13 Heartbreaking Darth Vader Fan Theories That Make A Lot Of Sense

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Vote up the most heartbreaking fan theories about Darth Vader.

The Emperor's enforcer and boogyman of the now-extinct Jedi Order, Darth Vader, comes with a lot of baggage. Thanks to the internet, old fans familiar with the franchise and newbies that are just discovering the films and various animated series on Disney+ have been able to craft a number of heartbreaking fan theories about the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Many of these theories elaborate on implications laid out by George Lucas in the original and prequel trilogies, but some touch on his relationship with his former apprentice Ahsoka Tano from The Clone Wars.

This is a collection of fan theories about Darth Vader that tug at the heartstrings. Vote up the most heartbreaking theories below!

  • 1
    886 VOTES

    Mustafar Had Some Prime Real Estate After 'Revenge Of The Sith'

    Mustafar Had Some Prime Real Estate After 'Revenge Of The Sith'
    Photo: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    From Redditor u/arnm7890:

    Maybe it was just me, but for some reason as soon as I saw the castle on Mustafar [in Rogue One], I realised that Vader basically lives where the love of his life died. He could have had his castle be anywhere within the galaxy, but he deliberately chose the place that would be a constant source of pain, with the reminder that he killed his wife there, in order to fuel his power.

    It definitely added to the characterization of Vader for me - that while he was this terrifying force of nature, he was being fuelled by his human pain and suffering.

    886 votes
  • 2
    1,202 VOTES

    Vader Lost His Duel With Luke When He Learned Of His Daughter

    Vader Lost His Duel With Luke When He Learned Of His Daughter
    Photo: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi / 20th Century Fox

    From Redditor u/REdd06:

    In Return of the Jedi, Luke and Vader are fairly evenly matched until the end, when Vader scans Luke's mind and sees he has a twin sister. He gloats about turning her to the dark side which sends Luke into a frenzy, enabling him to finally beat Vader.

    What if Vader suddenly realized who Luke's sister was in the second before Luke attacked? If Vader saw Lea's face in Luke's mind, he would know he personally tortured his own long lost daughter on the original Death Star.

    That guilt would be horribly distracting.

    1,202 votes
  • 3
    993 VOTES

    Vader's Sorrow Ended Up Saving Admiral Piett's Life

    Vader's Sorrow Ended Up Saving Admiral Piett's Life
    Photo: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back / 20th Century Fox

    From Redditor u/Rickys_Lineup_Card:

    I’ve lurked and commented on this sub for some time but first time posting. I haven’t seen anything about this yet and it’s something that stuck out to me the last couple times I watched Empire.

    Throughout the movie, Vader kills a few imperial officers for failing him: Admiral Ozzel, for coming out of hyperspace too close to the rebel base, alerting them, and Captain Needa for losing the Milennium Falcon when they were hiding on the star destroyer before floating away with the trash. He even expresses amusement in doing this (“Apology accepted, Captain Needa”). Vader rules over his subordinates with an iron fist (no pun intended) and does not accept failure — and, let’s be honest, he enjoys killing.

    However, after Luke escapes Vader in Cloud City, Admiral Piett assures Vader that the Millenium Falcon’s hyperdrive has been deactivated, but R2 gets it back back up and working before they can be captured. The audience has been set up to expect Vader to kill Piett for this obvious failure, and the Admiral himself seems to expect it. But Vader just walks past him without so much as a look in his direction.

    I’ve seen in old posts people briefly talk about Piett being somehow more competent and less arrogant than the other officers, but I don’t see this as being the case.

    This is our first real glimpse of Anakin under the mask. Vader is at his most brutal and most evil in Empire: chasing the Rebels out of Hoth, delivering some pretty serious losses; the aforementioned murders of his own officers; taking over Bespin and forcing Lando to turn on Han, “altering the deal” several times; torturing Han without even asking him any questions just to cause him enough pain for Luke to feel it across the galaxy; Using Han as a human lab rat for his carbon freezing chamber; taunting Luke throughout their fight and cutting his arm off, etc.

    But when he reveals himself to Luke and when he talks to Luke through the force when he’s on the Falcon, we see an entirely different Darth Vader, one who spares Luke and pleads with him to join him. There’s almost a tone of desperation in his voice. And instead of being angered by his refusal and resolving to destroy his son for it, he seems dejected and disappointed at losing his son. Finding out his son is alive represented the first beacon of hope in his life in 2 decades, ever since he lost Padme, and his failure to turn Luke brought him so much sorrow that he didn’t even care enough to kill Piett.

    This is the first evidence in the movies since Vader first put on the suit that there’s a real human being under there, not a senseless machine of violence. I also think this is where Luke begins to sense the good in his father, feeling his pain and sadness and vulnerability as opposed to his usual stoic anger and hatred.

    Maybe this is obvious to most people, and thats why I haven’t seen much discussion on it, but this scene always sticks out to me as a very important turning point in the life of my favorite character, Anakin Skywalker.

    TLDR: Vader spares Piett not because of his value to the Empire, but because of his sorrow for losing his son, the first beacon of hope in his life since he first put on the suit.

    993 votes
  • 4
    872 VOTES

    Obi-Wan's Vanishing Act On The Death Star Revealed The Truth About The Dark Side To Vader

    Obi-Wan's Vanishing Act On The Death Star Revealed The Truth About The Dark Side To Vader
    Photo: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope / 20th Century Fox

    From Redditor u/mybustersword:

    Vader wasn't as confused as he was surprised. He knew what happened, Obi-Wan warned him that he would be more powerful if struck down. He gives a hint to the power he was promised by Palpatine, eternal life. A power he could not get from a a Jedi

    Yet we know that in Episode II Qui-Gon has contacted (in a way) Anakin during his slaughter of the Sand People. He heard his voice. We can assume Qui-Gon had been contacting Anakin/Vader in some way throughout his life, and if we assume that Vader has at least had a suspicion of becoming one with the force, it brings much more context to Vader awkwardly pushing around the robe after Obi-Wan disappeared.

    He can't believe what happened. He can't believe it's true, the Jedi can teach eternal life, Palpatine lied to him, and he's been manipulated the entire time. This is the turning point we see in Vader this early on in the trilogy, and gives more credence to his turn from the Emperor and request to Luke to join him. This is the moment he learned the true nature of the dark side

    872 votes
  • 5
    995 VOTES

    Vader's Got A Soft Spot For C-3PO

    From Redditor u/mybustersword

    When Vader is about to freeze Han, Chewie goes [crazy] and [attacks] 3 stormtroopers when [Boba Fett] aims his weapon at the Wookiee before Vader lowers [his] arm, preventing the shot. Vader, on multiple occasions, shows [he] does not care [what happens to] them, save for the princess... Why would he care to stop Chewie from being shot?

    Chewie was holding the dismantled C-3PO on his back and Vader did not want to his creation to be destroyed in the process.

    995 votes
  • 6
    1,089 VOTES

    Vader's Offer Was A Cry For Help

    Vader's Offer Was A Cry For Help
    Photo: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back / 20th Century Fox

    From Redditor u/strawberryvolvic32:

    I've always thought to myself when Vader says to Luke "you don't know the power of the dark side" that it definitely comes off as a sort of "you don't know what you're missing" type thing, but to me I've always seen it as "you don't know how much power it has over me" he's trying to tell his son that he's too far gone, and there's just no going back for him.

    1,089 votes