For all his intimidation factor, it's easy to forget that Darth Vader is actually an amputee and burn victim. Yes, within his scary black armor is what's left of good ol' Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight. But like Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, "He's more machine now than man." So as a hulking cyborg, you'd think Darth Vader would be a perfect machine. Every system and artificial limb would make him even more powerful as a Sith Lord. You would be wrong though. Darth Vader's cyborg body is actually terrible when it comes down to it.
If anything, his artificial anatomy makes his life more miserable. We can't help but wonder if the Emperor deliberately put his apprentice into a crummy life-support suit just to be a jerk. We could see that from Palpatine. Here's how screwed up Vader's body is.
These are 15 Things About Darth Vader's Anatomy That Make No Sense.
15 He Can't Breath On His Own
Vader's ominous breathing is an iconic part of the character. Given the helmet, people might have assumed it was just his space suit. But no, Vader's suit is basically an iron lung that breathes for him. Anakin's lungs suffered severe burns on Mustafar and he can no longer breathe on his own. That's why he can only take his suit off in special circumstances.
14 He Can't Eat Solid Food
Because he can't really take the helmet off, Darth Vader can no longer eat solid food. He can only subsist off of liquid nutrients from a feeding tube in his suit. These nutrients, called Vitapaste, need to regularly replaced. It apparently tastes terrible. This is really a shame for Anakin because he still has his teeth and tongue. Physically, he can still eat normally.
13 His Voice Can Only Whisper
We're used to the deep bass of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader's speaking voice. Turns out though, in-universe at least, that's all his helmet's doing. Vader's actual voice can barely whisper because of damage to his vocal cords. His helmet essentially has a built-in megaphone so people can hear him. Doesn't explain why he sounds like Mufasa, though.
12 He Only Sees In Infrared
There's a reason Vader asks to see Luke "with his own eyes" in Return of the Jedi. The lenses of his helmet only display things in infrared. Yes, Darth Vader only sees the world through red filters. Sources vary as to why. Some say the lenses cut down on excess light to protect Vader's ruined vision.
11 His Feet Are Almost Too Heavy To Move
Vader took some getting used to his new body. One of the biggest obstacles was just walking. The medical droids made his new legs out of a material so heavy, he could barely lift them up. He had to resort to moving them with the Force at first. Eventually, Vader did adjust to the weight. To make matters worse, his boots are too small for his feet.
10 He Can't Lift His Arms Over His Head
Given that there's a lot of sensitive medical technology inside him, Vader would want to be well-armored. But his shoulders and pecs might be too well-armored. The black tabard, those shoulder pads under his cape, are so heavy that Vader can barely lift his arms up. While it protects him from blaster fire, this did force Vader to adapt his lightsaber technique to compensate.
9 His Suit Is Vulnerable To Force Lightning
Now here's where the Emperor has Vader put on a leash. Because of all the sensitive electronics in his suit, the Sith Lord can't use Force Lightning. If he did, he'd short out all the systems that keep him alive. But his suit has no protection from outside Force Lightning either. And who can use Force Lightning? The Emperor. Palatine, you jerk.
8 He Can't Move His Limbs Without A Computer
Getting all his limbs chopped off was bad enough for Anakin. But as Vader, he can't even move the artificial replacements on his own. His burns screwed up most of his nervous system, so now he needs a special computer in his helmet to send brain signals to his artificial limbs for him. That's what those hooks in the back of his skull are for.
7 The Emperor Built His Suit Cheap
As second in command of the Empire, Darth Vader should have gotten top of the line tech for his suit. But Emperor Palpatine, the jerk, decided not to give his apprentice that. Instead, Vader's suit is made out of cheap, outdated technology his medical droids were given to work with. Palatine justified it as budget restraints, but it was just to keep Vader in line.
6 His Skin Constantly Itches
The worst feeling in the world is having an itch you can't scratch. Darth Vader has that feeling all the time. During his surgery, the droids grafted synthetic skin over his scars. Once encased in his suit, this artificial skin began to itch. Vader's own ruined body doesn't help, as he often needs to be scrubbed clean of necrotic tissue. No wonder he's so grumpy.
5 His Eyebrows Are The Only Hair He Still Grows
At least he used to. In the original version of Return of the Jedi, when Luke Skywalker unmasks his father, we can clearly see Darth Vader's two bushy black eyebrows. They're notable as the only hair on his pale, scarred head. But for the DVD, George Lucas digitally removed Vader's eyebrows. His explanation was that all of Vader's follicles were burned off and never regrew.
4 He Wears Hearing Aids
Though wears might be the wrong word. See, Anakin's ears were permanently damaged by the fire on Mustafar, so the medical droids built hearing aids into his skull. Much like the rest of his suit, this was done on the cheap. The droids re-purposed an old comlink for parts. They did a bad job too, because Vader had no volume control.
3 He Can't Sleep
Even within his special meditation chamber, sleep eludes Darth Vader. His mechanical breathing never stops, and his hearing aids pick up every little sound around him. If the sounds weren't enough, his artificial limbs strain on his body when he tries to relax. Vader is plagued by nightmares in those rare moments. He can only rest when he meditates, losing himself in the Dark Side.
2 That Box On His Chest Turns Everything Off
Many have wondered what exactly those buttons on Vader's chest do. Well, what you'd expect, they control his suit's various functions. But for a guy who's always heading into battle, having your life support controls on your chest seems like a design flaw. Seriously, one button on that thing can turn off Vader's whole suit. At least put a cover on it!
1 He's Only Comfortable Outside The Suit
Darth Vader's suit, despite keeping him alive, is very uncomfortable. The Dark Lord relishes any opportunity to take it off. There are very few places he can though. There are his special meditation chambers. They're pressurized to let him take his helmet off. The other is his castle on Mustafar, where Vader bathes in a tank of healing Bacta gel. Those are the only times he's not miserable.