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Fear and Anger
3 Deaths that Shaped Anakin Skywalker's Destiny

By Kat
Staff Writer

January 12, 2010

Although many events contributed to Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side of the Force, some of the most defining moments in his life occurred amidst the deaths of those closest to him. Here's a look at three of the most meaningful deaths to Anakin and how they not only changed his own life, but ultimately sealed the fate of the galaxy as well.

Qui-Gon Jinn: The Death Anakin Couldn't Prevent

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn died in lightsaber combat with the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Since he was the one who believed most in Anakin Skywalker, and insisted that he be trained as a Jedi, Qui-Gon's death dramatically changed Anakin Skywalker's destiny. Following Qui-Gon's death, the task of training Anakin fell to Qui-Gon's more skeptical and less experienced apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon's defiant, less orthodox methods and beliefs, including his stubborn insistence to train Anakin, may have meshed better with Anakin's similarly brash and sometimes impulsive personality. Qui-Gon may have encouraged young Anakin to embrace his instincts rather than control them, which either would have lead Skywalker to the dark side sooner or diffused his fear and anger before they ever blinded him in the first place.


Shmi Skywalker: The Death Anakin Wished He Had Prevented
Anakin's mother, Shmi Skywalker, died from sustained injuries in a Tusken Raider camp after seeing Anakin one last time. She had only been holding on to life because she was thinking about her son and how she wanted to see him one last time. After she sees him again, she says that her "life is complete" and dies. If the though of Anakin kept Shmi alive and gave her a reason to live, what would have happened if he had never come to Tatooine? Would someone else have saved her life? Alternate realities aside, Anakin's violent reaction to his mother's death is perhaps more telling than her death itself. His slaughter of the entire Tusken Raider camp foreshadows the unrestrained evil that he is capable of and even mirrors his later slaughter of the younglings in the Jedi Temple in Revenge of the Sith.

Padmé Amidala: The Death Anakin Vowed to Prevent
Padmé dies after giving birth to her and Anakin's children, Luke and Leia. She dies because, according to the medical droid, she has, "Lost the will to live." Her death parallels the earlier death of his mother Shmi Skywalker, since Shmi similarly lost the will to live after seeing her son Anakin one last time.

One difference between Shmi's and Padmé's death is their emotional state before death. Shmi died in peace, relieved to see her son grown up and doing well. Padmé died in pain, anguished by Anakin's slaughter of the Jedi younglings and betrayal of the Jedi.

Anakin's mental state is also different. His regret of not being able to save his mother drives Anakin to vow to protect Padmé by any means necessary and no matter the cost. When Palpatine casually mentions that a sith lord had discovered how to prevent people from dying, Anakin is intrigued. He becomes increasingly interested in learning this power as his fear of losing Padmé rises. His fear drives him to approach Padmé's death in a much different way from Qui-Gon's death or Shmi's death. Both the death of Qui-Gon Jinn and Shmi Skywalker elicited a reactionary measure. Qui-Gon's death causes Anakin's training to fall to the younger, less experienced Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi. Shmi's death prompts Anakin to angrily mercilessly slaughter the entire Tusken Raider camp.

But in the case of Padmé's death, her actual death didn't change any part of his destiny--he was already angry and too far gone before her death. Her actual death does not create a chain reaction as both the deaths of Qui-Gon and Shmi had. Her death neither causes Anakin to become Palpatine's apprentice (he becomes Palpatine's apprentice while Padmé is still alive) nor angers Anakin to the point of going on a killing spree (he kills the Jedi younglings while Padmé is still alive). The fear of Padme dying, rather than her death itself, is what provokes Anakin Skywalker into becoming Palpatine's apprentice, go on a killing spree and ultimately turn to the dark side of the Force.

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