How did Darth Vader eat
Does Darth Vader eat?
Only certain things at certain times, under certain circumstances, and rarely, if ever, without significant difficulty.
Wookieepedia's article on Vader's armor says:
The collar [of his suit] was fitted with feeding straws that allowed Vader to feed from an implanted bladder filled with RepMed Vitapaste 1 and which could be topped up either during monthly maintenance or on request. Even so, due to the terrible taste of Vitapaste, a redundant intravenous feeding system was also installed ...
Vader could take food by mouth but only if he was in a hyperbaric chamber because he had to remove his triangular breath opening. As a result, it was easier for Vader to get nourishment through intravenous and other fluids, and to rely on catheters, collection bags, and recyclers to deal with liquid and solid waste. Although liquids were preferable, he still had the ability to chew when he wanted, even though a nutritional diet provided Vader with all the nutrition he needed. In the event that he wished to consume it orally, he also took RepMed Vitapaste through straws that were in the grills of his face mask. It was known to the public that Vader claimed that he had never eaten or drunk.
The process probably takes place either on the go, as he sees fit, or in his meditation chamber, where he is hidden from prying eyes who might enjoy seeing how dependent he is.
This interesting scenario played out in an early draft of the script for Exit the Empire Strikes Back , shortly after the famous scene in which Han, Leia and Chewie are led into a dining room on Bespin:
Everyone is seated at the table, with Darth Vader at the head; he neither eats nor drinks . Lando eats with a good appetite. The others; Chewbacca sits still and doesn't touch anything. Han and Leia have lost their appetites, but both ... and especially Han ... are drinking wine. Look at Lando and think about murder.
LANDO: See you, Han, I didn't have a choice. I knew who the princess was when you landed, I knew the Empire wanted you both ... and the Empire is important to me. I suppose I really owe my pleasant existence here to the Empire, although I am not part of it and continue to trade with both sides. So I really didn't have a choice.
HAN: I hope you got paid well. You know what's going to happen to us.
LANDO: Lord Vader assured me that nothing would happen to any of you.
LEIA: Ha! I have enjoyed Lord Vader's hospitality before. What's the matter, Lord Vader?Have you gone so far beyond humanity that you no longer need to eat or drink?
DARTH VADER: Along with many others, I had to forego these simple joys . but there are compensations. And you forget something, princess. When we talked to you aboard the Death Star, you had information we needed. Now you have nothing.
- Leigh Brackett Draft Script, The Empire Strikes Back , found on the Jedi Bendu Script Site .
From the always excellent Star Wars Technical Commentaries- Website:
Flashed images of Lord Vader's skeleton in Return of the Jedi suggest he still had teeth, although it is possible that they were bent inward a little. Shadows of the Empire explicitly reveals his teeth, which he gnashes in anger at one point when humiliated by the Emperor in the presence of his rival, Prince Xizor. In the same case, Vader has thoughts of biting off his tongue and swallowing it.
This implies that he is still able to chew and consume food in the usual way. Although he was at a banquet table in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes sat back and once in the conference room of Death Star in the amendment of A New Hope held a drink It is not known whether he has a mechanism that allows him to eat while masked. It is very likely that he will only feed himself when exposed in the privacy and security of his medical chamber . We can assume that his chambers also provide facilities to handle the other end of his digestive process.
- Star Wars technical commentary , Article entitled Injuries to Darth Vader
Yes, Vader can eat in both weird, cyborg, and almost human ways, but he rarely - if ever - does so. For one, eating like a somewhat normal person would require him to take off his helmet, which is both humiliating and dangerous, both physically and in terms of destroying his reputation as an invincible monster. It would also be a tremendous effort. After all, he doesn't have to eat. He had a regularly refilled pouch of the horrific but nutritious Vitapaste in his suit, with handy tubing that ran straight from the pouch to his mouth, and on top of that, because he hated the taste of Vitapaste, he asked for and received a bespoke IV -System that makes it unnecessary to eat anything, even the hideous Vitapaste.
Although technically in the Location is eating (and apparently digesting food - I found no evidence that his digestive system was compromised during or after his catastrophic injuries on Mustafar), he does not appear to exercise this ability and prefers to receive nutrients intravenously or via feeding tubes if necessary .
We have to keep in mind that, as his former mentor says, Vader is "more of a machine than a human". I have the distinct impression that this is exactly what Vader wants. He doesn't like his situation, but he doesn't want to be human either. He wants to be the cold calculating machine everyone seems to think he is. As such, food is likely an uncomfortable necessity for Vader, and an uncomfortable and undesirable reminder of the man he once was.
In addition to this, he also appears to experience a significant amount of self-loathing that was always present in his psyche, but which became particularly pronounced when he was led to believe that he was directly responsible for Padme's death. He might actually feel that he doesn't deserve comfort like good food.
1 Of course, Wookieepedia also has an article on Vitapaste: "RepMed Vita Paste was an edible paste for those beings who are unable to eat normally. After his injuries on Mustafar Darth Vader consumed this product by feeding straws in his mask. DD-13 implied it tasted terrible "[Note: DD-13 is a medical droid].
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