Fans argue whether ‘Rogue One’ or ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ has the better Darth Vader

Disney / Lucasfilm

It’s hard to think of a movie villain more iconic than Darth VaderEverything about him is designed to intimidate, from his evil space samurai skull-faced helmet to his booming voice, to that ominous breathing sound. Beyond his visual and sonic impact, we’ve also seen Anakin Skywalker’s whole life play out on screen: from his life as a pod-racing slave on Tatooine to his redemptive death in the arms of his son.

As such, it’s hardly surprising that Disney can’t resist bringing him back. Vader is currently tearing it up in Obi-Wan Kenobi via a joint performance from Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones, and various stunt performers. But many are busily comparing this depiction of Vader to the last time we saw him steal the show in Rogue One.

So, which is the better Vader?. One of the common points is that we’re seeing Vader at two different points in his life. Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place ten years after Revenge of the Sith, while Rogue One comes nine years later, just before A New Hope. At this point, he’s obviously still obsessed with his former master, while later in his life he seems to have settled into being the representative of the Emperor’s might.

Even so, when it comes to showing off how much of a beast Vader is you can’t beat the Rogue One scene in which he tears his way through the terrified Rebels aboard the Corvette, a moment accurately described by one poster “one of the best 10 min sequences in all of Star Wars“. It’s difficult to disagree.

Replies also point to the Obi-Wan Kenobi Vader appearing less in control as his Imperial subordinates appear less competent, and the lack of the Imperial March in the score. Conversely, it’s commonly agreed that James Earl Jones’ Obi-Wan Kenobi Vader sounds much better than Rogue One, likely because he’s getting a boost from ReSpeecher software. There’s also the simple fact that Vader being more central to the Obi-Wan Kenobi story means he gets more character development, especially in his emotional confrontations with Ewan McGregor’s Kenobi.

So it seems like something of a coin flip. Nothing in Obi-Wan Kenobi comes close to the Rogue One corridor scene, but the Vader currently making waves on Disney Plus is certainly no slouch. The character is sure to play a major role in the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale on Wednesday, so let’s see if the math changes after that.

About the author

David James

David James

London-based writer about everything and anything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about Metal Gear Solid or Resident Evil.