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Anakin Skywalker is the central character of Star Wars. As the Chosen One who brings balance to the Force by destroying the Sith, the first six episodes of the Skywalker Saga are, in reality, all about him. He’s even more important than highly significant characters like Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi, although, of course, he’s closely associated with both.
On this page, I’ve put together a bio of Anakin Skywalker. Lucasfilm and now Disney have produced many films, series, books, and comics exploring his character, so there’s so much material I could go into but have chosen not to.
Importantly, I’ve chosen to broadly leave out the many years Anakin spends as Darth Vader. Obi-Wan and Yoda both use similar terminology when they talk about their old friend, describing him as being “consumed” by the Dark Lord, effectively “betraying and murdering” Anakin.
Key Details Up Front
Qui-Gon Jinn firmly believed that Anakin was the Chosen One, an ancient Jedi prophecy speaking of one who would rise up through the ranks and restore balance to the Force. At his untimely death, he passed this faith down to his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who took up the job of teaching Anakin.
Under Obi-Wan, Anakin grew into a mighty Jedi, although often rash. He was deeply affected by his mother’s death at the hands of Tusken slavers, feeling inadequate at his inability to save her life. When the Clone Wars began, he was granted the rank of Jedi Knight and consequentially took up his position as Jedi General in the Grand Army of the Republic. Shortly before, he married his forbidden love, Senator Padme Amidala, in a move that went against the Jedi Code.
Through this time, Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who had befriended Anakin and been a father-figure to him, was carefully planting the seeds of the Dark Side. He manipulated the Clone Wars, controlling both sides, to throw the Jedi off balance. He would then play on Anakin’s frustrations and fears of his wife’s death to, in effect, force him into joining the Dark Side.
Consumed by Darth Vader, Anakin turned on the Jedi, leading the attack on the Jedi Temple and killing all the Jedi stationed there – “not even the younglings survived.” He then traveled to Mustafar to exterminate the Separatist (CIS) leaders Palpatine had gathered together.
Obi-Wan then stowed away in Padme’s ship as she went to ask him if the rumors were true. Vader almost killed his wife by choking her and turned on his old master upon discovering this. After a fierce fight, Kenobi defeated him, leaving him to burn in the lava river. Although he survived, his injuries meant he had to wear a robotic suit for the rest of his life.
Eventually, with the second Death Star above Endor, Vader brought his son, Luke, to face the Emperor in his Throne Room. Here, Luke did what his father couldn’t and resisted the temptations of the Dark Side. His actions and love forced Vader to intercede, sacrificing himself to destroy Palpatine and save Luke, turning him back to the Light in his last moments.
He became one with the Force as Anakin Skywalker once again.
Anakin Skywalker Bio Overview
Anakin was unusual for a Jedi. He grew up as a slave boy on Tatooine with his mother, Shmi, working for the Toydarian Watto. When Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Amidala of Naboo landed on the planet, the Jedi soon realized there was something special about the boy and his instinctive connection to the Force – something most had to spend years of dedicated study mastering.
When asking Shmi, Anakin’s mother, about his father, she told Qui-Gon, “There was no father. I carried him; I gave birth; I raised him. I can’t explain what happened.” Coupled with what he had seen of Anakin’s as-yet-unknown Force abilities, he found Shmi’s story fascinating. The ancient prophecy – a field in which Jinn spent a much more significant proportion of his studies than his contemporary Jedi – foretold a child born “of no father”, who would bring balance to the Force.
Qui-Gon secured the boy’s freedom by taking advantage of Watto’s gambling mindset, trusting in the boy’s natural ability as a podracer. After winning the Boonta Eve Classic, Anakin was freed and taken back to Coruscant with Jinn, who planned to train him as a Jedi. Before that, though, the young lad was forced to say an emotional goodbye to his mother, who, despite Qui-Gon’s best efforts, had to stay in Watto’s service.
Anakin was taken to Coruscant, where he was greeted by a diplomatic party meeting Padme. This party included Senator Palpatine, who welcomed the boy warmly. He was one of the only friendly faces Skywalker would encounter.
Before the Jedi Council in the Temple, Anakin’s abilities were undoubtedly proved true. His instincts were spot on every time. However, the Jedi Masters had concerns over the fear they felt emanating from him, knowing its potential to lead a person to the Dark Side. As such, they refused to allow him to join the Order.
Outraged, Qui-Gon volunteered to teach him himself – whatever it took. He was convinced of the boy’s position as the Chosen One and knew he would need careful guidance to grow up to fulfill his destiny.
However, that determination was to be shortlived. Back on Naboo, Qui-Gon, an older Jedi by this point, was defeated and killed by the aggressive swordsmanship of the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Obi-Wan then “killed” (supposedly) the Sith apprentice, and the duty to train Skywalker passed to him – something Qui-Gon made him promise with his last breaths.
Thus, Anakin was officially permitted to join the Order as Obi-Wan’s Padawan. However, he would join the Jedi at their most uncertain point in their entire history. A time when the Sith, thought to be extinct for a millennium, had reared their heads once again; a time when the Jedi’s abilities to use the Force was starting to become clouded from Dark Side interference; and a time that, unbeknownst to the whole galaxy, was being manipulated and almost entirely controlled by one evil man…
After training under Obi-Wan for 10 years, Anakin became increasingly powerful. His connection to the Force even began to rival his master, something Kenobi became visibly uncomfortable about. He met Padme once again, a decade after having last seen her. Now a grown man, he still harbored deep-rooted feelings of attachment towards her, despite Obi-Wan’s warnings.
The Jedi Padawan was assigned to protect Senator Amidala after a suspected attempt on her life. At the same time, Obi-Wan tracked down the would-be assassin. Taking her back to her homeworld of Naboo disguised as refugees, the two developed a strong romantic bond, although it went somewhat unspoken (strange fireside conversation aside). As a Jedi, attachment and romance were forbidden for Anakin. Padme, as a senator, had to focus on her job, and being embroiled in a scandal with a member of the Order would risk her reputation and, therefore, her position.
While on Naboo, Anakin began having dreams of his mother suffering. He was so troubled by them, believing them to be visions, that he felt he needed to go and find her. Padme would then volunteer to go with him, so he wouldn’t be disobeying his mandate to protect her.
On Tatooine, Anakin headed back to Watto’s shop, searching for Shmi. He learned that the Toydarian had sold her to a moisture farmer, Lars Owen. Lars had freed and married her. Anakin and Padme traveled out to their farm, where they met Lars, Owen, and Beru (who would feature in A New Hope as Luke’s aunt and uncle).
She wasn’t there. She had been captured by Tusken Raiders over a month before and hadn’t returned. Lars, unable to search for her due to his injuries, had given up on her, believing there was no chance she could’ve survived. Anakin went off in search of her, leaving Padme on the farm.
He would find his mother in a Tusken encampment, tortured almost to death. Cutting her loose, he held her in his arms in her last moments. When she passed away, Anakin was filled with rage: fury at the Tuskens, but mostly with himself, lacking the power to save her. He activated his lightsaber, taking his wrath out on the camp – slaughtering “not just the men, but the women, and the children, too”.
After burying Shmi at the farm, Anakin and Padme returned to the ship, where they relayed a message from Obi-Wan to the Jedi Council on Coruscant. Kenobi had located Kamino, a planet deleted from the Jedi archives and apparently forgotten by almost everyone else in the galaxy. Here, a clone army had been made for the Republic, although nobody yet knew about it. The bounty hunter Jango Fett was the donor for the army. It was he whom Obi-Wan connected with the assassination attempts on Senator Amidala’s life. After tracking him to Geonosis, he had learned about a Separatist plot, led by Count Dooku, as battle droid armies were being put together in defiance of the Republic.
During the message, Obi-Wan was attacked by droidekas, prompting Anakin and Padme to head to Geonosis to try to rescue him. They failed miserably and were captured and then placed in the Geonosis Arena with Kenobi for execution. Although they held the beasts off for some time, they were soon swarmed.
Cue the arrival of the Jedi warriors, led by Mace Windu. By protecting Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme, they declared war on the CIS and their battle droid army. While Jedi put up a valiant fight, the sheer numbers of the droids overwhelmed them. The few survivors gathered in the center of the arena, awaiting the moment when Dooku would allow the surrounding battle droids to open fire, no doubt ending all their lives.
Yoda arrived with the clone army from Kamino in the nick of time, saving them but officially beginning the Clone Wars.
As the battle left the arena and progressed across the planet, Obi-Wan and Anakin spied Count Dooku and followed him. Confronting him in his hangar, Anakin rushed in and was immediately hit by a powerful bolt of Force lightning, winding him. Obi-Wan would then take on Dooku alone but, as a far superior swordsman, was easily picked off. Skywalker saved his master from the finishing blow and fought Dooku alone for some time before his arm was sliced off.
Yoda then arrived and fought the Count, his old apprentice, allowing him to escape to save the two Jedi.
Anakin married Padme in a secret ceremony on Naboo shortly after. The only witnesses, aside from the minister, were C-3PO and R2-D2.
The Clone Wars animated TV show explores Anakin’s adventures as a Jedi Knight and General in much more detail.
As the commander of the 501st with Captain Rex at his side, Anakin led the clone troopers across many missions. Near the beginning of the Clone Wars, he was assigned a Padawan by Yoda – Ahsoka Tano. Reckless and overly confident, she was a shadow of himself and helped him better himself.
He developed a close father-daughter bond with Ahsoka, who grew into a respected member of the Order, much loved by the clone troopers who served under her. When Ahsoka was framed for her involvement in a plot to bomb the Jedi Temple, she found the Jedi Council and the Republic Senate turning against her. Only Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Plo Koon, and Captain Rex remained loyal. Anakin worked tirelessly to prove her freedom. While he did manage to do so, Ahsoka was permanently damaged after seeing the dire state the Order and Republic was in with new clarity. She left the Order, unknowingly leaving Anakin to face the darkness within him almost entirely alone.
After being away fighting for some months, Anakin returned to Coruscant after Chancellor Palpatine was abducted by General Grievous. He and Obi-Wan launched a stealth-based assault on Grievous’ capital ship, where they found the Palpatine but were confronted by Dooku.
They fought together, but the Count knocked Obi-Wan out. Enraged and protective of his old master, Anakin defeated Dooku, slicing off his hands and executing him at the behest of the Chancellor. He would then carry Obi-Wan as the three attempted to escape.
They were captured, and the three ended up on the bridge, where they fought against Grievous’ droids. The General escaped, leaving his ship to crashland on Coruscant. Anakin piloted it in, causing minimal damage (but still quite a lot).
Back on solid ground, he met his wife, Padme, who revealed she was pregnant. The fear was evident in her tone and expression, but Anakin was overjoyed. He believed there was a way that he and Padme could live peaceful lives with their child once the Clone Wars ended.
Anakin would then start having dreams similar to those he had about his mother before her death. These visions haunted him, and he vowed to do whatever it took to learn how to conquer death. He sought Yoda’s advice. The Jedi Grand Master cautioned him, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
This wasn’t good enough for Anakin, and when Chancellor Palpatine mentioned the Sith legends of Darth Plagueis the Wise – who knew how to manipulate the Force midichlorians to create life – Anakin became desperate to learn it. Palpatine (Darth Sidious) would then inflict the knife blow: it was impossible to learn it from a Jedi.
Descent into Darkness
Anakin became conflicted: deep inside, he was a good, kind man, but the Jedi gave him no path in which he could save his wife. He could also see their political bias and corruption, which most of his fellow Jedi failed to recognize. His fear of losing Padme like he lost his mother would begin to control his actions. Palpatine continued to manipulate him, playing on his fear.
While Obi-Wan was away engaging and defeating Separatist General Grievous, Skywalker was called to Palpatine’s office. Kenobi and Yoda, the only two Jedi with any influence on him, were far away across the galaxy.
Upon realizing that the Chancellor was, in fact, the Sith Lord the Jedi had been looking for, Anakin informed Master Windu of his discovery. Mace had always been distrustful of “young Skywalker” but promised, “If what you have told me is true, you will have gained my trust.” He and three other Jedi Masters (Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Agen Kolar) headed straight into the Senate building and announced that Palpatine was under arrest.
The Sith Lord showed his true colors, despatching the other three Jedi with relative ease (Kit Fisto, we miss you). However, Windu could match his foe’s power and defeated him, holding him at lightsaber point.
Meanwhile, Anakin gazed out at the Coruscant skyline in typical Star Wars fashion. He had to make a choice – if Palpatine died, then so would Padme. Unable to stand that, he rushed to follow Windu to the Chancellor’s Office, where he demanded that he be kept alive. “I need him!”
Mace, though, knew that Sidious was far too dangerous and that he had “control over the Senate and the courts”. As he raised his lightsaber to execute the Sith Lord, Anakin instinctively drew his lightsaber and sliced off the Jedi Master’s hand, leaving him vulnerable to Palpatine’s Force lightning. Windu was hurled out the window, presumably to his death. Simultaneously, Vader was born.
The Rise of Darth Vader
Vader had to embrace the full power of the Dark Side to learn how to save Padme. Now that he had effectively killed Master Windu, he knew there was no turning back and agreed to lead the brainwashed 501st Legion into the Jedi Temple. Most of the powerful Jedi were away fighting and killed after being ambushed by their own troops. The Temple contained younger, inexperienced Jedi – easy prey for Vader and the clones.
Sidious then sent him to Mustafar to execute the Separatist leaders mercilessly. Here, Padme rushed to find him to confront him. Obi-Wan had approached her, informing her of Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and his murder of the Younglings. He also knew that his former apprentice and friend was the father of her child. “I’m so sorry.”
Now, he had stowed away on her ship. Seeing him, Vader flew into a rage, believing Kenobi had manipulated Padme into betraying him. He Force-choked her, almost to death, before he and Obi-Wan engaged in the duel of all duels. Obi-Wan would win but, unable to kill his old friend, left Vader to burn in the lava river. The young Sith would survive, but only just, and would now need a robotic suit to breathe and move.
Ironically, Anakin had caused his visions to come true. By falling to the Dark Side and choking Padme, he had broken her “will to live”. Although her wounds were not fatal, she had nothing left to live for. Anakin had betrayed her, caught up in the lies of Darth Sidious, and destroyed the only two things she cared about: himself and the democratic Galactic Republic.
After many years terrorizing the galaxy, Vader would come face to face with his son – now one of the few remaining Jedi. Despite being threatened with losing everything, Luke refused to fall to the Dark Side. His actions were the complete opposite of Anakin’s.
Seeing his son’s willpower and suffering, Vader became Anakin once more. He turned on Sidious and threw him down the Death Star’s central shaft, killing him. However, the Force lightning from the mighty Sith Lord short-circuited his suit. Despite Luke’s attempts to save him, Anakin asked to be allowed to die peacefully.
Luke removed Anakin’s helmet so his father could look at him with his tired eyes. His son had done what he had failed to do so long ago, but by doing so had made him fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen One.
He died and became one with the Force, later joining Obi-Wan and Yoda as they watched Luke and the Rebels celebrate the downfall of the Empire and the defeat of the Sith.
- The Phantom Menace – as a kind slave boy, Anakin brings Qui-Gon, Padme, and Jar-Jar to shelter from the sandstorm.
- The Phantom Menace – Qui-Gon realizes that the boy is the Chosen One, especially after seeing his natural instinctive reactions in the Boonta Eve Podrace.
- The Phantom Menace – Qui-Gon ensures his freedom and brings him to the Temple, but he must leave his mother behind. The Jedi Council refuses to train him.
- Attack of the Clones – Anakin has dreams about his mother’s suffering. He goes to save her, but she dies in his arms.
- Attack of the Clones – now much older, Anakin is still in love with Padme. He’s assigned to protect her, and they eventually confess their feelings for each other. They get married in secret.
- The Clone Wars – Anakin trains a young Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. She becomes his closest confidante after Padme and Obi-Wan but is driven away by the Jedi Council.
- Revenge of the Sith – Anakin is now more powerful than Obi-Wan. He kills Dooku and rescues the Chancellor.
- Revenge of the Sith – Anakin learns Padme is pregnant. He starts having visions of her death in childbirth and knows that he must learn how to overcome death using the Force quickly to save her.
- Revenge of the Sith – distrusting the Jedi Council, Anakin tries to learn from the Sith. He is then forced to make a split-second decision when he kills Windu and becomes Darth Vader.
- Revenge of the Sith – Vader murders everyone in the Jedi Temple before heading to Mustafar and executing the Separatist leaders.
- Revenge of the Sith – believing that Padme betrayed him, he chokes her, confirming her fears and causing her death. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan fights and defeats him, leaving him to become the masked monster the galaxy would come to fear.
- Return of the Jedi – after many years as the Emperor’s second-in-command, Luke Skywalker – his son – believes in him, refusing to fall to the Dark Side like he had. This redeems Anakin, who kills Palpatine but dies in the process. He becomes a Force Ghost and joins Obi-Wan and Yoda.
The key theme in the life of Anakin is compassion. Anakin is an incredibly kind, giving person, but he’s also susceptible to losing control of his emotions. He struggles to understand the difference between compassion and attachment. Where he becomes jealously attached to the people he loves (Padme, Shmi, and to a certain extent Ahsoka and Obi-Wan), the Jedi around him forget their compassion. They are becoming so politically involved that they will only help people affiliated with the Republic rather than showing compassion to all. They are two opposite – and wrong – ends of the spectrum.
In the end, Palpatine manipulates him based on his personality – he isn’t entirely to blame. When forced to choose between the Jedi and Padme, Anakin chooses Padme. He can’t bear to lose her and would become “everything [he] swore to destroy” to “protect” her.
Luke, however, when faced with the same situation (he must either join the Emperor or watch his friends die), refuses. He knows that giving in to the Dark Side means they lose anyway. Oppositely, Anakin’s fall to the Sith meant that Padme died regardless; it actually caused her death. Luke rose above and defeated the temptation that Anakin couldn’t.
This display of strength and compassion on his father brings Anakin back to the Light.
The Phantom Menace –
Now this is prodracing.
The Phantom Menace –
Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other.
Attack of the Clones –
I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
Attack of the Clones, to Padme’s expression of love –
You love me? I thought we had decided not to fall in love. That we’d be forced to live a lie and that it would destroy our lives.
The Clone Wars (S5E3) –
But try to remember, always put purpose ahead of your feelings.
Revenge of the Sith –
General Grievous… you’re shorter than I expected.
Last words to Obi-Wan before becoming Darth Vader –
Obi-Wan, may the Force be with you.
Goodbye, old friend. May the Force be with you.
Coming to a conclusion on Anakin in an article like this is difficult. There are so many aspects to his character to consider. Indeed, the entire Star Wars story is all about him in the end. I’ll do my best to give a fitting summary of his remarkably complex character.
Anakin is an example of how far the best of us can fall. How our leaders can betray us. How badly the strongest of us can be defeated.
His character is constantly torn between people who distrust him, those who manipulate him, and those who try – but fail – to guide him. It’s a tragedy. As the audience, we are supposed to love him as a person, screaming at the screen when he confronts Mace in the Chancellor’s Office, subsequently enters the Jedi Temple, kills the Separatists, and essentially murders Padme. It enrages us to see Palpatine’s deceit and influence over him, representing the destructive ways we can all be affected by the things around us.
In the end, Anakin’s is also a story of redemption. Despite all the terrible things he’s done, all the people he’s murdered, Luke sees the good in him. He is the only one, aside from Padme, who believed in the Anakin Skywalker within.
And so, in a way, Anakin shows that the best of us can fall to become the worst, but also that the worst of us can rise to become the best.
Question: Is Anakin Skywalker the Chosen One?
Answer: Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One.
This hasn’t been confirmed by the Disney canon, although the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series may hopefully shed some light on it.
Here’s what most fans think, based on what we know.
Anakin is the Chosen One, destined to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force. He had the potential to be the most powerful Jedi ever but lost something of that when he fell to the Dark Side and became dependent on his suit.
Obi-Wan, Yoda, and almost the entire galaxy believed that Anakin Skywalker had symbolically been killed, usurped by Darth Vader. In Rebels, Obi-Wan tells Maul that Luke is the Chosen One, something he genuinely (but wrongly) believes. They thought there was no redemption possible. Padme disagreed, telling Obi-Wan there was still good in him before passing away.
Luke Skywalker also rebelled against his masters’ advice when he refused to kill his father, seeing and sensing the same thing. This act of compassion pulled Anakin Skywalker back. By symbolically killing Darth Vader and then Darth Sidious, Anakin fulfilled the prophecy. “He is the Chosen One.”
Question: Does Anakin Skywalker have a father?
Answer: Shmi tells Qui-Gon,
“There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can’t explain what happened.“
The comic book Darth Vader #25 reveals, though, that Palpatine himself influenced the midi-chlorians in Shmi’s womb to form the baby. Therefore, while not directly Anakin’s father, the Emperor is responsible for his very soul.
Future films and episodes may explain this away as simply another manipulative vision from Sidious. Still, for the moment, it can be taken as truth.
Question: Who are Anakin’s children?
Answer: Anakin has two children, the twins Luke and Leia Skywalker. Leia would almost immediately take the name of her adopted family on Alderaan, Organa. They were born in 19 BBY, at the time of the fall of the Jedi and Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire. Luke is just a few moments older than Leia. This makes them about 19 in A New Hope, 22 in Empire, and 23 in Return of the Jedi.
Leia has very little to do with Vader. She has grown up so far distanced from the other Skywalkers that Anakin never even senses she’s his daughter, despite interrogating her in A New Hope.
Luke, however, holds the surname Skywalker. He comes face to face with Darth Vader on multiple occasions, eventually learning of the true identity of Anakin Skywalker. In the end, it’s Luke who redeems Anakin back to the Light.