I read somewhere that Palpatine purposely gave Vader a suit full of weaknesses (exposed buttons, vulnerability to electrocution etc.) so that he will be handicapped if he ever attempts to challenge his master (who after defeating the Jedi and becoming Emperor has no intention to die, probably ever). The Empire actually has access to technology to build much better suits than what Vader has to live in.

Considering that Vader, with his history of tinkering with technology when he was Anakin, should be well aware of his own weaknesses, why didn't he ever tweak with his suit or even change suits to remove those weaknesses?

Palpatine may not want Vader to ever remove those weaknesses, but it's not like he can openly express his desire to handicap Vader directly to him, especially if, for example, Vader gives the excuse of upgrading himself to better serve his Master. Such is the duplicity and politics of the Sith.

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    In EU, he did upgrade it slightly - he insulated the electrical circuits and wires to remove the vulnerability to electrocution.
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 22, 2015 at 17:57
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    The better question is why didn't he upgrade his boring human legs, to be awesome robot-chicken legs or even upgrade himself to be some kind of spider-centaur like Darth Maul did?
    – user20155
    Nov 22, 2015 at 21:46
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    A more important question: What operational system was on his suit? Was it Windows 95?
    – Red Banana
    Nov 22, 2015 at 23:59
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    Maybe a Sith firmware block? Nov 23, 2015 at 4:10
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    Vader's suit being deliberately crippled is not canon, just a fan theory.
    – Gaius
    Nov 23, 2015 at 12:12

3 Answers 3


Vader's goal wasn't to tinker with the suit. It was to master the Dark Side of the Force (this is in both Disney canon, from Tarkin and Lords of the Sith; as well as EU C canon - Shadows of the Empire). Tinkering with the suit was, at best, a distraction from that, and at worst, a direct violation of his Sith goals (making life easier on yourself makes you weaker, not stronger, in the Dark Side).

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    I think a line can be drawn. Sith are min-maxers - exploit every possible advantage, eliminate every disadvantage when possible. Taking shortcuts may not help you master the Force, but craving power and seeking every edge possible is key to mastering the Dark Side and killing your own master. Nov 23, 2015 at 5:46

Palpatine would probably have been wise to such trickery.

I think we can assume that, if Vader had indeed upgraded his suit, Palpatine would have felt the true emotion behind false pretenses such as "wanting to better serve his Master". This would have lead to a conflict that Vader may have been ill-prepared for, upgraded suit or not, considering the incredible power of Sidious. (Also, Vader was already serving Palpatine well enough with his not-so-top-of-the-line suit.)

Vader probably reckoned that it would be better to wait for new events that might weaken Palpatine's abilities or shift his focus.

In the end, a new factor did come into play — Luke.

  • Exploring the possibility that he could not upgrade his own suit, much like a person can't upgrade their own pacemaker, may make this a better answer.
    – PipperChip
    Nov 22, 2015 at 21:05
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    @PipperChip : I considered that, but there's no reason why Vader couldn't have medical droids perform certain upgrades to his suit. I felt it was more prudent to focus on why he might not consider the idea at all.
    – Praxis
    Nov 22, 2015 at 23:11

From what we've seen, Anakin's mechanical abilities were more of the tinker/poke and prod at existing tech until it works variety rather than designing and planning things. It's kinda hard to do that kind of tinkering when the object in question is your own life support. Also from what we have seen, his talents seem to lie in the purely mechanical, i.e. droids and vehicles; messing with delicate biological systems may have been beyond him, even with the assistance of medical droids.

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