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Darth Vader's Best One Liners Ranked Worst To Best

When "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" was released back in 1977, the character Darth Vader redefined the idea of a menacing villain — largely, by mixing an imposing look with few words. Now, over 40 years later, we know much more about the Sith Lord, but he has no less maintained his status as an iconic character with a chilling presence that commands a room. Fans have gravitated towards the character in films, books, video games, and comics expanding on his epic fall and redemption. 

Given life by the darkly dulcet tones of James Earl Jones, one of the greatest voices in Hollywood history, Vader has uttered multiple franchise-defining, cinema-minting lines since his introduction. Now, with Hayden Christensen returning as a younger Vader for the Disney "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series, it feels like the appropriate time to stock of his words, ranked from the worst to best lines.

15. "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."

Vader's line from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" establishes him as a threat, right out of the gate. Decades after the original Star Wars established him as a threat that made audiences tremble, after seeing him as a cute kid and a whiny adolescent via the prequels, it was a crucial reminder that this was a character you do not want to cross.

While Vader only appears in two "Rogue One" scenes, they both stand out for significant reasons. His second scene was a showstopper, yielding the iconic image of Vader mowing down his opposition in a darkened hallway. That scene has also gone down as one of three of the most amazing fights in "Star Wars."

However, Vader didn't speak a word in that scene; his conversation with Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) has the man foolishly coming to Vader in hopes of maintaining his control over the Death Star project as his power slips away. When Vader feels that he's getting a tad too cocky, he uses his trademark Force choke and says, "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director" before releasing him and walking away with the implied threat hanging in the space between them. 

14. "You underestimate my power!"

The 2005 prequel "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith" depicted the rise of Vader, giving audiences the story of how a fallen Anakin Skywalker ends up in that ominous, iconic black suit. In the scene where he delivers this line, Anakin has been irrevocably seduced by the dark side of the Force, leading to a long-awaited duel between him and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor). Vader believes himself to have eclipsed the powers of Obi-Wan, once his mentor and friend.

While Darth Vader does grow to become one of the most powerful Force-wielders in the "Star Wars" franchise, his youth and unquenchable desire to prove himself led to his downfall. Blinded by his rage, he can't see the duel clearly. Instead of heeding Obi-Wan's warnings, he instead chooses to taunt him with "You underestimate my power!" 

The truth is, it's Vader who is underestimating the formidable power of Obi-Wan. In some ways, this is one of the last lines ever spoken by Anakin Skywalker, as  he will soon become more machine than man.

13. "Apology accepted, Captain Needa."

At his core, Vader is a character consumed by hate, loneliness, and regret. However, this line shows that he can have fun every now and again. Even if his snark is aimed at the expense of a man whose life he has just taken — which, honestly, doesn't mean much to Vader.

In "The Empire Strikes Back," Captain Needa fails in his mission to track down the Millennium Falcon. Fearing for his life, Needa tells his crew that he will take full responsibility and beg "Lord Vader" for his forgiveness. Much like President Truman, Needa is determined to declare that the buck stops here; Truman, however, never found himself opposite a heavy-breathing man in black who could Force choke him.

As Needa walks away, audiences can tell by the crew's faces that they know he's a dead man walking. Vader does indeed forgive the Captain – after taking his life. Once the man is dead, Vader cheekily says "Apology accepted, Captain Needa" and walks over his dead body as though it is business as usual. Guess this is about as close to making a joke as Vader gets.

12. "I must obey my master."

Up until this point in the original trilogy, Vader had only been seen as a villain. But with this pivotal "Return of the Jedi" line, he reveals himself as a man hungering for redemption — if unwilling to reach for it.

After Luke allows himself to be taken to the Emperor by Vader (believing there's still good in his father), Vader confides in his son with this line, belying a hint of humanity behind the mask. For the first time, it seems as though Vader is trapped by his circumstances. With this one line, we can see the internal struggle between the light and dark side, proving that Luke might be able to reach him after all. 

This line also highlights the power of the Emperor, a character that hadn't been given much screen time prior to this scene. The fact that a menacing character like Vader fears him tells audiences that the Emperor is not one to be trifled with. And with Luke being brought before him shortly after this quote, we know that he's in serious danger.

11. "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."

True fact: when "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" was released in 1977, it was simply called "Star Wars." While the Emperor was mentioned, he was nothing more than just a faceless name. The true villain of the movie was Darth Vader, with a dash of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing).

Six years later in "Return of The Jedi," audiences saw Vader arrive to check on the status of the new Death Star. Greeted by Commander Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington), Vader informs him about the dissatisfaction of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). When Jerjerrod assures Vader that everything is on track, Vader replies by saying, "I hope so for your sake, Commander. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." 

After watching Vader kill people for any minor inconvenience, this line was designed to send a chill not only down the spine of Jerjerrod, but the audience's as well. It sets the stage to showcase the Emperor as a formidable foe, and lets audiences know that there is another character out there far worse than Vader. 

10. "You would have made an excellent Inquisitor."

Released in 2019, "Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order" was a hit video game that took place during the 20-year gap between "Episode III" and "Episode IV." During this time, the Empire is in control of the galaxy and has been hunting the Jedi to the brink of extinction.

In the game, Padawan Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan) was able to escape Order 66, a protocol that programmed the clones to betray and kill their Jedi generals and commanders. Now five years later, Cal is living in hiding but is discovered by Imperial Inquisitors, a group of Jedi corrupted by the dark side. They are trained to work for the Empire in order to hunt down any remaining Jedi survivors. Throughout his journey, Cal partners with former Jedi Master Cere Junda (Debra Wilson) who closed herself off from the Force due to her anger. Once Vader appears at the end of the game and fights Cal, she comes to try and save him, making Vader say to her, "Such hatred. You would have made an excellent Inquisitor." This line details why she cut herself off from the Force, as she's afraid of what she might become. It also outlines how Vader was able to corrupt other Jedi to become Inquisitors, using their anger and hatred to turn them from the light.

In early 2022, Electronic Arts and Lucasfilm Games announced a "Fallen Order" sequel game is in the works; with any luck, we'll see more stories about these characters. 

9. "To the letter."

"Age of Rebellion — Darth Vader 1" is the ninth and final one-shot in the canon comic series "Star Wars: Age of Rebellion." It was written by Greg Pak and published in 2019 by Marvel Comics. The story sees Emperor Palpatine command Darth Vader to obey the low-ranking Imperial officer Governor Ahr's commands to the letter.

The comic explains that most of the Imperial officers don't see Vader as being an important presence, as this story takes place shortly after the events of "Episode III." Once Vader is under Governor Ahr's command, he hopes to get Vader killed during their mission in order to be done with him. Throughout the story, readers see how Vader reflects on his orders from the Emperor, remembering his time being forced to adhere to authority when he was younger. 

While Vader doesn't dare go against the Emperor's orders, he does question why he must prove himself. He finds a loophole by manipulating Governor Ahr which results in getting the officer killed, and gaining the fear and respect from the Imperial officers. The Emperor is pleased with Vader's actions as he was able to follow orders "to the letter." The entire command was a test to get Vader's reckless behavior to suit the Emperors' needs rather than to feed into Vader's hatred.

8. "Insignificant next to the power of the Force"

In "A New Hope," Darth Vader takes part in a galaxy far, far away briefing regarding the power of the Death Star. While everyone marvels at its glory, Vader is quick to remind everyone that "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force." This is an interesting line because most of the galaxy sees the Empire as a powerful force due to its technological advantages. Vader himself is being kept alive by the technology in his suit, yet that's nothing compared to the Force.

Vader knows that the power of the Empire comes from the Emperor himself, a powerful Force wielder. Vader believes that true power doesn't come from man-made technology. Instead, it's an energy created by all life that flows through the galaxy. This idea of the Force is similar to what Yoda says in "Empire Strikes Back": "It's energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."

Perhaps, Vader remembers a little something from his Jedi training after all.

7. "We meet again at last. The circle is now complete."

When Vader and Obi-Wan dueled in "A New Hope," audiences had not been made aware of the intense history between them. This line hinted at a lengthier, more substantial dynamic than merely two warriors on opposite ends of lightsabers. 

When Vader says to Obi-Wan "We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master" it holds more weight today, because audiences have spent the past several decades learning more and more about the Vader/Obi-Wan backstory. Looking back on this scene today with a more modern eye, perhaps this is the first time the two have seen each other since their duel on Mustafar when Vader screamed "I hate you" after Obi-Wan cut off his legs. 

It seems as though Vader has been waiting for this moment for a long time, as Obi-Wan is apparently the only person to have ever defeated him. He insists before the duel begins that he will win, almost as though he is making that promise to himself as he's still afraid that he's not strong enough. The long, somewhat chaotic history between these two iconic characters will only be fleshed out more in the upcoming "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series, as it's been revealed that Darth Vader will make an appearance in the show. Based on this quote, if the two do duel in the Disney+ series, it's likely that Vader will be bested by his old Master once more.

6. "You are beaten. It is useless to resist"

This line can be heard in "Empire Strikes Back" as Vader and Luke have their epic confrontation. Although more important lines are said over the course of the duel, this one holds special meaning now that the "Star Wars" franchise has been expanded on.

Throughout the duel with Luke, Vader spends his time taunting and playing with the boy, as he believes he can easily defeat the young Jedi. Slicing off his enemy's hand, he remarks: "You are beaten. It is useless to resist." 

Fans of the character Ahsoka Tano will recognize the term "You are beaten" as something she often says to the enemies she's fighting. Ahsoka was Anakin's Padawan,  first introduced in the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series. Recently, she was given the live-action treatment in the "Mandalorian," with Rosario Dawson stepping into the role. What makes this line from Vader so special (granted, retroactively) is that it's a small connection between him and his former Padawan. It's clear that she learned a lot from her old master, right down to his turns of phrase.

5. "All I am surrounded by is fear. And dead men."

Another entry from the comic "Star Wars: Vader Down 1," this line is something the Sith lord says after his ship has been shot down and he's surrounded by a group of rebel commanders mistakenly believing they've got Vader pinned down. When the commanders yell that they have him surrounded, Vader shows absolutely no fear, replying: "All I am surrounded by is fear. And dead men." 

It's impressive that Vader is so unconcerned by this group of soldiers who one could presume are highly-trained and ready to attack. But Vader has the skills to back up his big words — and, unfortunately for the commanders, he isn't bluffing.

4. "No, I am Your Father"

This quote is not only an iconic moment from Luke and Vader's duel in "Empire Strikes Back," not only one of the most iconic lines in the entire franchise, but also one of the most famously misquoted lines in cinematic history. Nevertheless, its weight in pop culture still holds years after the film's initial release – much like the character of Vader himself.

At the time of the film's release, audiences were floored by this reveal; keep in mind, this is decades before social media, set leaks and the phrase "spoiler-alert." The idea that the story's main hero Luke could be fathered by his arch-enemy was mind-blowing; since then, countless TV shows and movies have gone to the same well, none as effectively as Vader's admission. What's worse, with a 3-year gap between "Empire" and "Return of the Jedi," fans were forced to spend many long months wondering if Vader was telling the truth — and what was going to happen next.

3. "I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing"

While this line is executed in "A New Hope" almost for comedic effect, it holds a lot more weight than simply being a lark. In the scene, Vader feels as though the Imperial soldiers are being disrespectful to the Force after he tells them that nothing compares to its power. He then proceeds to Force choke a disbeliever for getting a little too mouthy, stopping only when Moff Tarkin calls him off.

What gives this line weight is that the entire "Star Wars" franchise is about faith. The mythical idea of the Force is heavily rooted in religious belief in an all-powerful entity. It's Tarkin himself that tells Vader he's one of the last to believe in the religion. When audiences first meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford), he's quick to tell Obi-Wan and Luke that he doesn't believe in a mystical energy that controls everything. The galaxy no longer has faith in the Force, and it's ironic that Vader finds that lack of faith disturbing — because it is in large part his actions that have caused this erosion in faith.

2. "Then You Will Die Braver Than Most"

In the "Star Wars Rebels" episodes entitled "Twilight of the Apprentice" (Season 2, Episodes 21 and 22), all the fan favorites are together during one climactic battle. The story brings together Maul (voiced by Sam Witwer), Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray), Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein), and Vader.

Acting as the finale for the show's second season, the story revolves around Maul using Ezra to unlock the secrets of a Sith temple, with each hoping to gain the answers that they seek from a Sith Holocron. Unfortunately for Ezra, once Maul gets the information he wants, he bails, but the temple awakens and catches the interest of Vader who comes for answers. Ezra holds his ground, telling Vader that he's not afraid of him, making Vader coolly respond, "Then you will die braver than most." He proceeds to cut Ezra's lightsaber in half and is about to make a killing blow before Ahsoka saves the day. Cold Vader, ice cold.

1. "Revenge is Not the Jedi Way"

In the "Star Wars Rebels" episode "Twilight of the Apprentice," Ahsoka rescues Ezra from Vader and they have a long-awaited chat, wherein she tells him that she suspected he was Anakin but can't believe what has become of her her old master. Vader tells her that Anakin Skywalker was weak and that he destroyed him. Sadly, she tells him that she will avenge his death, resulting in Vader saying "revenge is not the Jedi way."

This line hits home in many ways, as audiences can see the pain, disappointment, and disbelief in Ashoka's eyes as she faces off with her master. While the story of Darth Vader is a tragedy, there's something about seeing it reflected in the eyes of someone who loved Anakin that makes it unbearable. The line also serves as a way for Ahsoka to realize that Vader is indeed her master, as he's repeating a line that Anakin has said to Ahsoka before in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." While he may be consumed with hate and rage, Vader is still taking the time to teach his Padawan one final lesson.