After reading Hugo's answer to this question, I learned that Darth Vader's famous suit was designed to ensure his survival in almost any environment

even the vacuum of space

My question is, are there any examples of Vader having to deal with this situation, for instance, walking across the surface of a moon or an asteroid? I am fairly certain this never happened in any of the films, but did this kind of thing ever happen in any of the comics or novels? I will accept answers drawn from the old Expanded Universe as well as the currently defined canon.

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    While I can't say for sure, when his tie fighter got flung into space at the end of a new hope it's not unreasonable to assume it lost pressurization from other damage.
    – Sidney
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 16:54
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    Darth Vader has not been exposed to the vacuum of space. Rather, the vacuum of space has been exposed to Darth Vader.
    – void_ptr
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 17:57
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    So, being nit-picky, Darth Vader's suit would have been exposed to the vacuum of space. Darth Vader wouldn't, which is one feature of the suit. Or do you suggest that the suit is an integral part of Vader? One might, as he probably wouldn't even survive being exposed to the atmosphere of a class M planet without it. :D Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:06
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    @void_ptr Oh sure, and Darth Vader did not turn to the Dark Side, rather, the Dark Side turned to Darth Vader...
    – user11521
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 13:50
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    @void_ptr: ...and was thus seduced to the Dark Side... Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 17:11

5 Answers 5



I recall this happening at least once in Marvel's Darth Vader comic series, but it's more convenient for me to quote the canon novel Lords of the Sith:

Vader hit a switch and depressurized the interceptor's cockpit, his armor shielding him from the vacuum. Then, as he neared the transport's midline, still swinging his ship left and right to dodge the incoming fire, he selected a spot on the transport adjacent to the gun bubble and, using the Force, took a firm mental hold on it.

His interceptor streaked toward the gun bubble, aimed directly at it. Content with the trajectory, he unstrapped himself, overrode the interceptor's safeties, threw open the cockpit hatch, and ejected into space.

Immediately he was spinning in the zero-g, the ship and stars alternating positions with rapidity. Yet he kept his mental hold on the air-lock handle, and his armor, sealed and pressurized, sustained him in the vacuum. The respirator was loud in his ears.

Lords of the Sith Chapter 1

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    The gunner in that gun bubble, if there was one, must have been absolutely terrified. What an entrance!
    – PhasedOut
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:48
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    @PhasedOut Considering Vader's entrance was preceded by his Interceptor smashing the gun bubble open, I'm going to guess he wasn't terrified for very long Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:02
  • Lot of good answers on the question, but you can't beat the exact scenario asked about in a canon novel. +1 from me for sure.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 21:38

I believe that TIE fighters are not pressurized vessels (according to in manual storytelling from the TIE fighter game), meaning that while Vader was piloting a TIE fighter during the Death Star battle scene in Episode 4 his suit would have been serving that purpose and protecting him from the vacuum.

  • In Force Awakens are Poe and Finn wearing flight suits when escaping? I don't recall but I don't think so.
    – jhocking
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 19:21
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    @jhocking That's a good point: they were not. Those TIEs had some aesthetic differences compared with the original trilogy, though, and probably some tech upgrades too.
    – doctaphred
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 21:24
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    @jhocking - according to Wookieepedia the First Order's TIE fighters have been upgraded to provide better protection for the pilots, because the FO considers them critical assets (whereas the Empire considered them cannon fodder). This probably includes adding life support systems. Also, the fighter that Poe and Finn steal is a special-forces customized variant which is probably even more focussed on protecting the occupants. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 14:40
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    re: First Order TIE. Yes, upgrades, including shields.
    – blaughw
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 22:33

Yes. In the film:

Rogue One

It's hard to tell you what this spoiler tag spoils, without actually doing the spoiling. But, well, you can probably guess what I'm going to say.

At the end of Rogue One, just after the Death Star plans have been narrowly evacuated from the Alliance cruiser, Vader stands over the docking port and stares into space where the escape pod / shuttle once stood.

Interestingly, his black-clad troopers are there with him, so their gear appears to be equally protective against the vacuum of space.

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    I know it's said somewhere (Rebel Dawn? Twilight Company?) that Stormtrooper armour does afford some short-term protection against the vacuum of space Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:30
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    Are we sure there is not a force field keeping the air in?
    – Adamant
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:32
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    Please specify which movie/book/series your spoiler is for. I might be willing to read spoilers, for example, for the EU books - but I wouldn't want to read one for Rogue One.
    – KJP
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 16:01
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    @CrazyDino - Hangars on capital ships (Death Star included) in the Star Wars universe are isolated from the vacuum of space by a magnetic containment field. starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Magnetic_field Thus the Stormies milling around the hangar are probably just cold and not sucking vacuum.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 16:03
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    @CrazyDino - Mein gott. You're right! 2.bp.blogspot.com/-5Klx71qvOGI/UcW_gU6CeRI/AAAAAAAAA_g/… . I've asked another question: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/148104/…
    – Freiheit
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 20:28

Yes. In addition to the previous answers, this has happened to Darth Vader also in a Legends comic book by Marvel, To Take The Tarkin. Here, a group of Imperial officers conspire and try to assassinate the Sith Lord. They remotely open an airlock door behind him and the atmosphere of the depressurizing corridor pushes him out of the ship. Only with the power of the Dark Side, Vader is able to pull himself back in from the space.

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    Young Skywalker?
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:46
  • @deworde: Luke Skywalker. One of the main characters in the Star Wars canons. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:24
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    Yes, but based on Essen's answer, this is "Imperial Officer" Skywalker, hence my confusion.
    – deworde
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:31
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    I have this comic. @Essen is correct, there is a plot against Vader, but the heroes are there at the same time to destroy the super weapon. Wackiness ensues.
    – APrough
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 17:14
  • @deworde Sorry if I misled you. I just re-checked this, and the conspiracy actually took place already in the previous issue of the comics, Resurrection of Evil (the same story arc, though). This clip did not cover it but you can find an image of it in Wookieepedia: starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:ImperialTeaParty-MSW51.jpg
    – Essen
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 17:49

While this is technically about pre-production concepts for the first Star Wars (1977) film, an explanation is provided in this article on the official Star Wars website for one of the most well known images created by Star Wars conceptual artist/designer Ralph McQuarrie in February 1975; see picture below.

Basically, the initial concept for Darth Vader’s masked persona was based on the idea that Vader—in early drafts of the script—would be “…jumping from ship to ship through the vacuum of space.” Thus this is where the idea of Vader’s suit being able to withstand the vacuum of space came from to begin with.

And FWIW, it seems like this concept painting finally came to life in some way in 2016 considering…

…Darth Vader massacres Rebel troops in the airlock of a Rebel ship at the end of Rogue One (2016). While that airlock may—or may not—still be pressurized, the similarities between that scene in 2016 and Ralph McQuarrie’s illustration in 1975 are too strong to dismiss.

“Perhaps the most popular of Ralph’s paintings to appear in the portfolio, the laser duel, as he referred to it, was completed in February of 1975. While the portfolio, and nearly everyone who has discussed this painting in the past 35 years, describes it as ‘Luke versus Vader,’ at the time it was painted, the protagonist would have been Deak Starkiller from the second draft screenplay Ralph was working from.

It was because of this scene that Darth Vader came to have the look that he does. Ralph, concerned that Vader was jumping from ship to ship through the vacuum of space, felt that he would require some sort of breathing apparatus. George agreed, and the look of the masked villain was born.

Deak Starkiller confronts Darth Vader in the corridor of a ship of some kind.

  • "While that airlock may—or may not—still be pressurized ... " How would the rebel soldiers breathe if the airlock was not pressurized?
    – RichS
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 22:54

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