What is the origin of Darth Vader's face scar?
At the end of Return of the Jedi, when Luke takes Vader's helmet off, Vader has a big scar across his face, and, if I remember correctly (please correct me if I am wrong), Vader never got that scar when battling Obi-Wan at the end of Episode III.
So what battle did he get this scar in? Someone must have been a challenge for Vader sometime or other?
What scar? Looking at the scene where Vader is unmasked to Luke, he has lots of visible burnt flesh scarring but no prominent scar like the vertical scar over his right eye from Episode III, however this also to was not visible in _Return Of The Jedi_ unmasking scene. For reference: http://i.stack.imgur.com/Ayltc.png
@Jared I really do remember him having a huge scar on his face before the revamps. I will have to go home and confirm this now. But either way the scars that he does have in that image don't go together with the once from episode III.
There's a good chance you're thinking of the scar on the back of his head that showed in the scene in Ep. V when he's in his meditation chamber and the top rises and we see a scarred head before his helmet is lowered into place on his outfit.
@TangoOversway You know what I could be thinking of the scar on the back I may have just got them mixed up. Thanks
@JPow3 That was the explanation that EU gave before the prequels contradicted it. Palpatine was, if anything, older then he looked. His face in the last part of SW III and the Original Trilogy was a result of the damage he took when Mace reflected his Force lightning back at him. Vader's was from the burns. There is no Canon evidence that the dark side deteriorates the physical body. As much as I love the EU, this is one of many ways in which it is broken. Disregard that aspect, please.
Fortunately, they paid attention to those details when they filmed Revenge of the Sith.
As a reference, here is a screen shot of Vader in the Return Of The Jedi unmasking scene. You can see two big scars, one on the top of his head and one under his eye.
And here is a screenshot of Vader as he was burning. There are other frames where you see his face, but I chose this one because you could see the scar on the top of his head.
Finally, when he is rebuilt, you can see the scar under his eyes:
George Lucas was asked this question during the filming of 'Revenge of the Sith'. Suffice to say, his answer was neither illuminating, nor especially meaningful.
"So how did Anakin get that scar, George?" asks John Knoll.
"I don't know. Ask Howard," says George, referring to President of Lucas Licensing Howard Roffman. "That's one of those things that happens in the novels between the movies. I just put it there. He has to explain how it got there. I think Anakin got it slipping in the bathtub, but of course, he's not going to tell anybody that."
The book that he's referring to is 'The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader' which informs us that his scar was received during a duel with Asajj Ventress.
Lethal droids were not the only adversaries to the Jedi, as Count Dooku had recruited such deadly beings as the Sith aspirant Asajj Ventress and the nearly indestructible Gen'Dai bounty hunter, Durge, to fight on his behalf. Dooku himself had trained Ventress in the art of lightsaber combat, but often ridiculed her preference to wield two lightsabers at the same time. Anakin nearly defeated Ventress on the fourth moon of the gas giant Yavin. One of their duels, in the industrial sector of Coruscant, left him with a deep scar on the right side of his face.
We actually get to see this event in the comic serial Republic 71: Dreadnaughts of Rendili, Part 3
Both the comic and book are Legends. Your quote talks about a scar on his right side of the face - a scar which isn't there in Ep 6. The comic shows where he might have gotten a scar on the left side below his eye (there in Ep 6), but Anakin only has a scar on the right side of his face during Ep 3, so the scar on the left side couldn't canonically be from that duel before Ep 3.
I read in one of the Expanded Universe novels that the scarring on Vader's face in his final moments were due to his use of the dark side. It was mentioned that the dark side of the force can physically corrupt a person, and that Emperor Palpatine appeared much older than he actually was due to his extended use of the dark side. This is further supported by the Dark Empire graphic novel which explains the Emperor needed a series of clones because the bodies could only support the use of dark energy for so long.
As opposed to the EU nonsense?
In The Rebels animated series, we see
Ahsoka damaging Darth Vader's helmet with her lightsaber, which gives enough opening for her to recognise him as Anakin Skywalker, her former Jedi master
It is possible that one of the scars could be caused by this hit. However, the accepted answer seems to be solid enough.
His whole body was burning when Daddy Sidious found him on Mustafar. The most likely explanation is that the bots couldn't stitch him together better than that. There were no threats to Vader after his defeat by Obi-Wan and before Luke confronted him on Death Star II.
There were threats to the Empire that Darth Vader dealt with between episodes III and IV. There are loads of books that are between them. Also not the best source but there are also games out there between these two periods
@bitmask though stating that _what_ exactly happened between ep III and IV might be a matter of canon is true, I find it hard to believe Vader just sat on his thumbs for 20-odd years. Something must've happened.