I must confess: for calling myself a nerd, I’m a very late fan of Star Wars; to be honest, up to last year all I knew about Star Wars was the names of Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader (ok, the mask); all I knew was that those movies exist, nothing more. Then, all the hype around the Episode VII made me curious about this saga. I watched them in the order they came out. At the end of episode III, the last one, at the end credit I tought that Anakin Skywalker is the most beautiful, complex, the best evil character ever built.
He’s a little boy in Episode I, he’s the best pilot in Tatooine and this is enough to be noticed by Qui-Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi; the Force was powerful in that cute little kid and they was right, he would have become a great Jedi, he would have been the Jedi of the prophecy. He undertakes the training, becoming Obi Wan’s padawan (=apprentice); he’s also a normal boy: he’s worried about his mother, who still lives in Tatooine while he is running from solar system to another, he often dreams of her in danger. He would never let something bad happen to her, he would not forgive, he would pay back with the sword (ehm, the lightsaber). He also falls in love with princess/senator Padmé. Padmé and his mother are the only people he has.
He’s also aware of his great power, he is arrogant and opinionated and the hideous Darth Sidious heards rumors about it: these are the perfect characteristics to turn somebody powerful like a Jedi into a Sith. All it takes, at this point, is the rage and the hatred.
The chance for Darth Sidious to corrupt Anakin comes when his mother dies; he’s full of rage and kills all the members of the gang that kidnapped her, including women and children. He is confused. Oh, Darth Sidious is a very good puppetmaster and tells Anakin that by following the Dark Side of the Force he would have been able to keep the beloved ones away from death and tells him a lot of lies about the Jedi. The lord of Sith makes Anakin believe that the Jedi are evil and they are trying to overturn the Republic and take the power and Anakin heeds him and believes to his words. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, does a lot of evil actions, including killing children. The rage, the hatred, the pain and the fear of Padmé’s death destroy the person once known as Anakin Skywalker, now it’s only a name. The person once known as Anakin Skywalker isn’t anymore.
Obi Wan is forced to battle against him, even though he doesn’t want because Anakin was his padawan and his brother, but that person doesn’t exist anymore. Obi Wan defeats him but doesn’t kill him, so Darth Vader is saved by Darth Sidious. To make him closer to him and to the dark side, he tells that Anakin himself killed Padmé. He becomes more and more evil. But, everything is not lost. It seems that there’s still something good in him. Luke feels it because Darth Vader doesn’t kill him even if he has the chance and also tells Luke that he is his son. This change drastically the way things went.
During the last battle before the Emperor, Luke repeats several times that he wouldn’t have killed his father, while Darth Vader seems not to work so hard in the battle. The Emperor tries to corrupt Luke as he did with his father, he seems to manage it when the situation for the rebels seems desperate and Luke, letting the rage flow, detach Darth Vader’s hand. His father is about to die but Luke doesn’t want to kill him, so he starts battling the Emperor, but Luke can’t defeat him, the Emperor is much more powerful than him.
Luke was right. There’s still good in his father. Darth Vader, with the very last shred of strength kills the Emperor. He is Anakin Skywalker again. Darth Vader doesn’t exist anymore, there is only a weak, dying, burned man behind a black mask. Anakin has struggled all his life against death. He couldn’t prevent his mother and his wife’s death but, in the moment when everything seemed to be lost, he keeps his son away from death. The Sith are defeated forever, he’s going to die but he finally succeeded to prevent the death of his beloved by sacrificing his own life.