"If you only knew the power of the dark side!" - Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back
Anakin Skywalker, AKA Darth Vader, is a human Jedi Knight, later turned Sith Lord, and the Chosen One, one who is prophesised to bring balance to the Force. Anakin is highly skilled in combat and possesses high levels of mastery of the Force, though is notably arrogant in his abilities, a factor which leads to his eventual downfall. He is also technically inclined, being highly skilled at both repairing and building machinery, such as a Podracer and the droid C-3PO, and an excellent pilot. Throughout the live-action Star Wars series, he has been played by Sebastian Shaw, Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen. The voice of Darth Vader was provided by James Earl Jones.
As a child, living as a slave on Tatooine, Anakin displays incredible levels of foresight, which gives him unerring skill in the dangerous sport of Podracing. While maintaining Watto's junk shop one afternoon after his master takes Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn out back to examine the parts on offer, he shares a moment with Padme Amidala, who he develops a crush on. After a later encounter with Qui-Gon and company, he forms a bond with the group and offers to help them out: If he can win in the Boonta Eve Podrace with his custom-built racer, with Qui-Gon sponsoring him, Watto will give them the parts they need. Qui-Gon notices Anakin's Force-sensitivity after running a surreptitious check of the boy's blood with Obi-Wan Kenobi and makes a decision to take him before the Jedi Council. After Anakin wins the race, he departs with Qui-Gon for Coruscant, free, but distraught over leaving his mother, and shortly has his first encounter with a Sith Lord, in the form of Darth Maul. Upon their escape, Anakin is brought before the Council, and tested. While they agree that Anakin certainly has potential, it is unanimously agreed that he is too old to begin Jedi training, having already formed emotional attachments. Anakin later plays his part in the Battle for Naboo, by unintentionally activating a N-1 fighter he and R2-D2 are hiding in. His ship, on auto-pilot, accompanies the other fighters into Naboo's orbit, and he and Artoo succeed in destroying the Trade Federation's Droid Control Ship. Upon returning to Naboo, Anakin attends the funeral of Qui-Gon, before joining Obi-Wan as his Padawan apprentice.
10 years on, Anakin re-encounters Padme Amidala, his childhood crush now having become a full-fledged infatuation. Tasked with being Padme's bodyguard following several attempts on her life by Jango Fett and Zam Wesell, he accompanies her back to Naboo, where they become closer by the day, quickly falling in love, which is against the laws of the Jedi Order. Following a disturbing dream, Anakin returns to Tatooine in search of his mother, where he re-encounters Watto, and meets his new step-family, the Lars clan. Cliegg Lars, his new step-father, informs Anakin that Shmi has been abducted by Tusken Raiders. Desperate, Anakin sets forth in search of the sand-people and eventually finds their village, where Shmi has been held prisoner and tortured. She tragically dies in her son's arms, and the enraged Anakin slaughters every Tusken in the village, including women and children. Following his return to the Lars homestead and Shmi's funeral, Anakin vows he will one day be the most powerful Jedi ever and find a way to stop people from dying. Artoo arrives with a message from Obi-Wan, who is being held prisoner by Count Dooku on Geonosis, and Anakin immediately goes to rescue him, after prompting from Padme. They are both eventually captured and forced into combat in the Geonosian arena. Fortunately the other Jedi arrive to help, and they are soon backed up by Yoda and an army of Clones, as the Clone Wars begin. Anakin and Obi-Wan pursue Count Dooku to his ship some distance away and Anakin soon finds himself fighting alone against Dooku, two lightsabers in hand, but is brought down a short time later, Dooku slicing off Anakin's right hand in the process. After a pitched battle with Yoda, Dooku escapes and the Jedi return to Coruscant to recover. After obtaining a bionic replacement hand and escorting Padme home, Anakin and Padme are secretly wed, Artoo and Threepio the only witnesses.
Throughout the long years of the Clone Wars, Anakin's skills only grow further, and he and Obi-Wan's names become legendary throughout the galaxy. Anakin comes to be known as the Hero with no Fear, though ironically he is deeply afraid of one thing: losing Padme. As the war progresses, he gains an apprentice of his own in the form of Ahsoka Tano, who he affectionately nicknames 'Snips' and is later elevated to the rank of Jedi Knight under Obi-Wan's recommendation. However, he also grows dangerously close to Chancellor Palpatine , who begin twisting his thoughts towards the dark side after encouraging him to kill Count Dooku, which Anakin does in a most brutal way. This comes to a head when Palpatine hints at a means of stopping people from dying through the power of the dark side, and reveals that he is, in fact, Darth Sidious. Anakin relays this information to respected Jedi Master Mace Windu, but later joins the Jedi in battle against Palpatine. Not wishing for Palpatine to be injured, Anakin slices off Windu's hands, giving Palpatine the chance to finish him off. So shaken is Anakin by this, he pledges himself to Palpatine's teachings, almost without thinking, the Sith Lord renaming Anakin as Darth Vader.
Vader is instrumental in Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge, leading a squad of Clone Troopers into the Jedi Temple and viciously slaughtering any and all Jedi in sight, including younglings. Following this, he travels to Mustafar under Palpatine's orders to assassinate Viceroy Gunray and the other Separatist leaders. Following this, he is so immersed in the dark side, he fatally injures Padme and is swiftly embroiled in a titantic duel with Obi-Wan. Following Obi-Wan's retreat to high ground, Vader tries following, but loses his last organic arm and legs in the process. With Vader screaming his hate for Obi-Wan, he is left to burn alive at the banks of the lava river. Only his hate and the dark side keeping him alive, Vader is later recovered by Palpatine, and reconstructed with bionics, kept awake during the entire process. When the process is completed, Vader is reborn as a semi-mechanical monster, his potential halved, nothing to live for but his master and no trace of Anakin Skywalker remaining.Vader serves Palpatine faithfully for many years, though regularly makes plans to kill his master, through a number of apprentices including Starkiller, and trying to turn his son, Luke, to the dark side so they may rule the galaxy as father and son. Palpatine, in turn, also actively seeks another apprentice, as Vader lacks the brilliance he once held as Anakin. Luke and Vader eventually clash for the final time in front of Palpatine on the second Death Star. Vader is heavily damaged by Luke's frenzied assault after his sister, Leia, is threatened, and Palpatine orders Luke to finish Vader off. When Luke refuses, Palpatine violently and repeatedly shocks the young Jedi with Force Lightning. As Vader watches, he remembers the pain of Dooku's force lightning being used on him, and silently vows he will not let another family member die. Reborn as Anakin, he picks up his Emperor and hurls him into a nearby shaft, killing him. Palpatine's lightning continues to flow through Anakin in the process however and short-circuits his life support system. Dying, Anakin requests that Luke remove his mask for him, so he may look upon his son with his own eyes. Accepting his fate, Anakin tells Luke that he has already saved him and gives him one request with his dying breath: 'Tell your sister you were right about me.' Anakin quietly passes away in his son's arms, and Luke flees the exploding Death Star, later burning the armour of Darth Vader on the moon of Endor. Anakin is later seen by Luke as a force spirit alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda , young, whole, purified and having finally brought balance to the Force.
Under both his own name and his given Sith name, Anakin has left a bloody trail of death and misery in his wake. While Jedi sometimes have to kill, they do so with purpose, namely the defence of others. Anakin has mostly killed out of anger.
- Anakin first drew blood in Attack Of The Clones after failing to rescue his mother, Shmi. Enraged, he lashed out at the Tuskens that had tortured her to death, first decapitating the guards outside the torture hut and then proceeded to slaughter the remaining Tuskens, including the women and children. The Jedi would never know of this transgression, only Padme and Chancellor Palpatine were ever told the truth.
- Count Dooku - In Revenge Of The Sith, Anakin and Obi-Wan faced Dooku aboard the Separatist flagship Invisible Hand. Obi-Wan was briefly incapacitated and left unconscious while Anakin continued to fight and eventually defeat Dooku. What Obi-Wan didn't see was Anakin slicing off both of Dooku's arms, leaving the Sith lord defenceless, then following Chancellor Palpatine's urging, using both his own lightsaber and Dooku's to sever his head.
- Mace Windu - While he did not deal the killing blow to the Jedi Master, Anakin assisted Palpatine in slaying him. He cut off Windu's arm, giving Palpatine a moment to blast the Jedi with a wave of Force lightning and send him plummeting out of the window.
- In his first act as Darth Vader, Anakin led a squad of clone troopers to the Jedi Temple to kill all of the Jedi who remained. Anakin even personally slaughtered a group of Padawan younglings.
- Following the destruction of the Jedi Temple, Vader travelled to the Separatist base on Mustafar. There, he slaughtered Nute Gunray and the other members of the Separatist Council.
- Padme Amidala - When Padme followed Anakin to Mustafar, she begged him to leave behind the Jedi and the Chancellor and go away with her to raise their child together in isolation. Anakin proposed that he could overthrow Palpatine and then the two of them could rule the galaxy together. It was then that Padme realised just how far Anakin had fallen and it tore her apart inside. Enraged by what he saw as a betrayal, Anakin used the Force to choke Padme. While he released her before crushing her windpipe, Padme was so emotionally wounded by Anakin's corruption and his assault that she all but lost the will to live. She later died in childbirth, as Anakin had forseen in his nightmares.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi - The first time Vader and Obi-Wan fought was on Mustafar, where Vader was defeated after having his limbs severed and being left to burn on a volcanic riverbank. He would have his long-awaited rematch with his old master during A New Hope, aboard the Empire's terrifying battle-station, the Death Star. Obi-Wan allowed himself to be cut down by Vader, disappearing into thin air as the lightsaber blade cut into him.
- Captain Antilles - Captain of the Tantive IV, which comes under attack at the start of A New Hope. Antilles is interrogated by Vader, but refuses to tell the Sith lord what he wants to know. Vader crushes the captain's throat in one hand then throws his body against a bulkhead.
- Admiral Ozzel - Commander of the Imperial First Fleet. In The Empire Strikes Back, he makes a tactical error by having the fleet emerge from lightspeed in close proximity to Hoth, location of the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base. This alerts the Rebels of the Empire's presence and Vader punishes Ozzel by Force-choking him to death.
- Captain Needa - Commander of the Star Destroyer Avenger. After the Avenger loses track of the Millenium Falcon, Needa flies over to the Executor to make a personal apology to Lord Vader. Vader accepts the captain's apology... but still kills him.
- Emperor Palpatine - Near the end of Return Of The Jedi, Vader has been wounded in combat by his son Luke aboard the Death Star II. Luke remains determined not to be turned to the dark side of the Force, and so the Emperor attacks him with Force lightning. Vader watches as his master inflicts immeasurable suffering upon his son, stirring something within him. Refusing to let his son die, Vader lunges at the Emperor and grabs him, holding him high above his head. The Dark Lord's lightning cascades down on them both until Vader casts the Emperor down a reactor shaft, where his body explodes in an eruption of dark-side energy. Having saved his son and defeated the Emperor, Anakin has returned to the light side of the Force. However, his injuries are severe and he maintained a connection to Palpatine through the Force which helped to keep him alive. With that connection severed, Anakin is doomed to die.