You have great cinema villains and then you have Darth Vader. He may have been retconned to be the tragic figure of the Star Wars Saga, but in the popular culture's mind he's the series defining baddie, a Force-choking, red-lightsaber-wielding, planet-destroying embodiment of evil. And with such an unshakable screen presence, he's become an emblem of all things Star Wars; a staple of marketing and serial hawker of everything from branded cereal to mobile phone tariffs.
It's no wonder the rumours that Vader's going to play some posthumous part in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy STILL won't go away - he's just too damn iconic to let lie.
Since his debut in the original Star Wars, eleven different people have been invaluable in bringing Darth Vader to life, be it though physical presence, elaborating on his early years or providing an unforgettable voice. And that's discounting all the appearances in other media (Vader's popped up on TV, radio, in video games, on top of all the novels and comic books where he springs from your imagination) and those who worked on the Dark Lord of the Sith behind the scenes.
That's right - eleven people can legitimately say they played Darth Vader on film. Let's take a look at the various people who made Anakin Skywalker such an icon.
DISCLAIMER: This article was updated to reflect Rogue One's Darth Vader actors in September 2018 - SG
11. Ben Burtt - The Breathing
You've got the voice, you've got stature and you've got the man beneath the mask, but the by far the most iconic element of Darth Vader is that breathing.
And, like every other iconic Star Wars nose, it was realised by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt. Unlike some of his crazier ideas (a lightsaber is projector parts and TV interference), the breathing has a pretty simple origin - Burtt recorded himself breathing through a scuba mask.
But, as basic as that may be, it makes Burtt one of the many actors to play Vader and, given the breathing's ubiquity, probably the most important.