enter image description here

Of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan's Force Ghost had the following to offer:

He’s more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.

Obi-Wan may have been remarking upon Vader's lost humanity more than anything else, but it got me thinking about Vader's physical being anyway. Exactly how much machine and how much man are we talking about?

We get some idea from the surgery scene in Revenge of the Sith:

enter image description here

But things may have changed for Vader in the years between Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, such as organs failing and needing to be replaced, as well as improvements to his technological components.

The question is:

At the time that Obi-Wan made his comment (which was in Return of the Jedi ), what was the ratio of man to machine in Vader?

Well-reasoned estimates are welcome. Ratio by volume is preferable, but weight is fine too, so long as this is made clear in the answer.

  • 2
    "More machine than man" honestly seems like an exaggeration. He seems to be over 50% man. – Rogue Jedi Sep 25 '15 at 15:01
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    I took that statement to mean he had been augmented for so long, he had lost touch with his humanity, which, having regained it during the Emperor's final battle, proved there was more man than machine no matter what the ratio of meat to metal. – Major Stackings Sep 25 '15 at 15:10
  • 3
    Do you want this by weight or by volume? By weight, he could easily be much more machine than man, but by volume will be another story. – PipperChip Sep 25 '15 at 17:01
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    Technically, wasn't he more midi-chlorians than man in the first place? – Raystafarian Sep 25 '15 at 17:40
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    Obi-Wan's comment about "twisted and evil" makes sense only is either 1) Obi-Wan is an eco-hippy who considers technology to be inherently evil, or 2) Obi-Wan speaks metaphorically, the "more machine than man" really meaning that Anakin's humanity was trampled down by the Dark Side and turned him into a construct of the Emperor with little or no remnant trace of morality (and therefore completely unrelated to Vader's prostheses). – Tom Leek Sep 25 '15 at 19:43
up vote 39 down vote accepted

We can calculate, roughly, how much of his body was replaced by machine.

Right arm, above the elbow, cut off by Dooku:

enter image description here

Left arm, above the elbow, cut off by Obi-Wan:

enter image description here

Both legs, above the knees, cut off by Obi-Wan:

enter image description here

Data on relative volumes of limbs is hard to come by, but I'll assume that all body parts are roughly the same density and use this data for body part weight percentages. Let's assume he lost ~75% of each of those limbs (he may have lost more during the surgery, but it's clear that Star Wars medical technology is more advanced than ours), so a conservative estimate for the amount of his body that was replaced by machine is:

2*(leg & foot) + 2*(1/2)*thigh + 2*(forearm & hand) + 2*(1/2)*upper arm

= (2 * 6.18) + 10.5 + (2 * 2.52) + 3.25

= only 31.15% machine (i.e. 68.85% man).

There's also reasonable sounding evidence that Vader's spine was partially or completely artificial:

enter image description here

(This screenshot is while the Emperor is shocking him at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi.) It's supported by his difficulties breathing and speaking without his suit. If this is true, it could maybe put him to about 35 or 40%, but even with that I'm not confident he's "more machine than man" in a literal sense.

  • 4
    This answer is good but doesn't including anything about his burnt skin, From the two pictures in the OP, it looks like the only thing not completely burnt looks to be his face. If you were to include the robotics from needing his skin and related tissues replaced, I'd expect him to be over 50%. I'm only commenting on this because I don't remember it ever being shown that Vader has any human skin besides on his face, but I could be wrong. – Iankill Sep 25 '15 at 16:20
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    @ChrisB.Behrens Remaining arm? – Rawling Sep 25 '15 at 17:08
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    @Iankill It's not clear any of his skin was "replaced". He does wear a suit that protects him, but I wear pants and I don't think anyone considers my legs to be partially non-human because of that. – Plutor Sep 25 '15 at 18:06
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    I wonder if this also means he lost 35-40% of his midichlorians. – jmbertucci Sep 25 '15 at 19:00
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    @Plutor: This answer is great. Ratio by weight is fine, but so we are saying that about 30-35% of his body weight was replaced with machinery? Given that the replacement components probably have a different weight than the original body parts, his machine:man weight ratio at the time of ROTJ may not have been 30:70 etc. – Praxis Sep 25 '15 at 20:15

It was said that, due to the extent of his injuries, he was 80% machine (prosthetics), and a mere 20% human. His legs were severed at both knees, his right arm at the elbow, and the left at nearly the shoulder. His torso is completely human. The graphic novel, 'Darth Vader and the Lost Command' states so explicitly in one of its pictures. Wikipedia also provides this information.

  • 2
    Do you have a reference for this? – Adamant Nov 10 '16 at 2:16
  • The graphic novel, 'Darth Vader and the Lost Command' states so explicitly in one of its pictures. Wikipedia also provides this information. – Sunny West Nov 10 '16 at 2:22
  • OK, so this is a Legends answer. – Adamant Nov 10 '16 at 2:29
  • "His torso is completely human". Just that means that he is definitely more than 20% human, so this answer is self contradictory – Kevin Wells Sep 26 at 16:59

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