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As far as I know, Darth Vader is never shown eating after he receives his injuries and armor. The closest we get is the fact he shows up for what is, ostensibly, a dinner party on Cloud City:

Vader in Cloud City Dining Room

He obviously would not have partaken in this meal, though, as that would require him to remove his helmet. However, we do know that Vader sometimes spends time without a helmet, in what appears to be a special chamber, but the reasons for this aren't clear from the movies themselves:

Vader putting helmet back on in the meditation chamber.

Certainly his breathing problems could pose complications with eating, but it's not clear that this precludes eating. So does Darth Vader actually eat, or does he receive sustenance via special medical means?

Both canon and Legends information are welcome.

  • 1
    Considering Vader is still human, he must have to eat food. Whether or not it is 'eaten' or more like injected though, I'm not so sure about – Often Right Sep 27 '15 at 5:00
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    Short answer: Yes. He eats a crude paste, a bit like in The Matrix, but it tastes awful. He also uses an IV for nutrition. His internal organs are badly damaged, so he can't really eat normal food, or even much special invalid food, but he eats occasionally. – Wad Cheber Sep 27 '15 at 5:00
  • Which scene is that image from? – AncientSwordRage May 31 '16 at 20:04
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    @AncientSwordRage This one. – jpmc26 May 31 '16 at 22:56
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Only certain things at certain times under certain circumstances, and rarely, if ever, without a significant amount of difficulty.

Wookieepedia's article on Vader's armor says:

The collar [of his suit] was equipped with feeding straws that allowed Vader to feed himself from an implanted bladder filled with RepMed vitapaste1, and could be refilled either during monthly maintenance, or on demand. Despite this, however, a redundant system to accommodate intravenous feeding was also installed because of the vitapaste's terrible taste...

Vader could take food through his mouth, but only when he was inside a hyperbaric chamber, since he had to remove his triangular respiratory vent. It was therefore easier for Vader to receive nourishment through liquids, intravenous and otherwise, and to rely on catheters, collection pouches, and recyclers to deal with liquid and solid waste. Though liquids were preferable, he still had the capacity to chew if he wished, though a nutrient feed provided Vader with all the nourishment he required. In the event that he did desire oral consumption, he also ingest RepMed vitapaste via straws located inside the grills of his facemask. In public, Vader was known to claim that he never ate or drank.

The process presumably takes place either on the go, as he sees fit, or inside his meditation chamber, where he is safe from prying eyes that might take delight in seeing how dependent he is.

This interesting scenario played out in an early draft of the script for The Empire Strikes Back, just after the famous scene in which Han, Leia, and Chewie are led to a dining room on Bespin:

Everyone is at table, Darth Vader presiding at the head; he is neither eating nor drinking. Lando eats with a good appetite. The others; Chewbacca sits quiet, not touching anything. Han and Leia have lost their appetites but both…and especially Han…are drinking wine. Looking at Lando and contemplating murder.

LANDO : You see, Han, I had no choice. I knew who the Princess was the moment you landed, I knew that the Empire wanted you both…and the Empire is important to me. I suppose that I really owe my comfortable existence here to the Empire, though I'm not a part of it, and I continue to trade with both sides. So I really had no choice.

HAN : I hope you were well paid. You know what’s going to happen to us.

LANDO : Lord Vader assured me that nothing would happen to any of you.

LEIA : Ha! I’ve enjoyed Lord Vader’s hospitality before. What’s the matter, Lord Vader? Have you gone so far beyond humanity that you no longer need to eat, or drink?

DARTH VADER : I have had to forego those simple pleasures, along with many others; but there are compensations I survive. And you’re forgetting something, Princess. When we entertained you aboard the Death Star, you had information that we needed. Now you have nothing.
- Leigh Brackett Draft Script, The Empire Strikes Back, found on the Jedi Bendu Script Site.

From the always excellent Star Wars Technical Commentaries site:

Flashed images of Lord Vader's skeleton in Return of the Jedi hint that he still possessed teeth, although it is possible that they're bent inwardly somewhat. Shadows of the Empire explicitly reveals his teeth, which he gnashes in anger at one point when he is being humiliated by the Emperor in the presence of his rival, Prince Xizor. In the same instance Vader has thoughts about biting off his tongue and swallowing it.

This implies that he is still capable of chewing and consuming food in the ordinary fashion. Although he sat at a banquet table in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes back and he held a drink on one occasion in the Death Star conference room in the novelisation of A New Hope it is unknown whether he has any mechanism which will allow him to eat while masked. It seems most likely that he only takes nourishment while unmasked in the privacy and safety of his medical chamber. We can assume that his chambers also provide facilities to deal with the other end of his alimentary process.
- Star Wars Technical Commentaries, article titled Injuries of Darth Vader

Summary:

Yes, Vader can eat, both in weird, cyborg ways and almost human ways, but he rarely - if ever - does so. For one thing, eating like a somewhat normal person would require him to remove his helmet, which is both humiliating and dangerous, both physically and in terms of destroying his reputation as an invincible monster. It would also amount to an enormous hassle. Finally, he has no need to eat. He had a regularly refilled pouch of the appalling but nutritious Vitapaste inside his suit, with convenient tubes running directly from the pouch to his mouth, and on top of this, because he hates the taste of Vitapaste, he asked for, and received, a custom made IV system capable of eliminating the need to eat anything at all, even the vile Vitapaste.

Despite being technically able to eat (and apparently, to digest food - I found no evidence that his digestive system was compromised during or after his catastrophic injuries on Mustafar), he doesn't seem to exercise this ability, and prefers to obtain nutrients intravenously, or in a pinch, via feeding tubes.

Speculation:

We have to keep in mind that Vader is, as his former mentor says, "more machine than man". I get the distinct impression that this is exactly how Vader wants it. He doesn't like his situation, but he doesn't want to be human either. He wants to be the cold, calculating machine that everyone seems to take him for. As such, eating probably represents, for Vader, an inconvenient necessity, and what's more, an unpleasant and unwelcome reminder of the man he once was.

In addition to all of this, he also seems to feel a significant amount of self hatred, which was always present in his psyche, but which became especially pronounced when he was led to believe that he was directly responsible for Padme's death. He might actually feel that he doesn't deserve creature comforts like good food.


1Of course, Wookieepedia has an article on the vitapaste as well: "RepMed vita paste was an edible paste provided for those beings unable to consume food normally. After his injuries on Mustafar, Darth Vader consumed this product through feeding straws in his mask. DD-13 made the implication that it tasted awful" [Note: DD-13 is a medical droid].

  • 16
    This is where back story and detail continue to neuter a character. So Darth Vader stands around menacingly, sipping paste through little straws. It's a good question but I wish I never knew the answer ;-) – ThruGog Sep 27 '15 at 6:07
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    @ThruGog - I see your point, but I disagree. I despise everything from the prequel trilogy, but this subject is made pretty clear in the original theatrical release version of the original trilogy - As we learn at the end of Return of the Jedi, the enormous monster we've come to fear in the previous two movies is in reality a broken, withered old man, kept alive by a complex robotic suit. He's really more pathetic than anything. He is the living embodiment of an elaborate and convincing facade. – Wad Cheber Sep 27 '15 at 6:53
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    @ThruGogM- Note: This info didn't come from the prequel trilogy, I was just trying to say that there are things that I hate about Star Wars. This isn't one of them. – Wad Cheber Sep 27 '15 at 7:44
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    That's a good point. We do indeed know that Vader is pitiable sooner than the prequels. Still not sure about him sucking soup through a straw all day tho ;-) – ThruGog Sep 27 '15 at 8:31
  • What's the basis for the first block quote from Wookieepedia? Wookieepedia is not a primary source. (meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/a/7394/3823) – ThePopMachine Nov 28 '15 at 1:34
15

According to the (Disney canon) "Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know", Vader does indeed eat, but only rarely.

Darth Vader cannot eat normally because he has been injured so badly. Instead, his life-support armour feeds nutrient fluids directly into his body. In his private chamber, Vader can remove his helmet and use a feeding tube.


Moving slightly further down the canon scale, the 2008 Star Wars Blueprints: The Ultimate Collection contains a schematic of Vader's suit. You can see that his throat is largely obstructed as well as locating the

"supplemental nutrient storage"

enter image description here

  • One thing that blueprint doesn't show is what happens to the supplemental nutrients after they have been digested. What poor underling has the job of cleaning out that storage area? – tj1000 Feb 24 '18 at 2:34
  • @tj1000 - Got you covered, fam. How does Darth Vader eliminate waste from his body? – Valorum Feb 24 '18 at 7:05
1

Flashed images of Lord Vader's skeleton inReturn of the Jedi hint that he still possessed teeth, although it is possible that they're bent inwardly somewhat. Shadows of the Empire explicitly reveals his teeth, which he gnashes in anger at one point when he is being humiliated by the Emperor in the presence of his rival, Prince Xizor. In the same instance Vader has thoughts about biting off his tongue and swallowing it.

This implies that he is still capable of chewing and consuming food in the ordinary fashion. Although he sat at a banquet table in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes back and he held a drink on one occasion in the Death Star conference room in the novelisation of A New Hope it is unknown whether he has any mechanism which will allow him to eat while masked. It seems most likely that he only takes nourishment while unmasked in the privacy and safety of his medical chamber. We can assume that his chambers also provide facilities to deal with the other end of his alimentary process.

http://www.theforce.net/swtc/injuries.html#mouth

  • 1
    Think you should mention this is directly from the Star Wars Technical Commentary – Peter Nov 27 '15 at 22:55
0

The canon novel Star Wars: Lords of the Sith implies that he doesn't, or at least doesn't have to.

The armor separated him from the the galaxy, from everyone, made him singular, freed from the needs of the flesh, the concerns of the body...

  • 1
    The info is appreciated, but this seems like a stretch. Without any context, my first inclination is that this is meant to describe his emotional state, rather than a direct statement about his physical condition. He obviously isn't physically isolated from everyone in the galaxy (unless you insist on skin contact); he just feels that way. Given that this is a single sentence, the rest of the quote would probably be meant to be interpreted the same way. – jpmc26 Mar 16 '16 at 20:46

protected by AncientSwordRage May 31 '16 at 20:03

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