Playing with scissors can lose you a finger. But playing with lightsabers can cost you some limbs. Anakin Skywalker learned that the hard way, as he lost hands and other limbs more than once. We all know that Obi-Wan Kenobi left him severed after their duel on Mustafar, but Anakin already had a prosthetic hand by then. So, how did Anakin really lose his hand?
In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi battle Count Dooku. In the battle, Dooku cuts off Anakin’s right arm around the elbow with a lightsaber, after which Skywalker gets a prosthetic, mechno-arm made on Coruscant.
As it turns out, Skywalker liked his new arm even better, as he felt like it was much more powerful. However, it wasn’t the last time the guy lost arms – and legs. Let’s jump into some Star Wars history for all the answers.
Which Hand Did Anakin Lose?
Before we begin, I want to clarify something. Anakin Skywalker lost only his right arm. He lost his left arm, as well as his prosthetic right arm again – when he was already Darth Vader. The initial hand loss came in the Attack of the Clones, when Skywalker was still a young Jedi Master.
How Did Anakin Initially Lose His Hand?
We all remember the brutal duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker that happened in the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith movie. That’s when we actually see Anakin Skywalker “die” after losing all of his limbs and being burned by lava. Of course, he survived and became Darth Vader, but that’s a story for another day.
The story for today is – even before the duel on Mustafar, Anakin Skywalker had a prosthetic right hand and arm up to the elbow. So, how did Anakin initially lose his hand?
Well, it happened when he was only 19 years old, in a battle that happened in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. A young Jedi Master Anakin and his mentor and friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, went to Geonosis in 22 BBY, where they met Count Dooku and fought him in a duel.
Count Dooku first uses the Force lightning and hits Anakin, but the young Jedi recoups and goes into attack mode. It was a mistake, as Dooku parries and severs Anakin’s arm with his lightsaber just a bit higher from the elbow.
Fortunately, Skywalker survives the encounter and goes to Coruscant to recover from his injuries. He orders a new prosthetic mechno-arm to replace his lost limb, and after he gets it, Anakin seems to enjoy it quite a bit. He loves it because it’s even stronger than his real arm was.
Now, some of the members of the Jedi Council believed that losing his limb and replacing it with a robotic one also lost Anakin, a part of his humanity. However, Anakin didn’t despair. In fact, he loved his new arm and improved it constantly, adding strengthened alloy ligaments, etc.
The mechno-arm was changed and improved over the years, but it was almost always covered with a glove, so some fans might’ve missed it. He also got his revenge on Count Dooku, as Anakin cut off both of his arms in return.
How Many Times Did Anakin Lose Limbs?
There were numerous Star Wars characters that have lost limbs – mostly hands – throughout the franchise. Luke Skywalker lost a hand battling Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. The wampa beast got its arm chopped off by Luke in Episode V, while Count Dooku and General Grievous lost two arms each.
But Anakin Skywalker tops them all. Whether as Darth Vader or Anakin himself, he lost limbs on three separate occasions!
The first time, as we mentioned, was in the Attack of the Clones, when Count Dooku chopped off his right arm up to the elbow. Anakin then replaced it with a prosthetic mechno-arm.
Then, in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker falls to the Dark Side and battles Obi-Want Kenobi on Mustafar. As the brutal battle rages on, Skywalker loses both of his legs and the one healthy arm in a single slice, leaving him practically limbless – only his prosthetic arm remains. To add an insult to injury, he was also swallowed by a river of lava.
In the end, Anakin was saved by Darth Sidious and had his droids fix and heal the wounded Skywalker. After they finished, Anakin was no longer himself – he was Darth Vader, a creature with four prosthetic limbs. Some say he was more of a robot than a human. But, even that wasn’t the end to his limb-losing history.
He battles his son, Luke Skywalker, for the first time in The Empire Strikes Back. On this occasion, he chopped off Luke’s hand that was still holding his blue lightsaber (the hand and the saber later became somewhat of a legend and myth in the Star Wars Universe).
Well, the second time around, Luke was much better prepared, and he returned the favor to his father by slicing off his right prosthetic arm – the one that Anakin initially lost and the same arm that he chopped off from Luke.
That means Anakin Skywalker had lost a hand on three different occasions, one of which saw him lose both his legs as well. Talk about survival instincts!
How Did Anakin Lose His Hand In Star Wars Legends Novels?
The reason why I started doing research about this topic in the first place is that I started reading the Star Wars Legends novel, Dark Force Rising, and had conflicting memories about what happened to Anakin’s hand initially. Of course, Star Wars Legends are non-canon, but it still intrigued me.
We now know that Count Dooku was the one to slice off Anakin’s arm in the Star Wars canon. However, in the Dark Force Rising novel, which is a part of the Heir to the Empire trilogy written by Timothy Zahn in 1991-1993, the culprit behind his initial hand loss was none other than Palpatine himself.
Luke Skywalker talks to Mara Jade, and she reveals to him that the Emperor punished Vader for losing the first Death Star by chopping off his arm. The quote states:
“I don’t imagine that the Emperor was pleased,” Luke murmured. “No, he wasn’t,” Mara said, her voice dark with memories of her own. “Vader nearly died for that blunder.” Deliberately, she looked over at Luke’s hands. “That was when he lost his right hand, in fact.”
There have been numerous other instances in Star Wars Comics, both Canon and Non-canon, where Anakin/Vader loses an arm. One time, Lord Momin chopped off Vader’s prosthetic arm while it was Tsui Choi in the other. You can see both scans below.
Overall, Anakin Skywalker’s hand clearly has a magnet for lightsabers of some kind. From Dooku to Obi-Wan to Luke, Anakin will always remain the guy who loses limbs like they were socks.