Darth Vader and Kylo Ren are both powerful Sith masters in the Star Wars universe, and the ability of each to wield the Force raises the question of who is the more powerful. Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader became one of cinema’s greatest villains through the original Star Wars trilogy, with his appearance in the Star Wars prequels taking audiences along his path to the Dark Side of the Force. Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced Anakin’s grandson Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in 2015, with the Star Wars sequels following Kylo’s own journey to redemption, meaning that the Force abilities of both have been heavily showcased in the Star Wars franchise.
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Owing to the differences in visual effects before the 21st century, Darth Vader’s displays of his Force abilities in the original Star Wars trilogy tend to be somewhat more small-scale, such as Vader Force-choking enemies. Vader’s later appearances in Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Vader’s rematch with Obi-Wan in Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series show a more comprehensive look at the extent of Vader’s power, particularly his strong telekinetic abilities from his connection to the Force. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren is far from weak in his capacity to wield the Force himself.
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The Last Jedi showed that Kylo was truly lethal with the Force with his killing of Snoke (Andy Serkis) by using a Lightsaber from a significant distance. Kylo and Rey (Daisy Ridley) also blasted the Imperial Crusier open trying to Force pull the Lightsaber away from each other, so clearly, Kylo Ren is an extremely strong Force-wielder. Nonetheless, it can be said that Darth Vader is the more powerful master of the Force for one key reason: his temperament.
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While Darth Vader’s full power will likely remain unknown, he is significantly more in control of his emotions and his mind than Kylo Ren is. That was not always the case for Anakin, particularly in Revenge of the Sith, but after fully becoming Darth Vader, he levels off significantly, enabling Vader to fully tap into the Force without the carelessness he once did from the anger of his youth. This is much more of an issue for Kylo Ren.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy shows Kylo to be both a powerful Sith and a reckless one, with even his use of his Lightsaber being largely uncoordinated swings more like he were wielding a club. Because of this, Kylo is more prone than Vader to let his emotions, and especially his anger, blind him to mistakes or traps, such as Luke Skywalker’s life-sacrificing Force projection in The Last Jedi. With his greater control of his connection to the Force, Vader would have been much more likely to have sensed that something was amiss with Luke simply standing alone against an Imperial assault, but Kylo’s singular focus on slaughtering his enemies kept him from doing the same.
Both Vader and Kylo become redeemed former villains who help defeat Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) at the end of their respective Star Wars trilogies, and their individual might with the Force is undeniable. Still, as Darth Vader himself learned, relying on raw power alone will keep a Jedi or Sith from reaching true Force mastery. As further highlighted by Vader and Kylo’s redemption stories, it was a lesson that Kylo Ren never fully learned himself, which makes Darth Vader the more powerful user of the Force between the two of them in Star Wars.
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