Although he would later become a crucial figure in the galaxy, Skywalker came from humble origins. He spent the first years of his life on Tatooine as a slave along with his mother. In 32 BBY, Skywalker met Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. After obtaining his freedom by having been bet on by Jinn and winning the Boonta Eve Classic, Skywalker went with Jinn and departed from Tatooine, though troubled by leaving behind his mother. Skywalker took part in the Battle of Naboo, destroying the Droid Control Station despite his young age. Soon after, he joined the Jedi Order, becoming a Padawan to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Skywalker was believed to be (and indeed was) the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy, one who would bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith, which was why the Jedi Council chose to bend the Jedi Code and permit his training.
Skywalker and Kenobi traveled together on many missions in the ensuing decade. In 22 BBY, Skywalker was reunited with Padmé Amidala, the former queen of Naboo and new Senator of the Chommell Sector. He escorted her to Naboo due to the rising violence of the Separatist Crisis, and the two fought at the Battle of Geonosis, the beginning of the Clone Wars. In the midst of these events, Skywalker also endured the violent death of his mother. Skywalker and Amidala married soon after the battle, despite the Jedi Order's restrictions of Jedi marriages, which kept them from making their marriage public.
Skywalker fought in the Clone Wars with his master and became a Jedi Knight in 22 BBY, taking Ahsoka Tano as his own apprentice. Throughout the conflict, Skywalker became an icon to the public, known as the "Hero With No Fear". Skywalker and Kenobi, despite not being master and apprentice anymore, gained recognition as a formidable pair. Despite this, he carried with him a great sense of loss in addition to great anger. This was shown in 19 BBY at the Battle of Coruscant, when he decapitated an unarmed Count Dooku. He also learned that Amidala would soon have a child and experiences agonizing visions of her death. His inability to control these traits led to his downfall when, soon after, he turned to the dark side, believing that it was the only way to save his wife from death.
Apprenticed to Darth Sidious, better known as his friend Chancellor Palpatine, he became Darth Vader. The Galactic Empire was founded with Palpatine at the helm as Emperor, and after Vader led an attack on the Jedi Temple, the Jedi were exterminated by Order 66, with fewer than a hundred surviving. Two of the survivors were Grand Master Yoda and Skywalker's old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader dueled his old master on the fiery world of Mustafar, and despite the Sith Lord's new abilities, he was defeated by his old master, and his body was so damaged by the lava that Sidious encased him in a dark life-sustaining suit that he would wear for the rest of his life. His children, Luke and Leia, were born at this time, though Vader remained unaware of their existence.
As a master of the dark side, Vader became the scourge of the Jedi, continuing the Great Jedi Purge which would last until 1 BBY. An extension of the Emperor's will, the Dark Lord was constantly on the move, traveling throughout the galaxy to defeat rebel uprisings or arrest corrupt Imperials. When Vader began planning to impress his Master before overthrowing him, he found, manipulated, and trained a "secret" Sith apprentice named Galen Marek to not only to help hunt down remaining Jedi, but also to expose the Emperor's enemies and have them destroyed. However, Vader's betrayal lead Marek to turn to the light side and sacrifice his life for the leaders of the Alliance to Restore the Republic to escape, thus starting the Galactic Civil War. Vader continued to train apprentices, this time, under Sidious's notice, including Flint, and the future Sith Lady Lumiya.
In 0 BBY, the Empire's great superweapon, the first Death Star was destroyed by a young Rebel pilot. Vader became obsessed with discovering the identity of this pilot and spent the next several years searching. Vader eventually learned that the pilot's name was Luke Skywalker and deduced that the boy was his son, born before the death of Amidala. Vader fought the Rebel Alliance while concocting a plan to turn his son to the dark side. Soon after the Battle of Hoth, Vader dueled his son and revealed to him that he was his father, which Luke refused to believe.
Darth Sidious, however, was aware of Vader's plans and initiated his own plot to make young Luke his apprentice. In 4 ABY, the two sides came together at Endor for one great battle to decide the fate of the galaxy. Luke surrendered to Vader and, in the throne room of the second Death Star, Sidious attempted to turn the young Jedi to the dark side by having him duel Vader. Luke defeated Vader, but refused to give himself to the darkness, proclaiming himself a Jedi like his father before him. When Sidious attempted to kill Luke using Force lightning, Anakin Skywalker emerged from Darth Vader and came to his son's rescue, saving him and killing the Emperor by throwing him down the main reactor core. Mortally wounded by the Force lightning, he died soon afterward, but he died as a Jedi once more, having redeemed himself by saving his son and fulfilling the prophecy of the Chosen One.
Personality and traits
As a young boy, Skywalker was thoughtful and intelligent. He was friendly and easily got along with others despite his status as a slave. He also had a special place in his heart for his mother, whom he constantly built inventions to sell or to use to lighten her workload. At the coming of the Jedi, he was both helpful and generous; doing all that he could to help them off-planet, risking his life at the podrace as well as giving them the sizable reward money which he and his mother would have had use for. Though lovable, he also was one to carry grudges and was vengeful, but he commonly held these two traits in check. He also hated being treated unjustly or being wrongly accused. He was fiercely loyal, doing anything to keep those he was close to from harm, at any cost. His only price for this dedication was loyalty in return.
His separation from his mother was the hardest thing he'd ever done, and it still hurt him for years. Because of his fear of losing even more friends in such a manner, he kept to himself, fiddling around with his only friends, the Temple droids. During this, however, he grew especially close to Kenobi, considering him a father and a role model. Due to his sudden escalation from slave to being known as the "Chosen One" and the rising star of the Jedi Order, pride and arrogance set in. He grew cocky, self-appreciating, and he grew to hate being reprimanded or lectured.
He was naturally honest and despised lying and deception, and especially hated politics, correctly considering most politicians to be greedy and self-conceited. Kenobi's continual self-consciousness when it came to Skywalker hurt the boy, who at times wasn't sure whether Kenobi liked him, something his heart craved. Therefore, he turned to a more complimenting, comforting source: Palpatine.
His yearning to be loved, as well as appreciated, came out in his devotion and secret marriage to Amidala, one of the only three people he ever thought appreciated or cared for him. As his fame grew, he became more and more arrogant, and he knew that he was one of the best Jedi of the Order, believing that he could easily best any Jedi blindfolded with his lightsaber tied behind his back. This coupled with his frustration at his perceived injustice at being kept at the rank of Jedi Knight made him more and more bitter and distrustful of the Jedi Council. His belief in them was shattered more and more as Skywalker's closest friend, Palpatine, swayed him from trusting them. Slowly, his bond with everyone except the Chancellor was completely shaken and broken, even that of his wife when he assumed her betrayal of him. Born out of this conflict was the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.
After becoming Vader, Skywalker's personality changed completely. He was now a rattled man, shaken by the perceived betrayal of his dearest friend, his former comrades-in-arms, and his wife. Upon donning the armor that kept him alive, Vader remained uncertain, but became more self-confident following his killing of Roan Shryne on Kashyyyk. Vader had an extremely low tolerance of failure, and did not get on well at all with many of the higher-ups in the Imperial military, nearly choking Admiral Conan Antonio Motti to death when he challenged the power of the Force, though Admiral Motti survived due to the intervention of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Both Admiral Kendal Ozzel and Captain Lorth Needa were not so fortunate as Vader telekinetically strangled both men to death following blunders they had committed. For their part, many higher ranking Imperial officials despised the Dark Lord and his "sorcerer's ways."
Despite his rather rocky relationship with higher ranking officers in the military, Vader got along quite well with the clone troopers, once remarking, "I was rather fond of Commander Appo," following the latter's death at the hands of Roan Shryne. One reason Vader was popular with the troops that served under him was his willingness to fight in the front line, and not expect of anyone anything he was not willing to do himself. One officer who looked up to Vader because of this was Erv Lekauf, who often spoke highly of Vader to his grandson Jori Lekauf. Another military officer to be taken under Vader's wing was Firmus Piett, who succeeded Ozzel as Admiral of Death Squadron, and notably survived being under the Sith Lord's command having erred not once, but twice during his tenure under Vader. However, both of these failures were caused by unforeseeable factors, not errors in judgment.
In the end of his life, however, Skywalker broke away from the dark side, becoming whole once again. Redeemed by his son's love, father and son made peace before Skywalker became one with the Force and be reunited with his loved ones.
Powers and abilities
Anakin Skywalker was trained by the Order's most promising Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Through him, Skywalker would inherit a rich tradition of lightsaber training. Skywalker's style featured elements of many masters, making him outstandingly talented, even at a very young age.
Both Form V variants became the favored fighting styles of Anakin Skywalker, as their aggressive and strength-oriented fighting methods fit well with his arrogant, confrontational personality type. Due to his natural talent for lightsaber combat, he advanced quickly, an achievement which fed his ego, and he came to consider himself a match for Yoda. His specialty in the Shien form stood him in good stead during heated engagements with blaster-wielding foes, such as the Battle of Geonosis, and he became a formidable lightsaber duelist.
However, Skywalker eventually realised how much he still had to learn when he confronted Count Dooku. Initially utilizing a dual-bladed variant of Ataru against the Count, Skywalker was forced to revert to his standard Form V practices when Dooku destroyed the extra blade. His skill was enough for Anakin to stand toe-to-toe with Dooku even longer than his Master did, actually impressed the masterful Count with his skills, but he was forced to draw heavily on his Force-abilities to match Dooku's speed and precision, tiring quickly. Dooku's far more energy efficient Makashi style won the day, and Skywalker lost his arm when he opened himself up.
As the Clone War progressed, Skywalker spent the following years of the conflict developing his skills in the many pitched battles. He began studying the Djem So variant of Form V and used brute strength to overwhelm his opponents. Evidence of his prowess included confrontations with the Dooku-trained Asajj Ventress or Grievous' IG-100 MagnaGuards, as well as numerous sparring matches with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Relying on both strength and agility, Skywalker proved able to adequately fend off or evade enemy attacks while immediately offering counters. By the time of the Battle of Teth, Skywalker was able to effectively hold his own against Dooku, as shown by their confrontation on Tatooine. However, as the aggressive Form V encouraged practitioners to actively attempt to dominate their foes, Skywalker drew more and more on his anger and rage, sliding ever closer to the Dark side of the Force. When confronting Dooku for the last time, Skywalker relied heavily on these emotions to fuel his offense, demonstrating both overwhelming strength and bewildering speed as he bashed through Dooku's precision defense and sliced off both of the Count's hands before brutally executing him. Before his death, Dooku acknowledged Skywalker as the finest Djem So stylist that he had ever seen. It also proved to Sidious that Skywalker was ready to become his apprentice.
When Anakin Skywalker at long last embraced the dark side and was rechristened Darth Vader, he maintained his Form V mastery, but utilized it in an even more brutal fashion, becoming a frightening opponent. However, his aggression became his fatal flaw, as he would become so controlled by it that it would give way to his rage. Though young, strong, athletic, and a master swordsman gifted with more raw Force power than any other Force adept, he still lacked the experience, calm, and focus that his former master possessed. Though Vader could, and would call on the dark side to overpower his opponents, his mounting emotions distracted him, clouding his judgment and preventing him from executing his form as well as Kenobi executed his. Whereas Vader's strength lay in his offensive barrage, Kenobi's strength resided in his staunch defense.
Kenobi was regarded as the greatest master of the passive style Soresu in the Jedi Order, and his absolute dedication to it would prove vital to his victory. Vader, frustrated by his inability to break through this defense, began making mistakes and leaving openings that he otherwise would have avoided had he remained focused and patient. Kenobi, similar to his duel with Grievous, would utilize his "wait them out" philosophy, relying entirely on the defensive and energy-conservative monves until the opponent became frustrated or fatigued, causing them to leave sloppy openings in their offense that Kenobi could then exploit. In both cases, this resulted in the detachment of his opponent's limbs. This became Vader's downfall.
In his mechanical life-support suit, it was extremely difficult to engage in the energetic acrobatics of Ataru, an act that would quickly tire him, defeating the purpose of the aggressive style. Initially after gaining the suit, Vader was forced to rely on brute strength to batter his opponents, utilizing a clumsy method that utilized stiffly executed vertical strikes to wear down his opponent, although he included elements of Soresu and Ataru bladework in this, as witnessed by Jedi Master Roan Shryne when Vader engaged Bol Chatak.
However, Vader was able to overcome this limitation fairly quickly, developing a refined version of Djem So that continued to include Ataru and Soresu elements, but also added Makashi and Juyo to the mix. Rather than attempting to fight through the bulky and heavy armor, Vader fought with it, utilizing the armor's weight and his powerful prosthetics to provide his blows with incredible force, while relying on the main articulation points at the elbows and wrists for precision. With this new form, Vader regained some of his old agility, and his bladework was brutally effective. He never utilized anything less than a killing blow, and his swordplay demonstrated crispness and unpredictability, notwithstanding the two-handed grip he favored. Even the most simplistic moves contained enough strength to nearly disarm his opponents.
Vader proved able to apply this personalized variant in many ways, sometimes opting to fight one-handed, relying on precision and economy of movement, but thanks to the added strength his prosthetics afforded him, he maintained a great deal of power. He demonstrated this method against the likes of Olee Starstone and Luke Skywalker. However, when forced onto the defensive, Vader would fight with a two-handed grip, elbows pressed tightly to his sides with the blade held straight out in front of him, manipulating it deftly with his wrists only. This method proved effective for protecting his torso, and his vulnerable control panel, but it left his limbs open. Vader applied this defensive style against Roan Shryne during the subjugation of Kashyyyk and Obi-Wan Kenobi during their final duel on board the Death Star I.
While he utilized his customized style to great effect, even against multiple opponents, Vader occasionally fell back on the clumsy and stiff vertical strikes that he used during his first weeks in the suit, unleashing a relentless, offensive barrage, as demonstrated during his duel against Luke Skywalker on Bespin. Vader apparently learned his lesson from his duel with Kenobi, learning how to control his emotions when in combat and finding a way to call upon calculated bursts of the dark side while not being blinded by emotions run amok, fighting with determination and relentlessness rather than rage. Vader also trained frequently with combat droids to keep his skills sharp, using ASP-19s by 3.5 ABY. Based on the ASP-series droid, the ASP-19s were lightsaber combat droids programmed with the knowledge of a hundred swordmasters and a dozen fighting styles, faster and stronger than an ordinary man. Vader defeated them time and again, and thus ordered new, improved batches of them. As his finesse and skill improved, Vader found that they became too easy to defeat, so much so that he took to battling them in a two-on-one matches.
The fact that Skywalker was born with the highest known midi-chlorian count in galactic history and was considered to be the Chosen One leads to various conclusions about his Force potential and power. Although extremely young and having less than perfect training (due to his late age joining the Order), Skywalker was one of the most powerful living Jedi.
Skywalker's unprecedented midi-chlorian count made him one of the most powerful members of the Jedi Order; however, it also made Skywalker arrogant. When he came to the Jedi Temple at the age of nine, he began to develop at a much faster and accelerated pace than his fellow Padawans, further feeding his pride and self-importance.
Skywalker was skilled in the use of telekinesis able to lift heavy objects with minimal effort. During his duel with Asajj Ventress on Yavin IV, he easily deflected a large pillar back at Ventress when she hurled it at him and immediately afterwards he used the Force to block her Force Push without even slowing down. He was also skilled at Force Jump, and was able to leap massive distances. Skywalker was also capable of a powerful Force Push; however it should be noted that despite having a stronger connection to the Force than Obi-Wan Kenobi, his Force Push was unable to overcome Kenobi's during their duel on Mustafar. He was also skilled at Jedi Mind Tricks. However, Skywalker also had a habit of using the Force Choke power, a sign of who and what he would later become. During the battle of Geonosis, Skywalker displayed some skill in Animal friendship, allowing him to ride the reek that was present in the arena.
Because his limbs were severed and his body severely burned on Mustafar Darth Vader lost much of his Force potential. As Darth Vader, Skywalker was believed to have had roughly eight-tenths of the strength of the Emperor. But even still, Vader wielded tremendous power and skill. Had he sustained none of his injuries on Mustafar, he would have been even more powerful than the Emperor. The Emperor, having gone out of his way to keep Vader alive, took an alternative viewpoint. Though it was true to say that he had not bargained for an apprentice that was "more machine than man", Palpatine was initially of the opinion that most of the limitations on Vader's potential power were not physical but psychological. He believed that, were Vader to fully confront his choices and disappointments to completely shake himself out of his despair, he would have been able to reawaken the incredible power within him. Yet, while Vader made progress in this regard, he was never fully able to accept who, and what, he had become. Sidious would ultimately come to realize that Vader would never be the apprentice he longed for. He would try to replace him on at least two occasions with more powerful Force-sensitives, Galen Marek and Luke Skywalker. One of Vader's talents was to be able to block blaster bolts with his hands because his gloves are composed of a unique micronized iron that could deflect anything short of a lightsaber blow. Darth Vader also seemed to favor the Force choke ability, as he demonstrated it numerous times throughout his life. Vader also appeared to have great physical strength, able to lift a grown man by the throat with one hand, and picking up the Emperor and hurling him to his death. Whether these feats result from his use of the Force or from the power of his cybernetic limbs is unknown. However, it seems most likely to be a result of his mechanical appendages, as when he choked Kenobi in their battle on Mustafar. Besides the life support it provided his ravaged body, Vader's Sith armor also offered some protection against the blades of lightsabers. In a climactic duel with his son in the depths of Cloud City, a quick blow from Luke's lightsaber appeared to cut the armor only shallowly, although this was enough to draw a surprised cry from the Dark Lord. Because of his decreased mobility, he was at a disadvantage when dueling against beings using faster and quicker combat styles like Ataru. To counter fast-moving opponents, he would use the Force to pull out anything from his surroundings that wasn't nailed to the ground and fling the improvised missiles at his opponent. Without moving a muscle, anything from the venue of the battle could be used as a weapon to crash against Vader's opponents from all directions in a never-ending barrage. Darth Vader first used this tactic in the Duel on Mustafar, slicing shards of metal from the walls and shooting them at Obi-Wan Kenobi. Darth Vader also used this tactic to bring down Jedi Knight Roan Shryne, and most famously Luke Skywalker in their first duel on Bespin.
It should be noted that Darth Vader, despite being a powerful Sith Lord, was unable to generate Force lightning. This was due to his cybernetic implants, and any attempt by Vader to generate it would cause it to backfire, electrocuting his life-support systems, causing it to short-circuit and kill him. This is ultimately how he was killed, as his act of redemption in saving his son caused him to be bombarded with the Emperor's lightning. Because Vader's Sith powers were limited due to his artificial limbs, Darth Sidious found him less than satisfactory as his heir to the Sith legacy, despite the effort Sidious spent for more than a decade to recruit Skywalker. Upon the discovery of Luke Skywalker, Palpatine concentrated on turning him to the dark side.