What Does Darth Vader Look Like Under the Mask?

vader half mask

Since he was introduced in ‘Star Wars Episode IV; A New Hope,’ Darth Vader has been the most iconic villain in the entire Star Wars storyline. Of course, Vader is so iconic because he has a sense of mystery surrounding him due to that scary and emotionless mask that hides his face. This gives him a very robotic vibe for a man that strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies. So, what did Darth Vader look like under his mask?

Darth Vader had a very bare and somewhat damaged face under his mask. This was because the fires of Mustafar burned his entire body after he lost his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Duel on Mustafar. Wearing his mask and suit allowed him to stay alive despite his injuries after getting burned. 

If there’s something that we always knew about Darth Vader, it’s the fact that he endured a tragic life that affected him mentally, emotionally, and physically. Of course, the physical aspect was something that he eventually got over, even though he became more machine than man. But this was the very thing that turned him into a mysterious robot-like creature that enforced the will of the Empire. That said, let’s look at what Darth Vader looks like under the mask.

Is Darth Vader a robot?

Introduced in the first Star Wars movie, Darth Vader quickly rose through the notoriety ladder as one of the greatest fictional villains ever. Of course, the one thing that people noticed about him then was that he was clad in all-black armor and wearing a mask that completely covered his face. In fact, he did have a robotic aura around him because he walked and talked like a robot but had so much raw emotion behind his words.

empire strikes back vader

So, in that regard, there was a belief that Vader was a robot because he seemed like a machine with human emotions. But the truth is that he was never a robot. Vader was always human. That’s because we know that he was born Anakin Skywalker, a human male Jedi Knight who fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader.

Of course, when he was known as Darth Vader, he started looking more robotic with his space-suit-like armor, heavy breathing, and mysterious mask. But the man behind the mask was always human, as he was even able to reproduce during his time as a Jedi Knight. And the fact that he had human sons and daughters bolstered the fact that he was always human.

It’s just that certain things that happened to him in the past forced him to wear a life-support suit and a mask that all worked to keep him alive. And his other robotic parts were also there for a good reason, as most of his robotic parts replaced his limbs.

Vader is a burnt mess

Of course, while we know that Darth Vader wasn’t a robot and was actually human, one of the things that you may be wondering is what he looks like under his mask. And there’s a good reason why he doesn’t like removing his mask.

In ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,’ Darth Vader returned to the light side due to the efforts of Luke Skywalker. Vader’s fatherly side kicked in when Emperor Palpatine blasted Luke with Force Lighting. Not willing to see his son, the only thing he had left of Padmé (not counting Leia), dying in front of him, Vader became Anakin once more and decided to dump Palpatine into the shaft of the Death Star II.


Darth Vader vs. Darth Revan: Which Sith Would Win in a Fight?

The act of saving Luke also damaged Darth Vader’s suit, keeping him alive. He told Luke as he was lying down dying that he wanted to see him with his own two eyes, and that was why he made his son remove his helmet, even though Luke was aware that doing so would kill Vader.

Darth Vader was shown as a man with a barren and damaged face that had clearly gone through something traumatic in the past. He looked like an old man who belied his actual age of 45 years old due to the damage sustained by his body and his face. And while the real-world technology at that time made it difficult to make Anakin’s face look more damaged than it should have been, we saw more of it in different Star Wars shows.

vader no mask

In ‘Star Wars: Rebels,’ part of Anakin’s damaged face was shown after a portion of his mask was damaged in his duel with Ahsoka Tano. Then, in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ we saw the other part of Anakin’s mask getting damaged by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who finally looked into the eye of his former Padawan for the first time in ten years. In that scene, it was clear that Anakin’s face was injured and badly burned.

cracked mask rebels

So, while the face that we saw in ‘Return of the Jedi,’ didn’t have the same burn scars that we saw in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ it was clear that Vader’s face under the mask was always meant to be ugly and damaged due to the burns that he suffered in the past.

Why does Darth Vader look burnt?

Of course, we know that Vader’s face is burnt. But there’s a very good reason why his face is like that. And it goes all the way back to what happened between him and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Duel on Mustafar.

On 19 BBY, the Empire had successfully risen from the victorious Republic after the end of the Clone Wars. Palpatine had declared himself the emperor of the galaxy and initiated Order 66 to destroy the Jedi Order, which he proclaimed was a treacherous group that attempted to kill him to consolidate power unto the Jedi. And Anakin was a traitor to the Jedi because he chose to side with Palpatine and the Sith after falling to the dark side.

Anakin dueled with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, a volcanic planet that supposedly served as the last stronghold for the remaining leaders of the Separatists. Kenobi was on defense during the duel the entire time due to how powerful Anakin was. But Anakin, although skilled and powerful, was never able to break Kenobi’s defense because of the fact that Obi-Wan knew Anakin more than anyone ever did and was a master of the defensive form called Form III: Soresu.


Darth Malgus vs. Darth Vader: Who Would Win?

Obi-Wan finally got the advantage he needed when he got to the high ground, which he used to goad Anakin into making a fatal mistake. Having the high ground in a duel allowed a swordsman to have a tactical advantage, allowing him to better anticipate his opponent’s next move. And because Kenobi was a master of counterattacks, he understood that having the high ground basically gave him a chance at counterattacking anything that Anakin was capable of.

Thinking that he was powerful enough to cancel out Kenobi’s advantage, Anakin decided to jump over his old master, who was quick enough to react by slicing all of Anakin’s limbs off with a quick move. This caused Anakin’s body to roll close to the molten river of Mustafar while he and Obi-Wan were expressing their emotions. Anakin’s clothes got caught in the fires of the molten river as his entire body burned.

Obi-Wan left Mustafar thinking that the fires were enough to kill Anakin. However, Anakin’s rage kept him alive long enough for Emperor Palpatine to feel he was in danger. This allowed the emperor to go to Mustafar to save his new apprentice, who he saw was nothing more than a burnt corpse.

palpatine and burnt anakin

While Palpatine was disappointed because he could no longer take over Anakin’s damaged body, he decided to save him because he could still use him for his own benefit. Darth Vader eventually transformed into a cyborg-like monster that had robotic limbs and was covered in an all-black suit that kept him alive through the life-support system built inside the suit.

Because Darth Vader was still alive but an entity of pure anger and rage, he was the perfect pawn for Palpatine to use during his reign as the galaxy emperor. And Vader embraced his new appearance because he knew that this was the new life and persona he had to live after everything that happened to him upon his fall to the dark side.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments