Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Anakin Skywalker (41 BBY - 4 ABY), is a fictional character from Star Wars. Anakin is played in the films by Jake Lloyd as a child, Hayden Christensen as a young adult, and Sebastian Shaw as a dying, elderly (and redeemed) person. The name "Anakin" means "warrior." In real life, the name was taken from George Lucas' friend and fellow film director, Ken Annakin.
Anakin "Ani" Skywalker was believed by many, notably Qui-Gon Jinn, to be the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force. However Anakin's arrogant behavior and emotional insecurities eventually caused him to turn to the dark side, becoming Darth Vader.
Son of Shmi Skywalker, Anakin was born in about 41 BBY. Some viewers have drawn narrative parallels between this tale and the New Testament stories of Jesus' conception and birth, as Shmi claimed that there was no father and that she just became pregnant with Anakin. Qui-Gon Jinn suggested that the midi-chlorians might have conceived him.
In The Phantom Menace, he appears as a nine year old boy (played by Jake Lloyd). Even at this young age, he had a reputation for being able to build or repair anything, evidenced by the creation of his own protocol droid C-3PO and podracer, each from salvaged parts. A child prodigy, Anakin excelled at mathematics and engineering. Among his many talents, he also was a remarkable pilot due to his enhanced intuition and quick reflexes (resulting undoubtedly from his sensitivity to the Force).
He is found on Tatooine by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and after his gifts are revealed, Qui-Gon is convinced that Skywalker is the individual told of in prophecy who will "bring balance to the Force." After Qui-Gon's death, Anakin is trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Jedi — though some of the Jedi have reservations about his character. In the course of events he meets Padmé Amidala, with whom he forms a strong bond.
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, (2002), Anakin, now a young adult and cocky apprentice Jedi (played by actor Hayden Christensen), again meets up with Padmé, on whom he has developed a massive crush. Assigned to guard Padmé, in conversation he reveals, as well as his affection, a distrust of the political process and his view of the need for one strong leader. After the death of Shmi, freed from slavery and living in the deserts of Tatooine with her new husband, at the hands of the Tusken Raiders, Anakin's dark side was more strongly revealed as he slaughtered an entire tribe of Tuskens in a bloody revenge, killing even the children. After losing his right arm in a lightsaber battle with Count Dooku, the movie ends with Anakin's elopement and marriage to Padmé on Naboo.
In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin went though many battles in the war. One of such major events in it were his battle with Asajj Ventress. He was later made a full-fledged Jedi, dispite the fact that never went through the final test prior to his knighting. During a mission to save the Nelvaanian Braves, Anakin went through a cave that revealed what would become him in the future.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith will be released May 19, 2005. It will complete the three prequels to bring us full circle back to Episode IV, first released in 1977. Both Clone Wars & Episode III bridge the large gap between a young Anakin we left at the end of Episode II and the high-ranking Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith, and apprentice to the Emperor we meet at the beginning of Episode IV. According to lots of post-Star Wars fiction, he landed in a volcano, and this is what required him to don the famous suit, making him more like a cyborg. As Obi-Wan said in Return of the Jedi, "he's more machine now than man, twisted and evil."
In novelization of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker was the first to discover that Darth Sidious was actually Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. This discovery inspired fear inside of Anakin who fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith.
From about the time of Episode III until the final moments of Return of the Jedi, Anakin was known as Darth Vader. During this time, Darth Vader became the brutal second in command of the Galactic Empire. He took the lives of many millions, including almost the entire Jedi Order, on his hands. Vader tortured Princess Leia, unaware of their blood relation. He also nearly kills his son Luke Skywalker several times.
Luke risked everything but was able to finally bring Anakin back from the dark side. As a result, Darth Vader ceases to exist in the closing moments of the Return of the Jedi when he becomes Anakin Skywalker once again. In a final heroic effort of self-sacrifice, Anakin struggled to his feet to rescue his son from the Emperor (thus further injuring himself from the Force's energy) and threw the Emperor down the Death Star's reactor shaft and to his death.
- "You were right, Luke. You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right." Wikiquote
Near death, Anakin asked Luke to help him remove his mask, so that he could look on his son with his own eyes. Luke initially refused, reminding his father that he would die without the life-sustaining hardware. "Nothing can stop that now," came the serene answer. Luke helped remove the mask that had been his father's prison for twenty years. Anakin was bald, with deathly pale white skin, the consequence of decades of hiding his mangled form from natural light. He also had a large scar on the side of his head, yet another reminder of his fall from grace. After seeing his son face to face for the first and, as it turned out, the last time, Anakin Skywalker smiled, and told Luke that he was right about him — that there was good still in him — and to tell his sister, Leia, the same. With those last words, Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight once more, died and became one with the Force.
On Endor, the last remnants of the man who had been Darth Vader was burned by his son Luke, and the end of the film the younger Skywalker saw what appeared to be a vision of a redeemed Anakin (whole and without the artificial body of Vader), Obi-Wan, and Yoda smiling down upon him. Thus ends the six-part saga, with a restored order to the galaxy through the return of Anakin Skywalker to the Light Side of the Force, and the final defeat of the Sith. And thus it was that the prophecy of the Chosen One bringing balance to the Force was finally fulfilled.
In Return of the Jedi, the unmasked Vader and the spirit of the forgiven Anakin were played by actor Sebastian Shaw. In the release of the DVDs, however, Hayden Christensen has replaced the head of Sebastian Shaw when appearing as the Jedi spirit, to symbolize Anakin's last form before he fell to the Dark Side and his return to that untainted form.
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