How Old Was Anakin in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’?

young anakin 1

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The most prominent character in Star Wars is Anakin Skywalker because six of the nine Skywalker Saga films focus on him as a central figure in the storyline. Of course, Anakin’s chronological introduction was when he was still just a kid during the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Back then, he was still quite innocent and had little to no darkness in his heart. But how old was Anakin in Star Wars Episode I?

Anakin Skywalker was just nine years old when he was introduced as one of the central characters of the prequel trilogy movies of Star Wars. At that time, he was residing on Tatooine with his mother and was a slave that worked for Watto. However, Anakin already had the latent talent of a powerful Force user.

The fact that Anakin was just nine years old when he was introduced as a young boy makes us realize just how far things went down south for him when we look at the fact that he was eventually going to become Darth Vader. As such, he was an innocent young boy that experienced a lot of things that eventually led to his downfall. Now, let’s look at Anakin’s age in Star Wars Episode I.

What Year Was Anakin Born?

When we first met Darth Vader during the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, we didn’t know what happened to him and what led to his rise as one of the evil enforcers of the Empire. Of course, we eventually learned that he was a Jedi Knight named Anakin Skywalker and that he was tempted to go down the dark path to become the dreaded Sith Lord that the entire galaxy feared. But we learned in the prequel trilogy movies that Anakin wasn’t always the evil genocidal murderer known as Darth Vader.


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In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Jedi duo of Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi traveled to Naboo to mediate a peace treaty between the Trade Federation and the people of Naboo. However, the negotiations never took place, which led the Jedi duo to smuggle Queen Amidala off of Naboo. But their ship got damaged, which led them to land on Tatooine hoping to find the parts they needed to fix the ship.

On Naboo, Qui-Gon met a young Anakin Skywalker, the son of a slave woman named Shmi Skywalker. Sensing the Force within Anakin, Jinn asked Shmi who the father was, which made it clear that he was the Chosen One because he was born without a father

young anakin and padme

Anakin was born on 41 BBY on Tatooine, as Shmi had a virgin birth that was seemingly the result of the intervention of the Force to bring about the prophecy of the Chosen One. It was his birth that eventually jumpstarted the entire Skywalker Saga.

Anakin’s Age in The Phantom Menace

Going back to what happened on Tatooine, Qui-Gon eventually found a way to put himself in the best position possible. Watto, who owned both Shmi and Anakin, was forced to gamble the parts Qui-Gon needed in the upcoming pod racing event. Qui-Gon also increased the stakes when he convinced Watto to gamble on Anakin’s ownership. Of course, Anakin won the pod racing, allowing Qui-Gon to earn enough money to leave the planet with Anakin.

The events of The Phantom Menace took place on 32 BBY, meaning that the movie was 32 years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and ten years before the start of the Clone Wars.


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Of course, the fact that The Phantom Menace took place on 32 BBY means that Anakin, who was born on 41 BBY, was still just nine years old when he met Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme Amidala. However, despite his young age, Anakin was deemed too old to be trained as a Jedi youngling because most Jedi younglings had to start training at five. As such, Qui-Gon took Anakin as his Padawan learner before passing the duties on to Obi-Wan after Jinn died due to his duel with Darth Maul.

Why Was Anakin a Good Pilot at a Young Age?

As mentioned, Anakin was the one that helped Qui-Gon leave Tatooine with the parts that he needed and with the rights to Anakin’s “ownership.” Near the movie’s end, Anakin accidentally boarded an N-1 Starfighter and joined the attempt to destroy the Lucrehulk-class battleship that was blockading Naboo and controlling the droids on the planet’s surface.

Despite being nine years old, Anakin won the pod racing on Tatooine and even destroyed the battleship to save the day for everyone on Naboo. So, why was Anakin such a good pilot at a very young age?

anakin pilot

As Qui-Gon Jinn said, Anakin had Jedi reflexes. This was one of the things that made him wonder about Anakin’s potential in the Force, as he had a hunch that this boy was someone special. Qui-Gon also noticed that Anakin could see visions of the future, and that was when it was clear to him that he was strong in the Force.

Basically, Anakin’s skills as a pilot were due to his innate talent as a user of the Force. His body was much stronger than most other kids at the age of nine because he possessed the talent of a powerful Jedi. Of course, let’s not forget that Anakin’s innate nature of trusting his instincts was also a Jedi trait. And because Anakin had the Force on his side and was guided by the invisible hand of the Force, he had the luxury of taking risks as he somewhat understood that he was always going to come out victorious due to the intervention and guidance of the Force.

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