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How Old Was Anakin When He Became Darth Vader?

It is the tragedy that has defined pretty much the entire Star Wars saga up to this point.

The fall of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, surrendering to Palpatine, Darth Sidious, and becoming Darth Vader, the embodiment of evil in the Galactic Empire, is probably the most important sequence of events in the mythos of the Star Wars galaxy.

How Old Was Anakin When He Became Darth Vader

After all, it is the creation of the main antagonist that hunts and strikes at the Rebel Alliance throughout the Original trilogy.

It is effectively the main point of focus of the Prequel trilogy, and it is even influencing and affecting the characters of the Sequel trilogy, some 30 years later.

Even in death, and after his redemption, his visage and legacy plague the hearts and minds of the citizens of the galaxy.

But, one of the things that are often forgotten, both seemingly within the Star Wars universe, and outside of it, is just how young Anakin was when he fully succumbed to the dark side.

Between the length of time between the movies being released, and how much content has since filled in the years between each movie, it can often feel like it is many years between the different movies.

So, how old, or rather, how young was Anakin Skywalker when he eventually donned the mask and became Darth Vader?

That is the question that we are going to answer today in this piece.

We are going to break down not just Anakin’s age at the time he became Darth Vader, but also how the chronology of the Star Wars universe works in general, to help you better navigate moments in time in both the Star Wars timeline, and the moments in Anakin’s life.

How Does Time Work In Star Wars?

This might seem like an obvious question and, for intents and purposes for casual moviegoers, it is.

One year for us is one year for the Star Wars galaxy. However, in terms of the in-universe chronology, it can get a little more complicated.

Putting aside the general confusion of establishing why an entire galaxy follows a single system of measuring a year, the timeline of Star Wars is split into two eras: Before the Battle of Yavin (B.B.Y), and After the Battle of Yavin (A.B.Y).

Why The Battle Of Yavin?

Why The Battle Of Yavin

Many people may be wondering why it is the Battle of Yavin, in particular, that is the distinguishing point between periods.

Out-of-universe, the answer is pretty simple: this is the climactic point of the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, and is the moment that kick-starts the entire Star Wars franchise.

So, it only makes sense that this is the point where the timeline is measured from.

However, justifying this decision in-universe becomes a little trickier, as the entire Star Wars story is chocked full of iconic moments that can be considered turning points in history, such as the Battle of Endor, which should arguably be a more important date in-universe, as it signals the death of the emperor.

And yet, the date of this battle in-universe is 4 A.B.Y.

The consensus for this decision is that, although not the final battle of the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and the Rebellion, it is the first major turning point for the rebels.

It demonstrates to the galaxy that, although powerful, they were not invincible, as even their greatest weapons could be destroyed.

So, from the Battle of Yavin, years further back before it, like our B.C. system, the higher the number is, and the opposite is true for A.B.Y measurements, where the higher the number, the further into the future we are.

A Young Boy Named Anakin Skywalker

So, from what we know of the Star Wars timeline so far, Anakin Skywalker was born to Shmi Skywalker in 41 B.B.Y.

As Shmi tells Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Anakin was conceived without a father, implying that he was the Chosen One of prophecy.

On the subject of The Phantom Menace, the first chronological movie of the Star Wars saga takes place in 32 at the same time as the blockade and Battle of Naboo, in 32 B.B.Y.

This means that, during the Boonta Eve podrace and the final battle of Episode 1, Anakin is around 9 years old, which the Jedi council consider too old to start training for Jedi at the time.

It is also at this time that Darth Sidious, going by the name of Palpatine, first encounters Anakin, and starts to groom and manipulate the young child to become his new apprentice at some point.

10 years later, during the events of Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, and the outbreak of the Clone Wars on Geonosis, Anakin is now 19 years old, on the cusp of adulthood, and also marries Senator Padme Amidala, who had met as a child during the events of Episode 1.

This is also the point that, as a Jedi, he is made a commander in the new Grand Army of the Republic. Let that sink in.

At the age of 19, barely an adult, Anakin, who has also just witnessed the death of his mother (Episode 2 is wild), is emotionally unstable, and is placed in charge of hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

The Age Of Anakin At The Birth Of Vader

By the time that we come to the closing of the Clone Wars in Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, three years later, Anakin has become a Jedi knight, has trained and lost his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, and has seen three years of war and conflict while fighting on the front lines.

At 23, Anakin has seen many terrible things, so it isn’t much of a surprise that, during the movie, he becomes Darth Vader.

Closing Thoughts

So, How old was Anakin when he became Darth Vader?

At the Age of 23, Anakin became Darth Vader, after his battle with Obi-Wan on Mustafar, and nearly dying. This is where he wears the life support armor (Vader suit).

In his prime, he becomes the monster that the Jedi feared he would become.

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