I’ve never made any mystery of the fact I’m a nerd and/or a geek (depending on the circumstances, the subject/topic and the point of view of anyone observing me; I have never, however, ever been a dork…let’s get that straight).
Despite this, I try not to let it hang out too much here, since most readers coming here probably aren’t all that nerdy or nerd-subject-sympathetic. To expound nerdily too often here would kind of be like a porn star whipping out his nine- or ten-inch erect dick frequently—under the right conditions, it makes perfect sense, but in most circumstances, it would just be rude.
However, I broke up violently with Facebook last year, and thus no longer have an account there, so I cannot comment at this thread on Facebook about who would win in a fight between Magneto and Darth Vader. Since I cannot comment there, I will discuss this all-important issue here until I have it out of my system. Feel free to leave now if you wish. If you are a nerd or geek, however, please read on and then respond in the comments.
Darth Vader vs. Magneto
General characteristics of the combatants:
Magneto – Control over magnetism. Can lift and manipulate ferrous metals and objects containing significant concentrations of ferrous metals. Has a helmet that blocks psychic powers. He’s a genius, strategically and scientifically. Has incorporated metal fibers in costume so that he can levitate and fly.
Darth Vader – Control over the dark side of the Force allows him to employ telekinesis, read surface thoughts and emotions of others, increase strength and agility, employ limited precognition, mentally influence the actions of others at times and possibly generate “Force lightning.” Also, very skilled in hand-to-hand combat, particularly with the lightsaber.
Analysis of combat scenarios:
Much was made in the Facebook thread I linked to above about how much of Darth Vader’s body is cybernetic…that he is “more machine now than man” as Obi-Wan Kenobi put it. I think that’s probably overstating the state of his body and might be somewhat metaphorical as well, but let’s assume that much of Darth Vader’s body is now metallic, and utilizing steel or some other ferrous metal.
In that case, Darth Vader is at a serious disadvantage. Magneto could literally twist the metallic parts of Vader’s body and cripple or kill him in seconds. Given his powers, Magneto could sense the metal in Vader’s body and know of that vulnerability, whereas Vader would have no way to know of Magneto’s powers. Even if Vader were trying to peer into Magneto’s mind, psychic powers via the Force don’t allow literal mind-reading, and Magneto’s helmet protects him from psychic intrusions.
That said, let’s not forget that before his body parts had to be replaced, Vader (when he was still Anakin Skywalker) survived for quite some time after having both legs severed and falling into molten lava. Likely he was in that predicament for hours before he was rescued by Darth Sidious, and given that ability to endure pain and injury, it is possible that Vader could survive an assault on the metallic parts of his body long enough to telekinetically crush a vital organ in Magento’s body or slice him in half with a lightsaber. Even doing a “force choke” by squeezing Magneto’s windpipe telekinetically would seriously inhibit Magneto’s ability to concentrate and use his magnetic powers.
So, a significant edge goes to Magneto in this scenario, though his victory isn’t assured. Much depends of who attacks first and with how much vigor.
But there are serious flaws with even believing this scenario would be accurate. Why would Vader’s cybernetic body parts have any significant amount of metal or perhaps even any metal at all? Given the use of hyperspace travel, blasters and other high-tech in the Star Wars universe, it seems far more likely that to prevent being weighed down and to provide maximum longevity and flexibility of the cybernetic components, they would be made of polymers, hardened ceramics or even more exotic materials. Even with 21st-century Earth technology, we’re rapidly moving beyond metal in prosthetics and such. Also, remember that in Star Wars major healing is handled through bacta tanks, which use a healing liquid suspension rather than surgical or medicinal intervention, and lightsabers are based on crystalline technology. The use of exotic materials is widespread.
Also, Darth Vader’s armor (and that of the stormtroopers he commands) is clearly not metallic. This also suggests it is unlikely that his internal parts are metallic. Even his lightsaber probably uses little, if any, metal. Given the size of blaster rifles and the ease with which they are hefted, I suspect they don’t even use metal or use very little.
Yes, droids are metallic, and are often restrained or retrieved magnetically. But that’s a control issue. They are already mechanical, so carrying extra weight and having more rigidity isn’t as much a problem as with a living creature. And in order to move them around easier and to keep them from escaping your control, you’d want them to be manipulable by magnetic forces.
So, Vader probably isn’t metallic. Which means Magneto, in a best-case scenario, can only fling metallic objects at Vader. Vader will, of course, bat them away with the power of the Force or slice them to ribbons with his lightsaber.
Some have suggested that Magneto’s helmet will protect him from Force-choking and other telekinetic attacks, but this is ridiculous. The helmet is designed to block telepathic and mind control powers…things that reach into the psyche (not that the Force could influence his mind directly anyway, as it can only do that to the “weak-minded”). Telekinesis is the physical manipulation of objects with the power of the mind. And even if the helmet kept Vader from using a Force-choke somehow, Vader could drop a ton of debris on Magneto or fling him into a wall until he was pulp. Assuming, of course, he didn’t just slice him in half with the lightsaber. Remember, Vader is going to surpass Magneto for physical strength, endurance, speed and agility thanks to his ability to tap the Force.
So, chances are that Magneto is toast.