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CT What Sort of Villain is Lord Vader?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by SateleNovelist11, Jan 31, 2022.


What type is Lord Vader?

  1. Lawful Evil

    26 vote(s)
  2. Neutral Evil

    6 vote(s)
  3. Chaotic Evil

    3 vote(s)
  4. Lawful Neutral

    0 vote(s)
  5. True Neutral

    1 vote(s)
  6. Chaotic Neutral

    2 vote(s)
  1. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    I voted Lawful Evil. In my view, Vader genuinely believes that he is bringing a perfect order to the galaxy ever so slowly. However, I can see why one might say he has traits of Lawful Neutral AND Lawful Evil. Also, he can be quite dispassionate. People say that Vader is defined by rage, but I think he's actually quite cold and analytical. He knows how to control his anger as a true Sith Lord would.

    Having said all that, I'm biased by the Classic Trilogy and OG EU versions of Vader. I think the Disney EU Vader is a bit more like Prequel Anakin Skywalker. CT Vader is, as well, but not nearly to the extent of the Disney comics.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
  2. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2020
    OT Vader is very much an "ends justify the means" type of lawful evil. He believes that the strict peace he has created is better than the chaos of the old Republic.

    Factoring in the PT he just comes across like a powerful dolt; the BLASTER to Palpatine's MASTER.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
  3. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 10

    Oct 4, 1998
    I'm not a fan of D&D alignments; most people don't fit neatly into those pigeonholes. That said, LE is probably the best fit for Vader.
  4. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    He almost comes off as chaotic in TESB until you realize why he wants Luke. He's kinda out of control in that movie. But he still remains calm and focused. So, still...lawful evil.
  5. IJjones41

    IJjones41 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Nov 13, 2021
    I believe he was complicated.
  6. Biel Ductavis

    Biel Ductavis Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 17, 2015
    PT - Not sure

    OT - ANH - Chaotic Evil
    - ESB - Between Chaotic and Neutral Evil
    - ROTJ - Lawful Evil

    Legends - Between Lawful Evil and Lawful Neutral, with the exception of Splinter of the Mind's Eye, where he was portrayed as Chaotic Evil.

    New Canon: Mixture between all of these aspects. Depends on the Medium and the writer.

    Edit: Thought a bit more about it and came to the conclussion that it changes between the movies of the OT
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2022
  7. Django Fett

    Django Fett Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 7, 2012
    Vader's far to complicated to pigeonhole into one singular description.
  8. IJjones41

    IJjones41 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Nov 13, 2021
    People tend to do that a lot. Unfortunately.
  9. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    This really sums it up best for me. I do think that Vader mostly vacillates depending on who's writing him. He's mostly Lawful Evil and Neutral Evil with a few doses of Chaotic Evil and Lawful Neutral. That said...I think his characterization is pretty consistent between Legends, New Canon, and the films. He is a traumatized individual who is responsible for his own failures and he comes to see it way late in his life, like, at 45 or 46...however old the fellow lived to be. Ya know? He had all this potential to do better, and he wasted it on some pretty petty things, and he knows that.

    Having said all that, I have noticed that the EU and the films have a propensity to portray Vader as mature but sarcastic and cruel. In contrast, the new Disney comics and so on show him being a bit more like Anakin Skywalker. There are hints of Anakin throughout the EU and films, but this aspect is not quite as discernible as when you read the new comics.

    Granted, Vader in terms of personality actually has quite a bit in common with his old self...more so than even his hardline fans would allege. I believe this is because Lucas poured more his aspirations and positive outlook out into Luke...whereas he poured some of his more human flaws into Vader. And there's nothing wrong with that. Lots of authors do that with their characters. But the point is that Vader was never a person who enjoyed being in charge of anything. He did want to bring this perverted brand of justice to the galaxy, sure, but the tragic aspect is that he was by default a slave to the Empire and the Emperor. His past traumas don't excuse his actions. But they bring depth to a man in pain... Ahsoka failed to help him because she never truly knew enough about her older brother's mistakes and flaws. Luke was able to help Vader because he chose to look at the Force's plan for Anakin/Vader instead of allowing his anger to rule him.

    So, I'd classify him as a Lawful Evil character who, in his own mind, thinks he's a Lawful Neutral character.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2022
    Darth Caliban likes this.
  10. Darth Dnej

    Darth Dnej Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 27, 2013
    Lawful Evil. While he is mostly following the laws of an evil government, you don't have to follow all laws to be Lawful Evil.
    But Vader is working through the Empire. And then you have quotes like...
    "With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy."
    Sounds lawful to me.
    SateleNovelist11 likes this.
  11. Dandelo

    Dandelo SW and Film Music Interview Host star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 25, 2014
    none of the above.
    SateleNovelist11 likes this.
  12. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    This has validity, as well. Vader hates his life in the suit. Every day is torture for him, and it's unsurprising that order would be one of his chief concerns. In many respects, he prefers being a commander of soldiers, and he almost prefers how the mask prevents him from facially interacting with Imperial officers and politicians.
  13. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 14, 2018
    Honestly, I find the idea of Vader being constantly tortured by life in the suit and unable to ameliorate his situation because Palpatine deliberately provides him with substandard medical care a bit played out. I know the original idea during the OT was probably that cloning organs was illegal because the Republic fought the Clone Wars against armies of clone soldiers, a bit like the Butlerian Jihad in DUNE. But Vader probably could have new organs cloned for him legally given the PT as it was filmed.

    It'd be interesting if Vader chose to avoid getting replacement organs of his own free will because he drew on the pain to maximize his Dark Side power, rather than because Palps wouldn't pay for organ replacements because he wants to keep his apprentice miserable all the time.
  14. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    Oh, I can understand that. In his own way, Vader viewed his torment as fuel to his power. That's the odd thing about Sith Lords like him and Sion.

    That's a good point about the organs. That's the main reason people have sympathy for Vader at all. Generally, we don't like his actions. But the medical problem inherently engenders pity for this antagonist.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
    BlackRanger likes this.
  15. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Chosen One star 7

    Jan 5, 2011
    I'm with Sarge on alignments pigeonholing characters into boxes they do not neatly fit into.

    If I had to choose one, I'd go with chaotic evil. Lawful characters don't torture and murder on a whim. They don't strangle people in response to verbal insults, much less people outside their chain of command. They certainly don't alter the deal. Even the Devil honors his contracts.

    I don't see much concern for the law in Vader, he acts entirely above it, because he is. It's possible many of the acts Vader commits were illegal, even in his position, even in the Empire. If they were illegal, he'd commit them anyway without the slightest regard. He was not going to stop himself because of the law, the law is beneath him. If that is his character, and I believe it is, then I don't think we can say he's lawful.

    I also don't think he really gives a fig if others obey the law, either, just as long as they don't get in his way.
  16. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    I understand that argument. He is impulsive as heck sometimes. In the old EU, Thrawn preferred not to execute people as Vader did. Plus, the Imperial officers in general feared Vader because they considered him unstable. If Vader ever (by some miracle) overthrew Emperor Palpatine, then I'd wager that only 40-something percent of the Imperial officers would even support him. The others resented him, feared him, and believed he was crazy. And who can blame them? He was addicted to executions and choking. He would choke his pilots if they didn't have his ships ready on time in the EU. My pet theory for the reason he did that was because he had trouble breathing himself with that iron lung, and so he took it out on as many people as possible.

    That's nuts. That's cray cray. I'm glad Luke got through to him. If Vader didn't redeem himself after all those crimes, he would have been one forgettable villain in the vast sum of fiction.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2022
    CampOfSorgan and BlackRanger like this.
  17. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Chosen One star 7

    Apr 25, 2004
    Jerjerrod feared the Emperor even more than Vader, so does that mean Palpatine is even more execution-happy?
  18. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 10, 2015
    He was happy that Vader preferred do it. It took the attention off of Palpatine, and he wanted to do his own depraved things in secret. He was like a nasty Roman emperor.
  19. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2020
    Vader believes the ends will justify the means. LAWFUL EVIL is definitely how he sees himself.
  20. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Force Ghost star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    As others have said, in the D&D alignment, Lawful Evil don't break their word or contract. Pit Fiends in D&D try to make a contract that has loopholes or unintended consequences for the other party. But they don't directly violate or break it. And if you are clever enough when making such a contract, you can get the better of them.

    Neutral Evil would fit better. Those kinds of people have no qualms of stabbing others in the back or plot against their boss, which Vader does. But they don't do so on a whim, they do if it serves their goals and they can have ideals, usually something evil.

    But Vader, like most people, are not that simple.

    Bye for now.
    Blackboard Monitor
  21. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 26X Wacky Wednesday/23x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

    Sep 2, 2012
    Pit fiends take Law to extreme lengths though - since they are Outsiders with the Lawful subtype, they are at least partially made of "Law" as a cosmic force.

    Each alignment is fairly broad - one can be LE in D&D without being nearly as Lawful as a pit fiend.

    Vader says "I am altering the deal" instead of "The deal never meant anything to me in the first place".

    I could definitely see Vader as a "grey area" character - close enough to the LE/NE border enough that a case can be made for either. The "Bring order to the galaxy" speech is a hint that he at least tends toward Lawful goals, even if he might occasionally use Chaotic means.
    SateleNovelist11 and Sarge like this.
  22. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Force Ghost star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    Neutral Evil characters can work within the law and keep deals if they benefit from that.
    And they can break those deals or the law if they feel that is in their best interest.
    They are selfish, which I think Vader is. He was after Luke, mostly for selfish reasons, Luke was someone he could use to move up and take over. Also Sith have no loyalty, they will betray each other if they think they will get something from it.

    Vader can see "Order in the Galaxy" as something that benefits himself a lot, esp if he is the one in charge.
    So he wants order for selfish reasons, he has something to gain from it.
    If he is the ruler, what does he gain if there is constant fighting and chaos?
    He wants to rule over others and they are to do what they are told.

    Bye for now.
    Old Stoneface
  23. Sith Lord 2015

    Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 30, 2015
    I don't think Lucas had Dungeons & Dragons in mind when he came up with Vader. The game oversimplifies characters down to a few labels they are supposed to stick to through their "career" or whatever. They may be OK for gaming purposes, but not real stories. Even if Vader or anyone else in SW fit into one of those categories, he CHANGES over time. I used to play D&D for years as well, but don't remember character development being one of the elements much attention was given to.
    A role playing game is not a story and has no real plot. A movie does, or should have.;)
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2022
  24. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2020
    OP should have provided definitions. Although I have to ask, if a person (say... Vader) is in a position to make the law be whatever he needs the law to be... then would that not be Lawful Evil?

    Laws are enacted by sentient creatures. They're not universal constants.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2022
    SateleNovelist11 likes this.
  25. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Force Ghost star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    Well the options offered by the OP are D & D terms.
    The terms have varied a bit over time depending on the edition.
    On example in D & D Lawful is defined as this;
    Chaos is this;
    To me, neither totally fit Vader, hence why I call him Neutral Evil.

    The specific alignments can be this;
    Again, I think Neutral Evil fits Vader better.

    And Lawful is not just about following the law it is also keeping your promises, staying true to your word and honoring the deals you have made. Vader can break or alter deals, that does not fit with lawful.
    He plans to overthrow his boss, again not exactly lawful.

    Lastly, in D & D, Law or Order are in some ways real. You have a totally Lawful plane of Order, Mechanus.
    There are also Chaotic realms, like Limbo.

    I agree that Lucas likely did not have D & D in mind when creating Vader. D & D first came out in 1974 but was apparently rather limited and crude. Advanced D & D came out in the late 70's.
    Also who and what Vader was changed a lot.
    First he was a human general that worked for the bad guys and died at the end. Then he was a Sith Lord that worked for the bad guys and died at the end. Then he lived and was the person who murdered the father of the Hero and later still he became the father of the Hero.

    The system is crude and fictional people are not that simple, real people are even less simple.
    But can be useful as a framework and should not really be adhered to rigidly by the players.

    Where I disagree is that Role-Playing Games can not have a story or plot. Planescape: Torment is an old CRPG and that has a good story and lots of plot.

    Bye for now.
    The Guarding Dark