Star Wars: Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker’s top 15 moments

13 of 16

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

4. Vader reveals his connection to Luke

No list of Darth Vader’s greatest moments would be complete without a shocking confrontation with Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back.

Not only one of the greatest moments in the Star Wars saga, the revelation that Vader is Luke’s father is one of the greatest moments in modern film history. The reason sequence is so effective is because it’s shocking, but fair. It’s shocking because, like Luke, the audience believes that Darth Vader murdered his father Anakin Skywalker.

That means not only is his father, not the heroic figure he was led to believe but is, in fact, the greatest menace in the galaxy. It also means that Luke’s mentor Obi-Wan lied to him about his origins.

However, the truth is Luke’s parentage doesn’t come out of anywhere. Earlier in the film, Luke confronts a vision of Vader while training on Dagobah. When venturing into the dark side cave, Luke duels with a phantom representing Vader.

Luke wins but sees his own face underneath Vader’s helmet. In the moment, Luke’s take away is that if he gives into the dark side, he could end up just like the Sith Lord. But as it turns out, the real message was that Luke and Vader were more connected than the young warrior could imagine.

And as much is the Cloud City showdown is a seminal moment for Luke, it’s just as pivotal for Vader. In his own twisted way, Vader is genuinely trying to reach out to another person, likely for the first time in decades. That his attempted outreach involves a regicidal plot and extreme brutality is very telling about Vader’s character.