While certainly intimidating on the outside, Darth Vader’s iconic armor isn’t exactly advanced technology after 30 years of use.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Darth Vader #9 from Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco
Even beyond just the galaxy of Star Wars, Darth Vader might be one of the most intimidating and iconic villains in all of cinema. However, the sad truth about his armor has come to light in the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader series. While his armor is dark, striking, and fearsome, the machinery within is far from advanced or the pinnacle of technology the galaxy has to offer by the time just after Empire Strikes Back. Obi-Wan Kenobi does tell Luke Skywalker that Vader is more machine than man, but it looks as though those machine parts are no longer all that valuable.
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The reveal comes from Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader #9, written by Greg Pak with art by Raffaele Ienco. In the issue, Darth Vader’s armor and prosthetic limbs have been broken by his master as punishment for his recent transgressions. He’s also been dumped by the Emperor on the same lava river bank where he found Vader’s ravaged body before rebuilding him with the armor as his new apprentice nearly 30 years ago at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Now, Vader has had to repair himself with new limbs using discarded battle droid parts, all while on the run from the Sith assassin Ochi of Bestoon, who’s allied himself with the Droid Crush Pirates to join in the hunt.
However, the crew of droids had only agreed to help Ochi after he promised them that they could take pieces of Vader’s armor and machinery once they succeeded in killing him. However, the leader of the pirates soon realizes that their promised prize is no prize at all. After scanning Vader, it’s revealed that his armor is nearly 30 years old and is far from the “Emperor’s greatest weapon” as advertised by Ochi. Upon learning this, the lethal and angry droids set their sights on Ochi.
Thankfully for Ochi, Vader has a need for him to decipher a Sith Wayfinder, which motivates the Dark Lord to save the assassin from the pirates’ reach. He also regains his lightsaber from the assassin, and promptly eliminates the entire crew with extreme and deadly prejudice. Ironically, their parts work just fine for Vader’s needs, as he uses them to repair an abandoned Jedi starfighter from the Clone Wars to escape the planet (which could very well have been his own starfighter from Episode III).
While Darth Vader’s armor may be old, the Dark Lord proves in this issue that it’s not the machinery that makes him so formidable. His prowess and abilities as a Sith Lord are what makes him powerful as the Emperor’s greatest weapon and servant. So long as the armor and prosthetics keep him alive to continue existing as such, there’s no need for any further advancement. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, it does seem as though Darth Vader will eventually need to replace his improvised battle droid limbs with his usual standard arm and leg prosthetics in order to resume his intimidating style once more in the Star Wars galaxy.
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