A child born of prophecy, possibly conceived by the will of the Force itself, Anakin Skywalker has left an indelible mark on the history of the galaxy, leading it through periods of lightness and dark.
A child slave on Tatooine, Anakin and his mother Shmi were sold by their owner, Gardulla the Hutt, to the unscrupulous Toydarian junkdealer Watto. While in Watto's employ, Anakin learned valuable mechanical and technical skills. He earned the reputation of being able to fix anything. So technically inclined was he that at the young age of nine, he cobbled together a working protocol droid -- C-3PO -- to help his mother.
Anakin was a kind, selfless child. He had no thoughts of greed or malice in him. Though that is not to say the boy was docile. When his adrenaline surged, Anakin had an aggressive competitive streak. Anakin's participation in the foolhardy sport of Podracing is testament to this.
Anakin Skywalker is the only known human capable of handling the extreme speeds of Podracing. His small frame allowed him to sit in the tiny cockpit, and his superhuman reflexes gave him the advantage he needed to keep up with alien competitors better suited to the sport. Anakin's reflexes were actually the product of Force-intuition -- the boy could see events before they happened, and respond to them in kind.
Anakin's sensitivity to the Force and his racing talents caused him to cross paths with the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and the young Naboo royal, Queen Amidala. They were fugitives from the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo that desperately needed passage to Coruscant. In order to win the needed parts for their damaged vessel, Anakin figured into a cleverly crafted wager that depended on the outcome of the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace.
Anakin pitted his racing talents against the scheming Dug Podracer, Sebulba. The young boy ultimately bested the treacherous alien, winning not only the race and the needed starship parts, but also his freedom. He also garnered the attention and admiration of Queen Amidala, who was disguised as a simple handmaiden at the time. Despite their age difference -- she was fourteen and he, nine -- he professed someday that they would marry and carried a devoted crush on her.
Unfortunately, Anakin was unable to win his mother's freedom. Qui-Gon sensed incredible Force potential in the boy, and Anakin's bloodstream held a record number of midi-chlorians. When he departed with Qui-Gon to proceed with his Jedi training, Anakin was forced to leave his mother behind. Although a new life of adventure awaited him offworld, his thoughts dwelled on the kind and quiet Shmi.
Qui-Gon Jinn believed Anakin to be the Chosen One spoken of in an ancient prophecy, the one who would bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council was reluctant to train the boy, feeling his future to be clouded and that Anakin was too old to begin Jedi training.
After the liberation of Naboo -- wherein Anakin bravely piloted a starfighter into the heart of the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship -- the Council rescinded its original decision, and allowed Obi-Wan Kenobi to take Anakin as his Padawan learner. Over the next decade, the two forged a strong bond. Under Obi-Wan's careful guidance, Anakin became a confident, headstrong 20-year old with an impulsive nature and a flair for adventure. His reckless ways would often wear down even Obi-Wan's patience, but the two were close friends. In many ways, Anakin looked to Obi-Wan as the father figure he never had.
Anakin and Obi-Wan were assigned to protect Padmé Amidala, who was now Senator of Naboo, from assassination attempts possibly linked to Separatists threatening the Republic. It was the first time Anakin and Padmé had seen each other in a decade. He had thought of her every day since their last parting, but she seemed aloof and far too occupied with the more important matters at hand.
This was a challenge to Anakin. Had he been schooled in the Jedi ways from infancy, he would have had a tighter rein on his emotions. Instead, his mind was preoccupied with thoughts of Padmé or thoughts of his mother. He had not mastered the detachment so necessary to the Jedi order.
When he was assigned to escort Senator Amidala to Naboo, where she would be sequestered from further attacks while the Jedi investigated the situation, Anakin could barely contain his emotions. In the quiet solitude amid the beautiful surroundings of a hidden Naboo lake retreat, the affectionate friendship and deeper emotions shared by Padmé and Anakin began to grow.
It was Padmé who remained pragmatic in the face of rising emotions. The two had other, larger commitments -- he to the Jedi order, she to the Republic. There was simply no time to indulge their desires.
One night, Anakin was overcome with nightmares about his mother. Defying the strict orders given him by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin left Naboo to return to Tatooine and seek out Shmi Skywalker. Padmé accompanied him to Mos Espa, where he discovered that his mother had been freed by a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars. Visiting the Lars Homestead, Anakin also learned terrible news. His mother had been attacked by Sand People, and she had been missing for a month.
Anakin searched the desert for Shmi, finding her in a Tusken encampment. Sneaking into her guarded hut, Anakin freed her broken form and cradled her body as she died. Again Anakin's emotions boiled out of control. He was possessed with a dark rage that controlled his very actions. Anakin brandished his lightsaber and emerged from the tent.
He slaughtered the entire encampment. Every single Tusken Raider man, woman and child died by his hand. But even that did not sate his rage. He still felt a deep hatred toward all of them.
Anakin returned to the Lars Homestead with his mother's body. In private, he confessed his actions to Padmé. Shamed at his actions and inability to save his mother, Anakin collapsed, sobbing at what he did. Padmé comforted him as much as she could.
A quiet funeral was held at the Lars Homestead. Anakin said his final farewell to Shmi, promising that he would never fail her again. Someday, he knew, he would be powerful enough to not fail those whom he loved. Perhaps someday, he could even stop people from dying.
Anakin and Padmé next voyaged to Geonosis, where Obi-Wan's investigations had taken him. Kenobi had been captured by Separatist forces, and Anakin sought to rescue him. Sneaking into a droid foundry on the planet, Anakin barely escaped the dangerous machines of the assembly line. He and Padmé were eventually captured, and joined Kenobi in an execution arena. Faced with overwhelming evidence of her mortality, Padmé lowered her emotional guard and professed her love to Anakin, a love he was willing to return regardless of the consequences.
The Jedi and Padmé were able to escape certain death from the dangerous beasts unleashed by their Geonosian executioners. The spectacle was cut short with the arrival of Jedi reinforcements, and then the opening battle of the historic Clone Wars.
Obi-Wan and Anakin attempted to intercept Count Dooku, mastermind of the Separatists, before he escaped to foment even further rebellion against the Republic. In a darkened hangar, the two confronted Dooku. Though Obi-Wan insisted they work together, headstrong Anakin rushed into the fray. Dooku nearly incapacitated him with a powerful blast of dark side lightning.
Obi-Wan was forced to face Dooku alone, but the elder Jedi Master was cleary the more-skilled combatant. He wounded Kenobi, and was ready to deliver the deathblow, but Anakin jumped in to intercept. Dooku and Skywalker dueled with fierce energy, but Dooku proved far too powerful for even the Chosen One. The renegade Jedi slashed through Anakin's parries and severed the youth's arm. Anakin collapsed, but was spared death by the timely arrival of Jedi Master Yoda, who battled Dooku.
After a brief convalescence wherein Anakin's severed arm was replaced with a mechanical one, he accompanied Senator Amidala back to Naboo.There, at a secluded lake retreat, the two were secretly wed by a Naboo holyman in a ceremony witnessed only by C-3PO and R2-D2. It may have been the start of a new life, but it was another step to Anakin's eventual destruction.
If Anakin felt his time as a Padawan was a trying exercise in restraint, the Clone Wars would prove to be an ever greater challenge that would mold his character. Apprenticed to Obi-Wan in the thick of the fiercest fighting the Republic had faced in centuries, Anakin became a man against the backdrop of seemingly ceaseless war.
Despite Jedi platitudes about peace and patience, Anakin found the battles of the Clone Wars invigorating. He felt alive in combat, and his incredible Force abilities were further honed. It was Anakin who single-handedly transformed inevitable defeat into victory on numerous occasions. Encounters on worlds such as Cato Niemoidia and elsewhere cemented Anakin and Obi-Wan's legendary reputations. Throughout the Republic, citizens would spread tales of the two Jedi heroes -- Anakin's hologenic features and daring exploits earned him the moniker of "The Hero With No Fear." Skywalker became a celebrity of the state, despite Jedi ascetics frowning upon such accolades.
That is not to suggest the war was without its difficulties. Time and again, the Separatists pushed, and Anakin would find himself restrained by his oaths to the Jedi. He couldn't share his darker thoughts with his fellow Jedi -- the thoughts that overwhelmed him that night in the Tusken Raider village. He knew that such a path was a gateway to more power, but it also led to the dark side. The only person he felt comfortable confiding such troubles to was a friend he had since his days as a child hero on Naboo: Chancellor Palpatine.
Palpatine encouraged Anakin's talents. In many ways, Anakin felt Palpatine was the only one not asking anything from him. He was simply letting Anakin be, and appreciating him for his efforts and talents -- he wasn't imposing boundaries nor begging for aid.
Another ache for Anakin was the absence from his wife. Long weeks would stretch to months wherein Anakin would not see Padmé. As a devoted Senator, she kept a watchful eye on the war, but much of her interest on the scattered reports of the ongoing conflict was deeply personal. The five months they were apart during the Outer Rim Sieges tore at their hearts.
In the last year of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan were stationed in the Outer Rim when word came of a shocking development. Coruscant was under attack. The planet that held not only his beloved wife, but also his close friend the Chancellor, was in the crosshairs of the merciless General Grievous and his droid forces.
It was with a fierce determination that Obi-Wan, Anakin, and their Republic forces launched towards Coruscant, to parry the blow to the Republic's heart.
As turmoil engulfed the galaxy during the transition from Republic to Empire, Anakin fell to the dark side of the Force. Consumed by evil, Anakin abandoned his past and his humanity. He became Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, apprentice to the evil Emperor Palpatine.
Sustaining grievous injuries at the hands of his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader required cybernetic enhancements and replacements to sustain him. His pure innocent self seemingly lost forever, Darth Vader cast a dark pall over the galaxy, as he was one of the foremost agents responsible for the elimination of the Jedi order.
But Obi-Wan survived long enough to begin the training of Luke Skywalker -- Anakin's son -- in the path of the Jedi. The young Skywalker sought to turn his father away from the grip of the dark side. In the end, Luke stirred the spirit of Anakin that dwelled deep within the black armor, and Anakin turned against his master. Anakin killed Emperor Palpatine, but was mortally wounded in the attempt.
Aboard the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor, Anakin Skywalker lay dying. He asked his son to remove his life-sustaining helmet, so that he could look upon his long lost son with his own eyes. Having saved his son's life, and reclaimed his soul from the dark side, Anakin died and became one with the Force. His spectral form looked upon his two children -- the twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa -- during the celebration at Endor.