He was the chosen one, the one to bring balance to the force. His path was fraught with emotion and isolation, but also great friendship and love, but in the end, the light was not enough to save him. He fell victim to his fear and innate desire for power.
The story of Anakin Skywalker is one of calamity, hubris, hope, and redemption. He is utterly detestable, and his moral compass went completely wrong. He shows just how dangerous it can be to let the darkness prevail. Through Anakin we can live vicariously, rejecting his ways, and become better individuals for it.
It is unlikely that George Lucas knew just how inspiring his villain would become. Few antagonists are as nuanced and layered as Darth Vader. From the moment Obi-Wan mentioned the name Anakin to a naïve Luke in A New Hope, the intrigue was set. The full story of Anakin’s demise was told in the prequel trilogy and given even more weight and detail through The Clone Wars TV series and various comics and novels.
Anakin’s story is full of up and downs, as well as many lesser-known facts and anecdotes. Join us as we explore them to their fullest, expose the story of Anakin Skywalker to its very core, and learn more about the tragic legend who stumbled through the darkness until he finally fulfilled his destiny.
25 A Training Droid Began His Descent
There are so many “what ifs” revolving around Anakin’s tale. His fall to the dark side was a gradual process, and there were many points where a different choice could have been made, and the crisis averted. But alas, such was not meant to be, and Anakin’s path to the dark side began with a training droid, as shown in Part IV of the Marvel series Obi-Wan And Anakin.
When he was a young padawan at the Jedi Temple, Anakin programmed a training droid to behave like Darth Maul and dispatched it swiftly. One of those watching the display was Sheev Palpatine. The Sith Lord was impressed by what he saw, and sometime later Sidious casually discussed the inefficiency of the Jedi Order. This planted the first seed of doubt in Anakin’s mind and was the beginning of the Chancellor's hold over him.
24 He Built His First Lightsaber When He Was 12
Building a lightsaber is an extremely important rite of passage for a Jedi. Though he was brought to the temple much older then most padawans, Anakin was still required to pass this test and did so at the age of twelve.
The story of how the saber came to be is quite exceptional, as outlined in the novel Jedi Quest: Path To Truth. Anakin and Obi-Wan traveled to the crystal caves of Ilum to build the saber, and there Anakin began to meditate. In his trance, he was assaulted by the specter of a slaver, and one of Darth Maul, and dispatched these demons with ease. When he awoke the saber was complete, one that was perfectly balanced to his needs. The hilt was heavy and rigid, one that complemented immense strength, and it served him well until it was broken in the droid factory on Geonosis.
23 For A Short Time, Anakin Knew He Would Become Vader
The Mortis Arc was one of the intriguing stories in The Clone Wars. Appearing towards the end of the third season, the arc involved the force wielding family of Mortis, who drew Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka to their homeworld with a 2000-year-old Jedi distress beacon.
Within the family are The Son, The Daughter, and The Father. These three entities represent the Dark, Light, and Balance of the Force, and Anakin’s presence sparked an insurgency from The Son, who wished to convert him to the dark. Anakin eventually found himself with The Son in a cave powerfully in tune with the dark side, and here Anakin had a vision. He was shown the future, a future where he ended younglings, hurt his own wife, and was shrouded by a mysterious mask. These revelations were reversed by The Father, who wiped his memory, declaring such visions forbidden.
22 The Cyborg Who Designed Vader Tried To Replace Him
Cylo was a cyborg who helped design Vader’s suit and lived through a system of immortality by transferring his consciousness to new bodies when the old one perished. He was a force to be reckoned with and almost brought Vader down after the first Death Star was destroyed.
This act was a huge failure in the Emperor’s eyes. As such, he employed the services of Cylo to build new apprentices to potentially replace Vader. These cyborgs were Morit and Astarte, and they were introduced in Marvel’s Darth Vader series of comics. When Vader learned of their existence, he descended upon their base to destroy them and was met by several of Cylo’s enhanced soldiers. He readily held them off, and an observing Sidious decided to keep them all alive as his enforcers, considering their skills valuable to the Empire’s cause.
21 His Lightsaber Is Blue For Good Reason
The color of a Jedi’s lightsaber is no trivial matter. The shades are representative of the Jedi or Sith who wields them, and they must meditate on the crystal to imbue it with the Force, and their personality.
The Guardian class, the sect of the Jedi Order that Anakin was a part of, used primarily blue lightsabers. This was because blue lightsabers represented the physical side of the natural world, and those who used them were more focused on athletics and dueling, as Anakin was. Green lighsabers favored force users, and the red synthetic of the Sith was a reflection of the pain they used to fuel their strength, created by making the crystals “bleed” against their will. Purple, the unique color of Mace Windu’s lightsaber, symbolized a balance of light and dark, and could only be used by one who had mastery over both.
20 Gloating Revealed Vader To Obi-Wan
After the battle on Mustafar, Obi-Wan was unable to finish off his former apprentice and left him to perish on the planet’s volcanic shores. He then went into exile on Tatooine, keeping a watchful eye on young Luke Skywalker, and assumed Anakin to be history. He kept this assumption until he overheard a tale about a fearful Imperial enforcer named Vader who took out several Jedi on Kashyyyk and knew his apprentice to be alive and well.
The fight on Kashyyyk was one of the first major showings of Vader’s terrible power. He put down countless Wookies, which forced the Jedi to emerge and face him. He dispatched many and faced down against a master, who nearly bested him, but was ultimately defeated by Vader’s force powers. Vader then took the time to gloat, revealing he was Anakin before flying off, and the rumors began to spread.
19 His Getup Is Both Stylish And Practical
Anakin was never one for convention. He constantly disobeyed orders and “improvised” in dangerous situations, usually to successful results. Everything he did was a subtle act of rebellion against the order, right down to the clothing he chose to wear. These details are revealed in the Star Wars Episode II Visual Dictionary.
Anakin’s robes were of a much darker shade of brown than most and incorporated a synthetic black leather surcoat. This material was more than a fashion accessory, as it offered more protection than traditional cloth, something Anakin would have favored as the jump first, think later type that he was. The outfit was dense and provided more armor against unruly lightsaber strikes, but the order was still concerned about Anakin’s clear rebellion in his clothing choice. Their concern, as it turned out, was justified.
18 He Was Almost Enslaved (Again)
Anakin began his life as a slave and resented all who participated in the unsavory trade. Despite his hatred for it, a mission in the fourth season of The Clone Wars almost landed him, Obi-Wan, and Asohka back into a life of turmoil and unpaid labor.
While pursuing Zygerrian slavers who had kidnapped Togrutan colonists, the trio found themselves in orbit around Zygerria. They posed as slavers to get the Queen’s favor, but eventually, their cover was blown, and Anakin was forced to serve as the Queens personal slave in exchange for the lives of his friends. He complied for a time, but was able to ultimately win the favor of the Queen, and orchestrated an escape in the right moment, while the Queen fell victim to the rage of Count Dooku.
17 He’s An Excellent Teacher
Despite his impulsive and rebellious nature, Anakin did have a soft side, one that allowed him to be an excellent mentor for his own apprentice, Asohka Tano.
When they first met, Anakin was far from thrilled about having an apprentice, but followed through, as he knew there was much to be learned from being a teacher. She was assigned to him as an exercise in emotional connection and release, and he succeeded in a great deal of this. The two grew very close, facing many physical and mental challenges together, and Anakin taught her well in the arts of the lightsaber and on the realities of leadership. Eventually, the two parted, as Asohka became disillusioned with the Jedi Order, and this decision saved her life.
16 How He Got That Scar
A lot happened between episodes two and three of Star Wars. The entire Clone Wars series went down, Anakin grew out his hair, became a lot more confident, and got a mysterious scar over his left eye. The origins of this scar were untold by George Lucas, but a more definitive explanation was revealed in the comic series Republic: Dreadnaughts Of Rendili.
In the comic, Anakin is in the lower levels of Coruscant listening to a recording from Padmé when he is attacked by Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s deadly apprentice. She taunts and antagonizes Anakin, forcing him into a rage, and then deftly carves both sides of the scar, one by one, with her lightsaber. She leaves, departing with the threat that she could have ended him easily, but chose not to.
15 He’s A Beast Tamer
Calming and taming wild beasts is a popular skill among force users. The ability can be very useful in a pinch and has saved countless Jedi from certain doom by mauling. Anakin was a practitioner of beast taming and was trained in the art from his earliest days at the Jedi Temple.
The skill was most useful to him on Geonosis during the execution scene in Attack Of the Clones. Three beasts were released on Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Anakin for the amusement of the Geonosians, one of them being a ferocious Reek from the planet Ylesia. With the use of his well-trained beast taming ability, Anakin was able to calm the Reek and claim it as his steed, using it to his advantage in the battle that ensued.
14 His Angst Is Genetic
It’s a well-known fact that Anakin was extremely emotional. He acted on impulse, letting untethered feelings guide his actions, the very opposite of what a Jedi should do. He committed the cardinal sin of the Jedi: falling in love. His love for Padmé drove him to become Darth Vader, and the angst he came to embody lived on in his descendants.
Luke has much of his father within him, though he would seek to deny it. He often acts on emotion, letting his anger take charge in desperate times. Leia is headstrong and passionate but easily swayed by her feelings for others. And finally, there is Ben Solo, who is his grandfather reincarnate. He is pure doubt and emotion and is letting his feelings guide him down a dark path. Where his story ends is yet to be seen, though as of The Last Jedi, things are looking grim.
13 Anakin’s Wit Never Went Away
When Anakin first endured his transformation, he was in agony. Every day was filled with regret. He constantly questioned his actions. All of this fulled the anger that drove his immense power. As he aged, however, the pain must have faded, for Vader came to carry himself with a smug satisfaction, and was quick to crack a dark joke when the time was right.
Vader eliminated any Imperial officers who failed him. He was comically ruthless when choking a remorseful captain in Empire Strikes Back, quipping “apology accepted” over his dead body. In Return of The Jedi, he announced to the Death Star’s commander that the Emperor is coming, coyly stating “[he] is not as forgiving as I am.” Rogue One takes the cake, however, and you can almost hear Vader chuckle to himself as he tells the director not to “choke on his aspirations.”
12 He Mentally Ended It All To Become Stronger
In Darth Vader issue #24, Vader finds himself at the mercy of Cylo, who has paralyzed him with an internal mechanism that he implanted within the Sith Lord’s suit. As Cylo gloats, Vader goes into a deep trance and returns to that fateful day on Mustafar.
In his vision, Obi-Wan hurls him into the lava instead of leaving him to perish. From the molten rock emerges a fully formed Vader, who precedes to strike down his old master, before being confronted by the Jedi version of himself. Anakin and Darth Vader duel, and Vader emerges victorious, destroying his old self once and for all. Not even a vision of Padmé could change his path, for she appears to him, and he force chokes the life out of her. Free of himself, the Force allows him to break Cylo’s hold, and he calmly eviscerates the terrified cyborg.
11 He Is Grateful For His Fury
While the Jedi meditate to create a calm connection to the Force, the Sith do something much different. They embrace suffering and the power that it holds, and when they meditate, they are learning to harness their hate, and sharpen the edges of their fury.
As detailed in the novel Lords Of the Sith, Anakin became one of the most hateful beings that ever lived. He despised his old master, his failures, and himself, but soon the details of this pain faded, leaving only the raw emotion. These emotions Vader could work with, and he found a power within himself, unlike anything he could have achieved as a Jedi and became reverent of this strength. Without his pain and fury, he would never have become who he was meant to be, and never would have forged a connection with the Force that most only dream of.
10 He Was An Incredible Duelist
Time and again, Anakin showed himself to be extremely adept with a lightsaber. Countless conflicts in The Clone Wars were mitigated by his skills, and he wore the blue saber for a very good reason. There few who could outclass him… but how few?
The number is even smaller then one might guess. Mace Windu and Yoda were the only ones who outranked him. He may have even held his own against Yoda, considering that Dooku held off Yoda, and Anakin defeated Dooku. His dueling skills were most evident during the raid on the Jedi Temple, where Anakin casually defeated numerous Jedi Masters with literally one hand, as the security tapes in Revenge Of The Sith show. There is little one can do to overcome the high ground, however, and only with its help could Obi-Wan bring down his apprentice.
9 Tarkin And Anakin Were Bros
Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin seemed to have a mutual respect for one another in A New Hope. This can be explained by their relationship in the time of the Republic.
In the third season of The Clone Wars, Tarkin first appeared as a Republic Navy Captain. He was captured by the Separatists but was rescued by Anakin and his brigade. Though they initially argued about how to handle an escape plan, the two found mutual ground. They realized they were both confidants of Chancellor Palpatine. Tarkin’s respect for Anakin grew further as the mission continued. By the end, the two were shaking hands and congratulating one another on their respective military gusto. This respect would evolve even further when Darth Vader was born.
8 Anakin Really Enjoys The Force Choke
The Force choke is undoubtedly Darth Vader’s signature move. It’s how he maintains fear and control over his military, and how he eliminates those who displease him. Though it is a Sith tactic, Anakin was performing force chokes long before he fell to the dark side.
Throughout The Clone Wars, Anakin used the Force choke during interrogations. He first used it against Poggle the Lesser of Geonosis, who refused to give up information on the parasitic brain worms infecting his ship. When he was captured by the Queen of Zygerria, Anakin Force choked her to get information on his friends but released her when she threatened their end. He choked a bartender while looking for Obi-Wan, and almost choked Asajj Ventress when trying to get information that would free a wrongly accused Asohka from the Jedi.
7 Darth Plagueis May Be His Father
Anakin’s seemingly immaculate conception is a baffling mystery and convinced Qui-Gon Jinn that he was the chosen one. Such an anomaly had hitherto been unheard of, and it seemed that Anakin’s Force powers were much stronger because of it. However, there may be an answer to the question of Anakin’s parentage: his father is the master of Palpatine himself.
Darth Plagueis was an extremely powerful Sith, one who, by Palpatine's own description, could manipulate the midi-chlorians in the force to create life. Though this tale was used to fully convince Anakin to turn to the dark side, the details of its phrasing cannot be ignored. Plagueis could create life with nothing but the Force itself, and Anakin was born solely of the Force itself. It's a striking coincidence that could explain Anakin's mysterious origins.
6 Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Played Anakin
Casting is a tedious venture, especially when trying to create a character as iconic as Anakin Skywalker. There were a lot of choices bandied about by George Lucas and his team. Leonardo Dicaprio was the first hopeful they seriously approached.
Dicaprio was still riding the success of Titanic and was in serious demand. Despite the prestige of starring in Star Wars, he ultimately declined the offer. He stated that he simply wasn’t ready for such and undertaking. Other runner-ups for the role include Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame and Ryan Phillipe of the cult classic Cruel Intentions. The role was finally given to relatively unknown Canadian actor Hayden Christensen. This was a decision that birthed more memes than the Internet was ready to handle.
5 It’s Obi-Wan’s Fault That He Fell
Anakin’s fall to the dark side was a multi-tiered effort. Failings on all sides contributed to his demise, from within himself and the Jedi Order, but also from Obi-Wan, his master, and closest friend.
Obi-Wan loved Anakin dearly, much like an older brother would, and worried about him constantly. He made efforts to cull Anakin’s impulsive character, for fear of his safety. He often prevented Anakin from advancing as he wanted to. Anakin's emotions drove him, but this was seen as a detriment by the Jedi. If Obi-Wan had let Anakin express himself better, he would have been less inclined to seek solace in Palpatine. He encouraged him to feel as he did. Obi-Wan was keenly aware of Anakin’s power. He attempted to humble him, but this tactic backfired utterly. It resulted in the destruction of the Jedi Order.
4 Anakin’s Conflict With The Jedi Was Justified
In the prequel trilogy, the Jedi are painted as the “good guys” of the story. But are they as wholesome as they make themselves out to be? Anakin didn’t think so, and after a closer look, it becomes difficult to disagree with him.
The Jedi Order was extremely rigid and oppressive in its ways. They attempted to repress emotion, the most powerful of human experiences. If you did not adhere to this unreasonably strict guideline you were expelled from the Order. The Order saw the Force only as black and white. They were unwilling to compromise with those who thought differently from them. They employed an army of enslaved clones instead of using droids like the opposition did. It was clear that something needed to change. Anakin happened to be that change.
3 Vader Tried To End Sidious
When Vader first woke in his new suit in Episode III, his agony could not be understated. He had just lost his remaining limbs, the use of his lungs, and his entire livelihood. The only thing keeping him together was the thought of Padmé. When the Emperor told him she was gone, true Vader was born.
The first issue of Marvel’s Darth Vader comic details what happens next. Rage washed through Vader, and he crushed all the machines that helped build his new body. Then, blinded by the dark side, he lashed out at Sidious and tried to choke his new master. Sidious did not take kindly to this and masterfully held off the attack. He stated Vader could use his pain to his advantage, or perish here and now. Vader chose to live, and thus began a life of servitude to evil.
2 Anakin And Boba Fett Were Almost Brothers
It's a well-known fact that much of the Star Wars plot was ad-libbed. George Lucas made things up as he went along. He certainly didn’t have prequel trilogy mapped out when he was creating the original. As such, there is a certain dissonance between the trilogies, and many pitched ideas fell by the wayside.
One idea was that Darth Vader and Boba Fett were going to be brothers. Inklings of this can be seen in The Empire Strikes Back.The two seem to share a unique confidence and familiarity with one another. How their upbringing might have played out is intriguing to speculate on. Would they both be slaves on Tatooine? Would Boba be force sensitive as well? Do they get separated at an early age, or travel together as the Galaxy’s most hardcore duo? Fan fiction aside, we’ll never know.
1 The Role Of Anakin Is Enough To End A Career
There are many “curses” in Hollywood myth. The role of The Joker always comes to mind, as do the eerie circumstances surrounding Poltergeist and The Exorcist. Perhaps the role of Anakin Skywalker should be added to that list.
After the prequels wrapped, Hayden Christensen all but disappeared from the acting world. He couldn't handle the ridicule that followed his performance and was finding himself overwhelmed by the pressure of it all. Jake Lloyd, the actor who played young Anakin, unfortunately, had things much worse. The bullying that followed his debut prompted him to quit acting and destroy all his Star Wars memorabilia. Things seemed promising after his years of schooling. He was pursuing a career in directing, but then took a turn for the worse. He was arrested for reckless driving in 2015, and diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2016. Currently, he is seeking recovery. We wish him all the best.