Darth Vader

Full Name

Anakin Skywalker


Darth Vader, the Chosen One


Defeat the Separatist Alliance, crush the Rebellion


Redeems himself by killing Emperor Palpatine, but dies in the process

You underestimate the power of the dark side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.
~ Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker

Anakin Skywalker, later known as Darth Vader, is a central character in the Star Wars franchise. Vader appears in the original film trilogy as a pivotal antagonist whose actions drive the plot of the first three films, while his past as Anakin Skywalker and the story of his corruption is central to the prequel trilogy. The character was created by George Lucas and has been portrayed by numerous actors. His appearances span the first six Star Wars films, as well as Rogue One, and his character is heavily referenced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is also an important character in the Star Wars expanded universe of television series, video games, novels, literature and comic books.

Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force, he falls to the dark side of the Force and serves the evil Galactic Empire at the right hand of his Sith master, Emperor Palpatine (also known as Darth Sidious). He is also the father of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, grandfather of Kylo Ren, and secret husband of Padmé Amidala.


Original trilogy

Darth Vader first appears in the original 1977 Star Wars film as a ruthless cyborg serving the Galactic Empire. He is tasked, along with Imperial commander Grand Moff Tarkin, to recover the secret technical plans for the Death Star, which were stolen by the Rebel Alliance. Vader captures and tortures Princess Leia Organa, who has hidden the plans inside the droid R2-D2 and sent it to find Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet Tatooine. During Leia's rescue, Vader kills Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel. Having placed a tracking device aboard the Millennium Falcon, Vader is able to track down the Rebels' base on the planet Yavin 4. During the Rebels' attack on the Death Star, Vader attempts to shoot down Luke's X-wing fighter, but Han Solo intervenes and sends Vader's ship spiraling off course, allowing Luke to destroy the Death Star.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader becomes obsessed with finding Luke and leads the Imperial attack on the Rebel base on Hoth, but the Rebels escape. While conversing with the Emperor, Vader convinces him that Luke would be valuable to the Empire if he could be turned to the dark side of the Force. Vader hires a group of bounty hunters to follow Luke and his friends, and negotiates with Bespin administrator Lando Calrissian to set a trap for them so that Luke will follow them. After Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO arrive, Vader tortures Han, freezes him in carbonite and gives him to bounty hunter Boba Fett. When Luke arrives, Vader defeats Luke in a lightsaber duel, severing his opponent's hand. Vader then tells Luke that he is his father and asks Luke to help him overthrow the Emperor so they can rule the galaxy together. Horrified, Luke falls through an air shaft and escapes. Vader telepathically tells Luke that it is his destiny to join the dark side.

In Return of the Jedi, Vader and the Emperor are supervising the second Death Star's construction. Unknown to Vader, the Emperor intends to replace him with Luke as his apprentice. Having believed that there is still good in his father, Luke surrenders to Vader in hopes that he can be redeemed. Vader brings Luke to the Emperor on board the Death Star. While there, the Emperor implores Luke to join the dark side by appealing to the young Jedi's fear for his friends, which leads to Vader dueling with Luke once again. Realizing that Leia is Luke's twin sister, Vader threatens to turn her to the dark side if Luke will not submit. Furious, Luke overpowers Vader and severs his father's robotic hand. The Emperor orders Luke to kill Vader and take his place. Luke refuses, however, and the Emperor tortures him with Force lightning. Moved by Luke's pleas for help, Vader throws the Emperor down the Death Star's reactor core to his death; he is mortally wounded by the Emperor's lightning in the process. After asking Luke to remove his mask, the redeemed Anakin Skywalker tells his son that there was good in him after all before he dies. Luke escapes the Death Star with his father's remains, and ceremonially burns them in a pyre. Anakin's spirit reunites with those of Obi-Wan and Yoda to watch over Luke and his friends as the Rebels celebrate the Death Star's destruction and the fall of the Empire.

Prequel trilogy

Anakin first appears in the prequel trilogy in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which takes place 32 years before the original Star Wars, as a young slave living on the planet Tatooine with his mother Shmi. Anakin was conceived without a father and he can foresee the future. Also a gifted pilot and mechanic, Anakin has built his own protocol droid, C-3PO. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn meets Anakin after making an emergency landing on Tatooine. Qui-Gon senses Anakin's strong connection to the Force and becomes convinced that the boy is the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. After winning his freedom in a podrace, Anakin leaves for Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi, but is forced to leave Shmi behind. During the journey, Anakin forms a bond with Padmé Amidala, the young queen of Naboo. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council for permission to train Anakin, but they sense fear in the boy and refuse. Eventually, Anakin helps thwart the Trade Federation's invasion of Naboo by destroying their command ship. After Qui-Gon is killed in a lightsaber duel with Sith Lord Darth Maul, Obi-Wan promises to train Anakin, with the Council's reluctant approval.

Anakin is Obi-Wan's Padawan apprentice in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, which takes place 10 years after The Phantom Menace. Having rescued Padmé, who is now a senator, from an assassination attempt, Anakin travels with her to Naboo, where they fall in love. Sensing that Shmi is in pain, Anakin travels to Tatooine to rescue her. While there, Anakin learns she was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. Anakin locates Shmi at the Tusken campsite, where she dies in his arms. Anakin, enraged, massacres the Tuskens and returns to the Lars homestead to bury Shmi. Anakin travels with Padmé to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan from Sith Lord Count Dooku, Qui-Gon's old master and leader of the Separatists, a conspiracy of star systems bent on seceding from the Galactic Republic. Dooku captures them, however, and sentences them to death. However, a cadre of Jedi arrives with the Kaminoan clone army to halt their executions. Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku during the ensuing battle, but the Sith Lord beats them both in a lightsaber duel and severs Anakin's arm. Yoda intervenes and rescues the Jedi. By the end of the film, Anakin is fitted with a robotic arm and marries Padmé in secret.

In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, set three years after Attack of the Clones, Anakin is now a Jedi Knight and a hero of the Clone Wars. He and Obi-Wan lead a mission to rescue Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous on board his starship. When the Jedi encounter Dooku, Anakin subdues the Sith Lord, and on Palpatine's urging, kills him in cold blood. They rescue Palpatine and return to Coruscant, where Anakin learns that Padmé is pregnant. Anakin has visions of Padmé dying in childbirth and becomes determined to prevent them from coming true. Palpatine tells Anakin that the dark side holds the power to cheat death, and eventually reveals that he is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Although Anakin informs Jedi Master Mace Windu of Palpatine's treachery, he follows Windu to make sure Palpatine is captured alive. When he realizes that Windu is going to kill Palpatine, Anakin intervenes on the Sith Lord's behalf, allowing Palpatine to finish Windu to death.

Desperate to save Padmé, Anakin pledges himself to the dark side and becomes Palpatine's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. On Palpatine's command, Vader leads a legion of clones to kill everyone at the Jedi Temple and massacres the remaining Separatist leaders hiding on the volcanic planet Mustafar. Padmé confronts Vader and implores him to abandon the dark side, but Vader refuses. When Obi-Wan disembarks from Padmé's ship, Vader accuses his wife of conspiring against him and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness. After a long and ferocious lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan severs Vader's legs and arm. Vader is severely burned beside the bank of a molten lava river and Obi-Wan returns to Padmé's ship, leaving him for prey. Palpatine finds Vader and takes him back to Coruscant, where his apprentice's mutilated body is amputated and covered in the black armored suit first depicted in the original trilogy. When Vader asks for Padmé, Palpatine explains to him that he killed Padmé in his anger; Vader screams in agony, his spirit broken. By the end of the film, Vader supervises the construction of the first Death Star alongside Palpatine and Wilhuff Tarkin.


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