I know Vader needed the life support system in his suit to live, and he was already partially depending on the Force to survive. But with the masking technique that the Sith Lords sometimes use. Was there canon indication (based on Vader himself as well as other Sith powers known) that he could have left the suit and restored himself?

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    My question, is if they have cloning technology, why they can't manage to grow replacement body parts.
    – Zoredache
    Nov 3, 2013 at 0:48
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    @Zoredache: The badplotonium was clearly interfering the midiclorions. Nov 3, 2013 at 1:00
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    It is mentioned in the book "Shadows of the Empire" that he manages to breath 2 minutes (or 10? I don't remember exactly) without the mask. Nov 3, 2013 at 3:00
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    It's two minutes. Nov 3, 2013 at 6:22
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    It's established that he can heal himself in Shadows of the Empire. That's definitive. The only question is how long Vader would have to maintain his anger to use the necessary Dark Side healing techniques. He's not the Emperor, he always had difficulty with such things. Palpatine was able to heal Vader extensively after Obi-Wan chopped him in half using a similar technique. There is no reason Vader could not have healed his lungs completely - he's obviously not regrowing his legs, even Sith powers have limits - had he maintained his anger. Nov 3, 2013 at 21:10

4 Answers 4


As previously mentioned, in Shadows of the Empire, Darth Vader was able to harness his anger to breathe without his suit for up to two minutes at a time. His issue was that every time he was able to breathe without pain, he would feel joy or relief, which would dampen his anger. It was his anger that helped fuel his Dark Side healing techniques, so he was basically handicapping himself by feeling joy at his success. If Vader had managed to maintain his anger long enough, he could very well have healed himself.

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    Poor Vader, he forgot to put a tack on his shoe while trying to healing himself... Nov 5, 2013 at 0:26
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    If it were me, I'd have gotten angry at myself for not staying angry. Luckily, (for all you), my anger does not give me strength. Dec 21, 2016 at 22:48

Legends: It's possible

Around 4,000 years before the time period of the films, the Sith Lord Darth Sion suffered much more extensive injuries than Darth Vader, and held himself together with the Force. From a medical log in KOTOR II:

[Static] Checking the survivor from the Sith vessel - I'm not sure whether he's alive or dead, or what's even keeping him together. His flesh is cracked and scarred, and I'm registering several thousand fractures in his skeleton, as if each bone was splintered repeatedly over time... and then put back together. Judging from the scar tissue, I believe these wounds took place before his death. If so, he must have been in constant pain. I have no idea what's been keeping him together.

(Source: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, via YouTube video "Harbinger Medical Logs")

Not only that, but his flesh was literally decomposing:

As a marauder for the Sith Empire during the Great Sith War, Sion flings himself at the Jedi, seeking death, but instead, he finds the opposite. Regularly surviving the frontline pandemonium, Sion acquires a pain tolerance that convinces him of his immortality. Inevitably, probability has its day and Sion is struck down.

Yet death does not come for Darth Sion, and each centimeter of his failing body comes alive with anguish, multiplying that infinitely distant point of pain one thousandfold until his brain threatens to collapse. Improbably, Sion gets up. And as he locks eyes with his attacker, Sion lets all his anger for being killed—all the hatred clotting his heart—explode.

Sion finds that keeping his decomposing flesh tethered together with dark side energy is inexplicably painful, and requires endless concentration on the rage that festers inside him—but immortality is immortality.

(Source: Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, page 159, section: Darth Sion)

Next to all this, Vader's skin burns and lung problems seem comparatively survivable, though it's not known whether Vader could himself have achieved the same feat.


While Vader was able to heal himself to some degree.. overall, healing energies are not a strong suit of the dark side by any means. That is something that is typically in the area of the light side, which is why many Jedi such as Yoda, Ikrit and others lives for hundreds of years.

The light side sustains life, while the dark side steals it and takes it away. The same generally goes for healing as well. Though other Sith Lords, such as Darth Caedus (Jacen Skywalker) was able to heal himself of pretty serious injuries using Jedi healing trances, overall it's a good bit harder for dark side users to heal than light side users.

I personally believe that the only reason that Caedus was able to heal himself from the serious injuries he got when he fought, and almost lost to Mara Jade Skywalker, was because he was not fully turned to the dark side yet, so he still maintained enough light side power to be able to effectively heal himself.


I think that if Vader had managed to survive the final battle on the death star, and with enough time and therapy after extensive treatment utilizing cloning technology, he would be able to heal himself using the light side of the force. He was starting to turn back to the light, and it's clear from the comics that even if Vader had remained in the dark, there would be a low chance of him ever finding healing. the dark side didn't work for him the same way it had for Palpatine because Palpatine was raised by a sith from a young age, and thus had more knowledge of the dark side and its workings.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. You say you think this, but do you have any evidence you can put forward? Other Sith or dark side Force users who were able to heal comparable damage?
    – DavidW
    Mar 8, 2023 at 19:21

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