Darth Vader did not need to get any scarier, but here we are. In a new Star Wars comic, the dark lord displays a power from the Force that proves he doesn’t always need his suit to defend himself, and the results are spine-chilling.
Star Wars: Dark Droids #3 by Charles Soule and Luke Ross has the Star Wars villain trapped by droids on his own ship. They’ve been infected by the hivemind Scourge, an ancient artificial intelligence with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and power who wants to harness the Force. Backing Darth Vader into a corner is one way to do this, sure — he is supremely powerful — but they don’t account for his blinding rage and the power he draws from it.
In the issue, the Star Wars droids think they’ve got Vader trapped by keeping him from his armor. In reality, Vader sensed what was happening and channeled his Force energy to create limbs of pure force energy while in his bacta tank.
What comes next is basically the story Vader Down — where Vader single-handedly kills an entire brigade of Rebel Alliance troops on his own — but with robots. The Sith tyrant kills everything that meant him harm without even breaking a sweat. The arms and legs he grows are as strong as his cybernetic ones, meaning he loses no speed or endurance, and before you know it, the Scourge regrets picking a fight with the former Anakin Skywalker.
If you’re now wondering why he doesn’t do this all the time, the answer lies in some overall lore. In a previous storyline from Soule, called Hidden Empire, the Fermata Cage (an ancient dark side weapon) holding the Scourge was opened. Besides letting out the cybernetic Star Wars character, there were huge waves of Force energy released as well.
Those especially adept in the Force are able to use these waves to enhance their abilities. Hence, Vader can access powers he wouldn’t normally, like a healing factor that’d make Deadpool and Wolverine wary. So Vader can be even more powerful and difficult to subdue, depending on the weather!
When you consider that he is canonically one of the most powerful Force users ever, this just makes him that much more fearsome. Vader’s limits are really only defined by who’s writing him. We know from The Phantom Menace that he’s off the charts in terms of the Force on a cellular level, to the point that even he probably doesn’t know what’d be too much for him.
But it’s important to note that Vader can only use these limbs when juiced up on the Force. He couldn’t heal quickly in order to continue fighting Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith, for example. Some major pulse in the Force would need to have happened to change the Star Wars movies. To be honest, I quite like that; it creates a limitation on the Force that can only change when either the light or dark side brings interference.
So, for now, I’m quite happy to continue experiencing moments like these in print rather than on-screen. We have a guide on the Star Wars movies in order and a ranking of the Star Wars series so you can study up on the ways of the Force for yourself. Make sure to keep our guides on the Skeleton Crew release date and the Acolyte release date handy too!