The main villain of the Star Wars original trilogy, Darth Vader, is one of the best-known villains of modern pop culture. One thing about the character which caused quite a ruckus among the fans is his name and its meaning. So what does Darth Vader actually mean?
Although most people believe the rumor that the name was intentionally made to mean dark father in German, it is actually not true. The name is based in both German and Dutch and there are words with similar meaning to the one the rumor proposes, the name actually doesn’t have a direct translation.
If you want to know more about the origin of this name and how Anakin got it as well as why everyone believes the name means dark father keep reading this article to find out.
Is it Darth or Dark Vader?
A lot of people seem confused when it comes to Anakin’s Sith name. Darth is not the most natural-sounding word for the English-speaking audience and the prefix Dark would work with the overall theme of the character and his arc in the storyline. However, the correct form is Darth Vader.
Many Sith Lords added Darth to their names, to the point that the term has come to be associated with the dark side of the Force in some circles. It was also interpreted to mean giving up one’s previous life.
The word’s roots are a mystery. While it is commonly assumed that Darth is simply a contraction of Dark Lord of the Sith, there are theories that indicate a deeper meaning.
According to some sources, Darth is a corruption of the Rakata term Daritha, which means emperor. Others point out another Rakatan connection: darr means victory or conquest, and tah means death, leading to the belief that Darth is derived from darr tah and thus means victory over death or immortality. Given Sith’s fascination with finding a way to attain immortality, this theory has some basis, at least on the surface.
Others, however, argue that the real meaning of darr tah is “conquest by destruction,” which refers to conquering one’s foes.
The drawback with such Rakatan origin theories is that, even if they are right, they cannot be traced back to Revan or Malak’s re-discovery of the Rakata and the Star Forge.
The title “Darth” was already well recognized by the Jedi in association with the Sith five years prior to their emergence as Sith Lords, which is why Padawan Zayne Carrick could call Jarael Darth Sunshine.
Furthermore, Haazen said that if he were to adopt a Sith name, it would be Darth Hayze, implying that the title Darth existed prior to Revan and Malak’s discovery.
There’s always a chance that one of the Rakatan theories is right since the Rakata once inhabited the ancient Sith homeworld of Korriban, which is one way either the Daritha or darr tah word may have reached the ancient Sith language.
Darth Andeddu lived through the old Sith Empire, long enough for his Holocron to fall into the hands of Freedon Nadd, a fallen Jedi. He was known for his studies on eternal life, which may be a link to the Rakatan concept.
How did Anakin get the name Darth Vader?
Anakin’s transition to the Dark Side of the force started once his Sith master, Palpatine, discovered Anikin’s love for Padme and started exploiting it to achieve his goals. The culmination of this transformation occurred after his duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar.
The duel left Anakin severely injured. After both of his legs were cut off during the fight and he was left near the lave pits and the hot air burned him and caused him a lot of harm. Although Vader survived, he was horrifically scarred, both physically and mentally, and had damaged lungs due to the hot ash in the air.
Unbeknownst to Vader and the Emperor, Amidala gave birth to the twins Luke and Leia before her death. Vader believed he had killed Amidala and their unborn child, which fulfilled his prophetic dreams of her death.
The Emperor then launched a barrage of Force lightning at his apprentice and rhetorically demanded that Vader use the power of his lightsaber to defend himself. Vader replied that his lightsaber had been taken by Kenobi at the conclusion of their duel.
As he continued his barrage, the Emperor angrily shouted that the weapon Vader spoke of was not his. Rather, it had belonged to a Jedi, and Vader was now a Sith. Vader then replied that he would live after the Emperor gave him a choice to either accept and use that gift or to die.
Vader chose to die and was reborn as Sidious’s right hand in the Galactic Empire. The death of Amidala drove Skywalker further into the persona of Vader, who became Sidious’s right hand.
Vader’s rebirth was complete after two days of nonstop labor. He put the blade to Vader’s throat and stated that he understood how traumatic the last few days had been for his apprentice.
This transformation was solidified when Anakin chose to leave behind his all life and symbolically change his name for one that would be chosen by his master. Darth Sidious chose the name Darth Vader for his young apprentice.
What does Darth Vader mean in English?
It’s completely incorrect that “Darth Vader” means “Dark Father.” It’s a rumor started by Lucas himself after he decided to make Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker the same guy, in order to make it seem as if Vader was always meant to be Luke’s father when we know this isn’t the case.
Darth Vader was not Luke’s father when Lucas wrote Star Wars; he was a different character, and Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, was alive in some early versions of the script but dead in others. The character’s name was changed to “Darth Vader” in the final version of the script, and although most of the overt references to Luke’s father were omitted, he was still a distinct and dangerous figure.
Although Lucas has spread the “Dark Father” rumor as part of his largely successful effort to persuade viewers that he already had the whole Star Wars story planned out in advance when, in reality, he did not, there is a record of how he came up with the term, based on interviews he gave when “Star Wars” was published in 1977 and before he knew he’d make more episodes.
When early drafts of The Empire Strikes Back were published, this was still true. Anakin and Vader are both two different people in the early drafts of the Empire script, and Anakin is still dead; in reality, Luke encounters Anakin’s Force Ghost while studying with Yoda, and Anakin administers the “Jedi Oath” to Luke.
What does Darth Vader mean?
Following up on the note of George Lucas’ rumors about the meaning of the phrased Darth Vader, we should take a look into it to determine if it at least makes sense grammatically.
Dunkel is the German word for “dark.” Vater is the German word for father. As a result, if the character’s name was Dunkel Vater, it would make sense and actually mean Dark Father. However, this means that the statement that the character’s name was supposed to hold some meaning in German is actually wrong.
The other language George Lucas mentioned as inspiration for the name is Dutch. The word dark is Donker in Dutch and the word father is Vader. This would make it seem like Duch actually fits, however, despite the words being spelled the same way the pronunciation is vastly different.
The Dutch word for “father,” though written V-a-d-e-r, is pronounced in a way that roughly rhymes with English “father.” It’s Vaah-der instead of Vay-der.
So to answer the question of the name makes sense when we look at it from the perspective of different languages which served as inspiration is kind of, but not really.