In Return of the Jedi, when Vader is talking to Palpatine about Luke, he seems confused about Luke coming to him, instead of having to seek him out:

Vader: He will come to me?

Palpatine: I have foreseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing. He will come to you and then you will bring him before me.

We have seen instances of other Force users with the ability to see the future (in some capacity or another). Yoda exhibited this power in the prequels on occasion, as did Anakin before he was Darth Vader, he had nightmares about Padme's death which could be argued as him seeing a glimpse of the future.

Did he lose this ability as time went on, or what was the reason he couldn't foresee the same event as the Emperor?

  • 1
    The force is very mysterious when it comes to prophecy.
    – Joel H.
    May 11, 2017 at 13:29
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    This assumes we can treat anything Palpatine says as reliable. Granted, it turned out to be accurate, but that doesn't mean he was telling the truth
    – NKCampbell
    May 11, 2017 at 13:29
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    The Force users we see predicting the future clearly do not have perfect knowledge of every future event. And there's no reason to believe that if one future-seer sees and event so will every other future-seer. So even assuming that Palpatine and Vader both had masterclass talent at future-seeing we would expect there to be conversations like this where one of them tells the other about a vision they've had, and the other didn't already know it. This scene tells us nothing at all about whether Vader might be less adept than the Emperor at foresight, or less adept than he used to be.
    – Ben
    May 12, 2017 at 3:37

3 Answers 3


It was a hit-or-miss ability for Vader

A little background first.

Force visions [...] an ability once possessed by all Jedi, [...] had grown rare.

However, as established, Anakin was one of the few with this ability. But in addition to being a rare ability, it was also very nebulous.

Yoda, as one of the Jedi Order's most powerful masters, was able to see into the future, though he understood that Force prophecy was not absolute and that the future was always in motion.

That said, it appears that Anakin did not have the ability to view the future on command. He only had visions in his sleep, and those unbidden. It is not clear what the catalyst for the visions were, perhaps angst about those he cared about, but the fact of the matter is that he had no control over them.

In addition to that, having the ability to see the future does not mean you'll know everything about it. For example, IRL I am a programmer, however, someone else with the same ability will not make the same programs or pursue the same technologies that I do. Sidious clearly had designs on Luke and so devoted time and energy to knowing what Luke would do so that he could plan for it. Vader was also interested in Luke, but for different reasons and to different ends. So it's not surprising that there were areas of no overlap of information.

In short, Sidious and Vader were focusing on different things, and Vader could not reliably see the future anyway.

all quotes courtesy of wookieepedia

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    Yeah, Anakin's dream vision shows that Vader had the ability. But, nobody has that ability on command. Palpatine and Luke all momentarily get the visions.
    – user931
    May 11, 2017 at 16:09
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    Hmmmm are you sure about the not on command part? Asking as yoda thought luke quite well how to have visions on command (at least it SEEMED so to me in empire strikes back)
    – Thomas
    May 11, 2017 at 19:39

    Anakin did have significant Force vision on Mortis, which essentially predicted his fall to Dark Side, duel vs Obi-Wan, force choking of Padme, killing of younglings, rise of Darth Vader, Destruction of Alderaan and possibly at the end , final moments of his life. Unfortunately for him, Father latter wiped memory of this, so he was unable to take action.

Also, in Clone Wars mini-series from 2003, which is now part of Legends, he did have Force vision about his fall to Dark side


All of the Jedi/Sith have varying levels of abilities depending upon the type of activity - fighting, cloaking, manipulation of objects, communication with other life forms (or droids!) foresight, visions, and even sensitivity to changes in the Force itself.

A classic example was the destruction of Alderaan - a massive ripple in the Force - Obi Wan crumpled when it occurred, while Luke appeared to be completely unaffected by the event. Whether it is from experience/exposure/use over time with the Force may make a difference in sensitivity or capabilities in using the Force, this is unknown.

I am surprised that Vader or another Sith hasn't been capturing Jedi for the sole purpose of extracting the midichlorians from them and making their own version of steroid boosting (Jedi Juicing - figuratively and literally!), as the midichlorian count seems to be related to their "strength" with the Force.

  • ...But how does this answer the question?
    – Mithical
    May 11, 2017 at 21:52
  • "...Did he lose this ability as time went on, or what was the reason he couldn't foresee the same event as the Emperor?" was the question. Clearly as Luke did not "see" the massive impact of the destruction of Alderaan, nor in any way, compared to Obi Wan.so why would Vader "forsee" the future as clearly as Sidious could? Vader is clearly the junior Sith here, with less experience than Sidious.
    – Bee Kay
    Jun 15, 2017 at 0:08

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