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Darth Vader’s 10 Most Brutal Moments in All of ‘Star Wars’

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Few villains bridge the gap between Sci-fi and horror, as well as Darth Vader. Sure, the Alien Queen could give the murder machine a run for his money, but Vader just can’t be beat.

With a grasp of the force greater than any who preceded him, a knack for the blade, an impressive 6’ 7” frame, and a sword that can cut through almost anything it’s easy to see how Lord Vader is the closest thing to a boogey man the Star Wars galaxy has ever seen. The penultimate apprentice has more than earned his place as nightmare fuel for every rebel soldier out there. Over almost 50 years of Star Wars, Vader has proven time and time again the true power of the Dark side.

Be cautious going forward, there are tons of Star Wars spoilers ahead.

10. Vader Kills Obi-Wan (Star Wars: A New Hope)

This moment defined Vader as a villain. Though it was well established early on in the movie that he was bad to the bone, the murder of Luke’s mentor and sweet old hermit friend solidified Darth Vader’s place in bad guy history. It’s nowhere near as impacting as some of Vader’s later moments, there’s no way to skip this iconic movie death.

9. Vader Vs Cal

Fallen Order gives us some pretty incredible Vader moments. It might not be as violent or fatality-filled as some of his other moments, but this “fight” between him and Cal Kestis lives rent-free in gamers’ minds. Not only does he erupt out of nowhere, but the languid way he tries to off the Jedi is just brutal. It’s got to be super insulting to be maimed with your own blade.

8. Vader vs. Reva

Though much of Obi-Wan’s audience was deeply frustrated by Reva, the fight between the 3rd sister and her former master surely had at least a few fans rooting for her. Not only does Vader start the row by yanking an entire starship from the sky, he plays with her like a cat with a mouse. He never even draws his lightsaber. Instead, he steals half of hers and uses it to inflict a nearly mortal wound. Reva might survive the encounter, but there is no doubt in my mind that Vader assumed she would die an agonizing death.

7. Vader dismembers his son (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Empire stands as one of the best Star Wars movies of all time for plenty of reasons, but this brutal scene is one of the best. Luke might be a hardened fighter by this point in the series, but he’s still no match for Darth Vader. While dear ol’ dad might give Luke plenty of leeway at first, that temper still runs hot. As soon as Luke actually hits him, Vader’s immediate response is to chop off his hand and moments later reveal his parentage. Even the best kids need a little tough love, I guess.

6. Vader takes out the trash (Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order)

There is no way you made it through Jedi Fallen Order without thinking that you could save Trilla. The Second Sister might have been a thorn in Cal’s side, but that potential redemption was well worth fighting for. We’ll never know if in her final moments, Trilla realized the error of her ways. Not only is Vader spooky as heck emerging from the steam behind his failed protégé, but the merciless way he cuts her down is just cruel.

5. Not just the men… (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

One of the first times Anakin succumbs to the dark side happens in Attack of the Clones. Sure he isn’t full Vader yet, but there is no denying that Anakin checked out after his mother died in his arms. The young Jedi goes on an absolute rampage and not only does he deliver one of the most iconic lines the prequel trilogy had, but the coup de tat of Vader’s respirator cutting through Anakin’s pain truly marks this as the beginning of Anakin’s end.

4. Vader vs. Ahsoka Tano

Listen, I will look for any reason for Ahsoka Tano to be included in anything Star Wars, but we can’t deny that Vader killing Anakin’s apprentice isn’t brutal. He taught her, protected her, and promised he would always be there for her, and when she tried to save him, he destroyed her. Ezra Bridger may have snatched Ahsoka from the jaws of death, but her encounter left a mark. Ahsoka showed us just how far her trust was eroded after her master fell to the dark side.

3. Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Star Wars fans waited with bated breath for Disney to announce that Darth Vader would menace his way onto the Kenobi set and Hayden Christensen’s long-awaited return did not disappoint. Obi-Wan’s desperate clashes with his former apprentice are brilliantly done, the garish lighting drives home the dire situation and there is no denying the nail-biting anxiety induced by watching Vader leave Obi-Wan to burn alive. If Vader hadn’t been playing with him, there is no way Obi-Wan would have walked away from this encounter.

2. Vader cuts down Rebels (Star Wars: Rogue One)

It almost feels like a copout to give this moment such a high spot, but c’mon. Rogue One changed Star Wars for with this horrifying version of Darth Vader. He’s truly a thing of nightmares as he wrecks a hall filled with rebel agents. Its deliciously impersonal and set the tone for Vader’s future on the screen.

1. Vader kills a bunch of kids (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)

There is nothing more brutal than outright genocide. Before Order 66 was issued, there were around 10,000 Jedi spread across the galaxy. While it’s safe to assume plenty were off world fighting in the Clone Wars hundreds if not thousands of children were living in the Jedi Temple. The Clone War required that Padawans were pumped through the system, so it’s safe to assume there were very few students under the age of 13 at the time of the attack. Add to the the elderly or infirm Jedi that ran the various facilities and you have, without a doubt, the most brutal thing Darth Vader has done so far.


Few villains bridge the gap between Sci-fi and horror, as well as Darth Vader. Sure, the Alien Queen could give the murder machine a run for his money, but Vader just can’t be beat.

With a grasp of the force greater than any who preceded him, a knack for the blade, an impressive 6’ 7” frame, and a sword that can cut through almost anything it’s easy to see how Lord Vader is the closest thing to a boogey man the Star Wars galaxy has ever seen. The penultimate apprentice has more than earned his place as nightmare fuel for every rebel soldier out there. Over almost 50 years of Star Wars, Vader has proven time and time again the true power of the Dark side.

Be cautious going forward, there are tons of Star Wars spoilers ahead.

10. Vader Kills Obi-Wan (Star Wars: A New Hope)

This moment defined Vader as a villain. Though it was well established early on in the movie that he was bad to the bone, the murder of Luke’s mentor and sweet old hermit friend solidified Darth Vader’s place in bad guy history. It’s nowhere near as impacting as some of Vader’s later moments, there’s no way to skip this iconic movie death.

9. Vader Vs Cal

Fallen Order gives us some pretty incredible Vader moments. It might not be as violent or fatality-filled as some of his other moments, but this “fight” between him and Cal Kestis lives rent-free in gamers’ minds. Not only does he erupt out of nowhere, but the languid way he tries to off the Jedi is just brutal. It’s got to be super insulting to be maimed with your own blade.

8. Vader vs. Reva

Though much of Obi-Wan’s audience was deeply frustrated by Reva, the fight between the 3rd sister and her former master surely had at least a few fans rooting for her. Not only does Vader start the row by yanking an entire starship from the sky, he plays with her like a cat with a mouse. He never even draws his lightsaber. Instead, he steals half of hers and uses it to inflict a nearly mortal wound. Reva might survive the encounter, but there is no doubt in my mind that Vader assumed she would die an agonizing death.

7. Vader dismembers his son (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Empire stands as one of the best Star Wars movies of all time for plenty of reasons, but this brutal scene is one of the best. Luke might be a hardened fighter by this point in the series, but he’s still no match for Darth Vader. While dear ol’ dad might give Luke plenty of leeway at first, that temper still runs hot. As soon as Luke actually hits him, Vader’s immediate response is to chop off his hand and moments later reveal his parentage. Even the best kids need a little tough love, I guess.

6. Vader takes out the trash (Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order)

There is no way you made it through Jedi Fallen Order without thinking that you could save Trilla. The Second Sister might have been a thorn in Cal’s side, but that potential redemption was well worth fighting for. We’ll never know if in her final moments, Trilla realized the error of her ways. Not only is Vader spooky as heck emerging from the steam behind his failed protégé, but the merciless way he cuts her down is just cruel.

5. Not just the men… (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

One of the first times Anakin succumbs to the dark side happens in Attack of the Clones. Sure he isn’t full Vader yet, but there is no denying that Anakin checked out after his mother died in his arms. The young Jedi goes on an absolute rampage and not only does he deliver one of the most iconic lines the prequel trilogy had, but the coup de tat of Vader’s respirator cutting through Anakin’s pain truly marks this as the beginning of Anakin’s end.

4. Vader vs. Ahsoka Tano

Listen, I will look for any reason for Ahsoka Tano to be included in anything Star Wars, but we can’t deny that Vader killing Anakin’s apprentice isn’t brutal. He taught her, protected her, and promised he would always be there for her, and when she tried to save him, he destroyed her. Ezra Bridger may have snatched Ahsoka from the jaws of death, but her encounter left a mark. Ahsoka showed us just how far her trust was eroded after her master fell to the dark side.

3. Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Star Wars fans waited with bated breath for Disney to announce that Darth Vader would menace his way onto the Kenobi set and Hayden Christensen’s long-awaited return did not disappoint. Obi-Wan’s desperate clashes with his former apprentice are brilliantly done, the garish lighting drives home the dire situation and there is no denying the nail-biting anxiety induced by watching Vader leave Obi-Wan to burn alive. If Vader hadn’t been playing with him, there is no way Obi-Wan would have walked away from this encounter.

2. Vader cuts down Rebels (Star Wars: Rogue One)

It almost feels like a copout to give this moment such a high spot, but c’mon. Rogue One changed Star Wars for with this horrifying version of Darth Vader. He’s truly a thing of nightmares as he wrecks a hall filled with rebel agents. Its deliciously impersonal and set the tone for Vader’s future on the screen.

1. Vader kills a bunch of kids (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)

There is nothing more brutal than outright genocide. Before Order 66 was issued, there were around 10,000 Jedi spread across the galaxy. While it’s safe to assume plenty were off world fighting in the Clone Wars hundreds if not thousands of children were living in the Jedi Temple. The Clone War required that Padawans were pumped through the system, so it’s safe to assume there were very few students under the age of 13 at the time of the attack. Add to the the elderly or infirm Jedi that ran the various facilities and you have, without a doubt, the most brutal thing Darth Vader has done so far.

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