15. Anakin’s redemption
There are so many moments that shape the character of Anakin Skywalker. We see him as a genuinely good person who struggles with the darkness that calls out to him, and we see him turn to the dark side and become Darth Vader. Anakin’s most pivotal moment comes at the end of his life, after decades of being Darth Vader.
He revealed the truth of his identity to Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back in hopes that Luke would join him and the two of them could overthrow Emperor Palpatine and rule the galaxy as father and son. But Luke doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps to the Dark Side. Instead, Luke says that he believes there is still good in his father. When Luke turns himself over to Vader in Return of the Jedi, the two share a moment before Vader turns Luke over to the Emperor. Luke begs Vader to leave with him, to turn back to the light, but Vader says to him, “It is too late for me, son.” The words are laced with regret over a lifetime of choices that only served to destroy the good man he once was.
But even when Vader does turn Luke over to the Emperor, Luke still believes that there is still good in his father. In the most climactic moment of the entire series, Luke is proven correct when Vader can no longer watch the Emperor torture his son with Force lightning. He picks up Palpatine and tosses him down the reactor shaft on the second Death Star, saving Luke and demonstrating that Anakin Skywalker isn’t as dead as he believed.
With the Emperor dead and with his own life quickly slipping away, Vader asks Luke to take off his mask so that he can see Luke with his own eyes. He tells Luke that he was right, that there was still good in him, and then tells Luke to go. Luke insists that he still has to save him. “You already have,” Anakin says and then breathes his last. This moment of redemption is the moment all the other moments of Anakin’s life, both good and bad, are pointing toward.
What’s your favorite Anakin Skywalker moment? Let us know in the comments!