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Star Wars: Why Darth Vader Was FAR Weaker Than Anakin Skywalker

As powerful as Star Wars' Darth Vader is, he was actually much stronger before he fell to the Dark Side and before a certain, pivotal fight scene.

One of the most intimidating and powerful presences in Star Wars is Darth Vader. He carries with him such anger and emotional turmoil that one can feel his pain even with his mask on. He is also an incredibly deadly swordsman and a calculating Sith Lord. Even with all of these qualities, Vader is still not as strong as he was before falling to the Dark Side, when he was still Anakin Skywalker.

During the Clone Wars, Anakin was a daring and heroic Jedi Knight in his younger years. He was also one of the best swordsmen in the entire galaxy and fought with grace and precision. Additionally, his connection to the Force was off the charts. In his prime, he was potentially one of the strongest Force-users on the council. Ultimately, his emotional connections and weakness allowed him to be manipulated to the Dark Side, where he used that immense power for evil.

RELATED: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi's Most VILE Act Was NOT Murdering Anakin Skywalker

Following his almost-deadly battle with Obi-Wan, Anakin was given prosthetic limbs and a suit that allowed him to survive. With this came a long period of adjusting to his new body. His days as an agile warrior were over, and now he had to rely more on his strength to instill fear with his lightsaber. Physically speaking, he had gained more power than the Emperor could ever achieve, and perhaps in a hand-to-hand battle, he could still overtake him. Unfortunately, Anakin's injuries also greatly lessened his connection to the Force.

In a Vanity Fair interview from 2005, George Lucas went deeper into why Anakin became much weaker as Vader. In the interview, he explained that because Anakin's limbs were severed and replaced by robotics, it was harder for him to use the Force than it was before his battle with Obi-Wan. Anakin's hubris cost him his greatest strength and curbed his abilities. This bothered the Emperor as well, who had recruited Anakin for his immense power. Now that Vader had lost some of that power, the Emperor was open to finding to a new successor.

RELATED: Star Wars: Why Anakin And Obi-Wan's Duel Is Genius

Although Vader was not as strong in the Force as he once was, he was still just as powerful as the Republic's best Jedi. Throughout the age of the Empire, Vader used the Force to perform impressive feats and overcome difficult obstacles. Vader adapted to his new circumstances and earned his title as a feared presence in the Empire and in the galaxy. During his time as a Sith, he took on Jedi, entire Rebel battalions and even giant creatures from other worlds. He garnered a reputation that even his worst enemies admired.

The Star Wars franchise shows that if Anakin had won his fight against Obi-Wan, he might have taken the Emperor's place as a new Dark Lord of the Sith. However, by Return of the Jedi, the Emperor had instead turned his sights on Luke. As Lucas said, Palpatine was less interested in Anakin following his power reduction and was patiently waiting for a better apprentice. He thought he found one in Luke Skywalker. By recreating the same emotional challenges his father faced, the Emperor hoped to seduce Luke to the Dark Side and replace Vader. Much to his disappointment, Luke took the high road and managed to save Vader in the process.

According to Lucas, Vader operated at twenty percent less strength than the Emperor. While this was still impressive, it also shows how much more powerful he could have been as Anakin. Had he emerged unscathed from his duel with Obi-Wan, conquering the galaxy would have happened much faster. The Dark Side would have gained so much strength that even Luke Skywalker might have struggled to stop them. Vader still managed to show the galaxy just how powerful he was, but it's hard not to wonder how much more powerful he could have been.

KEEP READING: Star Wars: Obi-Wan's 'High Ground' Comment Is More Absurd Than 'I Don't Like Sand'


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Nicholas Brooks (898 Articles Published)

CBR Features Writer Nick Brooks has been writing for over ten years about all things pop culture. He has written for other sites like and When not writing you can find him with his lovely girlfriend, cooking, reading comics, or collecting any new Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legend, or Transformer. For more of his thoughts on pop culture check out his blog, The Next Panel with Comic Brooks.

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Revenge Of The Sith: Why Obi-Wan Vs. Anakin Is The Prequel Trilogy's Best Lightsaber Duel

From Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s ultimately fatal encounter with Darth Maul on Naboo to Obi-Wan’s standoff with the four-armed General Grievous on Utapau, the Star Wars prequel trilogy offered plenty of exciting lightsaber duels. While the original trilogy only offered one-on-one confrontations, the duels in the prequels ranged from a Jedi Master and his padawan battling a Sith apprentice to a single Sith Lord decimating four top-ranking Jedi Knights in one fell swoop.

RELATED: Star Wars: 5 Things Revenge Of The Sith Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)

Arguably the greatest duel in the trilogy is the one that brings the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker to a head. After Emperor Palpatine has turned Anakin to the Sith and named him Darth Vader, his former master Obi-Wan confronts him on Mustafar and makes a last-ditch effort to bring him back to the light or, if push comes to shove, kill him.

10 It’s The Culmination Of The Entire Trilogy

The crux of the entire prequel trilogy is the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker. The wayward Jedi apprentice prophesized to be the “Chosen One” who will bring balance to the Force turns out to be the Sith’s greatest asset: an unstoppable evil warrior determined to bring down the Jedi Order.

Obi-Wan’s final confrontation with Anakin before he goes full Vader is the culmination of this arc. As much as Anakin’s downfall is his own doing, Obi-Wan feels responsible for failing to keep him on a righteous path.

9 Ewan McGregor & Hayden Christensen Played Their Characters’ Tragic Dynamic Beautifully

While Hayden Christensen’s acting was a little wooden in Attack of the Clones (and the material he was given to work with didn’t help), one thing he nailed from the offset was his on-screen chemistry with Ewan McGregor.

Christensen’s performance vastly improved in Revenge of the Sith as Anakin got closer to the dark side, and in his final duel with Obi-Wan, he and McGregor played the tragedy of their characters’ dynamic beautifully.

8 The Choreography Is Breathtaking

While the prequel trilogy’s lightsaber duels with Count Dooku and Palpatine were let down by the limited physicality of the actors playing them, the duel between the young, virile Anakin and Obi-Wan is a masterclass in futuristic, magic-assisted swordplay. Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, and their dedicated stunt team were fully committed to getting the intensity of this duel spot-on.

Admittedly, the choreography of The Phantom Menace’s “Duel of the Fates” is equally breathtaking, especially with martial artist Ray Park’s ability to wield Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber at seemingly inhuman speeds.

7 “Battle Of The Heroes” Is One Of John Williams’ Greatest Compositions

As usual, John Williams composed a breathtaking piece of music to bring the Mustafar duel to life. “Battle of the Heroes” is one of Williams’ all-time greatest compositions — in terms of the prequel trilogy’s most memorable tracks, it’s second only to “Duel of the Fates.”

RELATED: Star Wars: 5 Ways Anakin Skywalker Was An Interesting Protagonist (& 5 Reasons Luke Is Still Better)

George Lucas wanted Williams to give each prequel movie its own catchy theme. For Revenge of the Sith, he tasked the composer with writing a piece that would capture two former friends turning on each other — and Williams delivered.

6 The Volcanic Backdrop Of Mustafar Visualizes The Explosive Emotions At Play

Setting is crucial to any great lightsaber duel. Luke and Vader’s climactic confrontation is unforgettable for a number of reasons, but the Emperor’s grand throne room is a big part of it.

Arguably the greatest pairing of a lightsaber duel and a setting is Anakin and Obi-Wan’s own climactic confrontation on Mustafar. The planet’s volcanic backdrops perfectly visualize the explosive emotions at play. The clearest example of this is when Obi-Wan and Anakin lock horns mid-battle with a huge burst of lava right behind them.

5 It’s A Crucial Moment In Anakin’s Transformation Into Darth Vader

George Lucas dropped a number of unresolved storylines from the previous movies, like the mysteries of Kamino, in order to refocus Revenge of the Sith on Anakin’s journey toward the dark side. There are several key moments that contribute to that transformation in the movie, like helping Palpatine kill Mace Windu and slaughtering the Jedi younglings.

One of the most crucial junctures in Anakin’s transformation into Vader is his lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. It reaffirms his newfound hatred for the Jedi and allows him to pledge himself fully to Palpatine’s mentorship.

4 A Master Fighting His Fallen Apprentice Is Like A Greek Tragedy

It’s easy to scoff when parallels are drawn between the Star Wars prequels and, say, Greek tragedies or Shakespeare. How can a movie with Jar Jar Binks in it be anything close to the work of the Bard?

But, in broad strokes, the themes that these movies deal with are in line with classical tragedies. A teacher fighting a student who has turned evil carries a lot of emotional weight.

3 The End Of The Duel Is Genuinely Shocking

From the Order 66 massacre to General Grievous’ exploding heart, the violence in Revenge of the Sith is surprisingly brutal. The most shockingly violent moment of all is the end of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s duel on Mustafar.

RELATED: Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy's 5 Most Disappointing (& 5 Most Satisfying) Moments

Obi-Wan takes the high ground, Anakin still tries to launch an overhead attack, and his former master lops off most of his limbs. Anakin then rolls down toward the flowing lava and catches on fire. He’s graphically burned alive while lunging at Kenobi with his one remaining limb and growling, “I HATE YOU!!” This scene is genuinely pretty disturbing, especially for young viewers.

2 It Set The Stage For Their Already-Iconic Rematch On The Death Star

After the duel on Mustafar, the next time Anakin and Obi-Wan come face-to-face is on the Death Star in the original 1977 movie. This is about to change with the upcoming Disney+ series promising a rematch, but in the current canon, the Death Star is their only rematch after Mustafar.

Like all the best moments in the prequel trilogy, the Mustafar duel retroactively enhanced the emotional foundation of an already-iconic scene from the original movies.

1 Star Wars Fans Waited Years To See It – And It Didn’t Disappoint

Anakin’s final showdown with his master before being encased in the Vader suit for the rest of his tortured life was one of the most highly anticipated moments in the prequel trilogy.

Expectations for this conflict only got higher when Obi-Wan and Anakin’s master-padawan relationship evolved into real brotherhood throughout Episodes II and III. Star Wars fans had waited years to see a fallen Anakin take on Obi-Wan in lightsaber combat, and the Mustafar sequence certainly didn’t disappoint.

NEXT: Star Wars: The 3 Greatest Moments From Each Prequel Movie


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Anakin Vs Obi Wan

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Star Wars The Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker VS Barriss Offee

The Skywalker lineage, starting with Shmi Skywalker and her fatherless son, Anakin, and ending with Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, was arguably the most important bloodline in the Galaxy.

The decisions of the members of this family were major factors in shaping the Galaxy’s future at any given time. So, we thought that the Skywalkers could do with a little family feud.

It is finally time to determine who the strongest Skywalker has been throughout the Skywalker Saga. And while the answer might surprise you, be sure to let us know if you want a comparison using just the Legends canon.

The next face-off in our series of battles is more than just a head-on hypothetical fight between two characters from the Star Wars Universe.

This time, our match-up will answer more than just the question of who is stronger? We will find out who is the strongest Skywalker in the Galaxy, along with answering the question that out of Luke and Anakin, who is truly the Chosen One?

These questions, along with others that will be addressed below are ones that fans, both new and old, love to dive into. The question of who the real Chosen One is, and who was meant to bring balance to the Force, has been as mysterious as the Force itself.

The question that frequently enters people’s minds is, “Who would win between Anakin vs. Luke?” So, we are going to delve into Anakin and Luke Skywalker’s abilities in this article. And perhaps, in the end, we will be able to figure out who was the strongest among these two.

So, without further ado, let us get into the details of who exactly will win in this father and son face-off. (Unless you think Rey is the strongest Skywalker. In which case, keep an eye out for our match-up between the winner of this article and Rey)

Disclaimer: We will be using information from the Legends continuity because Anakin from Revenge of The Sith and Luke from Return of the Jedi are not comparable.

Table of Contents

Is Luke stronger than Anakin?

If we compare Anakin vs. Luke in terms of physicality, Luke and Anakin were in very comparable shape at the time of ROTJ and ROTS, with Anakin possibly being a little more fit, but this isn’t Luke’s prime. Luke would have been in his prime during the events of the NJO when he was in his early 60s and the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order.

How Powerful Is Anakin Skywalker - Star Wars Explained

They were athletically built and possessed incredible speed, agility, and strength. As a result, Anakin is one of the 20 Jedi who survived the arena fight on Geonosis and fought Assajj Ventress on Yavin IV for the entire combat.

Anakin has a high pain tolerance, as seen by his fast recovery from Count Dooku’s Force Lightning barrage on Geonosis. The Count chopped off Anakin’s right arm in that same duel, and later Anakin replaced his hand with a mechanical arm.

How Powerful Was Luke Skywalker (Canon and Legends)

The new arm was far more powerful and long-lasting than his flesh-and-blood counterpart. But, of course, it wasn’t without flaws. It might still be shortened by Force Lightning or even manipulated by the Force, as Obi-Wan did with the servo drives in Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith novel.

Luke was also given a mechanical hand, similar to Anakin’s, which could be more vulnerable to damage. On the other hand, Luke Skywalker maintained his extraordinary levels of strength and agility, as he grew older.

He was able to keep up and easily harmed Darth Caedus, who was considerably younger than Luke. Luke’s deep connection to the Light Side of the Force also aided his endurance and fitness, keeping him exceedingly strong, especially during the Crucible novel.

Is Luke or Anakin The Chosen One?

Luke was not technically The Chosen One, but he did orchestrate the events that brought the empire to an end. In the end, Anakin was the one who killed Sidious, fulfilling the prophecy and completing his part.

This demonstrates that Anakin, despite becoming Vader, was still The Chosen One. So, while Luke may not be The Chosen One, he is the son of The Chosen One according to prophecy.

Can Luke beat Anakin?

Luke Skywalker was everything Anakin Skywalker should have been. Anakin had the highest levels of raw potential ever seen in a force-sensitive person. However, this does not imply that they are limited in their abilities.

Anakin had more potential than Luke because, as The Chosen One, he would have had an abnormal level of potential that was higher than anybody else since he was not classified in an average manner whether gifted or non-gifted, but as a whole different class because he was so far ahead.


If we talk about skill with the blade between Anakin vs. Luke, Anakin had a lot of experience in this area, as he was one of the most skilled duelists in the old Jedi Order. His lightsaber was relatively smooth, and he used a blue Ilum crystal to prepare it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi developed in Skywalker a unique heritage of lightsaber combat training. Anakin was exceptionally skilled with the lightsaber when he was younger, impressing many Jedi Masters. Anakin specialized in the Form V style of battle, particularly Djem-So.

Toys Star Wars Episode III MMS Action Figure 1/6 Anakin

Anakin was a Djem-So expert, which relied on quick, heavy moves to weaken the opponent. It was beneficial when the user was physically stronger than the opponent or when the opponent’s shielding skills were severely limited.

For example, a much older man utilized Makashi, a form that combined beauty and fencing techniques, against Dooku. Anakin was leagues ahead of Dooku in strength at the time of their most recent encounter, and he used this form to rip through Dooku’s defenses, securing a victory.

Even Count Dooku and Durge were particularly impressed by his speed, and he became known for it. Anakin’s offensive was primarily motivated by emotion. Anakin learned this method from his master.

In contrast, Obi-Wan uses tight, precise movements to improve his protection; Anakin uses them to increase the speed and strength of his strikes. Anakin has a great deal of dueling and fighting experience, and he is a master of the lightsaber.

Star Wars The Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker

If we compare Anakin to Luke, Luke Skywalker fashioned his lightsaber after losing his father’s lightsaber on Cloud City. His design was skeletal and closely resembled Obi-Wan Kenobi’s third and final lightsaber.

Luke finally replaced his fake crystal in the blade with a fragment of Kyber crystal, which gave the lightsaber more living Force attunement. Luke also had a red blade, which he could employ in duels with Lumiya, the Dark Lady of the Sith.

Luke has already outperformed Anakin in every way. Even as Vader, when Anakin had progressed to the level of a master duelist, Luke continued to outperform him.

Anakin was obliged to adopt his form as Vader, using his new cybernetic improvements while augmenting it with additional forms to protect his new defects, such as his control panel. Vader used Anakin’s Djem So form and vastly refined it, adding new shapes, polishing it, and ultimately establishing his unique style.

Luke used Djem So at the time of Return of the Jedi and his application of the form was comparable to his father’s; nevertheless, where Luke shines is in his training with Obi-wan and Yoda.

Whereas Anakin wanted to demonstrate his own abilities by doing things his own way and finding his own path, Luke sought advice from his masters, learning Soresu, the defensive form, from Obi-wan, and mastering Ataru, the acrobatic form, from Yoda, who were both true masters of it.

Luke gained adaptability as a result of this. Luke nearly equals Vader’s strength in combat, but thanks to his training, he has other options, such as back flipping over the railing like Yoda to create space and pushing back Vader’s attack on Obi-wan.

Although Luke triumphed partially due to Vader’s emotions weakening him, it’s still worth noting that Luke, who had the same age as Anakin in Revenge of The Sith, defeated Vader, who had out-skilled Anakin.

Taking this into account, Luke, at the peak of his power, went even further, mastering all seven styles of a lightsaber battle, possibly becoming one of the greatest lightsaber duelists of all time. Furthermore, he employed the ideas given to him by Obi-wan and Yoda as a starting point for mastering all of the other forms and pushing his abilities to their limits.

In summary, Prime Luke takes Anakin’s form and masters it much more than Anakin did, in addition to mastering the other forms. As a duelist, he is superior to Anakin.


Anakin vs. Luke in terms of force power is quite interesting. More than any other living entity in Galactic History, Anakin Skywalker is strongly connected to the Force. As a result, he implied that he could easily access the Force. Even though Anakin focused solely on lightsaber battles rather than the Force, he was still a formidable opponent.

Star Wars Poster Episode Iii Anakin Red 11X14 Postcard

Anakin was a frequent telekinesis user and would employ it in the fight, primarily by hurling objects at his opponent. However, Anakin also demonstrated that he would use the ability casually while having a meal with Padme in Attack of the Clones.

Anakin later learned Force Choke, force energy that he could employ during the Clone Wars for the rest of his life. Throughout the Clone Wars and as he evolved into Darth Vader, Anakin used this power on several occasions.

Even though it alarmed a few Jedi in the Order, it became his favorite interrogation tool. Anakin regarded the Force primarily as a tool. He could regularly use Force to strengthen himself to give him greater power and enhance his reflexes because he was mostly a duelist; this is what he primarily used as a child.

Anakin could also anticipate the future regularly in visions and dreams, which became a unique skill. This was also related to his telepathy since he was highly skilled with thoughts and hints and could easily carry them out, even on large numbers of people at once.

In summary, Anakin could be the most powerful Jedi of all time, surpassing Yoda and Darth Sidious. However, due to his horrific injuries on Mustafar, this potential was no longer near being achieved or acknowledged.

Instead, it was destroyed; as Darth Vader, he would grow powerful, but he could no longer be as effective as the Emperor. On the other hand, this potential would be handed down to his children, with Luke Skywalker possibly becoming what his father should have been.

Anakin is like a massive battery with a wire half his size attached to it. Although this battery is massive and carries a lot of power, he is limited in how much Force he can exert because the wire is so thin.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin: Obi-Wan and Anakin

Obi-wan is a considerably smaller battery with a cord that is about the same size as him. Overall, less powerful but capable of utilizing all of it. Luke combines these two concepts, being an immensely large conduit for the Force, with the proper ability to wield it.

He outperformed Anakin in this fashion, demonstrating why he is the more powerful force user because he has a battery of nearly equal size to Anakin. He has a cable that is almost the same size as this massive battery.

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor: Star Wars Legends

Luke obtained such a thorough comprehension of the Force that he could become enlightened for a brief period. Luke possessed Anakin’s power levels and Obi-Wan’s connection to the Force because he was never taught as a child that he was better than other Jedi or that he didn’t have to work as hard.

Luke was told he was a Jedi and had to work hard to defeat Vader, which he did. Luke put in many hours of training to improve his connection to the Force. He never thought he owed himself his power simply because a prophecy said he was because he realized true power came from intelligence and experience.

Therefore, at the time of Return of the Jedi, we would rank Luke higher than Anakin in terms of power. As a child, he never had these limitations imposed on him, and he never expected things to be easy for him; instead, he worked hard for them.

So, even though Anakin had more power than Luke, it didn’t matter. Luke was still a long way from matching Anakin’s strength, but he won out because he knew how to use it.


So, Anakin vs. Luke, who would win after the day? This is where we will want to provide our viewpoint, which is mainly based on scenarios. If we set Anakin Skywalker against Luke, if Anakin had reached his full potential and Luke had reached his, we think it would be a near-death duel for both.

VS | Anakin Skywalker vs Luke Skywalker

Anakin, on the other hand, has the potential to be Luke’s equal. Anakin was exceptionally powerful because he was The Chosen One. Luke, as The Chosen One’s son, may no longer possess the same abilities as Anakin. However, we believe Luke can also win if he properly uses his Force skills.

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