All Star Wars fans who have at least seen Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back would know that the iconic Darth Vader was actually Anakin Skywalker the entire time and was a fallen Jedi who joined the Sith. But not everyone in the galaxy knew Anakin’s true identity, as only a few people knew this secret. Even after the events of the original trilogy, not everyone knew who Darth Vader was or that he was connected to the Skywalker family.
Nevertheless, those who witnessed the events during the latter part of the Clone Wars were somewhat privy to the fact that Anakin fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader. So, with that said, let’s look at all of the characters that knew that Anakin Skywalker was the dreaded Sith Lord and Imperial enforcer named Darth Vader.
Of course, the first person to know that Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader was responsible for turning him over to the dark side. We are talking about Emperor Palpatine, who was still the Supreme Chancellor at that time and was secretly Darth Sidious the entire time. And he used his position in power and close relationship with Anakin to turn him over to the dark side, as he was aware of the fears that the Jedi Knight had about Padme Amidala’s inevitable death.
As such, throughout the entire events of the Clone Wars, Palpatine slowly and steadily tries to tempt Anakin to the dark side and is able to successfully do so when Skywalker chooses to betray the Jedi Order to save Sidious from death after losing his duel to Mace Windu. After the betrayal, he gave Anakin the Sith Lord name Darth Vader in honor of his conversion to the dark side of the Force. And after the rise of the Empire, he was the one that gave Anakin cybernetic limbs and a life-support suit to keep him alive and use him throughout his entire reign.
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
One of the first people to know that Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader was Obi-Wan Kenobi because he saw how deep into the dark side his former Padawan had dove into. He saw the holographic recording of Anakin slaying younglings in cold blood and when Palpatine called him Darth Vader after congratulating him for a job well done in killing all of the Jedi in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. This eventually led to the fateful and emotional duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar, where Skywalker lost and was left for dead by his former master.
However, Obi-Wan, ten years after the fall of the Jedi Order, legitimately thought that Anakin had died on Mustafar even though he never delivered the killing blow. That was why he didn’t know that his former Padawan was the cybernetic beast enforcing the rule of the Empire. Of course, he also stayed hidden on Tatooine long enough to keep himself away from the happenings in the galaxy. And it was only when the Inquisitor Reva told him in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series that Anakin was alive that he understood that he didn’t kill his former apprentice.
3. Luke Skywalker
When Luke met Obi-Wan again during the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the old Jedi Master told him about his true parents and about how Darth Vader supposedly killed Anakin Skywalker. Of course, we saw the symbolic meaning of what Kenobi said when he realized in their rematch in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series that Anakin had metaphorically fallen to Vader after the dark side had fully consumed him.
However, in Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader tells Anakin the truth and says that he is his father, as Skywalker thought that Kenobi lied to him. Technically, Obi-Wan never lied as he truly thought that Vader’s persona had already completely consumed Anakin and that there was no way for the old Jedi Knight to redeem himself. But Luke eventually proved that wrong when Anakin’s love for his son allowed him a moment of redemption at the end of his life.
4. Leia Organa
After Luke finds out that Darth Vader is his father and that he is the former Anakin Skywalker, he eventually tells Leia the truth as well, especially after spending Leia rescuing him from Cloud City. This revelation also allowed people to understand that Leia was also sensitive to the Force because she sensed where Luke was.
When Leia finally realized that Luke was his brother, she also realized Vader was her father. She kept this secret from her son because she didn’t want Ben Solo to succumb to the same darkness that overcame Anakin. She also made Anakin swear to keep this a secret from Ben, as this eventually led to his downfall to the dark side.
5. Han Solo
Han was already frozen in carbonite when Luke found out that Vader was Anakin. As such, it took him a while to find out the truth behind the dark lord of the Sith. That means he only discovered Darth Vader’s true identity after the Skywalker duo rescued him from Jabba the Hutt. And because he and Leia eventually got married, we can make the presumption that Leia told him almost everything she knew about her father.
Although Chewbacca was more of a sidekick to Han Solo and could never engage in any conversation that we could understand, it is safe to assume that the original Star Wars trio told him the truth, considering that they trusted him. Of course, because few people could understand him, the secret was safe with him.
One of the characters that saw almost everything that happened in the nine movies of the Skywalker Saga was R2-D2, who was there when Padme escaped Naboo in Episode I up to the events of Palpatine’s final defeat in Episode IX. He was even Anakin’s astromech droid during the Clone Wars until he went to Mustafar. As such, R2 witnessed it all and was around when he saw his friend turning over to the dark side.
George Lucas once said that R2-D2 was the narrator of the entire Star Wars Skywalker Saga because he witnessed everything from start to finish. Of course, this is supported by the fact that his memory was never wiped out after Anakin turned over to the dark side. That is why he knew everything that happened but just kept quiet about the truth.
Anakin Skywalker created C-3PO to serve as the protocol droid that would assist his mother. However, after Shmi Skywalker’s death, 3PO became Padme’s personal protocol droid. As such, he witnessed what Padme underwent when she found out that Anakin fell to the dark side.
But because of his talkative nature, 3PO’s memory was wiped out by Bail Organa. As such, he forgot everything about Anakin. We can presume that he found out the truth after Luke found out that Vader and Anakin were the same people
9. Master Yoda
One of the characters alive from Episodes I to VI was Master Yoda, who served as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order during its final days. Of course, he eventually became the master who completed Luke’s training before passing away at 900. And because he was around during the Jedi’s fall, he knew Anakin was Vader.
Yoda found out the truth about Anakin and Obi-Wan when they watched the recordings of the Jedi Temple during the events of Order 66. As such, he also saw how Sidious called Anakin Darth Vader in the recording. And because of his strength in the Force, he must have felt that Anakin had survived his fight with Obi-Wan and became the Sith enforcer that terrorized the galaxy for over 20 years.
10. Bail Organa
As Padme’s greatest and closest ally in the Senate during the Clone Wars, Bail Organa was privy to what happened to the Jedi. He even saw how the clones attacked and killed the younglings and Padawans during Order 66. And when Padme was giving birth to her twins, Bail helped her deliver her babies.
Bail was there when Yoda and Obi-Wan discussed their next moves after the Emperor’s victory at the end of Revenge of the Sith. And the fact that he was the one that took Leia in to be his daughter proved that he knew who Vader was.
11. Ahsoka Tano
Anakin had a Padawan in the form of Ahsoka Tano, who he bonded well enough such that she understood what he was feeling the entire time. However, Ahsoka left the Jedi Order before Order 66 after she was framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple. This explains why she wasn’t around the Jedi during the events of Revenge of the Sith.
Ahsoka survived Order 66 and went into hiding. She didn’t know how or why Anakin turned into Vader because she wasn’t privy to the fall of her former master. As such, Ahsoka never knew who Vader was until the events of Star Wars: Rebels, when she and the Sith Lord met for the first time since the fall of the Jedi Order. That was when Ahsoka discovered that Darth Vader was her former mentor.
12. Darth Maul
In the official Star Wars canon, Anakin Skywalker never met Darth Maul because he wasn’t with Obi-Wan when the Jedi Master helped the Mandalorians with their problem regarding the former Sith Lord. However, there were reasons to believe that Maul knew what Palpatine had in store for Anakin.
Star Wars: Clone Wars season 7 suggests that Maul knew what would happen to Anakin as he had deduced his old master’s plan for the Jedi Knight. So, because he understood that Palpatine was planning on turning Anakin to the dark side, Maul knew who Vader was during the era of the Empire. And he even tried to convince Kanan Jarrus and Ezra that they could defeat Vader together in the events of Rebels.
13. Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Tarkin was around during the events of the Clone Wars and was able to maneuver himself to one of the highest positions in the Empire due to his loyalty to Palpatine and his vision for the galaxy. He was also one of the few characters who could speak to Vader as if they were equals, as it was clear that he didn’t fear him as much as the other Imperial officers.
In the Tarkin novel, it was revealed that he could use his intelligence to deduce that Vader and Anakin were the same people. That’s because he worked with Anakin in the Clone Wars and could see their similarities, although Vader tried to compartmentalize his Anakin side as best as he could. And the fact that Vader was already familiar with him ultimately led him to conclude that he must’ve been Anakin.
14. Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn was one of the brightest minds in the Empire and was arguably smarter than anyone else serving the Imperials. Of course, it was shown in the Thrawn: Alliances and Thrawn: Ascendency novels that he met Anakin back in the events of the Clone Wars. And the fact that he used his intelligence to deduce that Anakin and Vader were the same person convinced Palpatine that this man was the real deal.
Of course, Vader respected Thrawn’s incredible mind as he was one of the few Imperial officers he trusted. The trust between the characters was mutual because Thrawn carried out his mission to hunt down the Rebels almost perfectly. After all, Vader entrusted him with one of the most important missions that the Empire needed to fulfill.
15. Ferren Barr
Not many people know who Ferren Barr is, but he is actually a canon character that survived the events of Order 66. He is a character that was introduced in the Star Wars comics. This Jedi served in the Clone Wars as a Jedi Padawan but hid in Mon Cala after that. And he spent months trying to learn the secret behind the fall of the Jedi Order.
Ferren hired a slicer that was able to access the security recordings of the Jedi Temple, and that was when he saw that Anakin Skywalker was the one that killed the younglings. As such, he knew that Vader and Anakin were the same person. But after training a few Force-sensitive people on Mon Cala, he ended up on the radar of Vader himself, as he fell to the Sith Lord when the Empire attacked.
16. Jocasta Nu
While she may have been the keeper of the archives of the Jedi Temple, Jocasta Nu was able to survive Order 66 and was able to learn the secrets of the Sith Lord when a medical droid scanned Darth Vader. She attempted to use this knowledge to her advantage when she revealed this to the Stormtroopers that arrested her. However, Vader confronted and killed the troopers to keep his identity a secret and eventually cut down Jocasta Nu himself.
As mentioned, Ferren Barr was one of the few Jedi that knew that Darth Vader was Anakin. He also trained a few people in the ways of the Force on Mon Cala. And one of his disciples was Verla, who survived Vader’s assault on Mon Cala.
Verla spent her entire life running from the Empire before she met Luke Skywalker just shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes Back. As such, while she wasn’t a Jedi, she was a Force-sensitive individual that lived during the era of the Empire. Nevertheless, she used the dark side to kill Luke after she found out through the Force that he was Vader’s son. Thanks to R2-D2, Luke managed to keep himself away from Verla, as she may have survived the Imperial era but hid as a hermit throughout her entire life. Still, it was thanks to her that Luke was able to learn where he could find a lightsaber after losing the Skywalker lightsaber in the fight against Vader on Cloud City.
18. Reva and The Inquisitors
During the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi, we met the Third Sister, who was named Reva Sevander. She was an Inquisitor who was hell-bent on finding Obi-Wan Kenobi to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming the Grand Inquisitor. After encountering Obi-Wan, she was the one that told him that Anakin Skywalker was still alive, as it was clear that she knew who Vader was.
It was hinted that the Inquisitors were aware of who Darth Vader was as he was the one that trained them to learn how to hunt Jedi. That means that Reva and all of the other Inquisitors were aware of Vader’s secret. Reva wanted to take revenge on Vader because he killed all of the other younglings she was with while training in the Jedi Temple. That was why he tried to get close to him and why she attempted to kill Luke.