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How Old Was Darth Vader When He Died?

How Old Was Darth Vader When He Died?

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A Chronological Timeline Of Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader

Anakin Skywalker’s descent into villainy is one that is known around the world, though the age of the character is often something of a contentious topic when discussing the Star Wars prequels, where he is seen most prominently.

His rise to Jedi Master followed by his descent into the Dark Side led to his downfall and death at a relatively young age, with the character dying when he was around the age of 45.

To get a firmer grasp on the topic of Darth Vader’s age at death, we need to create a chronological timeline wherein we can see exactly how old the character was during pivotal moments throughout the Star Wars series.

With this in mind, we are going to be breaking down the timeline of Anakin Skywalker all the way through to his transformation into Darth Vader!

On a Sad note:
The Actor who played Darth Vader, Dave Prowse passed away at the age of 85. 1

Let’s get started.

Birth Year

We first need to look at Anakin’s year of birth so that we can decipher exactly how old he is at certain points in the franchise.

In the Star Wars universe, time is measured by “BBY”, which stands for “Before the Battle of Yavin”.

The Battle of Yavin was the major battle that occurred at the end of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, wherein Luke Skywalker and the rebel alliance successfully destroy the first Death Star.

Its importance as a major event in the universe means that time is either measured as the aforementioned “BBY” or as “ABY”, which stands for After the Battle of Yavin.

Anakin Skywalker was born in 41 BBY, so it is safe to assume that he was middle-aged during the events of A New Hope.

The Phantom Menace

The first chronological appearance of Anakin occurs in Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, which takes place in 32 BBY.

This makes him 9 years old during the first film.

Young Anakin at Jedi Test

Attack Of The Clones

A ten-year time jump occurs after The Phantom Menace, with the year being 22 BBY in Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones.

Anakin is a Jedi Padawan to his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi in the film, and he is 19 years old.

The Clone Wars Animated Series

The animated show The Clone Wars is one that is very much canon to the Star Wars universe, and it features Anakin pretty prominently.

The show begins in 22 BBY at the end of the Attack of the Clones film when Anakin would have still been 19.

It ends in the same year that the events of Revenge of the Sith happens, as we will discuss below.

Revenge Of The Sith

Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith only has a three-year time skip, occurring in 19 BBY, when Anakin is 22 years old.

Anakin fights Obi-wan

The film continues on from the events of the aforementioned The Clone Wars animated show.

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin turns to the Dark Side and makes the transformation to Darth Vader following a fight with Obi-Wan that leaves him horrifically burned and mutilated.

Metaphorically speaking, you could argue that Anakin Skywalker died at this point in the franchise, as his character and personality became irrevocably warped by the Dark Side.

So, if you want to be metaphorical about it, we can count this as a point in time when Anakin Skywalker– at age 22- did indeed die.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ Series

The recent iteration of Darth Vader in the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi series showed us some of what he was up to during the nineteen-year time gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

The series takes place approximately ten years after the end of Revenge of the Sith in the year 9 BBY, which makes Vader around 32 years old.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

One of the coolest iterations of Darth Vader in the modern Star Wars movies has to be his appearance at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, where we see him taking on the rebels in an attempt to get to the Death Star plans.

Darth Vader in Rouge One
Rouge One End Scene

This film ends exactly where A New Hope begins, so Vader would have been the same as he was in that film, which we will discuss next.

A New Hope

Literally speaking, Anakin Skywalker is very much alive in A New Hope, though he has now completely immersed himself in his role as Darth Vader.

Seeing as this is the film where the Battle of Yavin takes place, it is safe to assume that Darth Vader is 41 years old at this point, as he was born in 41 BBY.

The Empire Strikes Back

Rogue One A Star Wars Story

There is a short, three year time jump in Star Wars Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back, with the universe now transitioning to the ABY measurement of time following the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope.

The year at that time is 3 ABY and Vader would have been 44 years old.

Return Of The Jedi

The final film in the original trilogy and the conclusion of Darth Vader’s six part storyline, Star Wars Episode Six: Return of the Jedi features the final showdown between Luke and his father Darth Vader.

Vader has a change of heart in the film and helps put an end to Emperor Palpatine’s reign, dying himself in the aftermath.

Return of the Jedi takes place just one year after The Empire Strikes Back, in the year 4 ABY.

Therefore, Darth Vader would have been 45 years old at the time of his death.

Final Thoughts

So there we have all the major appearances of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader during his time in the Star Wars universe.

By looking at the years in which the films are set as well as the birth year of Anakin himself, we can decipher that at the time of his death, he was 45 years old.

However, if you consider Darth Vader and Anakin to be separate (despite being the same person), you could argue that his true self died at age 22 during the events of Revenge of the Sith in the year 19 BBY.


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