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Who is Darth Vader?
Darth Vader is a character in the Star Wars franchise and perhaps one of the most iconic villains in the movie. In the original trilogy (episodes 4-6), he was the main villain and a mysterious figure with dark secrets. In the prequels (episodes 1-3), he is known as Anakin Skywalker and is also the protagonist, but not always the villain. The first six films show his rise and fall. In fact, George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars story and franchise, called the films "The Tragedy of Darth Vader."
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What is Darth Vader's story?
Anakin Skywalker was originally a slave on Tatooine. He was born with the ability to use the Force and manipulate mechanical principles and systems. More importantly, he is predicted to bring balance to the Force. The evil Sis Palpatine lured him into the bondage of the dark side of the Force, and Anakin Skywalker became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Vader had a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Mustafar, and the volcanic landscape was a fitting backdrop for the anger and betrayal the characters felt. Kenobi severely injured Vader and left him dead, but Vader was saved and turned into a robot. Vader rose to the role of chief enforcer of the Galactic Empire, personally serving the Emperor's own evil plans.
Vader is also the secret husband of Padme Amidala and the father of twins Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, who kept him secret from their infancy. As such, Vader is also the maternal grandfather of Kylo Ren, the son of Leia and Han Solo.
In the end, Vader rescued his son, Luke Skywalker, and threw Emperor Palpatine to his death, just before Vader himself succumbed to his injuries.
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Which movies does Darth Vader appear in?
Vader has several film credits, including six major Star Wars films (Episodes 1-6) and Rogue One. He was mentioned in "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi," and in "The Rise of Skywalker," his voice can be heard by both Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader's characters. He is the main character in the Clone Wars and has appeared in other TV series, as well as in some video games, novels, comic books and other media.
While James Earl Jones is the best-known actor to play the character (an iconic voice), he's not the only one who brings it to life. David Prowse is the actor in the big black suit in the original trilogy. Sebastian Shaw played him in Return of the Jedi, maskless, and as Anakin's Force ghost in the original version of the film. Jack Lloyd played a young Anakin in the first episode, and Hayden Christensen played a young Anakin in the next two film trilogy. In the 2004 re-release of Return of the Jedi, Sebastian Shaw's portrayal of the Ghost of the Force was replaced by Hayden Christianson, who is now Anakin's well-known face.
Darth Vader uses a red lightsaber. Learn more about what lightsaber colors mean here.