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I recently watched the Original Star Wars Trilogy and I don't remember the name "Anakin" being said that much.

However Wookieepedia states:

Annikin Starkiller was the proposed name for the lead character in the what would become Episode IV and appeared in the rough draft. (...) He became the source of Luke's father's name, Anakin

Annikin Starkiller - Behind the scenes

If the above is true and the name really originated back in early drafts of Ep. IV then I am surprised if we really don't hear the name a lot more often. When do we first hear the name "Anakin" in the Original Unaltered Trilogy?

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  • I think that in the DVD edition, the emperor tells Vader "I believe he's the son of Anakin Skywalker" in episode V. I don't know if that was recorded for ep V in the beginning but removed or dubbed later.
    – George T
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:10
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    @GeorgeT Added later; I had the same thought but was swiftly corrected. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Nov 23, 2015 at 21:10
  • @George T - In the original theatrical version of that scene he just says "son of Skywalker", you can see it on youtube at youtube.com/watch?v=rKtciRCVpFE
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:11
  • @Hypnosifl: You misunderstood me; I'm aware this was added in the DVD edition. What I don't know is if it's a part that had been removed before the film originally aired, or created from nothing.
    – George T
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:12
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    @Nathan K. Campbell -- According to this wiki page and this article, McDiarmid wasn't added to the 1997 Special Edition of ESB, he first appeared in ESB on the 2004 DVD edition.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:25

2 Answers 2

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The first in-canon mention of Vader's true name (within the original unimproved trilogy) is in RotJ, during the scene where Luke speaks with the Force-ghost of Kenobi.

LUKE: You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.

BEN: You father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I have told you was true... from a certain point of view.

That being said, there's absolutely no indication that Luke doesn't already know this name and it would be very odd if he hadn't known it from childhood.


You may be fooled into thinking that there was an earlier reference in ESB...

Emperor: We have a new enemy. The young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker

... however this was retconned into the Special Edition (the original wording was "...son of Skywalker")


For completeness, I should mention that the name itself appears in one of the very earliest draft scripts for the movie "The Star Wars", written some 4 years before A New Hope was ever filmed, so clearly Lucas always knew what Vader's real name was, even if the rest of us didn't:

"A harsh gale blows across the bleak grey surface of the Fourth Moon. The leaden sky presses down on a lone figure, ANNIKIN STARKILLER"

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    Isn't Annikin Luke's previous name, though? The character, not the General in the original script
    – Francisco
    Dec 6, 2017 at 12:28
  • @Francisco - The characters changed so dramatically between the early drafts, it's not really clear which character became Luke. Note also that Luke was Leia (a female character) at one point in the story.
    – Valorum
    Dec 6, 2017 at 13:28
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One could argue that Ben Kenobi, in his hut in Episode 4 says "Ani was a good friend"

In the 'real world' - Sir Alec was likely saying "and he was a good friend" - but, since we have precedent for Anakin being nicknamed "Ani" as early as Episode 1, the ambiguous diction, as well as 'correct' viewing order may lead future viewers to clearly hear Ben Kenobi say "Ani"

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  • 2
    Clever, but the script makes it clear that it was "and he was my good friend".
    – Valorum
    Dec 10, 2015 at 9:03
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    After the death of his mother, Anakin becomes Little Orphan Annie. :-) Dec 10, 2015 at 16:18

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