Anakin Skywalker was born nine years before the Invasion of Naboo on the planet Tatooine to Shmi Skywalker, who miraculously conceived him through mysterious means. Growing up a slave, he and his mother belonged to Gardulla the Hutt and later to a Toydarian junk dealer named Watto. By the time he was nine, he was discovered by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, who came to believe that Skywalker was the Chosen One of Jedi lore, destined to destroy the Sith and bring balance to The Force. After Jinn's death at the hands of the Sith Lord Darth Maul on Naboo, Skywalker was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The two grew a brother-like bond after serving together during the Clone Wars. Unknown to anyone, Skywalker also secretly married Senator Padmé Amidala shortly after the breakout of the war. Within weeks of the war, he was promoted to Jedi Knight by Master Yoda, and was eventually assigned a Padawan of his own, Ahsoka Tano. The new master and apprentice also developed a strong relationship, although Ahsoka later left the Jedi Order. At some point Anakin encountered the Chiss officer Thrawn, and told him of Sheev Palpatine.
Fall to Darkness
Unfortunately, Skywalker was eventually turned to the Dark Side, after being persuaded by the Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, secretly the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, in order to save his loved ones from death. Skywalker was dubbed Darth Vader, a Sith Lord who would serve as both the apprentice and enforcer for his master. After slaughtering the Jedi in their temple and the Separatists on Mustafar, he was confronted by Padmé and Obi-Wan. Feeling betrayed by everyone he knew, he mortally choked Padmé and then engaged Kenobi in a ferocious duel. He lost the fight, as well as both his legs and left arm. Seconds later, he was engulfed by flames and suffered severe burns to the point that he had to wear a life-support suit for the rest of his life.
After his recovery, Vader took his place at Palpatine's side and would continue nearly the rest of his life serving as Palpatine's right hand and chief enforcer. He also came to hate his former Jedi comrades, feeling that they had contributed to his fate by turning against the Republic before it became the Empire.
The Children of the Force
Fourteen years after the fall of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Empire, Darth Vader's master, the Emperor, sensed a new threat that could rise against him; the children of the force. Under the command of his Master, Darth Vader tasked the Grand Inquisitor to hunt down this new enemy, as well as to try and convert the group's Jedi master and padawan to the dark side of the Force.
The Siege of Lothal
Following the escape of a rebel cell consisting of crew members of a VCX-100 Light Freighter called the Ghost that led to the Grand Inquisitor's death above Mustafar, rumors of what had happened became known, riots and uprisings begun to occur on several worlds. Concerned at the rise in rebel activity, the Emperor sent Vader to Lothal with Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin to end the growing rebellion.
Vader met with Agent Kallus and Minister Maketh Tua to discuss his plans with dealing with rebels. Vader then had Kallus escort the Minister to her shuttle, where she was killed and the incident was blamed on the rebels. When the Rebels tried to steal a ship to make their escape, Vader and his Stormtroopers confronted them. Vader then dueled with the leader of the rebels, a former Jedi trained under Master Depa Billaba named Kanan Jarrus, and his apprentice, Ezra Bridger. Vader was easily able to overpower them and attempted to kill Ezra with his own lightsaber until Kanan intervened. Their fellow rebels Zeb Orrelios and Sabine Wren used thermal detonators to cause an AT-DP to fall on Vader, but he survived and used the Force to lift the burning walker off him. The Rebels fled the scene in a stolen shuttle and instead of pursuing them, Vader let them go.
Vader then allowed the rebels to escape through the blockade, letting them lead him to his true target; the Rebel fleet. Vader took his TIE Advanced x1 fighter to attack the Rebel fleet, destroying most of the fighters and severely damaging the command ship. During the fight, Vader sensed that his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, was alive and part of the Rebel fleet. Vader tried to capture her, but was unable to get past the Ghost. When two Star Destroyers arrived, Vader tried to stop the Rebels, but lost them when they jumped into hyperspace and he was caught in the tractor beam instead.
Following his victory, Vader contacted the Emperor and informed him that Skywalker's apprentice was still alive and working with the rebels. Both Vader and the Emperor were pleased by this, knowing she could lead them to other Jedi survivors, even Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom Vader was still obsessed with seeking revenge upon for his defeat on Mustafar. The Emperor urged Vader to to be patient when searching for his former master, and then ordered him to send another Inquisitor to hunt the rebels down.
Shroud of Darkness
He appeared as Anakin Skywalker in a training hologram, teaching Form IV and showing how he applied adjustments to the style. Ezra was impressed on how well Anakin fought. Ahsoka revealed him that he was her Master. Anakin later reappeared as an illusion to Ahsoka, expressing bitter resentment against her for leaving him.
Darth Vader arrived on the Lothal Jedi Temple and was impressed of The Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister's work. The Fifth Brother revealed that the Jedi are growing in their power, to which Vader calmly retorted; 'it will be their undoing'.
Twilight of the Apprentice
It was mentioned by Maul that Vader would be coming. He arrived on Malachor on top of his TIE Advanced x1 and approached Ezra. He questioned the boy as to how did he open the path to the Malachor Sith Temple; Ezra told him to find out himself and engaged Vader in battle, but the Sith Lord was too strong and easily destroyed Ezra's lightsaber. But before he could finish the boy off, Ahsoka arrived and engaged Vader. He eventually managed to knock Ahsoka out of the Temple and attempted to stop Ezra and a blinded Kanan from escaping. A recovered Ahsoka charged up behind Vader and slashed half of his mask off, knocking him down to the floor and exposing a considerable amount of his disfigured face, including his yellow right eye. Seeing that he really was her former master, Ahsoka refused to leave him again. For a few moments, Ahsoka's compassion appeared to have reached Vader, but he then shrugged it off. Ahsoka Tano reminded him of his past, a past he wanted to eradicate from history. Coldly declaring that she would die, he ignited his lightsaber and moved to attack her again. As the pair resumed their battle, the temple collapsed and exploded around them, with Kanan and Ezra barely managing to escape.
Vader survived the collapse and later limped away from the ruins, until getting picked up by an Imperial Shuttle.
Trials of the Darksaber
Personality and Traits
Darth Vader is ruthless, enigmatic, cold, staunch, tenacious, and brutal as a leader, commanding a frightening presence that makes virtually anyone, friend or foe, shiver at his approach. Vader is loyal to his master, the Emperor, executing his will with deadly precision and following his commands without question.
He views every action he takes as a means to an end and has no sympathy towards those oppressed by the Empire, and is utterly merciless towards his enemies. Darth Vader is infamously intolerant of failure and insurgency, and those who fail or show incompetence under his command often fear for their lives and rightly so.
Darth Vader is also more than willing to deal with threats himself if necessary as he arrived at Lothal, while on the Emperor's orders, to deal with the rebels and the Jedi leading them. He followed the rebels to their fleet and nearly destroyed them alone rather than sending a fleet, showing that he doesn't let others do what he can do himself.
Once, he was a great Jedi and war hero named Anakin Skywalker. Brave, compassionate, he was a daring warrior and defender of the innocent. He would often refuse to abandon his allies and friends and would support them to the end. That man is lost, buried within a pathetic, wretched shell of life-supporting armor, prosthetic limbs and a dampened spirit that has lost all hope of ever returning to the light, and so has more-or-less made peace with his lot in life. As such, Vader intends to follow the ways of the Sith, specifically the Rule of Two, and so find a worthy apprentice and one day kill his master to take his place as ruler of the galaxy.
A key factor to Vader's evil is his refusal to truly acknowledge his own sins and what his actions wrought upon both himself and the galaxy, instead shifting blame onto those he feels betrayed him, because the truth is too painful to accept. It is for this reason he had no desire to restore the bond he once shared with his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano; she was a living memory of the man he once was, and, in his own twisted way, he was angry at her for leaving him and the Jedi Order, something he perceived later on as a form of betrayal. Thus he sought to destroy her and wipe his past away completely.
However, despite his ruthless atrocities and apparent refusal to truly acknowledge his own sins, Vader secretly carries a deep self-loathing and many regrets, as he was haunted for the rest of his life for failing to save his mother, as well as for causing the death of his wife and apparently his unborn child and as a result of these events, Vader was severely depressed. With nothing else to live for, he turned to the only one who would ever accept him out of a longing for companionship, but also to patiently wait for his chance to usurp his master and make him pay for ruining his life.
Powers and Abilities
Darth Vader is among the most powerful individuals in the galaxy, and second only to the Emperor within the Empire. Before the Republic fell, Anakin was the most powerful Jedi Knight and in the Jedi Order, the only superiors or equals being Mace Windu, Yoda and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Believed to have been the Chosen One, Vader possessed a powerful connection to the Force, and was a famously gifted Jedi before his fall to the Dark Side. Although his injuries and armor diminished his potential, he used his pain and hatred to amplify his power in the Force. In his duel with Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, his very presence made them tremble, he almost killed Ezra by telekinetically pinning him to a wall and almost forcing him to cut his throat with his own lightsaber, and he easily lifted a toppled walker into the air, preventing it from crushing him, the sheer display of his power sending the Rebels running. He beheld a strong Force Sense as he felt his former padawan and determined she was still alive.
His mere presence on Lothal caused Ezra to sense the Dark Side while they were still in orbit, and it is possible he hid his presence in the Force to sneak up on the Rebels before allowing Kanan and Ezra to sense his dark presence, an ability known as Force Stealth.
Darth Vader is a master lightsaber duelist, using his skills and sheer strength to overwhelm his opponents. During his duel against Kanan and Ezra, he effortlessly held the upper hand and appeared to be toying with them as they struggled, easily knocking away their attacks and almost lazily striking them both with the Force or his very hand. The duel ultimately ended as a stalemate when Kanan and Ezra used their Force powers to briefly incapacitate Vader, giving them just enough time to escape. Vader also deflected both of Sabine's blaster-fire with ease, and could have killed her had it not been for her Armour and helmet. In truth, Vader wasn't really trying to kill Kanan and Ezra, having already planned to use them to lead him to the Rebel fleet.
Upon his fateful confrontation with his former padawan, Ahsoka Tano, Vader ultimately appeared to be the stronger of the two, being not only able to keep up with but slowly overwhelm the younger and much faster duelist into exhaustion. However, it is unknown who ultimately came out on top when they re-engaged as the Sith temple collapsed around them; Vader survived while Ahsoka's fate was left ambiguous.
Additionally, to his frustration, Vader's armour greatly hampered his original style that he had to re-work it, sacrificing his original speed and acrobatics for overwhelming power and precision, making his moves somewhat robotic, but undeniably powerful. Underneath his amour are prosthetic limbs, the mechanics and metallic materials of which give Vader enhanced strength and resilience in his limbs. This allowed Vader to deal more crushing blows than he could as a Jedi. He could also easily pin down enemies and backhand them into the air with a swing of his arm. His Armour allows him to be far more durable and resilient, to the point where blasters are almost useless against him and being crushed underneath a fallen walker without being damaged, as well as using the Force to lift it off. He was also able to survive a massive explosion with no notable injuries.
Even before his fall to the Dark Side, Vader was praised as the most skilled star-pilot in the galaxy, a reputation he lived up to when he single-handedly almost destroyed Phoenix Squadron in a lone Tie fighter, easily out-flying their entire fleet and forcing their command to abandon ship. He would have destroyed their command ship had he not sensed his former apprentice and broke off his attack.
Darth Vader is second only to the Emperor and he commands a frightening presence that is all but intolerant of failure, such that the Inquisitor took his own life rather than face his master's wrath, and Maketh Tua shivered in the Sith Lord's presence. Vader's past as a general makes him extremely experienced and effective as a leader. He is unafraid of fighting on the front line alongside his storm troopers, and he is a keen strategist with uncanny anticipation of his opponents' movements, such as framing the Rebels for Tua's death to encourage Lothal to turn them in and anticipating their actions, using the Ghost Crew to lead him to the Rebel fleet and deal crippling damage.
It is possible that Vader lied to Tua about her appointment with Tarkin to instill into her such fear for her own life she would reach out to the Rebels, and thus use her as bait.
- Darth Vader originally appeared on Rebels in the Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion rebroadcast on ABC on October 26, 2014. Star Wars films actor James Earl Jones reprised his role for the cameo. This marks the second time Jones has voiced Vader in animated form.
- Darth Vader's character design in Rebels is close to the original concept that was used during the early production of A New Hope.
- In the hologram of Anakin seen in "Shroud of Darkness", Anakin's outfit does not resemble his Jedi robes seen in the films or in season 3-onwards of The Clone Wars. Instead of a Jedi robe, he wears a form-fitting shirt. This can be attributed to the fact that robes are more time-consuming to animate than shirts and armor.
- It is a possibility that Vader sees some potential in Ezra, as he was telling him that Kanan had deceived him into believing he can become a Jedi, implying that he might wish to turn Ezra to the Dark Side.
- In a hologram and an illusion in "Shroud of Darkness" and after Ahsoka slashes open Vader's helmet in "Twilight of the Apprentice," Matt Lanter reprises his role as Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- In an interview with the official Star Wars website, Rebels co-creator and executive producer Dave Filoni stated that Vader wouldn't want a memory of Ahsoka Tano, a relationship that he considered a failure, and that he would be angry with her in a twisted way.
- In Rebels Recons of the episode The Holocrons of Fate, Filoni reveals that he was always felt that one of the reasons for Anakin's turn to the dark side was because the people around him, the Jedi, had a lack of compassion: in their dedication to selflessness, they "almost forgot to care".
- In an interview with SlashFilm, Filoni confirmed Darth Vader would not feature in Season 3. He explains that he does not want to "fill in every hole" in Vader's story and that Vader's major life event in Rebels was confronting his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano.