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Star Wars: how did Darth Vader die?

Darth Vader's death is one of the best Star Wars scenes around, but exactly how did Darth Vader die, and what led to death of the iconic villain?

Star Wars: how did Darth Vader die? Luke and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi

The cybernetic Sith lord is the #1 Star Wars villain, and among the very best movie villains of all time, but how did Darth Vader die? Darth Vader’s story is a long and tragic one, and it began with Anakin Skywalker and the death of Qui-Gon Jinn, back in the the first (chronological) Star Wars movie.

The young Anakin Skywalker witnessed the death of the Jedi master who had taken him under his wing, and that left a deep and lasting impact. Then, as Anakin Skywalker grew older, he began to develop an increasing obsession with death, and possibility of preventing it. As his relationship with Padmé became more serious, he began to have visons of her death. Emperor Palpatine exploited that fear, and used it to convert Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force, becoming Darth Vader.

Vader then ruled the Galactic Empire alongside Emperor Palpatine for decades, while his two children secretly grew up with hidden identities. Both his children became important players in the Rebellion, putting him in direct conflict with them. When Darth Vader was eventually forced to choose between killing his son Luke, and sacrificing himself, he had a big decision to make. So, how did Darth Vader die?

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How did Darth Vader die?

Darth Vader died after being weakened due to to a lighstaber duel with Luke, where Luke managed to knock him down and cut off one of his hands. Then, Luke refused to kill his father Darth Vader, so Emperor Palpatine tortured him with Force lightening. Watching his own son be tortured, the light side re-awakened in Darth Vader and he turned on Emperor Palpatine, using his remaining strength to throw him down into a reactor shaft (temporarily) killing him.

However, Emperor Palpatine had used his powers to damage Darth Vader even further. Luke tried to drag his mortally wounded father to safety, but it was too late. Luke took off Darth Vader’s mask so that he could finally see his father, but without the mask’s breathing aid, Darth Vader died. His final words, directed at Luke were “You were right.”

The Star Wars scene was a great ending for one of the best Star Wars characters around, and, it meant that Anakin Skywalker did fulfil the prophecy that he would bring balance to the Force. For more on Star Wars, check out our guides to the Andor season 2 release date and Ahsoka release date. Or, take a look at our explainers to the Andor cast of characters with our guides on Dedra Meero, Syril Karn, Luthen Rael, and Mon Mothma.