One of the biggest truths that Star Wars fans know is that Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader and a kind Jedi Knight that fell to the dark side due to certain circumstances. What also needs to be considered here is that Anakin spent his life as Vader for a long time and basically forgot who he was, especially during the height of the Empire’s power. So, just how old was Anakin when he became Darth Vader?
Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader on 19 BBY when he was just 22 years old. He eventually died on 4 ABY, meaning he spent more years as Darth Vader than he ever did as Anakin Skywalker. That is why Vader had almost forgotten that he was Anakin.
There is no doubt that Anakin Skywalker’s story was always tragic, telling the cautionary tale of a character that had so much potential to do good but ended up falling to darkness and doing evil instead. The most surprising part is that Anakin was quite young when he turned to the dark side, making his story a lot more tragic. Let’s learn more about Anakin and how he became Darth Vader.
Anakin became a Jedi Knight at 19
Chronologically speaking, we first met Anakin Skywalker as a young boy that lived on Tatooine. This happened during the events of ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ when Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padmé Amidala had to go to Tatooine to procure the parts that they needed to fix their ship so that they could get to Coruscant.
When Qui-Gon met Anakin, he was surprised by how talented the boy was, and that was when he had him tested for Midi-chlorians. That was when he discovered that Anakin had the highest Midi-chlorian count in history, making him the prophesized Chosen One that was supposed to bring balance to the Force.
In that regard, Qui-Gon decided to bring Anakin to the Jedi Temple so that he could be trained as a Jedi, only for the Jedi Council to tell him that the boy was too old then. Anakin was just nine years old but was already too old to be trained because most Jedi younglings start out much younger than nine. But Qui-Gon decided to take Anakin as his Padawan learner so that he could teach him the ways of the Force himself, only for the task to fall to Obi-Wan after Jinn died.
Kenobi trained Anakin for ten years after he swore to Qui-Gon that he would train the boy to become a Jedi Knight. Anakin was knighted as a true Jedi Knight at 19, shortly after the Clone Wars broke out during the First Battle of Geonosis. However, at that time, Anakin already had troubles with his emotions because of how he felt for Padmé, whom he secretly married.
Anakin fought in the Clone Wars for three years
After the Clone Wars broke out, Anakin was turned into a Jedi General that fought on the frontlines to lead the clones into battle against the Separatists. He and Obi-Wan Kenobi were two of the greatest Jedi Generals of the Clone Wars due to their courage, bravery, and victories.
In that regard, Anakin became a renowned hero during that era as many believed him to be one of the best Jedi Knights that fought during the Clone Wars. In fact, Kanan Jarrus once described him as the greatest of the Jedi during the Clone Wars era.
Anakin was on the right path at that time because he was supposed to be the Chosen One that would be strong enough to defeat the Sith and bring balance back to the Force.
But his experiences during the Clone Wars and the machinations of Chancellor Palpatine slowly allowed him to walk down the path of the dark side. In that regard, Anakin steadily lost faith in the Jedi Order, which also had flaws. And he also started fearing for the life of his beloved Padmé Amidala, who he saw dying in his visions.
The entire Clone Wars era lasted for three years. Specifically, it started at 22 BBY and ended at 19 BBY. In that regard, Anakin was already 22 years old when the Clone Wars was nearing its conclusion.
Anakin finally gave in to the dark side on 19 BBY
Anakin and Obi-Wan participated in the Battle of Coruscant, where they were tasked to save the captured Chancellor Palpatine from the hands of the Separatists. They both boarded Count Dooku’s ship and confronted the Sith Lord.
Kenobi lost consciousness in the duel, which meant that Anakin had to defeat Dooku himself to save the chancellor. Anakin defeated the Sith Lord and executed him at the chancellor’s orders, who thought he was far too dangerous to keep alive.
After saving the chancellor, Anakin became closer to him and was even installed in the Jedi Council as his representative. But Anakin only grew angrier when he started having more visions of Padmé’s death and when he thought that the Jedi Council didn’t trust him enough to give him the rank of Jedi Master.
He eventually found out from all of Palpatine’s stories that he was the true Sith Lord that had been manipulating the entire war, and that was what prompted Anakin to tell Mace Windu that the chancellor was a Sith Lord.
But Anakin was still in a state of confusion because he thought that Palpatine legitimately cared for him. On top of that, Palpatine sold him the idea that the dark side of the Force could allow him to save the life of his beloved Padmé. As such, before Windu could kill Palpatine, Anakin intervened and allowed the Sith Lord to kill the Jedi Master.
Anakin eventually swore his allegiance to Darth Sidious as his new apprentice, and that was when he became Darth Vader. He was just 22 years old when he betrayed the Jedi Order and decided to become a dark lord of the Sith under none other than Sidious, who had installed himself as Emperor Palpatine of the Galactic Empire.
But Anakin lost to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Duel on Mustafar. He got injured and burned after that fight, so his limbs had to be replaced by cybernetic prosthetics. Anakin also had to wear a life-support suit the entire time he was Darth Vader.
How long was Anakin Darth Vader?
After the rise of the Empire on 19 BBY, Darth Vader became the enforcer of the Empire and was the one chasing after any Jedi survivors or insurgents looking to try to topple the Empire. On 0 BBY, he finally encountered Luke Skywalker, who was actually his son from his beloved Padmé Amidala.
Three years later, Vader tried to persuade Luke to join the dark side of the Force while revealing that he was actually his father. Luke rejected the offer to turn to the side of the Sith. But learning that Vader was his father allowed him to set his sights on redeeming his father instead of killing him.
On 4 ABY, Luke finally defeated Darth Vader. Not wanting the emperor to kill his son, Vader betrayed Darth Sidious and killed him while receiving the full power of his Force Lightning. Vader died as a redeemed Anakin Skywalker on 4 ABY. That means that 23 years have passed since he became Vader and that he had been Darth Vader for 23 years, more than the 22 years he spent as Anakin Skywalker.
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