A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, one family caused a whole lot of mayhem for just about everybody.
Star Wars is a quintessential tale of good versus evil, so why is it that the Skywalkers always seem to be on both sides of the fight? They're the heroes and villains of the franchise, and just happen to be the catalysts for some of the galaxy's biggest catastrophes. Even the nicest members of the family are guilty of something, regardless of whether their intentions were noble. As for the others? The evil Skywalkers are some of the worst people in the entire galaxy.
It's time to take a look back at every canon, heinous misdeed the Skywalkers have ever pulled to get a clearer picture of how "heroic" (or depraved) they really are.
For those of you who have not seen The Last Jedi, take heed: spoilers lie ahead.
The franchise might love its binary paradigms of light and dark, hope and hate, or good and evil. However, reality isn't so simple. In the end, the Skywalker name has a slightly more controversial reputation than many fans would like to think.
Here are the 17 Most Despicable Things The Skywalkers Have Ever Done.
17 Luke Abandons The Galaxy
Starting with a more recent development involving everyone's favorite Skywalker, The Force Awakens reveals that Luke seems to be running away from his responsibilities.
After Return of the Jedi, Luke would go on to study the force and rebuild the Jedi Academy. The details about this time in his life are scarce, but Han Solo claims that Luke was already training a new generation of Jedi — namely Han and Leia's son, Ben. Ben eventually betrays Luke and his fellow classmates, taking on the identity of Kylo Ren.
Since then, Luke has been MIA, supposedly searching for the last Jedi temple while his nephew wreaks havoc across the galaxy with the First Order. Perhaps he has a good reason for going missing, but it certainly seems like he's turned his back on a galaxy-wide problem that he is indirectly responsible for.
16 Leia’s Galactic "Terror"
Audiences might see her as a hero, but not everybody in the Star Wars universe sees Leia Organa in such a celebratory light. After all, Leia is a politician, solider, and miltary general who does everything she can to fight oppression. However, not every person in the galaxy knows Leia's true story, nor do they all hate the Empire or First Order in the same way that she does.
While the Rebels see the Empire as tyranny, many see the Rebels as violent radicals and terrorists. Although Leia is a well-known politician, she also supervises and organizes underground military operations against the only semblance of government the galaxy has left. It doesn't sound so heroic anymore, does it?
We might know Leia is a hero, but for the galaxy's citizens who are just looking for employment, safety, and stability, Leia is extremely divisive.
15 Kylo Ren tortures Rey and Poe
At first glance, Kylo Ren might seem like a disillusioned kid stuck in his angsty emo phase. There may be some truth to that, but a closer look reveals someone much darker. Kylo Ren's abilities and fascination with his bloodline have left him obsessed with power.
He doesn't just want to be strong in the Force, but as strong as the Skywalkers that came before him. It doesn't end with his Force fixation, either. He seems to enjoy intimidating others physically — constantly standing over people, causing pain, and even torture, especially through his Force powers. Like Vader, he happily kills innocents on a whim, but eerily collects his victim's ashes as a sick token of superiority, and his allegiance to the dark side.
Torturing innocents is mostly a cover for his insecure personality, which only makes Kylo Ren more disgustingly sasdistic.
14 Anakin’s Village Temper Tantrum
Every teenager's emotions run high, but Anakin Skywalker has quite the temper. Before becoming the violent yet poised Darth Vader, young Anakin goes to rescue his mother from a group of Tuskan Raiders, who had kidnapped her. Unfortunately Anakin arrives a little bit too late, as she dies in his arms upon his arrival.
Anakin, who was hellbent on saving her and broken when he fails to do so, decides to unleash his rage on a village-sized Raider encampment.
He returns to his love Padmé and informs her of his failure (mass murder). At first he seems sad, but then appears to take pleasure in the violence. Anakin explains that he "slaughtered them like animals" and did not hesitate to kill the women or children either.
For whatever reason, Padmé doesn't see this as a red flag, and it isn't ever mentioned again. True love transcends all flaws, you know?
13 Luke Flirts With The Dark Side
Despite being trained by Yoda, Luke displays some surprisingly dark behavior as a Jedi. Not only does he dress like a Sith and use his anger more than most Jedi should, but he uses Force powers typically reserved for the dark side.
In a specific instance, when he enters Jabba's Palace in Return of the Jedi, Luke is approached by two of his guards. Instead of mind-tricking them, Force-pushing them, or any other typical non-lethal Jedi tactic, Luke uses Force choke to dispatch them. It's a brief moment of darkness for Luke that becomes way more controversial after learning about the Jedi in the prequels.
The concept of a Gray Jedi, a force user who stands between the light and dark, is not new to Star Wars lore. However, unless Luke is specifically acknowledged as one, this moment is a bit too Sith-like for our young hero.
12 Anakin: The Galaxy's Worst Dad
Darth Vader, as one of the worst fathers to ever live, is always trying to kill his children. Sometimes it's an accident, sometimes it's just a slight maiming, but nevertheless, this is some horrible parenting. It's only made worse by the new Expanded Universe canon, where Vader's encounters with his children occur more frequently than in other Star Wars media.
In the end, Vader redeems himself by becoming a good father when it counts: saving Luke's life and killing the Emperor once and for all. Anakin's change-of-heart comes right before his own death, and although it might earn him some of Luke's admiration, it's hard to get past all of the horrible things he did to his twin children.
11 Leia Forsakes Dantooine
When Princess Leia gets captured by the Imperial forces in A New Hope, she is interrogated and threatened into giving up the location of the Rebels' secret base. The base itself is located on Yavin IV, but because telling the Empire that is clearly a horrible idea, Leia lies instead.
Threatened with the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan via Death Star, she tells them the base is on Dantooine — an outer rim planet that was home to a defunct Rebel base. The Empire sees through her lie, and blows up Alderaan as punishment anyway (though mostly for kicks).
It might have been a moment of tremendous pressure, but it's hard to get over the fact that Leia was willing to throw an entirely unrelated planet to its demise to save her own.
10 Anakin Chokes His Pregnant Wife
Well, this is horrible on pretty much every level. Anakin's turn to the dark side is a journey littered with awful crimes, but this one feels like a line even he wouldn't cross. His entire motive in Revenge of the Sith is to save his wife's life, but in a fit of blind rage, he decides to force choke her into unconsciousness.
This comes after Anakin catches Padmé with Obi-Wan (who stowed away on her ship and really only came to kill Anakin), so in a way the act happens in the heat of passion — though that doesn't make it any better. Anakin is fully aware that Padmé is carrying his children, and he decides to choke her out anyway. Ultimately, she dies in childbirth, and it's all Anakin's fault. Whoops.
9 Kylo Betrays Luke
As revealed in The Last Jedi, Kylo went rogue on Luke and his new group of Jedi, eventually joining up with Supreme Leader Snoke and his organization, the Knights of Ren.
The Knights of Ren are a mystery, aside from a brief appearance in The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren is their "master" and Snoke used them to do his dirty work. The Knights are separate from the First Order, but work within their ranks to advance Snoke's mysterious agenda.
Audiences get a glimpse of them in Rey's force vision, where they stand with Kylo Ren amidst dead bodies. Nobody knows why exactly Kylo joined them, but the only thing his decision has resulted in thus far is bloodshed.
8 Order 66
After pledging himself to Emperor Palpatine as his Sith apprentice, Anakin's first major assignment was to help him carry out Order 66. This operation was the Emperor's ace of spades: use the Republic's army to hunt down and destroy his enemies, the Jedi. Under his new title, Darth Vader, Anakin's first real mission was to lead a legion of troops to the Jedi Temple, and slaughter everyone inside.
Anakin saw this as an opportunity to express his suppressed hatred for the Jedi, so he took to his assignment casually. He strolls throughout the temple, and kills just about everybody he comes across. Anakin would hunt Jedi for many years, essentially resulting in the genocide of warriors he once looked up to.
7 Luke Destroys The Death Star
His father helped create it and indirectly helped use it, but Luke Skywalker himself blew it up. Nobody can blame him; the Death Star destroys planets and it was going to kill his friends and end the Rebellion, but the casualties can't be overlooked. During the Battle of Yavin, Luke's destruction of the Death Star ended roughly 1.7 million lives.
That's right — Luke Skywalker, the ultimate archetype of the hero's journey, killed almost two million people in an instant. Let that sink in.
That number includes imperial military, but it also includes innocents: prisoners, maintenance crews, janitorial crews — people who likely just had jobs working the Empire without any kind of malicious agenda. Its destruction was ultimately for the better, but the incident puts a lot of blood on Luke's hands.
6 Shmi Lets A Strange Man Take Her Son Away
Other than Shmi's immaculate conception of Anakin, there isn't much to her — except her bizarre parenting.
In The Phantom Menace, Shmi seems fine with Qui-Gon Jinn taking her son away. Before you comment that the Skywalkers were slaves: yeah, we're aware. She might not have had a say in Anakin's future as a free person, but she didn't put up a fight either.
Qui-Gon - a shady guy she just met, who helps put her son into a dangerous podrace and offers to free Anakin but not her - takes Anakin away with her blessing. She may have had good intentions, but it's hard to believe that any mother in her right mind would let a stranger take her son away so easily, even when she lives in bleak circumstances.
5 Leia Kisses Her Brother
Okay, okay, this isn't technically Leia's fault. If it's anybody's fault, it's Obi-Wan's for deciding to keep quiet about every important piece of information that the main characters needed to know. Nevertheless, this controversial moment from The Empire Strikes Back is one of the weirdest and worst mistakes Leia has likely ever committed in her life.
Thankfully, it's only a quick smooch on Luke and one that didn't manifest any real romance. She only did it to make Han jealous in the moment, and for the most part, it worked. Although that doesn't exactly make it okay, it's certainly better than purposely planting a long, sensual one on her brother for fun. Once the Skywalker twins find out about their true parentage, this moment is rightfully never mentioned again.
4 Kylo Ren Worships Vader
Worshipping a genocidal maniac is never okay, not even if that maniac is your grandfather. Kylo Ren, who is obsessed with the strangely powerful nature of his bloodline, idolizes Darth Vader. He wants to imitate every aspect of the man — his look, his actions, his powers — in the hopes of becoming stronger than he ever was.
Kylo prays to Vader, worships at his helmet-altar, and wants to collect Vader artifacts like the Skywalker family lightsaber. As we all know, Darth Vader was a horrible man, and nobody should ever aspire to be him. That's all that really needs to be said. Don't be Darth Vader: he's awful and if you want be him, so are you. There have to be better role models in the galaxy, Kylo.
3 Luke Tries To Murder Ben In His Sleep
Perhaps the most shocking twist in The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker fell from grace after nearly committing an act that would shroud him in the dark side forever. Luke sensed the darkness lurking in Ben Solo during his training at Luke's Jedi Academy. Seeing the destruction that Ben would cause as Kylo Ren, Luke instinctively saw him as a danger that needed to be stopped... so he tried to kill Ben in his sleep.
In a moment of fear, Luke stood over Ben's bed and ignited his green lightsaber, only to hesitate and decide against it. Despite having second thoughts, Ben woke up to see his trusted uncle standing over him with a weapon, and the message was clear. Ben drew his lightsaber and caved the roof in, knocking Luke unconscious. When he awoke, his students were dead, and his temple was burnt to the ground.
2 Anakin Kills Younglings
You knew this moment would end up on this list. Killing children? Yeah, it doesn't get much lower for the Anakin Skywalker.
Anakin raids the Jedi temple with the sole intention of killing all the Jedi on the premises — and there were no exceptions. As the assault commences, he eventually finds a group of Jedi younglings hiding from the attacking troops. They nervously ask Anakin for help, and without much hesitation he ignites his lightsaber.
The scene then cuts away from the Jedi temple, so audiences don't actually see Anakin kill them all, but the implication is clear. Later on, Obi-Wan and Yoda find security recordings of him doing just that, and everyone gets a much clearer picture of what a psychopath Anakin truly is. Obviously his actions slowly become more and more depraved over time, but this is a historic, memorable low for a character who is supposed to seem tragic.
1 Kylo Kills His Father
Is this the biggest crime in Star Wars history? No, not in a world where the the Holiday Special exists. For audiences, though, Kylo Ren kills an iconic, fan-favorite character that people have loved for generations. Han Solo's death in The Force Awakens wasn't exactly the biggest surprise, but that doesn't make the moment any less heart-wrenching.
Kylo Ren doesn't just murder his own father - he makes fans say farewell to a beloved character who is both synonymous with Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Han tries to reason with his disillusioned son, in the hopes of turning him back to the light and bringing him home. Kylo doesn't accept his apology, and stabs him through the chest. Han falls down a chasm in Starkiller Base, which explodes only minutes later. This is one of the saddest deaths in Star Wars by far, and will stick with fans for years to come.
Did we miss any despicable Skywalker moments from Star Wars? Leave your thoughts in the comments.