In the mind of many a Star Wars fans, the identity of Anakin Skywalker’s father has long been an issue that was thought laid to rest. Specifically, the popular belief was that the character quite simply had no father, with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace heavily implying that his conception was essentially a miracle of the Force.
The new Darth Vader comic, however, has just dropped a major bombshell which contradicts the old ‘virgin birth’ assumption while confirming the fan theory that Anakin’s father – or at least the closest thing he had to one, biologically speaking – was none other than his future master Sheev Palpatine. As the panels demonstrate, the villain used his dark influence to create a child inside of Shmi Skywalker before patiently waiting for his apprentice to grow up and come to him.
Obviously, this development will leave fans with many questions about the exact nature of Palpatine’s elaborate plan, but looking at this from a storytelling perspective, how much does it change? Well, for one thing, it certainly puts Anakin’s switch to the dark side into a whole new context.
Where the tragedy was once partly rooted in the character’s wasted potential as this supposed ‘chosen one’ failed to stay on the righteous path, the twist that Anakin was born of the dark side makes his switching between teams feel a lot more predetermined, suggesting that Qui-Gon Jinn’s plan to mold his young apprentice into a great Jedi was practically doomed from the start.
Whether this twist makes Anakin’s arc throughout the Star Wars saga any more or less meaningful is a point of debate, but at the very least, it adds a little more poignancy to the moment where he finally turns back to the light in Return of the Jedi, defying not just the Emperor’s commands but his inherent nature, too.