“He can help you. He was meant to help you.”Shmi Skywalker to Padme and Qui-Gon Jinn
As a boy, Anakin Skywalker had a generous heart, courage, and a sense of honesty. He had compassion on those around him. It was the darkest of fates that led to him being twisted into everything he once stood against. But the core of who he was while diminished, was not entirely quenched. This would save him, his family, and a galaxy. Here we focus on the light side of his life. For his life as Darth Vader check here.
His mother, Shmi Skywalker was not freed along with him and leaving her in slavery haunted him for years. Her brutal death at the hands of the sandpeople will lead to his first slip into the dark side.
His secret wife, Padme Naberrie Amidala was the joy of his life. She wasn’t blind to his weaknesses but also saw his compassion and his regret over his failures. She was a positive, soothing influence on him. His fear of losing her had him understandably in a panic. Sadly, there was no one he could turn to for advice. It was forbidden for a Jedi to marry. He told no one, except Nejaa Halcyon (who had confessed his own secret marriage to him.)
Luke Skywalker was the son he thought he’d lost. When Luke showed up in his life (on the opposite side), he could no longer run from who he had once wanted to be. Luke flew like him and fought like him, and for much the same reasons. His son’s compassion would heal wounds he didn’t want to admit to having.
Leia Organa, his daughter, was adopted by Bail Organa. Unfortunately, he heard her terribly when on the Dark Side. Nonetheless, his spirit would speak to her, asking forgiveness. While initially unwilling, Leia gradually came to accept he was far more complicated than she’d once thought. Eventually, she came to accept him, although in a sense Anakin frightened her all the more because he was a good man who had fallen so far. If it could happen to him, she wondered, was anyone truly safe.
The Lars family Anakin never really knew at all. He met them only after he realized his Mother was in danger. Cliegg had freed and married his Mother. But she’d been taken off their farm by the sandpeople. The settlers tried for a rescue but over thirty went out. Few came back. Cliegg was badly injured and pulled out by Owen, his son (Anakin’s step brother). His view of them was initially positive but the shock of losing his Mother tainted that impression. However it was Owen and his wife Beru (his girlfriend when Anakin met them) that would raise his son Luke.
Anakin never lived to know them. All of his family was influenced by his action, for better or worse. Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo, Ben Skywalker (grandchildren), Allana Solo (Great Granddaughter), Kol, Nat, Cade Skywalker, (distant grandchildren), Roan Fel, Marasiah Fel, Ania Solo (Presumed distant grandchildren)
Check out the complete family tree here.
As a child, Anakin had many friends of all ages, mostly among the fellow slaves and the downtrodden of Mos Espa. Kitster Binai, Wald, Amee, were among the closest. He left a lasting impression on them and he missed them terribly. Two of them would be inspired and find freedom from slavery thanks to Anakin. As a Jedi, Anakin’s first kill with a Jedi was a slaver who had killed Amee’s mother.
He also had C3PO, a droid he built for his Mother. He would be reunited with the droid years later, and, since Jedi couldn’t technically own anything, he passed 3PO on to his wife.
In his heart, he grieved for Anakin’s loneliness..he wished a simple thing for Anakin. It was something he could not give his padawan. It was not a gift he could hand over, like a well loved river stone. He wished for a friend.Obi-Wan Kenobi in Jedi Quest, The Way of the Apprentice
His padawan years were more difficult. The others had all been raised together as Jedi from birth. His late arrival, instant padawan status and prophesied future set him apart. The young trainee often retreated to rebuild droids and practice his mechanical skills in order to cope. Anakin finally befriended Tru Veld and Darra Thel Tanis. Unfortunately, a terrible mission cost him these friendships. Barriss Offee and he became friends over a challenging journey on Ansion.
He bonded with the “Padawan Pack” during the battle of Jabiim when Kenobi was presumed dead. They included Tae Diath, Aubrie Wyn, Elora Sund, Windo Nend, Zule Xiss, Mak Lotor, Kass Todd, Vabesh all had lost their Masters. Anakin was ordered to lead the evacuation and was the only one of the group to survive.
He befriended Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon over sparring matches while Kenobi was away on a solo assignment. Halcyon chose to make him his second in command when an emergency mission to retake a communication center came up. He introduced him to Grudo, a Rodian Sargeant Major, who taught him a great deal about command and leadership. The mission also introduced him to Zozridor Slayke, the leader of the Freedom’s Sons. Sadly, Grudo would not survive the mission.
Nejaa would be killed on a mission against fallen Jedi. Halcyon was the only one who knew Anakin was married. He confessed after Nejaa told him in private that he also was married and was wrestling with this conflict with the Jedi Code the council handed down.
In fact, one of his only consistent friends was R2-D2, the droid that had helped save Padme from the Trade Federation and flew with him to destroy the droid control ship. Padme sent the droid to him to watch over him. R2 flew with him in his new Jedi interceptor and was skilled with numerous tricks to help Anakin against battle droids.
The boy would change the course of history.
Maul had to kill Qui-Gon, to keep the boy from being trained.
Qui-Gon was the key to everything.Darth Plaguies
Qui-Gon Jinn had inspired Anakin’s dream of being a Jedi. Anakin’s closest friends were Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Chancellor Palpatine. Obi-Wan had trained him well and had great faith in him as a Knight. Kenobi wasn’t blind to his attraction to Padme or how his belief system differed from the average Jedi. But no one knew Palpatine was the Sith. The Jedi at the time actually encouraged the the relationship, saying it was an honor and he could learn a lot about the Senate and politics from him. Thus Anakin was being taught two conflicting belief systems. In all likelihood, the teaching of the Sith would’ve been rejected outright coming from a stranger.
Accomplishes and Challenges – Character Growth
Anakin’s first great accomplishment was simply surviving with an optimistic attitude and inspiring others. His life was hard as a slave. But he had compassion and was generous. When he won his freedom he was helping others and had no idea he too, would personally gain anything. He inspired the other slaves and downtrodden, who felt if he could do it perhaps they had hope as well.
It is in leaving Tatooine that his first real challenges hit. His years in slavery had marked him. He was sensitive to being called that, knowing it was a put down. Shmi was left behind in slavery, leading to guilt.
While Qui-Gon Jinn believed in him, Obi-Wan had doubts. The Jedi Council shared them and rejected him for training, concerned about the fear he felt for his Mother. He already had a drive to be the best since without it he’d never have survived his childhood. His actions in freeing Naboo earned him a chance. But his belief that Jedi couldn’t be killed was shattered with his mentor, Qui-Gon.
This initial rejection just convinced him he had to be the best for the Jedi too. It discouraged him from admitting fears and failures because he knew he’d be judged. His actions in freeing Naboo earned him a chance.
Anakin was involved in many a challenging mission. The young Jedi did want the peace the other Jedi promised. But he was starting at a disadvantage. He had grown up with emotional turmoil they could only imagine.
During this time he and Kenobi was often paired with Ferus Olin, Tru Veld, Darra Thel Tanis and their Masters. Tru and Darra were friends. But Ferus was a rival. Ferus was alarmed by his less than Jedi born traits and always watching. Rather than bringing out the best in him, this made Anakin feel judged and threatened. There last mission ended in disaster.
He made his first kill on one of his earliest missions, a blood carver that threatened him. The kill was self defense but he knew he did it wrong and was very upset about it. It came out when they clashed with the slaver Krayn. This was educational for Kenobi as well. The attitudes of the slavers showed him just what Anakin was up against. Together with the undercover Jedi Siri Tachi, they freed the slaves of Nar Shaddaa. Kenobi was concerned, as it was Anakin’s first kill with a lightsaber, only his second ever.
“And Omega himself? What did you think of him?” ~Obi-WanJedi Quest, The Master of Disguise
“I liked him! How could I like such a being?” ~ Anakin
“I would guess that is because he was likable.” ~ Obi-Wan
The young Jedi was also in on the hunt for Granta Omega, a man whose father had been a Jedi padawan who fell to the Dark Side. Omega was in disguise and set out to make friends. On finding the truth, Anakin was shocked that he had liked the man. Another nemesis was Jenna Zan Arbor, a scientist who had researched the Force by harming her subjects, creating viruses to be paid to cure them, and now had a drug to pacify a population. She tested it on the imprisoned Anakin. It worried him that he had been relieved by it.
He and Kenobi bonded over these missions, when he finally admitted how his feelings tormented him and the prophecy scared him.
Love and War
Anakin’s last mission before the galaxy blew up was to Ansion, to help persuade them not to abandon the Republic and join the Separatists. During this time his nightmares of his Mother began.
The whole galaxy changed when Anakin and Obi-Wan were assigned to guard Padme Amidala. Anakin was assigned to guard Amidala. Kenobi was assigned to track down the assassin. Kenobi followed the trail of the assassin to Kamino and a secret clone army for the Republic. He went from there to Geonosis where he found the Separatists already had a droid army to unleash. Gathered by Dooku and with the Trade Federations and Unions backing them, war was already prepared. Kenobi was captured but got off a warning.
Obi-Wan’s concern for Anakin’s solo mission wasn’t unfounded. His childhood love of Padme blossomed to romance. Padme was strong enough to refuse to pursue the mutual attraction. But Anakin’s nightmares came to a head. He knew his Mother was in danger. Together with Padme they headed to Tatooine. Finding Shmi had been kidnapped by the sandpeople, he hunted them down. He freed her only to have her die in his arms.
In his shock and pain, Anakin slipped into the Dark Side, slaughtering the sandpeople. He swung between hatred of them and feeling they deserved it and horror that he was capable of killing them all, even the non combatants. He confessed to Padme. She didn’t approve of course, but neither would she kick him when he was down. He clearly was in agony over what he’d done.
The Clone Wars
The padawan had no time to process what happened before he was off rescuing Obi-Wan. The rescue failed, leading to he and Amidala being sentenced to death with Kenobi. But as they went into the arena, she admitted she loved him.
Anakin did well in the arena, controlling his fear of losing Padme and Obi-Wan. He survived the battle as their Jedi rescuers fell around them. But as they escaped on a gunship, Padme fell out as they pursued the fallen Jedi turned Sith, Dooku. Anakin wanted to go back, Kenobi forced him to focus on his duty. But he was distracted in battle, rushed in. It went badly and Anakin lost an arm. Dooku escaped. Afterword, he escorted Padme to Naboo and they secretly married.
Anakin survived the battles of Jabiim, Praesitlyn, and went to head to head with bounty hunters, mercenaries and fallen Jedi. He battled one on one with Asaaj Ventress and Durge. He witnessed the bio weapon horror of Oma Dun, defended Kamino, destroyed the Dark Reaper and witnessed horror and loss of friends. It was the last year in the war before he made Jedi Knight. He and Kenobi became legendary. He became known as the hero with no fear. During this time he rarely got to see his wife, Padme.
“Anakin imagine who you would’ve become if instead of Qui-Gon, that other Sith had found you on Tatooine? Who would you be now? Her fate could easily have been yours.”Obi-Wan to Anakin, discussing Asaaj Ventress in Obsession
Testing the Dark
Skywalker and Kenobi were hot on the trail of Darth Sidious, thanks to a prize they found when taking Cato Neimoidia. Unfortunately, the secret code gained by the hyperwave communicator revealed an attack coming. The Jedi foiled it but revealed to the Chancellor they had it and were closing in by doing so. Coruscant was attacked, and by plan, Palpatine was taken by Grievous.
In battling Dooku to free Palpatine, Kenobi was knocked unconscious. Anakin defeated Dooku, taking his arms. But Palpatine ordered him to kill him. Anakin hesitated then obeyed the order. He immediately felt guilty. Killing an unarmed (literally) prisoner was not the Jedi way. Palpatine reassured him (as he’d no doubt done with every confidence he’d told him about failures). But Palpatine failed to convince him to abandon Obi-Wan. Grievous escaped, but Anakin succeeded in crash landing the breaking apart capital ship.
Dreams and Nightmares
Reunited with Padme, Anakin got the wonderful but complicated news she was pregnant. Wonderful because they both were thrilled at the idea of a child. Complicated because so far as anyone knew, she was unmarried. They were both famous. If the truth came out, it would be scandalous and he would be cast out of the Order.
The nightmares of her dying in childbirth began soon after. The Jedi council grew concerned that Palpatine wouldn’t give up power and was influenced by the Sith. They also disliked his influence over Anakin. When Palpatine appointed Anakin to the Jedi Council, contrary to tradition, they allowed it. But in private he was ordered to spy on Palpatine, a man Anakin thought of as a friend. Palpatine also dropped the story of Darth Plaguies, a Sith who could allegedly create life and stop those he knew from dying. At this point, Anakin was desperate. He did go to Yoda, telling him about his nightmares without going into detail. But the advice he got wasn’t how to save her but let go of what he feared to lose.
Death by any other name
The final break came when Kenobi was sent to hunt Grievous alone. Palpatine revealed himself to Anakin as a Sith. Anakin reported to the Council. Sensing his confusion, he was ordered to wait in the Council chamber. In agony over his fear for Padme, hearing Palpatine’s voice in his head that if he died, the secret to saving him died with him, Anakin was alone. Obi-Wan was likely the only one who could’ve reached him to prevent the disaster that followed. Anakin rushed after the Jedi that went to arrest Palpatine. He found three dead and Windu and Palpatine battling it out.
It’s hard to say whether it was a true stalemate, or if Palptine truly needed Anakin’s aid. But Palpatine appeared to be beaten, and Mace was going to execute rather than arrest. Anakin saw little difference between what he’d done (wrongly, he felt) to Dooku and what Mace was doing. Skywalker took his hand. Palpatine lashed out with lightning and Killed Windu as he reeled in shock.
“He betrayed and murdered your Father.”Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, A New Hope
Death and Rebirth
Shocked by what he’d done, but still desperate to save his wife, Anakin swore allegiance to the Sith if he’d save his Padme. Palpatine as Darth Sidious gave him the new name, Darth Vader, ordered him to go to the Temple, leading troopers. Anakin truly became Darth Vader as he turned against everything he believed.
…he had attempted an even more unthinkable act: to bring into being a creation of his own…But ultimately to no end. The Force grew silent, as if in flight from him. ..he wondered what calamity the Force would retreat upon him or Sidious or both of them, for willfully tipping the balance.Darth Plagueis
Ultimately Padme would die anyway, in spite of, possibly because of, his actions. His best friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, would be the one that maimed him and sent him into the lava. The man who had been Anakin would spend the next decades trapped in a life support suit, hunting his former allies, doing things he’d once killed other beings to stop.
“Well, they gave up. That’s always sad isn’t it? And leaving your family and friends behind is sad too. They push it way down. But it’s there. It’s there in their dreams. Where else can it go?”Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Apprentice Special Edition, Deception
It wasn’t instant or complete a transformation however. He still dreamed at first of having helped Windu, having his wife and being a Jedi while training his son to be the same. The man who had been Anakin the former slave, slept poorly when he found out the former Separatists were being sold as slaves. He killed the Jedi not only because they were a threat to the Empire, but because they reminded him of a guilt and shame he could not face.
Dreams Pass In TimeObi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones
Dreams faded. Until one day Princess Leia was captured, her droids (once his) found Luke Skywalker, who found Kenobi. While Kenobi sacrificed himself to help them escape, the former Anakin Skywalker found he did have a living son. The same young man who had destroyed the Death Star.
A Gradual Reawakening
Anakin started to wake up when he found out that his son lived. This was a violent still twisted awakening, with the execution of all the witnesses who could report the news to Palpatine. His effort to hide Luke’s existence backfired as one survived and got revenge by informing on him to the Emperor. He put a price on the young rebels head, making sure it was higher for live capture, although Rebels were wanted dead more often then alive. Palpatine didn’t intervene until Luke began training. They both felt it. He insisted “young Skywalker” be stopped. He had Prince Xixor of Black Sun present when he did so, unknown to Vader. They had a fierce rivalry, and a personal one due to past actions that resulted in the death of the crime lords family. Palpatine knew Xixor would use this information.
The twisted attempt to lure Luke from training succeeded, because Vader knew what had lured Anakin Skywalker away; his Mother’s pain. So he used Luke’s friends. That is as far as he succeeded. He who had killed many Jedi held back with Luke. Vader only ramped up the battle as Luke proved he could handle it. He knew Luke survived the fall out of a window into a seeming bottomless shaft, and again when he leaped off a gantry to escape. But in their dual (where they both wounded the other, though Luke lost a hand) he had revealed his true identity. In a way, perhaps he couldn’t do so without also admitting it to himself.
A Threat to Palpatine
Palpatine saw Luke as a growing threat whether he became a Jedi or not. He knew if Vader got to him, he may enlist him to help overthrow him.
The Emperor knew Xixor would try and kill Luke to reach Vader. He dismissed Vader’s concerns over this and reminded him that the Dark Prince was a valued ally. But Anakin reared up again when he had incontrovertible proof. Xixor had gotten ahold of the Princess and Luke infiltrated Coruscant to find her. Even as Vader was meditating on using the Dark Side to heal himself, he sensed his son’s presence. The joy of a Father at his son’s closeness chased away the dark. He defied the Emperor and destroyed Xixor as the man’s starships harried Luke and his friends as they fled Coruscant.
In addition, Vader had sent an agent to Jabba the Hutt’s palace, to protect and capture him when he went to rescue his friend. While the agent succeeded in foiling the Hutt’s swoop troop, he was injured and his cover blown. By the time the Emperor’s Hand, Mara Jade, was sent to kill Luke Skywalker, Vader’s agent wasn’t there to prevent or warn his employer. Fortunately, the Hutt’s own ego and resistance to mind control foiled her efforts and Luke escaped with his allies.
By the time Luke met him on Endor, Anakin was very much awake within Vader. He regretted his situation. He knew what Palpatine had done to him. But he truly believed the dark side stronger. The master of the Dark had outmanuevered everyone, Jedi, Senate, corporations and more. But the memory of who he had been and what he’d wanted was there. Reluctant, he took Luke to the Emperor and automatically defended his master from him. In a reversal of the duel with Dooku, Luke beat him, but refused to kill him.
Nine years old…Conceived by the Force..is it possible..
He had to know if the Force had struck back again, nine years earlier, by conceiving a human being to restore balance to the galaxy.Darth Plaguies
In that final moment, Anakin saw the true strength of the light. Palpatine could not but not break his son. He could not seduce him. As the Sith lashed out at his son, this time he sided with the Jedi and threw him down the reactor.
“I knew he was going to die,” he explained. “And I didn’t think he should end his life in a cage. So I let him out.”Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Jedi Apprentice Special Edition, The Followers
Anakin’s life support was destroyed. But Anakin was no longer concerned for his life. He had won freedom both for himself and the galaxy. Anakin had Luke remove the mask so he could see him face to face at last.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had learned to live beyond death, showed up to reveal to Anakin how to do the same. Afterward, Anakin showed up once as a spirit to Leia to apologize. He also appeared once in a dream to encourage Luke to reach out to a young man who they both had contact with and had failed to help.
It’s easy to assume that Darth Vader had more impact than Anakin Skywalker, but this assumption would be wrong.
…almost a decade earlier, they had succeeded in willing the Force to shift, and tip irrevocably toward the dark side. …
The shift had come after months of intense meditation, during which Plaguies and Sidious had sought to challenge the Force for sovereignty and suffuse the galaxy with the power of the dark side.Darth Plagueis
Fulfilling the Prophecy
Sidious and Plagueis were the ones who had brought the imbalance. When Anakin killed Palpatine, the balance was restored. The source was gone. The galaxy celebrated with hope. Hope is a powerful antidote to darkness. Even a cloned Emperor, be it truly his spirit or not, could not quench that hope and courage that had been unleashed to counter the darkness. It’s unfortunate that later generations are prideful enough to assume he was meant to destroy the Dark Side utterly. No mortal could do such. The Sith in particular arise from the Jedi and their artifacts are scattered from Core worlds to the unknown regions, from lost sites to private collections. Anakin Skywalker was only meant to restore the balance these two had succeeded in destroying. In fact, he went a step farther, in that his descendants would be there to continue the battle for future generations.
Echoes of the Past
On Tatooine, he inspired many simply by winning a race no one thought a human, a child or a slave could win. With the simple act of inspiring and helping others, he helped other slaves win freedom. After joining the Jedi he had many years of helping others under Kenobi’s guidance. It’s unlikely all of this was wiped out. People tasted freedom and hope they otherwise wouldn’t have. Some of these same people likely joined the Rebellion.
“I met your father once, when I was just a boy, Luke. He was a great pilot.”~ Luke’s Squadron leader, ANH novelization
Luke himself met people affected, for better or worse, by Anakin Skywalker. The Jabiimi rebels hated the name ‘Skywalker’ because he followed orders to retreat in the Clone Wars and nearly dismissed alliance and abused him over it. The people of Skye who recognized his aid in overthrowing a tyrant helped Luke and his fellow rebels.
“I am a Jedi, like my Father before me.”Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi
Luke was motivated to become a Jedi by the knowledge his Father had been one. Even when he found out the whole story he didn’t quit. He juggled training as a Jedi with being a leader in the Rebel Alliance, founding it’s premier starfighter squadron, the Rogues. Anakin’s son restored his Father, and also went on to restore the Jedi Order. The newly reformed Order wasn’t so harsh on attachments (such as marriage) or varying Force groups, but focused more on balancing them with the larger picture. There were few Jedi left, by the time he was done there were thousands. His daughter became a Princess of Alderaan, Rebel leader, Chief of State of the New Republic, mother to 3 Jedi children, and a Jedi in her own right.
His grandchildren were heroes in their own wars and inspired others. Each one touched many lives. His granddaughter would earn her own prophetic: the Sword of the Jedi. His descendent Cade even had the power he himself longed for, to save people from dying.
While the actions of Darth Vader hurt many, the actions of the slave boy turned Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, are quieter yet echo through the years. For all those Vader hurt, there are others that Anakin saved. Many a slave was freed by him, others given hope, some had longer lives and families. They too owe thanks to Anakin Skywalker, though we may not know their names.
Stories featuring Anakin Skywalker
These are stories focused on his life as Anakin, or those moments he ‘resurfaces’ in Vader
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
- The Phantom Menace (Movie/Novelization/comic adaptation)
- Episode 1 Anakin Skywalker one shot comic
- Rogue Planet
- Jedi Apprentice SE 1 and 2 Deceptions and Fallen
- Jedi Quest (series)
- Outbound Flight
- Approaching Storm
- Republic comics
- Attack of the Clones
- Clone Wars Adventures 1, 7, 10
- Free comic book day, Obi-Wan and Anakin in Clone Wars action
- Legacy of the Jedi
- Secrets of the Jedi
- Clone Wars (2002 XBox video game)
- The New Droid Army (Nintendo Game Boy)
- Republic Clone Wars comics – 45-48, 50-52, 55-59, 67, 71
- Obsession (comics)
- Clone Wars (microseries
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Jedi Trial
- Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader (remembering)
- Darth Vader and the Lost Command (dreams)
- Empire comics (dreams, memories)
- Vader’s Quest (discovers Luke)
- Shadows of the Empire (feels Luke’s presence)
- Return of the Jedi
- Episode 1 Racer (video game, some infinites)
These Stories involving Anakin Skywalker
- Truce at Bakura (spirit)
- Classic Marvel Comics 92 (spirit/dream)
- Marvel comics Annual : The Hunt
- Tatooine Ghost (friends remember, Shmi’s journal)
- The Last of the Jedi – (series, Ferus remembers)
- Emmisaries to Malastare (cameo, explaining podraces)
- Junior Jedi Knights, Anakin’s Quest (Anakin Solo makes discoveries)