In the Star Wars: Rebels season 2 finale,

Darth Vader's helmet is damaged and he switches from his deep James Earl Jones voice to his higher Anakin voice.

This got me thinking, was Vader's voice purposely modified for intimidation, disguise, or other purposes, or is his deep voice merely a side-effect of his extensive cybernetic alterations and/or highly damaged throat?


It Was A Side Effect Of His Suit


His voice wasn't his own as shown by the Darth Vader's Armor article on Wookieepedia:

The med droids that had made the suit had inserted the redundant breathing tubes low enough so that, with the aid of an enunciator, his scorched vocal cords could still form sounds and words through a voice synthesizer in the mask. Absent from the enunciator in Vader's mouth grill, which imparted a synthetic bass tone, his own voice was little more than a whisper. Though limited by what the respirator could do, Vader could still make his respirator approximate a laugh or a sigh.

He himself could barely talk, but assisted by the voice synthesizer and the enunciator he could speak, shout, laugh, and hum.


The Wookieepedia page about his armor in canon is definitely lacking in detail but both canon and Legends agree that the voice change is caused by the suit:

The helmet created Vader's menacing growl due to his natural voice being very weak from vocal-cord damage.

  • 1
    You should add that this only applies to Legends. – Rogue Jedi May 4 '16 at 16:45
  • Have the basic functions of Star Wars tech been made non-cannon? If so it would be nice to know. As far as I know the function of Vader's suit is the same now as it was before but I could be wrong. – The Mandolorian May 5 '16 at 5:13
  • @themandolorianYou shouldn't make any assumptions on what is and isn't canon. – Rogue Jedi May 5 '16 at 10:31
  • At least Vader could still laugh. – Hannover Fist Nov 10 '16 at 0:52

A highly damaged throat would result in a slow, raspy voice- so rest assured, Darth's Vader's voice alteration is intentional. Although, I can't say why.

  • How do we know it isn't a side-effect of cybernetic enhancements? – Rogue Jedi Apr 4 '16 at 0:59
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    Rouge Jedi Darth Vader's cybernetic alterations were done mainly to keep him alive and functioning- limbs, neck support, ect. So, what was done to his voice was intentional- unless there was only one, deep cyber voicebox available at the time of his surgery. Of course, it's a possibility that only one type was on hand, but not likely- especially with all that technology. Basically, my point is, electronic would not have effect his voice unless intentional because all those electronic were being used on motile function. – Morgan Apr 4 '16 at 1:09
  • @Morgan i think this makes a better answer than your actual answer – Cearon O'Flynn Apr 4 '16 at 9:52
  • While this may be true in the real world, can you provide evidence that this is also true in the Star Wars world? – Rogue Jedi Apr 4 '16 at 16:06

The implication is that the raspy, breathy voice is a result of his life-support system however you ca also imagine that if it wasn't sinister to start with he would have had to tweak it a bit...after all it could have gone horribly wrong

Indeed the voice of the actor in the suit (David Proust) who was cast for his imposting physical presence, before it was overdubbed by James Earl Jones really does not work.

If nothying else this indicates that the creators of the character went to some lengths to find an appropriate voice actor to properly portray the character and by extension into the universe Vader would not have been Vader without that voice.

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