As far as classic villains go, it's pretty hard to beat Darth Vader. He's got pretty much everything: the look, the deep voice, and the intimidating presence to let you know he's not a guy to be messed with. If someone did, they'd find themselves gasping for air on the other side of the room and wondering why they're choking. But the thing about being powerful like that is that Vader doesn't need to show it off all the time. His reputation is enough to keep all those Stormtroopers in line.
Still, Vader is extremely powerful and in ways you might not expect. While the Dark Lord's deal seems pretty straightforward at first: Sith abilities, lightsaber, being a six-foot-tall cyborg dude, Darth Vader's range of powers and skills is far wider than most are even aware of. Some of these are left over from his days as Anakin Skywalker, some only came about as a result of his transformation, but all of them make Vader the terrifying enforcer of the Empire's will that he's known to be.
While nobody's probably to going to underestimate him, Vader keeps some of these powers hidden from his enemies. They become all the more useful when he needs to catch an opponent by surprise or turn a battle in his favor. In that spirit, here are 25 Powers Darth Vader Has That Are Kept Secret.
25 Blocking Blaster Shots With His Hand
Force users deflecting Blaster shots with their lightsabers is nothing new. We've seen that plenty of times in the movies. Some Force users though, can block and deflect shots with their bare hands. Some Force users like Darth Vader. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo pulled his blaster on the Sith Lord. Vader just held up his hand and deflected the shots off his palm, sending them into the wall. Given how intimidating he is, Darth Vader just being able to "nope" anyone shooting him with his hand is just icing on the cake.
24 Dual Wielding
It's rare to see a Jedi or Sith use two lightsabers at the same time, despite how awesome that would look. This is probably because they need to keep a hand free to use the Force. But Darth Vader doesn't have that problem.
He is one of the few Jedi or Sith who've been trained to wield two lightsabers at once.
Anakin was somewhat practiced in this, as seen during his duel with Count Dooku in Episode 2, but he wouldn't be a master until he became Vader. This may be because his master Palpatine also dual-wielded lightsabers.
23 Beast Control
The Force, as we are told, connects all living beings together. Not just people, but plants and animals as well. It makes sense then that someone strong in the Force, like Anakin Skywalker, could use it to connect with beasts and get them on his side. Think of the arena scene from Attack of the Clones.
A creature called a Reek, a big alien bull, was trying to attack Anakin.
Using only the Force, Anakin not only calmed the Reek but was able to make it his mount for the ensuing battle. It was one of his rare moments of nonaggressive Force use.
22 Controlling His Lightsaber With The Force
Yeah, having a lightsaber is cool but what if you could control it with your mind? Well, Vader could. To an extent at least. Anakin actually trained to control his lightsaber using only the Force, even managing to turn off an opponent's before a battle once. As Vader though, he preferred to throw his lightsaber at a target and pull it back to his hand. Like Captain America's shield. This can best be seen in Return of the Jedi, where he uses this technique to knock down a catwalk Luke Skywalker was on. A pretty useful trick.
21 Force Cloak
One of Darth Vader's signature moves since Disney bought Star Wars is to suddenly appear behind people without them noticing his approach. Almost like he was Jason Voorhees or something. This is actually an ability called Force Cloak, where Vader can mask his presence with the Force and get near his opponents without them realizing. Think of the end of Rogue One, where Vader appeared in that dark hallway seemingly out of nowhere. It's an effectively terrifying way to make an entrance, with only the ignition of his lightsaber and the echo of his raspy breath. Brrr.
20 Force Lightning (Sort Of)
Many have wondered if Vader can use Force Lightning like his master Emperor Palpatine can. It makes sense, they're both Sith. The thing is Vader can use Force Lightning, it just wouldn't end well for him. Because he's a cyborg, using Force Lightning would short out all the electronics in Vader's suit that keep him, you know, alive. So obviously he hasn't tried it. He used to be able to use something called Kinetite, which was like a ball of Force energy that resembled lightning, without injury but this was in Legends continuity and is no longer canon.
19 Force Choke
If Vader has a signature move, it's the Force Choke. It's an iconic moment in Episode 4: A New Hope when he chokes the Imperial who dares question him with only a gesture of his hand. But so strong is Vader in the Force, he doesn't even need to make the gesture to choke people.
He doesn't even have to be in the same room as the person.
This is best seen in The Empire Strikes Back, when Vader disposes of the incompetent Admiral Ouzel with a Force Choke basically over the phone. Knowing this, it's no wonder Vader's underlings are wary of bringing him bad news.
18 He Can Withstand A Lot
Unsurprisingly for a guy who had all his limbs damaged, Darth Vader is no stranger to pain. He's turned this into a strength though, being able to withstand some heavy punishment.
Anakin Skywalker went through a lot before he turned into Vader.
And in the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic, he survived having his artificial limbs splintered apart and being thrown into a ravine by a rogue Jedi he was hunting. Like the old saying goes, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
17 Creating Forcefields
Both as a Jedi and a Sith, Vader has found new ways to utilize the Force. One technique he's made use of is create a barrier of energy around himself for protection, essentially a forcefield bubble. While this good against blaster fire, Vader has used it to protect himself and his allies from being crushed by rocks and even warded off flamethrowers. Of course, the Dark Lord of the Sith isn't exactly the type to play defense, so the Force Barrier isn't one of his more widely used powers.
16 He's A Great Pilot
Vader might be a warrior first, but he's always felt at home in a cockpit. Obi-Wan didn't call Anakin Skywalker, "The Best Star Pilot in the Galaxy" for nothing. This was easier to see before his transformation, when Anakin Skywalker was the first human to ever be a Podracer and when piloted a starfighter at age 9. His skill as a pilot did carry over though. Don't forget that Vader got in a Tie Fighter to deal with the Rebel attack on the Death Star himself, or that he was able to reorient himself after being blown away by Han Solo.
15 He's A Great Mechanic
Anakin Skywalker was something of a renaissance man as a kid. Among his many hobbies was tinkering with droids and machines. He did build C-3PO after all. This hobby continued even after he became Darth Vader. He's built multiple lightsabers, modified his own artificial limbs, and even designed his own custom Tie Fighter. As both a pilot and mechanic, Vader was able to overcome some of the flaws in the standard Tie Fighter to make his Tie Advanced a better all-around starfighter. Not that it helped him when Han Solo blindsided him.
14 He's A Great Strategist
It's hard to remember considering he holds no official rank in the Imperial military, but Darth Vader is considered a great tactician and general. His personal Stormtrooper Legion, the 501st, proudly call themselves Vader's Fist. He's also shown a talent for subterfuge despite his reputation for brute force, such as when he placed a beacon aboard the Millennium Falcon to discover the Rebel's hidden base. Or the snare he set in The Empire Strikes Back, arriving at Cloud City before Han & Leia to hold them hostage and draw out Luke Skywalker. There's always more going on under that helmet than it seems.
13 Master Of Lightsaber Duelling
No self-respecting Sith would call themselves one without knowing how to use a lightsaber. Vader is no exception. As a Jedi, Anakin Skywalker showed a preference for his lightsaber over his Force abilities.
He became a master of Form V Lightsaber combat, which emphasized an aggressive, forward pushing style.
Anakin was skilled enough with a lightsaber that even his transformation into Vader couldn't hinder him. He re-learned how to wield one and adapted his style to better fit his new cyborg body's limitations. That's just how good Anakin was.
12 Precognitive Dreams & Visions
Okay, this isn't so much a power as it is an affliction because Anakin/Vader has very little control over his precognition. Due to his strong connection to the Force, Anakin would sometimes get strange dreams and visions foretelling future events.
In fact, they would ultimately cause his turn to the Dark Side.
In Episode 3, Palpatine would manipulate the fears and worries a vision of Padme's death caused Anakin to convince the young Jedi to join him. On another occasion, on the strange Force planet Mortis, Anakin even saw his own future as Darth Vader.
Yes, all Jedi and Sith have some telekinesis, but Anakin/Vader's ability with it makes everyone else pale in comparison. Think of the standard Force use. Someone holds out their hand to push something or lift it up.
They need the gesture. Vader doesn't need the gesture.
Because of his strong connection with the Force, he can lift, push, and pull things by thought alone. This gives Vader an advantage in combat because it means he can hold onto his lightsaber and throw things at his opponent at the same time. We can see this in his duel with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.
10 Force Speed
A common way the Jedi use the Force is to enhance their own physical abilities. It's only a brief power boost, but can give a Jedi the extra push they need. Force Speed is one such application, where a Jedi channels the Force to move faster. It was mostly used on battlefields and made opponents seem to move in slow motion. We know Vader used this when he was Anakin Skywalker, again in combat, but whether he still could after his transformation is unclear. His mechanical body may not have been able to handle the strain.
9 Force Leap
With all the bottomless pits Star Wars seems to have, it's good that some people can jump decently. The Force Leap is a Jedi technique to help make jumps easier. Basically, the Jedi uses the Force to give their leap a boost, sending them higher, and then they pull themselves toward the ground for a landing. Anakin Skywalker made great use of this during the Clone Wars, traversing hazardous terrain. He's yet to do it as Vader, but that might be a good thing. Having Darth Vader come down on your head, cape aflutter like Batman, sounds terrifying.
8 Channeling His Rage
If you were Darth Vader, it's understandable that you'd be angry. Your boss is a jerk, your kids aren't your biggest fan, and your body is struggling. So it's a good thing you can channel that rage into extra strength. A Sith technique, Vader can use his anger to tap into the Dark Side and increase his physical power and force. The angrier he is, the stronger he becomes. Attacks made while doing this are far more destructive, but it's a limited boost. If used too long, Vader will become exhausted and vulnerable. Still, best not make him mad.
7 Force Sense
Because of his strong connection to the Force, even basic Jedi techniques are amped up for Anakin/Vader. Something as simple as reaching out through the Force, you know "sensing a disturbance", are stronger for him. Like in Attack of the Clones, Anakin was able to sense the presence of two small insects with wicked intent from another room. Doing so saved his future wife Padme's life. Or when he sensed Obi-Wan on the Death Star, a space station filled with millions of people, moments after his old master's arrival. If he's paying attention, Vader will see you coming.
6 Force Crush
After his transformation, Vader made crushing things with the Force a signature move of his.
But Vader has used this power in more restrained yet nasty ways.
In the canon novel Tarkin, the Sith Lord uses Force Crush to interrogate prisoners. He used the Force to squeeze their organs. So if you're in his way, Vader won't hesitate to turn you into an empty soda can.
5 Force Destruction
It's just as metal as the name makes it sound. Force Destruction is when a Force User channels the Dark Side, draws a ton of destructive energy around themselves, and then sends it out in a shockwave obliterating everything in their path. Like I said, metal. Even if the wave of energy doesn't hit you, you'll still get knocked back into the nearest wall. Now to be fair, Vader only used Force Destruction in the now non-canon video game The Force Unleashed, but it was too cool not to include on this list.
The Force has a weird effect on people's brains, just think of the Jedi mind trick, and Force users can take this even further. They have the ability to probe each other's feelings and thoughts, reading their emotions.
But with a really strong connection, they can actually communicate telepathically.
A strong connection like say, between father and son. At the end of Episode 5, Vader reached out to his son Luke from across their two starships. They exchanged only a few words, but nevertheless, they were speaking through the Force. Sadly, Vader had no one else close enough to him to speak this way again.
3 Super Strength
Darth Vader might have lost all of his limbs, but it's hard to say his cybernetic replacements don't make up for them. His new robotic arms increased his physical strength to a ridiculous degree. Vader can hold up a full-grown man by the neck and crush his windpipe with ease, like he did with Captain Antilles in Episode 4. Or as seen with how he threw the Emperor down that bottomless pit in Episode 6, he has little difficulty lifting one up over his head either. Though he doesn't fall back on physicality often, Vader is no wimp when it comes to lifting.
2 He Can Survive In Space
Besides keeping him going, Darth Vader's suit has many other functions. Like being a space suit. Yes, Vader's famous armor can actually let him survive in the vacuum of space thanks to a small oxygen supply and magnets in his boots.
In fact, this is the reason Vader has a suit in the first place.
Though he was also supposed to have a helmet, Darth Vader didn't get his mask until concept artist Ralph McQuarrie read the script and realized he needed someway to breathe in space. George Lucas loved the look and built it into the character.
While not to the extent of someone like Deadpool or Wolverine, Darth Vader did have access to a limited healing ability. It was a Force technique that allowed users to speed up the body's natural healing by tapping into the Force. Mostly used by Jedi or other Light Side users, it could cure almost any wound if utilized correctly. As a Sith though, Vader can only use it in a very limited fashion. For him, it's mostly an Advil.