Of all the iconic villains throughout the history of mainstream pop culture, Darth Vader has always stood the test of time. The one destined to save the galaxy from the Dark Side, his fall from grace to be a force of nature as a Sith Lord using his terrifying abilities makes Darth Vader one of the greatest villains to ever grace the big screen. His saga of loss, pain, suffering, and finally redemption makes him an unforgettable character, even after decades have passed since the original Star Wars trilogy was first released. Almost seemingly invincible with his unparalleled Force abilities, Darth Vader struck terror with his mere presence, laying down hordes of powerful enemies like a hot knife through butter. However, even the powerful Sith Lord had a fatal weakness hiding in plain sight which the Rebel Alliance never discovered.
In the aftermath of battling his closest friend and master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker was left for dead. However, in his dying moments, he was rescued by Sheev Palpatine to become a killing machine with mechanical limbs and armor, thus completing his transition to the Dark Side. While the armor and the helmet protected his damaged body, the appearance also amplified his terrifying aura that soon became one of the most recognizable pop culture references in existence.
In recent years, the legend of Darth Vader has seen increased popularity, partly due to the iconic scene in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, where he makes his appearance in the final scene of the movie with his blazing red lightsaber on the Rebel command ship. The sound of his artificial respirator alongside the buzzing of his lightsaber made the scene one of the finest cinematic experiences as he laid waste to scores of Rebel soldiers with horrific ease. Even in Vader Down, the comic book crossover event written by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen, the Sith Lord finds himself stranded on a remote planet surrounded by an army of Rebel Alliance. Instead of being concerned, Darth Vader unleashes the full might of the Dark Side to take down an entire army.
Despite his mastery over the Force and his natural talent for combat, Vader still has one fatal weakness which nearly proved to be the cause of his demise in one incident. As part man and part machine, his artificial limbs, armor, and respirator are all prone to be hacked, as shown in the recent issue of Darth Vader #13 by Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco. To get rid of Vader, the senior members of the Empire hire a hunter droid IG-88, one of the most dangerous battle droids in existence. To make it even more effective, the senior members also equip the droid with the necessary tools to hack Darth Vader’s artificial limbs. As a result, the droid manages to hijack the Sith Lord’s limbs and force him to decapitate himself with his own lightsaber. But fortunately for Vader, IG-88 reveals a bit too much which gives the Sith Lord enough information to break free using the good ol’ Force telekinesis. In the end, Darth Vader forced the droid to blast its own head.
While the trick seems quite neat, it is highly unlikely that the Rebel Alliance has ever thought of this to take down its most terrifying nemesis. Before Anakin became Darth Vader, he had also shown proficiency in droids which implies that the Sith Lord surely looked into this weakness after this incident to ensure that it never happens again. But interestingly, a battle droid managed to achieve what the Rebel Alliance has failed to achieve in years; making Darth Vader vulnerable for a single moment.