Anakin Skywalker was one of the most powerful Jedi who ever lived. Raised as a slave on the desert planet Tatooine, he was discovered as a young boy and trained as a Jedi by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fear and pride drove him to the dark side of the Force, and, as Darth Vader, he helped slaughter nearly all the Jedi in the galaxy. Eventually, with the help of his son, he returned to the Light and helped overthrow the evil Empire.
Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars Prequels
Anakin was born in 41 BBY. His mother was Shmi Skywalker, but he had no father. He may have been conceived by midi-chlorians. Anakin and his mother were slaves to Gardulla the Hutt, a notorious crime lord, and were later sold to Watto, a Toydarian junk dealer. Surrounded by salvaged parts in Watto's shop, Anakin learned to construct machines such as the droid C-3PO and a pod racer.
Anakin first encountered the Jedi when Qui-Gon Jinn came to Watto's shop looking for parts. Always willing to help people in need, even complete strangers, Anakin offered to enter a dangerous pod race in order to help the visitors get the money they needed to fix Queen Amidala's ship.
Qui-Gon analyzed Anakin's blood and discovered that he had a midi-chlorian count of over 20,000 -- even higher than Master Yoda. Believing that Anakin could be the Chosen One prophesied to bring balance to the Force, he arranged to buy Anakin from Watto as part of his bet. After Anakin won the race, Qui-Gon brought him back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. But despite Anakin's strong Force-sensitivity, the Council worried that he was too old to begin training as a Jedi and too susceptible to the draw of the dark side.
During the battle between Naboo and the Trade Federation, Anakin hid in a starfighter and accidentally activated the auto-pilot, bringing him straight to the battle. The same reflexes that made him a skilled pod-racer helped him destroy the Trade Federation's battle station. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon died in a duel with the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Although Obi-Wan didn't have as much faith in Anakin as his late master, he respected Qui-Gon's wishes and took Anakin as his apprentice.
By 22 BBY, just before the Clone Wars, Anakin had grown into a powerful Jedi. Although he respected Obi-Wan as a friend and master, Anakin was keenly aware that his Force abilities were far beyond Obi-Wan's -- or anyone else's in the Jedi Order. He believed that Obi-Wan was holding him back from reaching his true potential.
When Senator Padmé Amidala was attacked, Anakin was assigned to protect her. But when he had nightmares about his mother, he took Padmé from the safety of Naboo to find his mother on Tatooine. He discovered that she had been freed by a moisture farmer, Cliegg Lars, whom she later married. But she had been abducted by Tusken Raiders, violent Tatooine tribes, and there was little hope of her survival. When Anakin found his mother, she was still barely alive. He slaughtered the tribe who had captured her, taking his first step towards the dark side of the Force.
When Anakin and Padmé received a message from Obi-Wan on Geonosis, they went to investigate and got captured. Knowing that they might soon die, Padmé was finally able to let go of her fears and confess her love for Anakin. After they were rescued by the Jedi and the newly discovered clone army, Anakin and Padmé married. Because the Jedi Order forbade attachment, they were forced to keep their relationship secret.
During the ensuing Clone Wars, Anakin became a Jedi Knight and a General of the clone army. He also trained a Padawan, fourteen-year-old Ahsoka Tano. Although the other Jedi respected his skill, they also recognized how reckless and aggressive he could be. Anakin's secrets -- his relationship with Padmé and his brush with the Dark Side -- made him feel isolated from the other Jedi. He turned to Chancellor Palpatine for support, unaware that the leader of the Republic was really the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
Towards the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine was abducted by General Grievous and Count Dooku. After Obi-Wan was knocked unconscious, Anakin incapacitated Dooku and was prepared to arrest him. Palpatine insisted, however, that Dooku was too dangerous to take alive, and incited Anakin to kill him in cold blood.
Reunited with his wife on Coruscant, Anakin learned that Padmé was pregnant. He began to have dreams, as he did before his mother's death: visions of Padmé dying in childbirth. On top of this, Anakin faced further conflict with the Jedi when Palpatine requested that he be given a seat on the Jedi Council. The Jedi, suspecting treachery from Palpatine, refused to make Anakin a Master; this only cemented Anakin's belief that the other Jedi were jealous of his power and purposely holding him back.
When Anakin took his concerns to Palpatine, the Chancellor revealed that the Sith held the secrets to life and death. As a Sith, Anakin could reach his full potential in the Force and prevent Padmé from dying. Anakin reported the Chancellor to Mace Windu, and finally Darth Sidious' mask was revealed. When he saw Windu about to kill Palpatine, however, Anakin had a change of heart, killing Windu and becoming Palpatine's apprentice, Darth Vader.
While Palpatine issued Order 66, causing the Clone Troopers to destroy the Jedi, Vader slaughtered the younglings in the Jedi Temple. Obi-Wan attempted to kill Vader in a duel on the fiery planet Mustafar, but Vader survived. Missing limbs and severely burned, Vader was confined to a black suit containing bionic limbs and a respirator. The suit both kept him alive and lent him his distinctive, menacing appearance.