Darth Vader is fearsome. Darth Vader is tragic. But also? Darth Vader is the sassiest Sith lord around. From the Star Wars movies to the current comic, Vader is capable of pulling out fantastic insults and comebacks, as easily as his lightsaber. Here are some of the our favorite put-downs from the Dark Lord himself.
When: Darth Vader Annual #1
To Who: A crowd of gala attendees
This delightful comeback comes from Vader’s visit to the mining planet of Shu-Torun, a world with a very strict, courtly culture. One of the world’s Baron’s, Rubix, demands that as a guest of Shu-Torun’s royal family Vader must dance with his daughter—and is stupid enough to keep insisting. That is, until Vader flings him into the air with the Force, drops him, and then turns to the stunned court to deliver the above retort.
Amazingly, four months later in this week’s Darth Vader #19, Vader offers a follow-up burn to Rubix, now the (defeated) head of a rebellion against the Empire on Shu-Torun:
Vader never forgets the chance to burn someone.
When: The Empire Strikes Back
To Who: General Veers, in reference to Admiral Ozzel
Sometimes a good burn doesn’t have to be all that imaginative. Or all that subtle. But the speed and simplicity with which Vader blasts Ozzel for coming out of lightspeed too soon above Hoth is hilarious. The best part? He’s not even doing it to Ozzel’s face. He’s actively insulting the man to another officer before he promptly turns around and chokes Ozzel to death for being an idiot.
When: Vader Down #1
To Who: Doctor Aphra, in reference to incoming Rebel pilots
The Vader Down miniseries’ opening issue was a fantastic reminder of just what a fearsome and powerful force of nature Darth Vader could be—and how impressively quippy he could be while doing so. While on the hunt for Luke Skywalker, Vader accidentally bumps into a wing of X-Wing fighters running a training detail, prompting his associate Doctor Aphra to tell him to get the hell out of dodge.
Vader refuses, and leaves a giant floating mess of scrap X-Wing pieces in his wake.
When: Empire Strikes Back
To Who: Lando Calrissian
This is both a great insult and a hilarious example of Vader’s “screw you, I do what I want” attitude. Not only has he barged his way onto Cloud City, forced Lando to set up a trap for his old friend Han (lest Cloud City fall under Imperial control), and then flipped the script entirely by freezing Han in Carbonite, but when Lando tries to snap back, he just gets put down in a single line. Damn.
When: Darth Vader #1
To Who: Jabba the Hutt
Marvel’s excellent Darth Vader comic (by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larocca, and Edgar Delgado) opens just after A New Hope, and with an angry Vader put in his place by the Emperor, who’s woefully unimpressed that his new Battlestation is in itty-bitty pieces. Turns out that when he’s angry, Darth Vader gets quippy.
Tracking down clues as to who was responsible for the Death Star’s destruction, Vader heads to Tatooine, and crosses paths with Jabba the Hutt seeking information. This is his opening statement in their negotiations, pretty much, after he cuts down two of Jabba’s guards.
When: Return of the Jedi
To Who: Moff Jerjerrod
So here’s how this goes—Vader turns up unannounced to the Death Star II, a pants-wetting enough situation for anyone. He then lambastes Moff Jerjerrod for falling behind on construction. Also pretty scary! Then he adds insult to injury by casually dropping the news that the Emperor himself is on his way, and he is pissed. When Jerjerrod manages to squeak out that his men will redouble their efforts, Vader then delivers this gutpunch.
When: Darth Vader Annual #1
To Who: Queen Trios of Shu-Torun
The royal family of Shu-Torun tries to trap Vader and kill him during his visit to the planet. Darth Vader being Darth Vader, this ends poorly for the royal family, with all of them dead save the youngest daughter, Trios, who Vader makes into the new Queen (and a puppet of the Empire) mere moments after her entire family is slaughtered. As he prepares to leave the planet, he says the above, dropping a box with a small lump of rock in it at Trios’ feet.
She makes the mistake of asking what the rock is.
When: Star Wars Rebels, “Siege of Lothal”
To Who: Ezra Bridger
Okay, so while the above line is great, it’s not really much of a burn on its own. What makes it amazing is that while Vader is saying it to Ezra, he’s casually slamming the poor kid into the leg of an Imperial walker, and then using the force to get Ezra to slit his own throat with his own lightsaber. Christ, Vader, kick him while he’s down why don’t you?
When: Darth Vader #16
To Who: The Emperor
I recently called this moment the ballsiest thing Darth Vader has ever done, and I stand by it—but it’s also a fantastic burn. Darth Vader murders one of the Emperor’s agents being trained to replace him during the events of Vader Down. Instead of keeping this a secret, Vader promptly returns to Coruscant and dumps said agent’s body onto the floor of Palpatine’s office.
At this point, Vader could easily have laid the blame at someone else’s feet, and just say he’d recovered the body. Instead, he owns the fact that he killed this dude. Let’s remember that he’s saying this to the most powerful man in the galaxy. Wow.
When: Star Wars Rebels, “Twilight of the Apprentice”
To Who: Ezra Bridger
Ezra may have gotten stronger in his abilities since he last fought Vader in “Siege of Lothal”, but Vader’s burn game is still strong than ever. This is what he says to Ezra when the young force user defiantly stands before Vader on Malachor and says that he’s “not afraid” to fight him.
Adult, kid, doesn’t matter. Vader will straight up burn you and then kill you.
When: Vader Down #1
To Who: A whole garrison of Rebel soldiers
I’ve already mentioned that Vader Down crossover featured a truly terrifying Vader—and while his insults to the pilots was pretty great, this final moment from the end of the first issue is fantastic. Vader is encircled by a whole garrison of Rebel troopers, after he’s effortlessly carved a path through starships and men on his hunt for Luke Skywalker. They believe they have strength in numbers, and a commander shouts out to the lone Sith lord that he’s surrounded.
With a snap-hiss of his lightsaber igniting—the first time he’s even felt the need to do so in the issue—Vader delivers this retort, ready to fight.
When: A New Hope
To Who: Admiral Motti
Ah, this old chestnut. It’s a classic burn, and for good reason—it’s the first time we get to really see Vader’s mastery of the force in action. Admiral Motti, full of pomp and swagger, mocks Vader’s mysticism... and, well, you know the rest don’t you?
When: Star Wars #2 (2015)
To Who: Luke Skywalker
One of the big “holy shit” moments of Marvel’s Star Wars ongoing was the climax of the very first issue, in which not only does Vader show up, but duels Luke Skywalker for the first time. Luke, full of anger and untrained, lashes out at Vader—who does not realize who Luke is yet—by telling him that he killed his father. Vader’s response is as dismissive as it is totally devastating.
Also, kinda counts as a self-burn, considering his also accidentally dissing himself in the process.