More machine than man? – We all know the story of how the Hero with No Fear, Anakin Skywalker, became the fearsome Darth Vader. Unfortunately, the tale of how the famed Jedi Knight fell to the Dark Side would be one smeared with tragedy and loss. However, with the upcoming release of Obi-Wan Kenobi, we will be covering what made Vader who he was after being encased in the torture chamber he calls a suit.
When he is first introduced in the original Star Wars film, which would eventually become A New Hope, Darth Vader was the villain to end all villains of the time. However, as the movie gained two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, it was discovered that the so-called antagonist had a tragic backstory.
This story would be told almost twenty years later, beginning with The Phantom Menace and finishing with Revenge of the Sith. The middle film of these three is Attack of the Clones, which becomes part of Anakin’s journey to becoming Darth Vader. Before we jump into this post, we want to say we’re only covering the lead up to Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and what pushes him over the edge.
We’re adding a spoiler warning as this post may have potential plot points for the upcoming series.
Sickness And Health
When Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, he fell in love with Padmé Amidala, a former Queen of Naboo. Their stations in life made it impossible to be together in public, so they secretly married after the onset of the Clone Wars. The relationship wasn’t exactly 100% private. A select few people worked out what was going for themselves outside the senator’s security team and the couple’s faithful droids, C-3PO and R2.
During the Clone Wars, Skywalker would become frustrated that he could not display his love for his wife to the public. Amidala was also prohibited from taking her husband’s surname due to its implications on their careers.
Anakin’s frustrations were not the only thing that weighed him down during the marriage. He found himself in a one-sided competition with Rush Clovis, a former boyfriend of Padmé’s who wanted her back. Oh, and he was working for the Separatists. Skywalker’s jealousy and unpredictable temper would cause tension with his wife. After one such attack on the traitor, Amidala calls for a break from the marriage until her husband can get his emotions under control.
Overwhelming Sense Of Loss
Padmé was not the only one Anakin would lose. Before Clone Wars even begin, he loses his mother, Shmi, which sends him into a murderous rage. After Tusken Raiders kidnap her, the Chosen One’s only parent is tortured and left to die. This causes her son to commit a crime that very few people know about.
In the final months of the war, Anakin would lose his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, due to the carelessness of the Jedi Order. The 17-year-old is framed for bombing the Jedi Temple hangar, where several people were killed. With the evidence pointing to her, she’s expelled from the Order without an investigation.
Anakin realises something isn’t right. So he asks Padmé to represent Ahsoka in court, enabling him to search for the culprit with the help of Asajj Ventress. Unfortunately, the former Sith assassin was also framed by having her lightsabers stolen. The weapons were planted to make it appear she and Tano were working together.
After Barriss Offee is captured, Tano’s faith in the Jedi is shaken, despite receiving an apology. She decides to depart the Jedi Order, leaving a massive hole in Anakin’s heart where she had been. Skywalker attempts to convince her to stay. He understands her pain as he has considered leaving the Order.
One of the final nails in the metaphorical coffin is Anakin’s slaughter of a defenceless Count Dooku onboard the Invisible Hand. Palpatine manipulated the situation by saying the Count was too dangerous to be kept alive.
Before he carries out the crime, Anakin is conflicted and remains so afterwards. He knows what he did wasn’t right. But, presided to do so by giving in to the hatred he had for Darth Tyranus. Dooku had cost him so much over the war, and the ultimate revenge was to cut him down to size. After all, the Count of Sereno was why he lost his right arm.
Upon his return to Coruscant, Anakin learns of his wife’s pregnancy. The joy turns into a literal nightmare when he suffers a vision of Padmé – and potentially – their unborn child’s – death. Haunted by the demise of his family, Skywalker makes a deal with the devil.
Discovering that Palpatine is a Sith Lord, Anakin, finding he had no other options, resigns his fate, becoming Darth Vader. Losing Padmé was not something that Skywalker would allow. Unfortunately, though, the promise of saving the mother of his unborn child was nothing more than an empty promise.
Anakin is essentially tricked into striking down his wife in anger when Obi-Wan emerges from her ship.
After being encased in his torturous black suit, he asks about Padmé’s safety and is told he killed her. He can no longer strike back against evil as he has become a vision of nightmares. It is this one small moment where he permanently gives in to his anger.