The Star Wars Saga is a global phenomenon that has grown exponentially since its first release. It has created some of the most memorable characters in pop culture while winning the adoration of legions of fans. It has given us heroes like General Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker as the Galaxy’s greatest heroes. Most recently, it gave us notable figures like Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn who have even challenged the status quo of what people thought made a Star Wars film. But it's also got a dark side. Literally.
The Galaxy has been plagued by the dark side of the Force. Planets have been blown out of space by weapons of mass destruction, created by a ruthless and unimpeachable empire that imposed its will on the galaxy. However, among all of the Empire's figureheads, and in direct contrast to those heroes we mentioned before, is the nefarious Darth Vader. He was one of the most feared villains of the dark side and murdered many people while brutalizing others with his famous powers. But Lord Vader has powers that are not as well-known, not as famous, but they are just as destructive. What follows is a list of his more insidious abilities, each more terrible than the last!
15 FORM V STYLE
As Anakin Skywalker trained in the art of lightsaber combat, he was taught a wide array of techniques to master. Anakin leaned toward using the Form V variant styles because it allowed him to use more aggressive tactics in battle. The styles had a foundation in strength, which was perfect for Anakin, as he often brought his arrogance into battle. His confrontational personality also bolstered his need to rely on this form.
This did not change when Anakin switched over to the dark side and became Darth Vader. He used the style to obliterate his opponents while simultaneously, his rage consumed him. While he mastered the Form V styles in his training, he grew more brutal in his use of it. It is a form of combat used only by those who wish to destroy their enemies completely, which is the very definition of Darth Vader.
14 FORCE LIGHTNING
Force Lightning is a well-known attack used by those who practice the dark side of the Force. In fact, if a practitioner of the Force is seen utilizing this technique, their affiliation towards the dark side is almost certain. Figures like Darth Sidious and Count Dooku overpowered their opponents with this maneuver every chance they had.
Darth Vader is someone who can also use Force Lightning, though he rarely ever does because half of his body functions on electrical circuits and other mechanical means. Its use could put his suit out of commission and kill him. However, when he was near the Force-enhancing Kaiburr Crystals during a battle with his son, Luke Skywalker, he used a maneuver called "kinetite," or “Force energized lightning." In so doing, he proved capable, if cautious, of the move.
13 FORCE FLIGHT
Viewers have witnessed Jedi and Sith alike use the Force to enhance their ability to move around. Their ability to jump long distances in the films can only be accomplished by using the Force. It is a technique most may consider a little absurd, but enhanced maneuverability is always a welcome asset in the field of battle, especially with similarly-powered foes!
In the case of Darth Vader, it is a feat that he can accomplish tenfold. Vader was long considered the Chosen One by a galactic prophecy because of how powerful his use of the Force can be. This, coupled with his ability to telekinetically lift others with the Force, can only mean that if he targeted himself, then he would be able to levitate against gravity and achieve flight. It is largely speculated that he used this move in his classic battle against Luke in the bowels of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.
12 BEAST CONTROL
Another characteristic often forgotten in the Star Wars Universe is the Force’s ability to control animals. For whatever reason, it isn’t one of the more popular techniques, but it has saved the lives of some notable heroes and villains in the Saga. Many don’t know it, but one of the most prominent characters of the series has used this ability to escape a fatal situation.
Before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, he displayed this ability known as beast control or animal bond during the Battle of Geonosis. He ended up riding a reek out of the arena he was trapped in and survived the breakout thanks to the ability. With this knowledge, it can only be assumed that as Darth Vader, he could still utilize this technique if it ever became necessary.
11 FORCE SPEED
This is an ability that most Jedi and Sith use when they are in the heat of a lightsaber duel. One can only imagine the advantages of speed when it comes to a battle between life and death. It is a matter of survival and skill that most must learn to master as they mature in their roles as practitioners of the Force.
Darth Vader is no exception to this rule. He has on many occasions used the Force to enhance his speed to gain an edge on many of his opponents. This is not a new behavior for the Sith Lord as he has relied on this technique since he was a child. It compliments his use of the aggressive strength-based Form V variants that he loves to use to kill those who fight him.
10 EXTREME PAIN RESISTANCE
Darth Vader uses the Force for many applications that have either enhanced his natural abilities as well as bolstered his emotional pain when he embraced the dark side. However, the Force isn’t the only tool that grants Vader his overall dominance against those who choose to fight him. His suit is another factor in his victories with his enemies.
The iconic black suit has a lot of practical applications beyond simply being armor. It houses the body of Anakin Skywalker and keeps him alive, of course, after the damage he sustained against his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi left him in permanent and excruciating pain. For this reason, the suit gives Vader doses of a synthetic neurotoxin named Kouhunin, which raises his pain tolerance beyond that of a normal Jedi or Sith. It gives him a slight advantage when damage is inflicted on him.
9 FORCE HEALING
Sometimes, the Force can seem like magic in the Star Wars Universe. This particular skill to use the Force for healing would of course be a boon for anyone who finds him or herself often locked in mortal combat. While this particular application of the Force is often associated more with the light side, and was completely off-limits to Sith, that is simply not true.
That's right, Darth Vader has the ability to heal himself using the Force. He does so to fix the damage done to his lungs in his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It takes a considerable amount of concentration from the Sith Lord to achieve this technique, of course, and healing only ever grants him a sliver of relief for an extremely limited time. Also, an alleviation of pain also quells the anger necessary to use the dark side for healing, so he does not like to use it often, even when he needs it most.
8 EXCEPTIONAL MECHANIC
As a young boy, Anakin was adept at repairing the most complicated pieces of machinery. His Force sensitivity also allowed the young Skywalker to gain a greater understanding of how mechanical technology worked. It was that natural gift that Anakin used to create the beloved -- and more importantly, extremely advanced android, C-3PO.
With this ability to fix mechanical things, Vader has undoubtedly used his prowess in his efforts to impose the Galactic Empire’s agenda. It also comes in handy as half of his body is now mechanical and is in constant use to keep the Sith Lord alive. Coupled with the majority of Anakin/Darth Vader’s time spent on spacecrafts, his technical knowledge is not only sound, but exceptional even among the Jedi or Sith's most elite engineering minds.
7 UNDERSTANDS BINARY
In addition to having an incredible understanding of advanced technology, the young Vader-in-the-making also had another ability. He could understand the electronic language known as binary in the Star Wars Universe. This allows Vader the ability to communicate with droids and others that use the low-density form of communication. This is a skill he learned as a boy working in the pit crews while he was growing up on Tatooine, where the young Anakin actually developed an ear for many foreign languages.
The ability to interface and communicate with droids, like R2D2, gave Vader insight into how they work. The same Force sensitivity that gives him an advantage on repairing mechanical things also gave him the natural ability to utilize this language for other applications. These applications are important for his next skill set.
6 AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEER
While Anakin Skywalker gave his life to the dark side and renounced his old name for the edgier Darth Vader, he still used the things he learned as a boy, Jedi, and later member of the Sith. When Vader was a boy, he built pod-racers and the droid C-3PO, which he built to help his mother. His skills as a mechanic in addition to his fluency in binary give Vader the perfect foundation in automotive engineering.
This is evident in the build of his own TIE-fighter, which he designed with custom specifications. He gave it larger wings, a bigger engine, and support struts larger than the average TIE-fighter. These specifications gave Vader the upper hand in combat because when the Rebels expected a regular TIE-fighter, they’d get a brutal surprise instead.
5 FORCE ABSORPTION
While Vader uses the Force to enhance his speed and strength in combat, he also uses the Force in other, more interesting ways. The Jedi use the word “Tutaminis” as a blanket term for energy absorption. It is considered a control ability taught to young Jedi Trainees who would first enter the Jedi Academy.
While it is a technique that is taught to young Jedi, it is a hard one to achieve to the point that concentrated energy would be dissipated. This is not a problem for Darth Vader. His command of the Force coupled with his anger and pain gave the Sith Lord more than enough power to use it against his enemies in combat. His Force-enhanced speed and strength along with Tutaminis are big reasons for his victories in battle.
4 FORCE CLOAKING
This technique is also known as Force camouflage, and is rarely used because it is so difficult to practice. It literally manipulates the sound and light around the practitioner so well that they seem completely invisible to the naked eye. This is another skill that was long thought to be acquired through the light side of the Force and with the teachings of the Jedi, but it can be achieved by its dark counterpart.
Darth Vader has used this capability of the Force as a young Jedi as well as when he was a Sith Lord. He also taught it to the Dark Apprentice, more popularly known as Starkiller. With this ability, Vader can easily slip past any of the Rebels whether they are Jedi or not.
3 FORCE BARRIER
Using the Force to create a see-through barrier that could block attacks or poisonous gases from reaching them seems like a given must for any Force user, but Vader doesn’t seem to use it as much as others. It is a skill he learned when he was still Anakin Skywalker. He created one during the Clone Wars, but had help from Yoda and Aayla Secura to protect Chancellor Palpatine and Padmé Amidala.
Vader has also used his Force barrier ability to protect himself from getting killed on occasion. After the bombing of Coruscant, he had to fight off Rebel forces in order to escape and continue his work for the dark side. During his escape, he used a partially visible Force barrier to keep the Rebel forces from overwhelming him.
2 FORCE SENSE
There is a feeling in the Force that those who can interpret a “disturbance” or other sense can help the Jedi or Sith anticipate what might happen in the future.As you might expect, its application is indispensable during a Galactic Civil War, when covert operations are necessary. But it can also be used as a form of defense!
When you’re one of the most feared Sith Lords in the Galaxy, you become a major target for the Rebel forces trying to overthrow you. This gives Vader an added advantage during combat as he can anticipate shots from blasters even while he is fighting directly with someone else. He has also used this technique while in his pod-racer as a child and his TIE-fighter later. He senses when his ship is going to be hit and maneuvers it out of the way.
1 FORCE VISIONS
The Force is a living energy that embodies much of the world around it. It is why it has so many applications that bend logic by enhancing someone’s abilities or conjuring things like shields into existence. Out of all the things Darth Vader can do with the Force, this can be another that verges on the realm of fantasy rather than science fiction.
While his Force sense allows him to anticipate attacks as well as give him the upper hand during pod-races as a child, this ability grants him visions of the people he loves during times of great stress or danger. He predicted the deaths of his mother and future wife with this ability well before they met their ends, although ironically, it directly led to their deaths at his hands.