When Anakin fell to the dark side and took up the title of Darth Vader, he still acknowledged his identity as Anakin Skywalker: the name represents his identity as a person in whole, not just of the light (not yet anyway).

At least, we know that to be true up until Mustafar, since he didn't say anything to the effect of "that name means nothing to me now" to Padme or Obi-Wan.

At some point after that, he decided that Anakin Skywalker represented the light in him, and chose to "kill" him and deny Anakin as part of his identity, assuming Vader as his full and sole identity as the darkness within.

When did this change happen, why did it happen, and why did it happen when it did?

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    I would assume it was when he was rescued from the lava pit. He was so badly burned, that physically nothing was left of Anakin. It would be a logical time for him to discard the remaining parts of Anakin and wholly assume the identity of Darth Vader. (This is pure speculation on my part, hence not an answer)
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 10:45
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    What you should also consider is that perhaps he never fully relinquished Anakin as part of himself, else he would never have killed Palpatine
    – nine9
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 11:18
  • @nine9 Whether "Anakin" is actually truly dead is a different matter. Vader may realise that Anakin lingers around still, but the former personally rejected the latter as a part of his identity up until probably as late as RotJ. In a way, you can say Vader disconnected himself from Anakin, thus "killing" him, but when Luke tried to connect his father to Anakin and Vader refused to give up his identity as Luke's father, the connection is remade and the Anakin identity is reawakened/revived. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 12:26
  • Ironically, Anakin killed Vader in the end.
    – user40790
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 23:58
  • @thegreatjedi: You say Vader rejected Anakin. Why not ignored or even just successfully suppressed? The absence of a "that name means nothing to me" comment does not prove that he still thinks of himself as Anakin. It's perfectly possible for him to not acknowledge something he doesn't want to, doubly so if he knows it's true but is trying to suppress it.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 8:18

6 Answers 6


Vader "killed" Anakin at the point where he completely turned to the Dark Side. This moment is debatable. Some might say that it was when he killed the Tusken Raiders on Tatooine. However, the real moment when he became a Sith and Darth Vader took over was after Palpatine killed Mace Windu with Anakin's assistance. At that point, he became Palpatine's apprentice, Darth Vader. However, he fully assumed the identity of Darth Vader after he was told that Padme and his child died (even though THEY didn't)

Some could say that Darth Vader never really "killed" Anakin and that Anakin still had some light side in him throughout the entire saga.

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    "The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 17:07
  • My opinion is that he has shed his former identity (Anakin Skywalker) after the massacre in the temple, when he confronts Padme and his eyes show dark side effects (turn violet).
    – TimSparrow
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 8:50

Much of the plot of Episodes V and VI revolve around the idea that Vader's murder of Anakin was only true "from a certain point of view", and it wasn't Anakin's point of view. Although he spent a long time immersed deeply in the Vader identity, he considered that to be a new phase of his life, not a new life completely.

Thus, if we're to examine this question, it's Obi-Wan's judgment we need to consider, rather than Anakin's, because Obi-wan is the one who considers Anakin to have been murdered. But Obi-Wan's estimate of Anakin's time of death is rather slippery. He likely would have considered it to be whenever it was that Anakin had finally fully embraced the Dark Side of the Force, but he had no way of knowing exactly when it was.

But much of the end of Episode III deals with Obi-Wan struggling to accept his pupil's "death", and so this moment is one we can pinpoint with some precision. Even after watching security footage of Anakin slaughtering the Jedi Younglings, Obi-Wan cannot bring himself to battle his student. Even as they begin to fight on Mustafar, he still tries to coax his student back to the light. He goes so far as to blame himself for failing to train Anakin properly. This continues up until the moment when Anakin disowns his heritage ("From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!")

Then, and only then, does Obi-Wan declare Anakin "lost". This is where he begins to see his student as gone. As the fight winds down, he even begins to mourn his lost padawan ("You were the chosen one!") and he never speaks of Anakin in the present tense again. It is unclear if he has started to tell himself the murder story yet, but in his mind, Anakin Skywalker is dead.

  • To Obi-Wan, Anakin was beyond redemption at that point. I always thought this was his way of saying "Anakin is dead to me", like when you get really really mad at someone, only he meant it more "literal".
    – tilley31
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:54

In The Phantom Menace, when Padme asks Anakin if he's a slave, he answers "I'm a person, and my name is Anakin." His name is important to him - it's his identity. It would make sense that, given this, he would do what he could to shed the name Anakin Skywalker as he fell away from the light.

As for when this happened - I think it happens very explicitly at the end of the comic series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith.

spoilers for this series

The series takes places directly after RotS, with Anakin/Vader being turned to the Dark Side but not full Darth Vader quite yet. In the first volume, Anakin/Vader tries to make a kyber crystal bleed but has an intense vision of killing Palpatine and returning to Obi-Wan that he forces himself to ignore.

At the end of this series, Anakin/Vader has his palace on Mustafar created. When he enters it, he experiences flashbacks of his life before, of his childhood, of his Jedi training, of Ahsoka, and of his final battle. When climbs a tower and sees Padme for the first time, he sees her fully as Anakin Skywalker and tries to convince her to come with him, that he can save her.

enter image description here

When this fails, Anakin/Vader burns down the illusion around him and emerges as Darth Vader. When Palpatine asks him "Have you found what you were looking for?" he responds "Yes." And so, as Padme put it, Anakin Skywalker is well and truly dead.

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    Is that supposed to be Padme in the lower left? Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 16:21
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    Yeah, it is. The conceit of the comic is that Vader is entering this realm where he's facing his past, and at the end he sees Padme as Anakin and tries to convince her to come with him, that he can save her. But Padme denies him and, as pictured, jumps from the balcony. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 3:07

In the book Tarkin It explains that no one knows who Vader is and he is never referred to as Anakin. Although Tarkin grew to suspect his identity, he was, to everyone else, Darth Vader. It is my belief that he grew to see himself as Darth Vader as he recovered from his loss. He used the only part of his identity left (Darth) to define who he was.


You can find some part of reflexion by finding out when the Imperial March theme is played. In chronological order:

  1. The phantom menace: 9 years-old Anakin;

  2. The phantom menace: when Yoda says

    The chosen One, the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger I fear in his training.

  3. Attack of the Clones: sometimes played subtly;
  4. Attack of the Clones: when Yoda senses Anakin slaughtering a tribe of Tusken Raiders, and with more force when he told Padme what he did.

Obviously, this theme is in Revenge of the Sith and original trilogy.

So, Anakin's transformation to Darth Vader is all along his life. Or it never existed and Anakin always was Darth Vader. Do you see this glass half-empty or half-filed?

  • An interesting approach, but I'm not fully convinced on its interpretation. A sense of foreboding - especially on hindsight - isn't a sign of events that already occurred. The prequels weren't exactly friendly to first-timers to Star Wars Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 10:28
  • I'm agree with you, but prequels are part of Lucas' universe. So i think (it's fully personal) that every universe things has to count :)
    – Saphirel
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 10:38
  • Yeah, but musical scores are meant to convey emotions, themes and basically make the out-of-universe viewer feel feels. They don't exist in-universe. Did background music randomly play from nowhere in real life when you commit unspeakable horrors of your own, such as getting into a fight with your dad? ;) Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 12:14

Anakin died over the course of his life. If you wanted 1 specific moment where he turns, it's a little harder. Anakin was dating, married, and conceived children with Padme, behind the back of the Jedi Order. Anakin slaughtered the Tusken Raiders in a fit of rage(personally I felt this was deserved). Anakin regularly spent time being manipulated by the Emperor. Anakin rage killed an unarmed Dooku.(hahahahahahah) Anakin helps kill Mace Windu. Anakin kills the Jedi. Anakin essentially kills his wife. Anakin goes full rage mode for the rest of his life(minus a minute before he learned Padme really had died). When did Anakin actually start to turn? It was very slow-starting when he kills the Tusken Raiders. The loss of his attachment pushed him to use power he didn't need to use. It really picks up after he starts to fear losing Padme(with a little Emperor manipulation). He ultimately choose darkness once he turns on Mace Windu. At that point, he was more dark than light-which got even darker. Sure he had some light-but each act pushed him farther away. Pretty sure killing kids would make him Full Vader-if he wasn't already before that point. He was so blinded by the idea that the dark side was the best choice-he forgot everything else but himself.

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