Before he was Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker was a pod racer with a bowl cut. Then, he whined a lot. Then, he grew his hair out. And then, he was Vader. In between these vital stages in his life, however, there was more going on with Anakin than most people are familiar with. For the casual Star Warsian (there’s no official Trekkie-esque nickname for Star Wars fans, so let’s just roll with this one for now), some of this information may seem obvious. But even for the diehards, we’re betting that we’ve collected a few fun facts that you didn’t know about the so-called Chosen One.
Between the time he spent as a slave on Tatooine to his adventures as a Jedi Knight with Obi-Wan Kenobi, there is more to Anakin Skywalker than most people may know. He’s the man who would become Darth Vader, but before any of that came to light, he set the stage for the evil future that lay ahead. So, assuming the Force is strong with you, keep reading to check out 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Anakin Skywalker.
15. He Was Once Frozen In Carbonite
When you think of carbonite, you think of Han Solo. He famously got himself dipped into a steamy tunnel of carbon gas, and the rest is history. As it turns out, however, Solo isn’t the only main character in the series to face this particularly dangerous method of imprisonment.
In The Clone Wars, Anakin and his crew need to infiltrate the citadel. To do that, they need to figure out a way to avoid detection. So, despite the potential danger that might have easily damaged or killed them, they undergo the carbon freezing process. On one hand, it showed how reckless this particular Jedi was during his battles throughout the Clone Wars, and on the other hand, it sort of doubles as a sampling of the dark, claustrophobic life that awaits him once he embraces the Dark Side.
14. He Had A Padawan Of His Own
While it seems as though we only ever see him as a Jedi trainee for Obi-Wan, Anakin had his very own Padawan during the period between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. From the planet Shili, his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, was a Tagruto female who embarked on many an adventure with Skywalker and Obi-Wan. She and Anakin made an interesting pair, seeing as their personalities didn’t quite complement each other. In a way, they were almost too similar, too spontaneous.
Still, she was a welcome character in Star Wars lore, and has even reached the level of popularity that the glue holding Netflix’s Marvel universe together, Rosario Dawson, hasn’t just been fancast to play her in a live-action film by many a fan, but has shown quite a bit of interest in doing so. We’d definitely be on board with that.
13. He Saw Visions Of His Future, But Then Had These Memories Wiped
It’s safe to say that Anakin doesn’t end up having the happy ending he might have been hoping for. Despite all of his attempts to make the right moves, he ends up turning into an evil emperor’s right-hand man, getting his limbs chopped off, and killing his mentor. In short, things don’t go too well for him in the long run, and as it turns out, Anakin actually got a taste of this before it ever even happened.
He’s had visions before (i.e. the visions of his gal Padme’s death, the ones that made him turn evil), but when he meets up with the Son in the Clone Wars episode, “Ghosts of Mortis,” he sees the bigger picture. He sees who he will become. Eventually, this memory is wiped clean, but it still stands that at one point in time, well before he ever donned the classic Vader mask, Anakin knew exactly how dark his life would become.
12. He. Mercilessly. Murdered. A. Bunch. Of. Children.
Even though Anakin Skywalker is a classic among Star Wars characters, and even though we still love the badass villain he becomes, despite his affinity for the Dark Side, audiences shouldn’t forget just how low Anakin went once he finally crossed the threshold into Sith territory. By the end of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin doesn’t just take part in Order 66 by killing fellow Jedi, he goes so far as to slaughter an entire room of children. Just before he reveals his lightsaber, one of the Younglings even looks to him for guidance (which makes sense, seeing as they had every reason to trust him). Sadly, that doesn’t change anything, and Anakin proceeds to murder all of them.
Now, it’s sometimes fun rooting for the bad guy, but once you know that Darth Vader pulled this stunt, rooting for him isn’t so easy anymore. Anakin is a cold-blooded killer, plain and simple. Don’t let that shiny mask and breathing apparatus fool you.
11. The Actor Who Played Young Anakin Hates Star Wars
Even though the role of Young Anakin Skywalker was the kind of role any child actor would dream of landing, the actual experience hardly met expectations. For Jake Lloyd, the boy who became Young Anakin, Star Wars was a nightmare. Since The Phantom Menace was not the critical success that everyone was hoping for, Lloyd was considered by many to be one of the prime reasons the film didn’t work.
However, instead of simply not blaming a child for something he had no control over, some fans chose to tear the kid to shreds, which ultimately led to Lloyd retiring from acting and disappearing from the public eye altogether. This was a true low for the Star Wars universe, and even Mark Hamill stepped out in Lloyd’s defense, criticizing the fans who essentially ruined his life.
10. Jake Lloyd Was Recently Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
Sadly, the unfortunate circumstances that followed Jake Lloyd after the release of The Phantom Menace didn’t stop with criticisms alone. After struggling to find some balance in his personal life, it was discovered that the former child actor has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. What’s worse is that fans did not take this moment to make amends with their nasty behavior towards him after The Phantom Menace, but expand on it. Instead of sympathizing with him, they used his diagnosis as a punching bag for inexcusably cruel jokes.
This sort of behavior shouldn’t throw fandoms as a whole under the bus, but it certainly doesn’t help. As a community, feverish fanbases have the power to make their opinions heard. Why they often make those opinions so cruel is anyone’s guess.
9. He Built His First Lightsaber When He Was Twelve
Qui-Gon wasn’t kidding when he told the Jedi Council that Anakin was more powerful than any other Force-user he had ever known. So, with that being the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Anakin would breeze through his Jedi training quicker than most. He’s proven his wits numerous times over the years — he even crafted his own droid (C-3PO) as a child — so the ease with which he made his way through training isn’t exactly a shocker, but it’s still impressive.
What’s also interesting is the fact that Anakin went through two different lightsabers, after the first one was destroyed. Both were physically similar, but Anakin learned his lesson and reinforced his second model so that it would be a bit more sustainable in battle. Seeing as it’s survived so long as to now belong to Rey (Skywalker? Solo? Kenobi?), it’s safe to say that he did a solid job.
8. He Nearly Left The Jedi Order
As exciting as Jedi life might seem, it’s not all sunshine and daisies. During the highs and lows that were his time during the Clone Wars, Anakin started to doubt his place among the Jedi. In fact, he felt so passionate about this that he nearly left it all behind at one point.
Once he started developing a relationship with Senator Palpatine, the beginning of Palpatine’s influence on Anakin ripened. It was during this period that Anakin started to wonder whether the path of the Jedi was a path he truly wanted to follow, having been “enlisted” at such a young age. So, having his doubts, he decided to give up being a Jedi altogether. He even went so far as to hand his lightsaber over to his master, Obi-Wan.
7. His Name May Derive From “Anakim,” Which Were Giants In Palestine
When it came to coming up with characters in Star Wars, George Lucas wasn’t necessarily worrying about name origins. Or at least, that didn’t seem to be the case. Whereas some authors might pull a name from history for inspiration, Lucas went a more direct route. Luke’s last name was originally “Starkiller” because it sounded cool, and Han’s last name was “Solo” because, well… he played by his own rules. Anakin’s name, however, may actually have some concrete, historical inspiration.
Though this hasn’t been confirmed by Lucas, Anakim were giants in Palestine who favored war above most other things. They were ultimately defeated, but when they reigned, they reigned supreme. In fact, Goliath (of David and Goliath fame) was allegedly an Anakim. So, would that make Luke Skywalker the “David” of Star Wars? Maybe Lucas included more historical context for his series than he’s given credit for.
6. One Theory Claims That Sheev Palpatine Is Anakin’s Father
When Qui-Gon speaks to Shmi Skywalker about Anakin’s father, he discovers that Anakin has no father to speak of. Not that he ran out for a pack of smokes and never came back, but that there physically was no father. One day, Shmi was pregnant, and the rest is history.
However, it turns out that Anakin may, in fact, have an actual, physical father, and he comes in the form of Sheev Palpatine. Though this is based out of fan theories, mostly, it’s not exactly much of a stretch. He explains to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith that Darth Plagueis had the power to create life. So, seeing as the Sith Lord himself was mentored by Plagueis, and seeing as he had already created life before in the form of his son, Triclops, it’s perfectly logical that he could have done so again with Anakin.
5. Hayden Christensen Quit Acting Temporarily After Star Wars
Not unlike Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin, Hayden Christensen had a rough time with his career following the releases of both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. However, it wasn’t just the pressure of playing such an iconic character that made him recoil a bit from his career. It had to do with the way in which he was getting work.
Being such a staple within the Star Wars universe, Christensen felt as though work was simply being offered him too easily; he hardly had to put in any effort. So, wanting the process of finding work as an actor to be more organic, more aligned with the approach taken by most other actors his age, he took a break from acting altogether. He turned his back on Hollywood, and it wasn’t until the time felt right that he dove back in and started working again.
4. He Helped Train Saw Gerrera
Apart from the main characters, few supporting characters have shown up in both the live-action Star Wars films and the animated television series. One such familiar face that did show up was Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One and voiced by Andrew Kishino in The Clone Wars). Aside from his particularly extreme quirks, Gerrera was one of the good guys, and during The Clone Wars, in the episode “A War on Two Fronts,” Saw and his men undergo some Jedi training from the show’s main trio (which would explain their tactical efficiency), helping keep the rebels within the Alliance prepared for war.
3. Hayden Christensen Couldn’t Stop Making Lightsaber Sounds During Filming
If you’re a true Star Wars fan, then you must have, at some time in your life, engaged in a toy lightsaber battle. Whether it was choreographed or aimless, and whether the toy had sound effects or not, chances are you did “the thing.” You know “the thing.” The whyoom-whyoom. The classic lightsaber sound.
Thing is, though, if you’re cast in the lead role of an actual Star Wars film, you should probably keep your mouth shut. No matter how tempting it may be, making the sound effect with your mouth is not effective. Hayden Christensen can relate. When he was filming various lightsaber battles during production, he often had trouble refraining from vocalizing the whyoom-whyoom himself. Which is possibly the most relatable aspect of Anakin Skywalker that exists to this day…
2. His Midi-chlorian Count Is 27,000
Now, this is a subject that certain Star Wars enthusiasts like to pretend doesn’t exist. Though midi-chlorians were thought up by George Lucas himself, it’s not exactly one of his more popular creations. Adding a sort of scientific factor into the Force, how it works, and how it allegedly has the ability to create life, Lucas created something within the series that has stirred up a significant amount of controversy. Still, it exists, and it’s canon, so it’s worth discussing.
Seeing as Anakin has the highest count among any living Jedi (27,000, to be exact), it’s proof that he is the most powerful Force-user in the galaxy. If it had to be counted for anything, consider it a stat level. Yes, it’s dumb, but he has the highest known count. Now, let’s move on.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale Were Both Up For The Role
Once upon a time, Star Wars was laughed at. Even its own studio doubted its success. Nevertheless, it went on to break records, as well as change filmmaking entirely. So, even though certain actors scoffed at the idea of starring in the first film back in 1977, things have changed. By the time the series reached Attack of the Clones, where Anakin Skywalker was now grown into a young man, quite a number of notable actors were in the running for the part.
One such star was none other than Leonardo DiCaprio. He ended up passing, but it would have still made for some interesting Star Wars casting. Even though the series has had plenty of A-listers in its roster, something about DiCaprio just feels legendary. Like, Samuel L. Jackson legendary. Still, before Christensen took the part, and before DiCaprio could turn it down, George Lucas apparently wanted Christian Bale to take the role. On one hand, Bale might have very well made a spectacular Anakin Skywalker, but on the other hand, his method acting would have been next-level terrifying.
What other fun facts do you know about Anakin Skywalker? Would DiCaprio or Bale saved the series, or was it doomed with or without Christensen? Sound off in the comments!
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