Darth Vader During the Dark Times
More than 100 Jedi survived Order 66, and Darth Vader made it his mission to destroy them all. Once he had completed his Jedi Purge, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi were some of the few Jedi who remained. Acting as Palpatine's fist, Vader helped prepare the galaxy for the downfall of the Old Republic and the rise of Palpatine's Empire. Vader also took Galen Marek, the son of one of his Jedi victims, to train as a secret Sith apprentice, code named "Starkiller"; however, Vader's apprentice turned to the Light and betrayed him.
Darth Vader in the Star Wars Original Trilogy
During the Galactic Civil War, Emperor Palpatine entrusted Darth Vader with uncovering the hidden Rebel Base. In 0 BBY, Vader captured Princess Leia Organa, a Rebel leader. When she refused to give up the location of the Rebel base, the Empire had her home planet of Alderaan destroyed to demonstrate the Death Star's power.
They eventually discovered the Rebels' location, but -- thanks to Leia's work -- the Rebels had the secret plans to the Death Star and were able to attack at its weak point. Attacking the Rebels in a TIE fighter, Vader sensed that the Force was strong with Luke Skywalker, who fired the shot that destroyed the Death Star.
Vader was present when the Empire attacked the Rebels again, this time on the ice planet Hoth. The Rebels escaped, but Vader pursued Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, into an asteroid field. At this time, he learned from the Emperor that the pilot who destroyed the Death Star was Luke Skywalker, his son.
Hoping to turn Luke to the Dark Side, Vader devised a plan to capture his son. With the help of the bounty hunter Boba Fett, he tracked Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca to the gas planet Bespin, where he used them as bait to attract Luke. The plan succeeded, and Luke -- a stronger fighter than Vader had counted on -- faced Vader in a duel. When Vader revealed that he was Luke's father and enticed him to join the dark side, however, Luke refused and escaped by falling through Cloud City's gas vents.
Darth Vader faced Luke one last time on the Second Death Star above the Forest Moon of Endor. In the presence of the Emperor, Vader once again tried to lure Luke to the Dark Side; but Luke, believing that Vader still had good in him, refused. Sensing that Luke had a twin sister, Leia, Vader taunted him with the possibility that she might turn to the Dark Side.
Luke attacked his father in anger, but, after cutting off Vader's hand, realized his mistake. When Palpatine finally realized that Luke would not turn to the dark side, he tortured Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to watch his son die, Vader had a change of heart, throwing Palpatine to his death down the Death Star's reactor shaft.
Sensing that he was about to die, Anakin asked Luke to remove his mask so that he could see his son with his true eyes. Finally able to let go of the Sith's fear of death, Anakin died and became a Force ghost. The prophecy had ultimately come true: although he had first destroyed the Jedi Order, Anakin eventually brought balance to the Force by destroying the Sith.
Anakin Skywalker Behind the Scenes
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was portrayed by the most actors of any character in the Star Wars films: Jake Lloyd in Episode I, Hayden Christensen in Episode II and Episode III (as well as an retconned scene in the Special Edition of Episode VI), David Prowse (body) and James Earl Jones (voice) in the Original Trilogy, and Sebastian Shaw as the unmasked Anakin Skywalker in Episode VI. Voice actors in cartoons, radio adaptations, and other media include Matt Lanter (The Clone Wars), Mat Lucas (Clone Wars), and Scott Lawrence (in a number of video games).