3. Darth Vader
When Did They Die: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Who Were They: Former Jedi Knight, Sith Lord, Chosen One
How Did They Die: Electrified by the Emperor’s Force-lightning as he attempted to save his son, Luke.
After all that we see Darth Vader do, after each person we see him kill, maim or betray, it is still somehow comforting to know that even he is capable of redemption.
Looking a bit deeper into the circumstances of Vader’s rise and ultimate death, it’s easy to see where it all went wrong and where it all eventually went right.
Palpatine’s final and most successful trick to pull Anakin over into the Dark Side was to convince him that immortality was possible, that he could spare Padme death in childbirth and they could raise their children together. It was in pulling on those bonds of love between Anakin and Padme that Palpatine won his powerful new disciple, and it was in ignoring it that he eventually lost everything.
By indirectly making Vader choose between his loyalty to the Empire and his own son’s well-being, Palpatine overplayed his hand. Vader became Vader to protect those he loved, however misguided that protection might have been. What did Palpatine think would happen when he threatened to kill Vader’s only son?
And so Vader killed the Emperor to protect his son, and in so doing sacrificed his own life back to the Force.
Next: 2. Obi-Wan Kenobi