Anakin in the Podrace

Along with his mother Shmi, Anakin Skywalker was a slave on Tatooine, owned by junk dealer Watto. When Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, a Gungan named Jar Jar Binks, and Naboo handmaiden Padmé came to Watto’s shop looking for parts to repair their starship, Anakin befriended them. Unable to afford the parts they needed, Anakin devised a plan to help his new friends: he would enter the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace and give the winnings to Qui-Gon. While risky, Qui-Gon agreed, betting with Watto and adding higher stakes -- Anakin’s freedom. Qui-Gon realized that Anakin was Force-sensitive, and upon his victory in the race, informed Anakin he was free and could train to become a Jedi. The boy was overjoyed, but afraid to leave his mother behind; indeed, Yoda sensed this when Anakin was brought before the Jedi Council, and it was this fear that led to Anakin being denied entry into the Order. Qui-Gon was shocked at the decision, but told Anakin to watch him and stay close in lieu of actual training. Eventually, Qui-Gon, his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé (now revealed to be Queen Amidala), Jar Jar, and Anakin went to Naboo, hoping to stop an invasion by the Trade Federation. There, Anakin unwittingly found himself in a Naboo starfighter, dogfighting with battle droids and destroying the Droid Control Ship. Qui-Gon fell in battle to the Sith Lord Darth Maul, and with his dying wish, asked Obi-Wan to train the boy. The Jedi Council agreed, and Anakin was accepted into the Order as Obi-Wan’s apprentice. He also began a friendship with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was quite impressed by the boy’s Force abilities.

 Anakin Skywalker duelling Count Dooku

Ten years after the Battle of Naboo, the Jedi Council and Supreme Chancellor assigned Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to protect Senator Padmé Amidala after an assassination attempt on her life. Anakin was deeply attracted to her, and a love developed between the two. It was a dangerous path, as the Jedi Code forbade attachments and romantic relationships. At the same time, Anakin began to suffer from nightmares and visions that his mother was in pain, dying; despite Obi-Wan’s orders to stay on Naboo with Padmé, he left for Tatooine to rescue Shmi, Padmé in tow. Upon arrival, he found that Shmi had been kidnapped by Sand People. Anakin eventually located their camp and found his mother, where she died in his arms; enraged, the Jedi unleashed an inner fury never before seen, and slaughtered every Tusken he found. He buried Shmi at her husband’s homestead, and then left for Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, who was being held by Separatists. There, he and Padmé were captured and sentenced to die, along with his Master. The three staved off the execution, rescued by Jedi and the Republic’s new clone army, and pursued the Separatist leader, Count Dooku. Anakin and Obi-Wan dueled the former Jedi in a hangar, but were no match; Dooku defeated both and severed Anakin’s arm. Yoda arrived just in time to prevent Dooku from delivering a final strike, but the Sith Lord eventually escaped. After recovering from his injuries, including the replacement of his severed arm with a mechanical one, Anakin retreated to Naboo with Padmé where they were secretly married.

 Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker

Now that the Clone Wars had begun, Jedi became generals and commanders in the war against the Separatists. Aware of Anakin’s shortcomings and his tendency to forge strong emotional attachments, Yoda assigned Anakin a Padawan learner: Ahsoka Tano. Yoda hoped that Skywalker would learn how to let go of his student as she grew, which was key for Anakin. While Anakin bristled at first to this appointment, a strong bond grew between teacher and student. They had many adventures together, and as Ahsoka matured, so did Anakin. But Ahsoka eventually became disillusioned and left the Jedi Order, an act which Anakin regretted.

 Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker

Toward the end of the Clone Wars, Anakin was reunited with his former Padawan when Ahsoka Tano came to ask for the Republic's help in the siege of Mandalore. As usual, Anakin supported Ahsoka and her decision to help Bo-Katan defeat Maul. Limited in the help he could provide as Coruscant came under attack and Chancellor Palpatine was endangered, Anakin returned Ahsoka's lightsabers and sent Captain Rex along with several other clones from the 501st Legion to assist her.

Anakin Skywalker and the 501st assaulting the Jedi Temple

The Clone Wars continued, and Anakin became a hero and grew vastly in power. Upon returning to Coruscant from a daring rescue of the Supreme Chancellor, the Jedi Knight found that Senator Padmé Amidala, his secret wife, was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, he began suffering visions that she would die in childbirth. Anakin was determined to prevent his dreams from coming true as they had with his mother; at the same time, the Jedi Council and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had become distrustful of each other, with Anakin caught in the middle. As Anakin’s confusion and anxiety grew, Palpatine told him a Sith legend that spoke of the ability to stop people from dying. Entranced, Anakin was desperate to learn this power. Palpatine revealed himself to be a Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, and promised to train him in the ways of the dark side. 

Anakin eventually succumbed to this temptation, maiming former ally Mace Windu to save Sidious. The dark side Master claimed the mantle of Emperor, and Anakin led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order as Darth Vader, Sith Lord. Against his wishes, Padmé followed him to the lava planet Mustafar, where he had just ended the Clone War by destroying the Separatist leaders. She confronted Anakin about all he had done; the new Sith claimed that all his acts, no matter how terrible, were done so he would be strong enough with the dark side to save her. But having tasted this power, he now had greater ambitions: to overthrow the newly-minted Emperor and rule the galaxy with his wife. Padmé was repulsed, and with the appearance of Obi-Wan (who had stowed away on her ship), Anakin assumed his wife had betrayed him, and he Force choked her. Padmé was left unconscious, and Anakin and his former Master dueled. In the end, Anakin was dismembered and left with terrible burns, cursing his old friend and becoming a being of pure hate. Recovered on the banks of a lava river by the Emperor, Anakin was encased in sinister black armor that kept him alive, and he truly became Darth Vader. Padmé, having lost the will to live, died after giving birth to twins -- Luke and Leia -- and Anakin was left heartbroken and more machine than man. 


Darth Vader speaking to Luke Skywalker without his mask

As Darth Vader, Anakin spread fear throughout the galaxy and acted as the Emperor’s dark enforcer. But Anakin Skywalker, the courageous hero, was not truly dead. After battling his son Luke Skywalker in the presence of the Emperor, the young Jedi’s compassion for his father awakened the long-dormant good in the Sith Lord. Vader saved Luke from the Emperor and killed his evil Master, once again becoming Anakin Skywalker. But he suffered mortal wounds from the Emperor’s Force lightning, and knew that his end was near. He shared a vital final moment with his son, removing his mask so he could see Luke with his own eyes, and slipped peacefully away into the Force. Back on Endor, Anakin reunited with old friends Yoda and Obi-Wan, watching over Luke and his friends as they celebrated the galaxy’s new freedom.


Ahsoka has a vision of Anakin

Seeking answers on how to defeat Vader and his Inquisitors, Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, and Ahsoka Tano visited the Jedi Temple on Lothal. While Kanan and Ezra went deep into the Temple, Ahsoka remained in the atrium, waiting and meditating. Suddenly, she experienced a vision: Anakin, cold and angry, demanded to know why she left and betrayed him. “Do you know what I’ve become?” he demanded, before his image turned to that of his new self: the armor-clad Sith Lord, Darth Vader.