour given to him by the emperor.

His armour is then damaged and his mortal gets wounded. Darth Vader requested Luke to take off his helmet because he wanted to see him for the last time with his real face, as Anakin Skywalker. He finally redeems himself and restores his consciousness to when he was on the light side. Darth Vader ultimately dies in his son’s arms but as Anakin Skywalker. I must admit, his death was kind of bittersweet. He saves his son and dies in the process, which is unlike his dark character. He dies peacefully and with acceptance. His wrath as Vader and redemption of Anakin remains one of the highlights in Star Wars.

We can all agree that love always conquers. Vader had killed so many people including Jedi younglings without mercy or remorse. It was nice to see him die a redeemed person plus doing a good heroic act.

How Do You Explain Darth Vader’s Death?

There seem to be different explanations of Darth’s death according to fans. His death was saddening and confusing at the same time. We had witnessed him being struck with force lightning before and he was never hurt. Therefore, it does not make sense that he dies when Palpatine zaps him. Unless it was a different kind of lightning force that was lethal.

There are several possible explanations for his death. Maybe when he was struck his suit of armour malfunctioned. After all, it is what kept him alive after he nearly died in the duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the comic had shown before that he can survive without this medical technology though for some time.

A more plausible explanation has to do with the Force. Just like the light side can change people into force ghosts when they die, the dark side can help one escape death. The dark side had helped him survive; although he was in so much pain, he simply could not die since he was full of rage. When Luke decided not to kill Darth his father, Palpatine was angered and wanted to zap Luke. Darth turned to the light side and saved his son, therefore, the dark side could not save him anymore.

Did Darth Vader Turn Into A Ghost Spirit Upon Death?

Yes, he did. Just like Luke, I always hoped there was some good left in Vader. I don’t know about you but the time he revealed to Luke that he was his father, I saw a gleam of light that peeped through his dark suit of terror. I was so happy and hopeful that his son would be the one to awaken his light side, and that is exactly what happened. During the duel with Luke and the emperor, Vader was overcome with compassion to save his son. This made him turn to his light side and go back to become Anakin Skywalker.

To become a force ghost in Star Wars, one has to totally let go of their evil desires and ambitions becoming one with the cosmic force rather than natural force. Maybe Darth had been taught by the Force Priestess how to become a force ghost, just like she taught other Jedi like Yoda. Another explanation is that Anakin was the Chosen One who was born to bring balance between the dark and the light sides. In killing the emperor, he fulfilled his destiny, and then redeemed himself by saving Luke. All in all, he was able to become a ghost spirit after his death.

What Were Darth Vader’s Last Words?

The conversation between Vader and his son during his death is one of the best moments in the original trilogy. However, his last words to Luke are debatable. Look at it this way, at some point he was Sith Darth Vader but later he became Anakin Skywalker. The last words Darth told Luke were and I quote, “If you will not turn to the dark side…then perhaps she will!” He was referring to Luke’s twin sister Leia. He was trying to convince Luke to join the dark force and said that Leia was lucky Obi-Wan had kept her from him. Those were the last words of Darth Vader before redeeming himself.

After risking his life to save his son, Darth redeemed himself to Anakin. His last words as Anakin while he was dying were, “Tell your sister…you were right”. This was after Luke removed his face mask and Anakin was able to see his son. He wanted Luke to tell Leia that they were right about him. It is a sad moment as the Jedi theme plays quietly. Luke tells him he will not leave him but Anakin passes away. So, we can say these were the last words of Anakin Skywalker while the threatening of Leia were the last words of Darth. However, some fans do not separate Anakin from Darth. They regard them as one person with different characters.


About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.