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Anakin Skywalker was the Tatooine-born Jedi who later became Darth Vader - one of the most powerful and ruthless Sith Lords of all time. Born of prophecy, possibly conceived by the will of the Force itself, he left an indelible mark on the history of the galaxy, leading it through periods of lightness and dark.

A child slave on Tatooine, Anakin and his mother Shmi were sold by their owner, Gardulla the Hutt, to the unscrupulous Toydarian junk dealer Watto. While in Watto's employ, Anakin learned valuable mechanical and technical skills. He earned the reputation of being able to fix anything. So technically inclined was he that at the young age of nine, he cobbled together a working protocol droid -- C-3PO -- to help his mother.

As a young boy, he would often risk his own well being to bring help to those who needed it, heedless of the consequences. As a five-year old, Anakin climbed a dune to chase away banthas so that hunters would not shoot them. Throughout the ordeal, he collapsed from exhaustion several times, but nonetheless persevered in his effort to save the animals. A few years later, he broke into the fortress of Gardulla the Hutt to save Ghostling children captured there. Even the risk of enraging Sebulba -- who provided the Ghostlings as slaves -- did not deter the boy.

During a trade with Jawas from Mochot Steep, Anakin came across a wounded Tusken Raider. Despite common traveler advice to the contrary, Anakin tended to the Tusken Raider's wounds and nursed him to health.

Anakin was a kind, selfless child. He had no thoughts of greed or malice in him. Though that is not to say the boy was docile. When his adrenaline surged, Anakin had an aggressive competitive streak. Anakin's participation in the foolhardy sport of Podracing is testament to this.

Anakin's love of Podracing came about almost by accident. A few years prior to his freedom, Anakin took Watto's Podracer out for a test spin and performed exceptionally. Recognizing his talent, Watto let the boy continue his piloting, sensing potential profit from the venture. Little did Watto suspect that Anakin would start building his own Podracer, in secret, that would eventually win him his freedom.

Anakin Skywalker was the only known human capable of handling the extreme speeds of Podracing. His small frame allowed him to sit in the tiny cockpit, and his superhuman reflexes gave him the advantage he needed to keep up with alien competitors better suited to the sport. Anakin's reflexes were actually the product of Force-intuition -- the boy could see events before they happened, and respond to them in kind.

Anakin's sensitivity to the Force and his racing talents caused him to cross paths with the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and the young Naboo royal, Queen Amidala. They were fugitives from the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo that desperately needed passage to Coruscant. In order to win the needed parts for their damaged vessel, Anakin figured into a cleverly crafted wager that depended on the outcome of the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace.

Anakin pitted his racing talents against the scheming Dug Podracer, Sebulba. The young boy ultimately bested the treacherous alien, winning not only the race and the needed starship parts, but also his freedom. He also garnered the attention and admiration of Queen Amidala, who was disguised as a simple handmaiden at the time. Despite their age difference -- she was fourteen and he, nine -- he professed someday that they would marry and he carried a devoted crush on her.

Unfortunately, Anakin was unable to win his mother's freedom. Qui-Gon sensed incredible Force potential in the boy, and Anakin's bloodstream held a record number of midi-chlorians. When he departed with Qui-Gon to proceed with his Jedi training, Anakin was forced to leave his mother behind. Although a new life of adventure awaited him offworld, his thoughts dwelled on the kind and quiet Shmi.

Qui-Gon Jinn believed Anakin to be the Chosen One spoken of in an ancient prophecy, the one who would bring balance to the Force. There was some controversy on the subject -- despite Jinn's adamant assurances that Skywalker was the chosen one, the Jedi Council was reluctant to train the boy, feeling his future to be clouded and that Anakin at the age of nine was too old to begin Jedi training.

After the liberation of Naboo -- wherein Anakin bravely piloted a starfighter into the heart of the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship -- the Council rescinded its original decision, and allowed Obi-Wan Kenobi to take Anakin as his Padawan learner.

Once part of the Jedi order, Anakin's power and skill became legendary, as did his impatience and recklessness. Fed up with the staid existence in the Jedi Temple's quiet corridors, Anakin fed his need for speed by venturing into the bowels of Coruscant's infrastructure. There, he would race inside the city-planet's gargantuan waste disposal systems, risking his life in exchange for the rush of breakneck acceleration.

As he grew older, Anakin's nightmares became worse. He continued having dreams of a dark future and terrible events lurking on the horizon. Obi-Wan Kenobi admonished the boy not to give into fear, and to use the Force to control his emotions. Despite being powerful in the Force, Anakin always found this difficult. Many feared that Anakin might simply be too powerful to control.

While on a mission to discover a missing Jedi on Zonama Sekot, Anakin was challenged by a Blood Carver assassin named Ke Daiv. Anakin, unable to control years of repressed emotion, snapped and killed Ke Daiv. This was the first life Anakin had ever taken through the Force. The intensity of his emotions at the time would forever haunt him.

At age 13, Anakin underwent an important Jedi ritual, traveling to the frozen caverns of Ilum to commune with the Force. In a grotto strong with the Force, Anakin experienced a haunting vision of his mother and the dead Sith warrior Darth Maul. Not letting his fears paralyze him, Anakin forged ahead through the hallucination, to discover that he had gathered the Ilum crystals needed to build his first lightsaber.

Shortly thereafter, Anakin was captured by the fearsome pirate Krayn, who put the young Skywalker to work in a darkened spice processing facility. Another undercover Jedi, Siri Tachi, spearheaded a slave revolt that eventually toppled Krayn's empire. Anakin confronted Krayn and killed the tyrant.

Just prior to the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan were assigned to mediate a border dispute on the outlying world of Ansion. Working with fellow Jedi Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee, they made contact with the natives of Ansion and forged a treaty between the city-dwelling inhabitants and the plains-wandering nomads.

Over the next decade, Anakin and Obi-Wan forged a strong bond. Under Obi-Wan's careful guidance, Anakin became a confident, headstrong 20-year old with an impulsive nature and a flair for adventure. His reckless ways would often wear down even Obi-Wan's patience, but the two were close friends. In many ways, Anakin looked to Obi-Wan as the father figure he never had.

Eventually, Anakin and Obi-Wan were assigned to protect Padmé Amidala, who was now Senator of Naboo, from assassination attempts possibly linked to Separatists threatening the Republic. It was the first time Anakin and Padmé had seen each other in a decade. He had thought of her every day since their last parting, but she seemed aloof and far too occupied with the more important matters at hand.

This was a challenge to Anakin. Had he been schooled in the Jedi ways from infancy, he would have had a tighter rein on his emotions. Instead, his mind was preoccupied with thoughts of Padmé or thoughts of his mother. He had not mastered the detachment so necessary to the Jedi order.

When he was assigned to escort Senator Amidala to Naboo, where she would be sequestered from further attacks while the Jedi investigated the situation, Anakin could barely contain his emotions. In the quiet solitude amid the beautiful surroundings of a hidden Naboo lake retreat, the affectionate friendship and deeper emotions shared by Padmé and Anakin began to grow.

It was Padmé who remained pragmatic in the face of rising emotions. The two had other, larger commitments -- he to the Jedi order, she to the Republic. There was simply no time to indulge their desires.

One night, Anakin was overcome with nightmares about his mother. Defying the strict orders given him by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin left Naboo to return to Tatooine and seek out Shmi Skywalker. Padmé accompanied him to Mos Espa, where he discovered that his mother had been freed by a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars. Visiting the Lars Homestead, Anakin also learned terrible news. His mother had been attacked by Sand People, and she had been missing for a month.

Anakin searched the desert for Shmi, finding her in a Tusken encampment. Sneaking into her guarded hut, Anakin freed her broken form and cradled her body as she died. Again Anakin's emotions boiled out of control. He was possessed with a dark rage that controlled his very actions. Anakin brandished his lightsaber and emerged from the tent.

He slaughtered the entire encampment. Every single Tusken Raider man, woman and child died by his hand. But even that did not sate his rage. He still felt a deep hatred toward all of them.

Anakin returned to the Lars Homestead with his mother's body. In private, he confessed his actions to Padmé. Shamed at his actions and inability to save his mother, Anakin collapsed, sobbing at what he did. Padmé comforted him as much as she could.

A quiet funeral was held at the Lars Homestead. Anakin said his final farewell to Shmi, promising that he would never fail her again. Someday, he knew, he would be powerful enough to not fail the ones he loved. Perhaps someday, he could even stop people from dying.

Anakin and Padmé next voyaged to Geonosis, where Obi-Wan's investigations had taken him. Kenobi had been captured by Separatist forces, and Anakin sought to rescue him. Sneaking into a droid foundry on the planet, Anakin barely escaped the dangerous machines of the assembly line. He and Padmé were eventually captured, and joined Kenobi in an execution arena. Faced with overwhelming evidence of her mortality, Padmé lowered her emotional guard and professed her love to Anakin, a love he was willing to return regardless of the consequences.

The Jedi and Padmé were able to escape certain death from the dangerous beasts unleashed by their Geonosian executioners. The spectacle was cut short with the arrival of Jedi reinforcements, and then the opening battle of the historic Clone Wars.

Obi-Wan and Anakin attempted to intercept Count Dooku, mastermind of the Separatists, before he escaped to foment even further rebellion against the Republic. In a darkened hangar, the two confronted Dooku. Though Obi-Wan insisted they work together, headstrong Anakin rushed into the fray. Dooku nearly incapacitated him with a powerful blast of dark side lightning.

Obi-Wan was forced to face Dooku alone, but the elder Jedi Master was clearly the more-skilled combatant. He wounded Kenobi, and was ready to deliver the deathblow, but Anakin jumped in to intercept. Dooku and Skywalker dueled with fierce energy, but Dooku proved far too powerful for even the Chosen One. The renegade Jedi slashed through Anakin's parries and severed the youth's arm. Anakin collapsed, but was spared death by the timely arrival of Jedi Master Yoda, who battled Dooku.

After a brief convalescence wherein Anakin's severed arm was replaced with a mechanical one, he accompanied Senator Amidala back to Naboo. There, at a secluded lake retreat, the two were secretly wed by a Naboo holyman in a ceremony witnessed only by C-3PO and R2-D2. It may have been the start of a new life, but it was another step to Anakin's eventual destruction.

If Anakin felt his time as a Padawan was a trying exercise in restraint, the Clone Wars would prove to be an ever greater challenge that would mold his character. Apprenticed to Obi-Wan in the thick of the fiercest fighting the Republic had faced in centuries, Anakin became a man against the backdrop of seemingly ceaseless war.

The Clone Wars saw Anakin's star continue to rise, as his exploits became legendary. An amazing starfighter pilot, Anakin flew missions over Kamino, Balamak, Virujansi, and elsewhere, cementing a reputation for his unparalleled skills. He custom modified his assigned Delta-7 Jedi starfighter into a truly unique vessel that outperformed the ships of the line.

The war molded Anakin into a man, but continued to feed his pride. It became increasingly difficult for him to adhere to the strict tenets of the Jedi Code, particularly when the Order itself was thrust into nebulous moral ground in waging a full-scale war. When he could, he would write letters to his beloved Padmé, but he saw her only very rarely.

During the Battle of Muunilinst, Anakin was placed in charge of the space attack against the homeworld of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, a key member of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. His exceptional starfighter piloting skills and leadership led clone pilots to defeat the enemy forces. Anakin, however, was drawn from the battle by a sleek rogue vessel that flew apart from the enemy swarm.

Despite repeated warnings from Obi-Wan not to pursue, Anakin gave chase, and followed the mysterious fanblade starfighter to the jungles of Yavin 4. Beneath the jungle canopy, amid the ruins of ancient Sith temples, Anakin dueled with Asajj, their ferocious lightsaber attacks illuminating their dank surroundings. Anakin repulsed Asajj, but did so only by giving into his anger, and once again the young Jedi had tread dangerously on the dark side of the Force.

Throughout the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan and Anakin were rarely far apart, being dispatched as a team to various battlefronts. As a Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan received the rank of General, with Anakin as his lieutenant. It was on the rain-soaked world of Jabiim that Skywalker had to take over on his own. Obi-Wan was presumed killed in a Separatist attack, and Skywalker led a group of similarly "orphaned" Padawans. In the midst of this battle, Anakin received a priority communiqué from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The galactic ruler requested that Anakin oversee the evacuation of Jabiim in person.

Though it pained Anakin to not fight alongside his comrades in the final push, he had to obey an authority as great -- and a friendship as close -- as Palpatine's. The evacuation of Jabiim was an ugly, controversial extraction, with the Republic abandoning the local forces to fend for themselves. Captain Gillmunn, local leader of the Jabiimi loyalists, swore vengeance on Skywalker and the Jedi order. He pulled a gun on Anakin, and Skywalker reacted by using the Force to start choking Gillmunn. Such a frightening use of the Force came easily to Anakin, though it was the first time he had ever used the mystical energy field in that specific fashion.

After evacuating Jabiim, Anakin was stationed at the medical centers on New Holstice. He met up with A'Sharad Hett, a young Jedi raised in Tusken Raider culture. Given Anakin's hatred of the Sand People for the murder of his mother, Skywalker was deeply conflicted when he was teamed with Hett on a mission to Aargonar. Unable to express his prejudice and anger towards Hett, Anakin instead projected his hatred on a group of Yuzzem Confederacy troops. Imagining them to be the Tusken Raiders who had kidnapped and tortured his mother, Anakin slaughtered the alien troops.

After reining in his emotions, Anakin revealed his secret to Hett. So that the troubled youth would view him as a fellow Jedi and not a Tusken Raider, A'Sharad removed his Tusken mask, revealing his human features to Anakin. Hett chose to keep Anakin's burden a secret, for it was ultimately up to Anakin to confess his transgressions to the Jedi Council. He never did.

Despite Jedi platitudes about peace and patience, Anakin found the battles of the Clone Wars invigorating. He felt alive in combat, and his incredible Force abilities were further honed. It was Anakin who single-handedly transformed inevitable defeat into victory on numerous occasions. Encounters on worlds such as Cato Neimoidia and elsewhere cemented Anakin and Obi-Wan's legendary reputations. Throughout the Republic, citizens would spread tales of the two Jedi heroes -- Anakin's hologenic features and daring exploits earned him the moniker of "The Hero With No Fear." Skywalker became a celebrity of the state, despite Jedi ascetics frowning upon such accolades.

That is not to suggest the war was without its difficulties. Time and again, the Separatists pushed, and Anakin would find himself restrained by his oaths to the Jedi. He couldn't share his darker thoughts with his fellow Jedi -- the thoughts that overwhelmed him that night in the Tusken Raider village. He knew that such a path was a gateway to more power, but it also led to the dark side. The only person he felt comfortable confiding such troubles to was a friend he had since his days as a child hero on Naboo: Chancellor Palpatine.

Palpatine encouraged Anakin's talents. In many ways, Anakin felt Palpatine was the only one not asking anything from him. He was simply letting Anakin be, and appreciating him for his efforts and talents -- he wasn't imposing boundaries nor begging for aid.

Another ache for Anakin was the absence from his wife. Long weeks would stretch into months wherein Anakin would not see Padmé. As a devoted Senator, she kept a watchful eye on the war, but much of her interest on the scattered reports of the ongoing conflict was deeply personal. The five months they were apart during the Outer Rim Sieges tore at their hearts.

In the last year of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan were stationed in the Outer Rim when word came of a shocking development. Coruscant was under attack. Not only was the planet that held his beloved wife targeted, but also his close friend the Chancellor had been kidnapped by the merciless General Grievous and his droid forces.

It was with a fierce determination that Obi-Wan, Anakin, and their Republic forces launched towards Coruscant, to parry the blow to the Republic's heart. Infiltrating General Grievous' flagship, Obi-Wan and Anakin worked their way into what was surely a trap. Aboard the vessel, they found the captive Palpatine and were confronted once again by Count Dooku.

In the lightsaber duel that ensued, Obi-Wan was knocked unconscious by a withering telekinetic blow delivered by the Sith Lord. Anakin continued to hold his own alone, urged to the offensive by Palpatine's goading. Anakin sliced off Dooku's hands, rendering the Sith Lord harmless. At Palpatine's insistence, Anakin killed Dooku, decapitating the Separatist leader. He instantly regretted the decision, despite the surge of power he felt in doing it. Palpatine tried to reassure Anakin that it was necessary -- Dooku was too dangerous to be taken alive.

Kenobi, Skywalker and Palpatine then attempted to make their way off the starship, only to be captured by General Grievous' droid forces. Marched before the General within the ship's bridge, it was Anakin who surprisingly recommended patience as a tactic. Sure enough, his reliable astromech droid, R2-D2, provided a mechanical distraction that allowed Anakin and Obi-Wan to overpower their guards and reclaim their weapons.

Grievous escaped the encounter, but the flagship sustained far too much damage during the Battle of Coruscant to remain in flight. The planet's gravity pulled the ship further down into the atmosphere, and it was up to Anakin to pilot the splintering craft to safety. True to his reputation, he succeeded. He once again proved to be a hero -- having rescued Palpatine, defeated Dooku, and returned home safely.

Finally back on Coruscant, Anakin was reunited with Padmé. The reunion was bittersweet, for while Padmé brought Anakin the news that she was pregnant, this only complicated matters. They wondered how they could continue to keep their relationship a secret with this new development. Anakin tried to focus on the positive, but was soon plagued with nightmares that he deeply feared were prophetic. He kept dreaming that Padmé would die in childbirth.

In addition to this heavy burden, even more weight was put on young Anakin's shoulders. He found himself in the middle of a political power struggle between the Jedi Council and the Chancellor. Throughout the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine was gaining increased executive powers in the name of security. Those in the Jedi Council, including Mace Windu, grew increasingly suspicious of Palpatine's motives. They suspected Palpatine would soon attempt to make the Council an exclusive instrument of the Chancellor's office.

Palpatine trusted Anakin. Their friendship caused the Chancellor to appoint Skywalker to the Council, as his special representative. Ordinarily, the Jedi Council would not allow such an outside influence to dictate their appointments, but the Jedi had a plan. They would use Anakin to report on the Chancellor's activities. Though not documented in any official records, Anakin was asked by the Council to spy on the Chancellor. Specifically, Obi-Wan Kenobi made the request personally.

Anakin was outraged. Bad enough the Jedi Council should involve itself in such treason, but to ask in such an unorthodox fashion -- and to have it be his former mentor nonetheless! Further angering Skywalker was that the Council accepted his appointment, but refused to grant him the rank of Master. Such an insult was unheard of. Deep down he believed he was more powerful than these outdated Jedi Masters. Anakin imagined that they feared his power, notions that Palpatine helped nurture with his advice.

It was at these moments of Skywalker's greatest confusion that Palpatine opened up to him. During a quiet conversation at the Galaxies Opera House, Palpatine recounted an old Sith legend of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Palpatine explained that Plagueis, a Sith Lord, had abilities that some would describe as unnatural. Like an ancient alchemist, he could coax life out of midi-chlorians, either for the purpose of creating new life, or staving off death in others. This was the promised power of the Sith, suggested Palpatine. Anakin, who had been searching for a way to prevent Padmé from dying, listened intently.

Anakin confronted Palpatine about this arcane knowledge, accusing the Chancellor to be a Sith Lord. The Chancellor did nothing to dissuade Anakin of this idea. He instead offered Anakin the knowledge and power that the dark side promised. He promised Skywalker a path to the Force that had no rules, no code, no boundaries.

Anakin reported the Chancellor to Mace Windu, earning the Jedi Master's trust. Windu brought a team of capable Jedi warriors to arrest the Chancellor, but he refused to let Anakin come along. Left alone to stew in his tempestuous thoughts, Anakin realized that Palpatine could be his only chance at saving Padmé. He rushed to the Chancellor's office, to discover a stunning sight: the Chancellor, cornered in his office window, with Mace Windu looming over him with his lightsaber blade extended. Palpatine unleashed a torrent of Sith lightning at the Jedi Master, but Windu was able to deflect it back at the Chancellor. The evil energies twisted Palpatine's face as they flowed through him, scarring and disfiguring his once handsome features. His eyes burned yellow, his voice grew ragged and deep, and he became a well of dark side energies.

Palpatine slumped in his corner, seemingly too weak to continue the lightning assault. Fearing the Chancellor to be too powerful and too well connected, Windu decided he could not be taken alive. Palpatine cried out for help, calling Mace a traitor, and explaining how the Jedi had engineered a coup to topple the Republic's leadership. Mace denied this loudly, identifying Palpatine as the traitor. With these shrill arguments vying for his loyalty, Anakin felt torn. Torn between his loyalties, and needing Palpatine alive to fulfill his quest for arcane knowledge to preserve the life of his beloved, Anakin acted. In an emotionally charged action, Anakin ignited his lightsaber blade and sheared off Mace Windu's weapon hand before he could strike Palpatine. Defenseless, Windu was bombarded with Sith lightning as Palpatine -- now revealed to be Darth Sidious -- unleashed a torrent of deadly energy at the Jedi Master. The forked bolts of lightning penetrated Mace's body, illuminating his form from within. The final blast bodily lifted him into the air, sending his form hurling into the Coruscant skies, to crash lifelessly somewhere in the vast cityscape below.

With the death of Mace Windu, Anakin had committed himself to the dark path. He knelt before Darth Sidious, proclaiming himself to be a servant of the Sith. Pleased, Sidious granted Anakin a Sith name: Darth Vader. With the promise of newfound powers, Sidious dispatched Vader to destroy the Jedi Temple.

On that terrible night on Coruscant, Darth Vader became the scourge of the Jedi. He led a column of clone troopers into the heart of the Jedi Temple. They killed all those within. His eyes burning with Sith intensity, it became clear that Anakin was no longer the same hero he once was. He was firmly entrenched in darkness, even bringing his blade to snuff out the bright lives of the Jedi younglings.

Skywalker was no more. He could not hear the entreaties of his friends and loved ones to return from the darkness. Upon his ascendancy to Galactic Emperor, Darth Sidious had no further need of the Separatists. He dispatched Darth Vader, to dispose of his wartime collaborators on Mustafar. Upon arrival, Vader silently stalked into the inner chambers of the mining facility. His lightsaber blade made short work of the Separatists, cutting them down and effectively bringing an end to the Clone Wars. In his twisted perception, he was bringing peace and order to the new Empire, wiping away the corruption and chaos of the Republic's twilight.

Arriving on Mustafar, Padmé confronted Anakin. Padmé was distraught by Anakin's transformation. She pleaded for him to return from the dark side. Unknown to Padmé, Obi-Wan had stowed away on her ship to find him. When Kenobi emerged from Amidala's ship, Anakin was consumed with rage. Anakin accused Padmé of betraying him, and he reached out with his hand and began to telekinetically strangle Padmé. She gasped for air before collapsing, unconscious, on the Mustafar landing platform. In his rage, he would bring about the death of his wife, fulfilling the terrifying vision that prompted his turn to forbidden knowledge. Kenobi witnessed the evil in Anakin, and attacked his former apprentice.

The lightsaber duel that followed was the stuff of legends. The two incredible warriors crossed blades throughout the barren industrial facility on Mustafar, oblivious to the volcanic danger surrounding them. The spectacular lightsaber duel worked its way through the Mustafar collection complex. Through the course of their battle, the protective shields were deactivated, and the facility was exposed to the planet's full geological fury. A geyser of lava erupted, dropping molten rock on one of the outrigger collection arms of the facility where Obi-Wan and Vader dueled. The arm collapsed under the heat and strain, plunging into the lava river. Before the severed collection arm succumbed to the pull of a lavafall, Vader and Kenobi leapt from the doomed structure onto a nearby worker droid and harvesting platform, respectively. Their duel continued on these automated platforms floating on the molten rivers of lava. The duel returned to solid ground as Kenobi leapt to the black-sand shores of one of the lava flows. He had the high ground, the tactical advantage. He urged Vader not to press on in a fight he could not win, but the Sith Lord's arrogance got the better of him.

Anakin leapt towards Kenobi, and in a single swipe Obi-Wan's blade sheared from him his lower legs and his left arm, and his crippled body tumbled onto the searing black sands of Mustafar. Anakin's maimed body rolled down the embankment, towards the river's edge. Obi-Wan was crushed. The supposed Chosen One was no more, but only after wreaking so much destruction on the galaxy. The Jedi were gone. The Chancellor now ruled the galaxy, and the young hero he had come to regard as his beloved brother lay dying on the charred gravel of a hellish world. The heat from the river washed over Anakin, and he caught fire, and Vader was severely burned all over his body. His last words professed his utter hatred for Kenobi. Kenobi then picked up Skywalker's dropped lightsaber and returned to Padmé's starship, leaving the Dark Lord to die on the Mustafar river banks.

Darth Sidious sensed Vader's anguish, and arrived in time to rescue his fallen apprentice. Sidious took Vader from Mustafar to an Imperial rehabilitation center where he was rebuilt. Maimed and mortally wounded by lightsaber and fire, Vader required cybernetic enhancements and replacements to sustain him. Vader was reconstructed as a cyborg and encased in a black protective life supporting suit. His pure innocent self seemingly lost forever, he abandoned his former identity. Darth Vader cast a dark pall over the galaxy, as he was one of the foremost agents responsible for the spread of the Emperor's draconian New Order.

In the chaos that accompanied Palpatine's rise to power, Vader became one of the Emperor's most loyal servants. The Emperor entrusted him with the elimination of the Jedi Knights. As an agent of the Sith, Darth Vader was a merciless killer. During these dark times, Vader and his agents destroyed the Jedi order. Vader personally slayed or crippled such notable knights as Halagad Ventor and Empatojayos Brand. The slaughter of the Jedi was widespread, but several Force-sensitive individuals were spared. Select agents of the Emperor were allowed to keep their knowledge of the Force, as long as they used it as the Emperor commanded. Others hid, as Vima-Da-Boda did in the slums of Nar Shaddaa, or Obi-Wan Kenobi did in the deserts of Tatooine.

As Palpatine grew in political power, so too did Vader's star rise. On Coruscant, an immense palace was awarded to the Dark Lord. Another such monument, Bast Castle, existed on the distant world of Vjun. The Emperor allowed Vader to train a precious few in the Force to act as agents, such as Lord Hethrir and Vost Tyne.

Vader, never much of a statesman, eschewed politics in favor of a more martial role in the Imperial command structure. Many in the Imperial hierarchy resented Vader's position of privilege. Vader's capriciousness was legendary. He would often kill veteran officers for moments of incompetence. For his chilling managerial style, Vader had to weather a treasonous revolt from a handful of Imperial officers who tried to do away with the Dark Lord. Their assassination attempt failed, and Vader was none too amused.

Still possessing Anakin Skywalker's amazing piloting and engineering skills, Vader oversaw the initial designs for the Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Advanced starfighter. His position in the Imperial ranks gave him the first prototype model, the x1, as an exclusive fighter.

When the Galactic Civil War raged across the Empire, Darth Vader was tasked with discovering the location of the Rebel Alliance's secret base. Vader captured Rebel operative Princess Leia Organa and had her tortured to reveal the location of the hidden fortress. Vader also sought technical plans stolen by the Rebels. These plans carried the complete schematics of the Empire's most powerful weapon, the Death Star battle station. When a rescue team successfully liberated the princess, Vader found himself face to face with his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader defeated the aged Jedi Knight in a lightsaber duel.

Using the stolen plans to pinpoint the Death Star's weakness, Rebel forces launched a starfighter attack on the station. Entering the battle, Vader piloted his own specially modified fighter. He managed to destroy the most Rebel pilots in the battle, but was forced out of the conflict when his own vessel was crippled by the Millennium Falcon. The x1’s compact hyperdrive came in handy when Vader found himself in the depths of space following the destruction of the Death Star.

Returning to the Empire, Vader was formally reprimanded for his failure to stop the Rebels. He then continued his mission to find the Rebel base. His search took him to such worlds as Ultaar and Centares. He tortured a Rebel pilot that led him to discover the identity of the Death Star's killer, Luke Skywalker.

Equipped with this information, Vader orchestrated a number of plans to capture the young Rebel. He involved the House of Tagge family of nobles in a plot to capture Skywalker on the world of Monastery. He used an actor posing as Obi-Wan Kenobi to lure Skywalker to the planet Aridus. When Governor Bin Essada learned that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa were on Circarpous V, he contacted the Dark Lord. Vader traveled to the jungle world, and faced the Rebels in the abandoned Temple of Pomojema. Guided by the spirit of Obi-Wan, Luke severed Vader's prosthetic right arm in combat. Vader, amazingly, survived the wound, and was ready to continue. The Dark Lord toppled into a sacrificial well as the fight resumed, and the Rebels escaped.

Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, Vader led an elite squadron of Star Destroyers headed by his flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor. He was to seek out and capture the Rebels responsible for the Death Star's demise. Eventually, Vader tracked the Rebels down to the ice-world of Hoth. There, he launched a ground attack destroying the base. His quarry, the Millennium Falcon, escaped.

During the Hoth campaign, the Emperor commanded Vader to track down the "son of Skywalker," and have Vader turn him to the dark side of the Force. Vader planned to use Skywalker's friends as bait to lure him into a trap. He hired a motley gang of bounty hunters to track down the Falcon, and drew Luke to Bespin's Cloud City. He and Luke clashed in a lightsaber duel that Vader won by ruthlessly severing Luke's sword-hand. Vader then revealed to the broken young Jedi that he was his father, and that they would rule the galaxy as father and son. Luke refused to succumb to the dark side, and escaped his father. Vader was left empty-handed.

After the Battle of Hoth, Vader found himself in a complex game of strategy against the scheming criminal mastermind, Prince Xizor. The prince, who had long hated Vader due to a planetary bombardment ordered by the Dark Lord on Xizor's homeworld of Falleen, was attempting to discredit Vader in the sickly yellow eyes of the Emperor. Xizor had long been a rival for the Emperor's attentions. He sought to foil Vader's plan to capture Skywalker for the Emperor by having Luke assassinated first. Vader discovered Xizor's plot, and killed him in an assault high over Coruscant.

After these incidents, Palpatine reassigned Vader from the Imperial fleet, and instead put him in charge of overseeing the new Death Star operation. The Emperor began to distrust his once loyal servant. Vader's contact with his son sparked something within him, something the Emperor did not like.

Palpatine was scheduled to arrive at the second Death Star. The Emperor foresaw that Skywalker would come before the two, and then they would seduce young Luke to the dark side, just as Anakin had been drawn to its power decades earlier.

When Luke surrendered, and was taken before the Emperor, Palpatine pitted father and son in a lightsaber duel. Skywalker refused to fight and give into the temptation of the dark side. Vader, probing his mind, learned of his daughter, Leia Organa. He threatened to turn her to the dark side. At this threat, Luke gave into his hatred and attacked his father. In the ferocious assault that followed, young Skywalker nearly killed Vader. Horrified by what he had become, Luke abandoned his new found dark side rage, and refused Palpatine's offers of power. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me," Skywalker proudly claimed.

Palpatine unleashed a deadly barrage of dark side energy on the young Jedi. Lightning bolts spawned from pure evil tore into Luke's body with searing pain. Vader stood helplessly, watching his son writhe in agony from torture delivered by his master. Unable to watch anymore, Vader turned against his master. He grabbed a surprised Palpatine from behind, hoisted him above his head, and tossed his evil master down a bottomless reactor shaft. Vader was bombarded by the Emperor's Force lightning, mortally wounding him.

As he lay dying aboard the second Death Star, Vader ceased to be. Anakin Skywalker returned. He asked his son to remove his cumbersome, fearsome mask so that he could look upon his long lost son with his own eyes. His mask and life support removed, Anakin looked upon Luke for the first and last time. Having saved his son's life, and reclaimed his soul from the dark side, Anakin died and became one with the light side of the Force. As he shed his corporeal form, he found the spectral forms of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda ready for his return. Through compassion and selflessness, Anakin discovered the secret knowledge of the Shaman of the Whills, a technique that allowed him to retain his identity in the netherworld of the Force.

Luke burned the dark armor that had encased Anakin's crippled body in a quiet funeral pyre on the forest moon of Endor that night. Anakin's spectral form looked upon his two children -- the twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa -- during the celebration at Endor.

NotesEdit

  • Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) appears in the Star Wars franchise.

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