Star Wars: Ranking every version of Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones (2002). Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved
Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones (2002). Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved /
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Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., All Rights Reserved

Number 3: Revenge of the Sith

In Episode 3,  Anakin truly becomes the fullest version of himself. His love for Padme is deeper than ever. His need to protect her and their newly discovered unborn child is taken to a whole new level. He has grown more powerful than ever as well.

This is shown early in the movie, as he bests Count Dooku, someone who easily defeated him three years prior. He looms over Dooku with a red lightsaber in one hand, and his blue lightsaber in the other.

To be Anakin Skywalker is to constantly be stuck between these two philosophies of life, to be engaged in a never-ending balancing act between light and dark, and the two lightsabers are an excellent visual metaphor for that struggle.

He is the chosen one, and his upcoming choices will shape the galaxy forever. This idea hangs over the entire movie. As he becomes more powerful, his resentment for Obi-Wan grows. He is named to the council, but he is not granted the rank of master.

All of this causes Anakin to dive even further into Palpatine’s grasp, and Anakin begins to truly lose sight of what matters. The kiss of death are the visions Anakin is having of Padme dying in childbirth and his deep desire to find a way to prevent that from happening. When Palpatine mentions he might know Sith tactics to defeat death, Anakin’s fate is all but sealed.

This tragedy is so painful and beautiful because it firmly establishes Anakin’s priorities early on, and so much so that it is never in doubt the choices Anakin will make that will lead him to the dark side. Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, and we knew that going in, but it is still painful and hard to watch this character who was failed by his mentors, become the figure of evil we see in the later movies.

Number 2: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars© 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars© 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. /

If you haven’t watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars, put down your phone or computer or whatever device you are reading this on, and go press play. Sit there and watch every episode and do nothing else until you have finished the series. It is that good.

The Clone Wars is a great TV show that gives us one of the best versions of Anakin Skywalker to this day. We see a great bond between Obi-Wan and Anakin that makes their “Battle of the Heroes” in Episode III even more tragic. Their relationship is the backbone of the show and the moments they are together are extremely special.

During the show, set between Episodes II and III, we see an intriguing era of Anakin’s life. We see his secret marriage with Padme and how that affects her life as a senator and his as a Jedi. Anakin even takes on Ahsoka Tano as a padawan and struggles to teach her, as she teaches him a lot as well.

This relationship is something that was an unexpected surprise watching the show, I did not expect to love Ahsoka early on, but she definitely becomes a great character, and a lot of that has to do with Anakin becoming a mentor to her. The strength of their bond is something that makes Ahsoka eventually leaving the Jedi order so painful. Anakin is at his  most vulnerable and most human in the Clone Wars, and it is the most likeable and heroic version we see of the character by far.