Anakin Skywalker is likely the most recognizable Star Wars character ever – especially as Darth Vader, the mighty Sith Lord he became after falling to the Dark Side. We know much about Anakin from the movies, but it was even more fleshed out in animated shows and comics. But the fans are still trying to figure out how and when Anakin got the scar on his face.
When did Anakin’s scar first appear?
In ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,’ Anakin is essentially a teenager who has made incredible progress as a Jedi Padawan. However, his rebellious attitude and raw emotion seem to get the best of him most of the time. He first ignores the Jedi decree and enters a relationship with Padme, and then displays a lack of restraint when facing Count Dooku near the end of the film.
That’s what literally cost him his hand, as Dooku chopped it off in their duel. But we have never seen him get hurt across the face.
And yet, the scar is there when ‘Revenge of the Sith’ takes place. Anakin’s hair is longer, he is a bit older, and much, much more powerful. Still, we never got an explanation of how the scar appeared.
Seeing that ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ take place about three years apart, that means there was a three-year window where Anakin could’ve gotten his scar. But did we ever get an in-canon explanation?
How did Anakin get his scar?
Let’s get one thing straight, shall we? There was never a canon explanation of how and when Anakin Skywalker got the signature scar over his face (and partially his right eye).
There is a reason why George Lucas and his team chose to put the scar on Hayden Christensen’s face for ‘Revenge of the Sith’ – and we’ll get to it – but they never bothered explaining it. The scar was explained in ‘Star Wars Legends’ – the incident where it happened was even depicted.
In canon, though, we have only a narrower window where Anakin could’ve gotten the scar. In the ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ animated movie (not the series), Anakin already has the scar at the beginning of the film – meaning he received it very early into the Clone Wars. The canon ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ animated series never offered an explanation – the scar was just there.
That’s about it when it comes to canon. In Legends, however, things get a lot more concrete. Firstly, in the 2D ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ animated series (2003-2005) – rendered non-canon in 2014 after Disney bought Lucasfilm – we know exactly when (quite early in the show) Anakin got the scar. We don’t see the incident, per se, but we see Padme Amidala reacting to seeing the wound.
The most complete explanation, however, came from ‘Star Wars: Republic’ #71 – a Dark Horse comics series that came out in late 2004 – just before ‘Revenge of the Sith’ film was released. Again, it’s rendered non-canon but still provides a cool explanation of Anakin’s scar.
The comic book shows us an incredible lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker and Asajj Ventress. For those who are unacquainted with the character, Asajj was a powerful Force wielder from Dathomir who was, at one point or another, a Jedi Padawan, a Sith assassin, and a Nightsister. She was incredibly prolific in combat, as displayed in this duel.
Anakin was nowhere near the peak of his power back then, and Asajj made quick work of him. She purposely scarred him instead of killing him – just to mock Skywalker. She even tells him:
‘I could have taken your head off that time, boy. Maybe with my next stroke, I will. But first, I wanted you to know that I could.’
The duel was cut short after that, but it gave Anakin his scar. The only problem was, in that particular comic, their duel happened near the end of the Clone Wars, whereas in the animated series, we see Anakin with the scar very early into the show. That’s why we can’t take the Asajj Ventress explanation as valid canon.
Perhaps in canon Star Wars, Ventress gave Anakin his scar as well – but much earlier in the Clone Wars. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Why does Anakin have a scar on his face?
Bear with me here – I’m not asking how Anakin got the scar. I’m asking why George Lucas even gave Hayden Christensen the scar on his face when they were filming ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ And the answer holds the key to why I hope we’ll never get a full explanation. It wasn’t about how Anakin got it. It was about the symbolic meaning of that scar.
In Pablo Hidalgo’s diary that he was doing on the set of ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ he wrote that Lucas said of the scar: ‘I just put it there. He [Lucasfilm marketing president Howard Roffman] has to explain how it got there. I think Anakin got it slipping in the bathtub, but of course, he’s not going to tell anybody that.’
Basically – it doesn’t matter how, but why. The scar is just another symbol depicting Anakin’s hardships and eventual fall to the Dark Side. Even the Chosen One wasn’t invulnerable. He was made of flesh, just like anybody else. Physical wounds were visible on the outside, but emotional scars are what drove Anakin to the Dark Side.
On a more simple note, when the movies were coming out, the only Star Wars canon we had were, in fact, the movies. We didn’t have a deep backstory or explanation for every little detail. The scar was a way for Lucas to show that Anakin went through hard times and that the Jedi were at war for the three years between Episodes II and III.
So, you can go for the Legends explanation and say Asajj Ventress gave Anakin Skywalker his scar. Or, you can simply write it down to battle wounds and focus on the scar’s more important, symbolic aspect – which was, in the end, its true purpose.
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