One of the biggest twists in the history of modern cinema was Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force. Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring balance to the Force and destroy the Sith, but due to various circumstances, he turned on the Jedi and became one of the most powerful Sith lords in history. Star Wars is one of the best franchises in history and this turn is definitely one of the biggest events in the series. In this article, we are going to explain to you why Anakin Skywalker became evil and why he turned to the Dark Side of the Force.
Anakin Skywalker became evil primarily due to Palpatine’s manipulations and machinations. Palpatine used Anakin’s lack of experience to seduce him, make him believe that he is much better than the “conservative” Jedi and that they are the villains of the story. On top of that, he lied to him that he would be able to save his wife from death, which led to Anakin switching sides.
The rest of this article is going to focus on Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and the events that led to the transformation. The whole story is going to be explained and presented to you in this article so that you know the whole background. If you haven’t seen all the Star Wars movies, we have to warn you about a lot of spoilers ahead.
Why did Anakin become evil?
The story begins during the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan rescued the Supreme Chancellor from Count Dooku; at the orders of Palpatine, Anakine killed Dooku after defeating him. Among those that greeted them was Padmé Amidala, whom Anakin had not seen since his departure to the Outer Rims. Padmé expressed concern after hearing rumors of Anakin’s death. She also confessed to her husband that she was expecting a child with him.
While Padmé feared she could no longer keep their marriage a secret from the public, Anakin was so excited about their future together that he tried to talk Padmé out of her worries. Padmé’s pregnancy in particular strengthened Anakin’s already great desire for peaceful togetherness. He considered leaving the Jedi Order after the end of the war and retiring to Naboo with his wife and child.
He was concerned about recurring visions in the form of nightmares that revealed that Padmé would die giving birth to their child. Although Padmé took the dream as a metaphor, Anakin did not doubt the prophetic power of his visions, especially since dreams similar to his dying mother’s had come true in the past. Anakin vowed to do whatever it took to prevent his dream from becoming a reality.
He first sought out an intimate conversation with Master Yoda, in the course of which Anakin was disappointed to discover that the Jedi Grand Master could give no better advice than breaking off personal ties. Speaking to Anakin, Palpatine expressed his growing distrust of the Jedi Council and his dismay at Anakin’s failure to raise him to the rank of Master despite his recent exploits.
The Chancellor pretended to fear the Council’s ramifications regarding a new bill that would give Palpatine control of the Jedi Council under his emergency powers. The Senate approved this step in order to put the Chancellor in charge of the sole authoritarian warfare and bring the hostilities to a speedy end. With this in mind, and the fact that the council members were critical of this bill, Anakin was appointed by Palpatine to be his personal representative on the Jedi Council.
In this capacity, Anakin would take a seat on the Council and report to the Chancellor on any suspicious activity. Council members viewed the Chancellor’s decision with great suspicion and insisted on appointing their own councilors. Nonetheless, they granted Anakin an additional seat as the Chancellor’s representative on the Jedi Council, but refused to grant him the rank and privileges of Jedi Master.
Anakin flared up, his pride hurt by the extraordinary measure that a councilor was not also a master. As Anakin learned in a subsequent conversation with Obi-Wan, the Council had accepted him as a member purely for strategic reasons, to monitor the Chancellor’s actions and report back to the Council. He recognized this assignment as a betrayal that was directed not only against the Republic but also against a friend and sponsor of many years.
During a visit to the Galactic Opera House, Anakin described his shaken trust in the Council to Palpatine, prompting the Chancellor to suspect that the Council members feared Anakin’s extraordinary power and denied him the rank of Master. Anakin countered, citing the Jedi’s selfless nature and good intentions, but Palpatine responded by stating that good is in the eye of the beholder, and that the Sith, like the Jedi, are committed to stability and order in the galaxy.
While Anakin was unfazed by the comparison, he was amazed to learn that Palpatine knew the legend of a certain Darth Plagueis. This Sith Lord is said to have been able to use the Dark Side to manipulate the Midi-Chlorians into creating life or saving it from death until he was murdered in his sleep by his own apprentice.
Palpatine made it clear that a Sith with such abilities could be the most powerful man in the galaxy. Anakin had paused when Palpatine mentioned that the Jedi would wipe out such a man and his knowledge – not as punishment for a crime but simply because he was a Sith. Simultaneously, Anakin realized that he could use this ability to save Padmé from death, and instinctively agreed to learn it – even if the Jedi frowned upon it.
Anakin was later to comply with another request from the Supreme Chancellor. A delegation of senators, concerned about the chancellor’s increasing executive powers and the danger it threatened the very existence of democracy, had called a meeting with the chancellor to outline the need for a diplomatic solution to the war.
Palpatine saw a conspiracy in the senators’ intentions to remove him from office. His suspicions even went so far as to rumor that the Jedi Council had persuaded an opposition group of senators to turn against the Chancellor. Anakin was to attend the meeting in order to use his Jedi skills to break through the senators’ virtuous facade and uncover their true intentions.
Anakin ruled out any involvement with the Jedi Council until Palpatine mentioned that Obi-Wan had left Padmé Amidala’s residence at an inappropriate hour. As Anakin found out himself, Obi-Wan had actually been present at his wife’s apartment just prior to his departure for Utapau, and to Anakin’s horror, Padmé was the spokesperson for the so-called Delegation of 2000, which opposed the Sector Control Decree and openly restoring emergency powers to the Senate and to begin peace talks with the Confederacy.
It seemed to Anakin that Palpatine had been right in his suspicions, and that Padmé and the Jedi Council were conspiring against the Chancellor. Anakin found himself embroiled in a political power play between the Jedi Council and the Supreme Chancellor, who plotted against each other. In doing so, he failed to recognize Palpatine’s tactics of obfuscation and seeds of doubt, which further alienated the young Jedi from the Order and always exposed him to his greatest concern – the death of Padmé.
How did Anakin turn to the Dark Side of the Force?
After Obi-Wan was able to locate Grievous on the planet Utapau and engage in battle with him, Mace Windu assigned Anakin to deliver the message to the Chancellor, noting his reaction. The Korun Master was certain that the hidden Sith Lord would soon have to reveal himself in the clone troopers in view of an imminent Republic victory.
Palpatine barely responded to this message, however, and instead engaged Anakin in another conversation that only added to the young Jedi’s confusion. Palpatine stated with certainty that the Jedi Council was poised to remove the Chancellor from office, take over the Senate, and usurp control of the Republic. He also accused the opposition of being traitors who worked with the Jedi Council to bring about an overthrow.
He urged Anakin to recognize the betrayal and remember his loyalty to the Republic. To Anakin’s incredulous reaction, Palpatine responded with his revelation that he was in fact the wanted Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Palpatine explained that he was once the student of Darth Plagueis until he taught him everything he knew and murdered his student in his sleep.
Thus, he would be able to save Padmé from death, which decisively stopped Anakins from killing the Sith Lord on the spot with his lightsaber. Anakin was full of doubts anyway, since upon closer inspection he could see no malevolence in Palpatine’s actions. He was also for peace and justice in the galaxy, he would be willing to save Padmé, and last but not least he was a friend of many years who he never had to pretend – the Jedi would only want to kill Palpatine because of philosophical differences.
Nonetheless, unable to make a decision, Anakin handed Palpatine over to the Jedi Council. While Mace Windu, Saesee Tiin, Kit Fisto, and Agen Kolar—the only Council members remaining on Coruscant, along with Shaak Ti, who guarded the Jedi Temple with Gate Master Jurokk—adopted Palpatine to place him under arrest, Anakin did not allowed to accompany them.
Instead, he went to the Council Chamber to process his impressions as Mace Windu instructed him to do. As he pondered Palpatine’s words, he simultaneously formed a telepathic connection with Padmé. Fearing that Palpatine and his knowledge of the ability to stop death would be wiped out by the Jedi Masters, he rushed to the Chancellor’s office.
When he arrived, Palpatine was already disarmed and Mace was threatening to kill the Chancellor. Anakin saw Mace’s actions as confirming Palpatine’s fears that the Jedi were overthrowing the Chancellor – not to punish him for a crime, but simply because he was a Sith. Anakin suggested arresting Palpatine and putting him on trial, but Mace flatly refused.
As the Korun Master swung in a killing blow, Anakin reached out with his ignited lightsaber, cutting off Mace’s wrist and weapon. Palpatine, completely deformed from the exertions of his struggle and the aftermath of his own Force bolts, jumped up and threw Mace out of his office window with more bolts.
While Anakin immediately began to ruefully doubt his actions, Palpatine explained that he had merely stopped the Jedi betrayal and acknowledged his loyalty to the Republic. The Chancellor then declared all Jedi to be enemies of the state, who had to be hunted down and destroyed.
Although Anakin still struggled to reconcile this development with his conscience, Palpatine’s offer to become his apprentice and work with him to discover the secret of saving Padmé from death seemed acceptable to him. No longer convinced of the Jedi’s will for justice, Anakin saw no malicious motives from the Sith, for Palpatine still wanted to end the war and restore peace. So he accepted his new identity as “Darth Vader”, Palpatine’s Sith disciple.