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In Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker's mother Shmi Lars was captured and killed by the Sand People. She was later returned and buried at the Lars farm under a headstone.

As Luke grew up at the same homestead on Tatooine, did he ever learn about the meaning of the grave, or did Owen and Beru hide the history from him? For obvious reasons, this is not covered in A New Hope, but is there anything about this in other media?

  • 1
    Interesting question. I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the official canon. I can't remember anything from the Legends canon neither.
    – Neow
    Mar 13, 2017 at 8:22
  • @Neow - That's because you need to look deeper.
    – Valorum
    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:45

2 Answers 2


The tombstones were, according to LucasFilm's Pablo Hidalgo, removed by Owen Lars to prevent Luke from asking awkward questions about his parents and forebears. This would obviously explain their absence in A New Hope.

By implication (with the death of his aunt and uncle), Luke never learned that their graves were there.

Q. I was wondering whose grave is that next to Shmi Skywalker's in Attack of the Clones? Plus, do you think Luke ever wondered who these people were, or do you think Owen took them down?

Hidalgo: Next to Shmi's headstone is a grave shared by both of Cliegg Lars's parents. Gredda and Lef. The smallest headstone marks the grave of Edern Lars. Cliegg's younger brother who died at age 14 when he lost control of the family land-speeder. Owen Lars removed the headstones to stave off any awkward questions from Luke. Luke knew of Shmi because that's where the Skywalker name came from, but she was only a footnote in his young life, an avenue of curiosity that Owen Lars strictly guarded.

Ask the Master - Star Wars Insider #80

This was also confirmed in Star Wars Insider #71.

Q. In Attack of the Clones when Anakin is mourning at his mother's gravesite, why are there three tombstones instead of just one? Also, why don't we see this gravesite when we return to the Lars homestead again in A New Hope? Did the Jawa sandcrawler run it over?

A. Inside Attack of the Clones, published by DK, revealed the three tombstones belonged to members of Cliegg's family. Gredda and Lef Lars, his parents, share a grave, while his younger brother Edern, who died at the age of 14, has the smaller tombstone. Later, Owen Lars removed the tombstones to help keep some of these tragedies away from Luke.

Answers to your Star Wars Questions - Star Wars Insider #71


I talked with a friend about this question during this weekend, and he pointed out the novel A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker (published in 2009). The story is in line with Pablo Hidalgo's comments and gives us also the in-universe view on the events. Even though his uncle Owen removed the headstones, Luke still got some hint about his grandmother's fate. According to the novel, it was aunt Beru who revealed the identity of Shmi to Luke.

The first chapter takes place when Luke is only four years old:

Sam's gaze had drifted to an area beyond the homestead's open pit. "Say, something's different over there."

Beru said, "Where?"

"There," Sam said, pointing. "Didn't you have some supply tanks, or some kind of...?" Sam stopped talking, and then everyone was silent.

Luke noticed the sudden quiet and turned his head to follow the adults' gaze to the southwest. Except for some moisture vaporators in the distance, there was nothing to see but scorched ground.

"Sorry, Owen," Sam said, finally breaking the awkward silence. "I just realized what was, uh, missing. It's the headstones."

Owen said nothing, but just kept his eyes to the southwest.

Sam said, "I, uh, hope it wasn't vandals..."

"No," Owen said. "I removed the headstones."

"Oh," Sam said.

Without any further explanation, Owen turned and headed for the entry dome. After he was gone, Beru said, "Please forgive Owen. He... he just didn't see a need for anyone to know where Shmi was buried."

"But he removed all the headstones," Sam said. "His parents and uncle were buried there too, yes?"

Beru nodded.

Luke said, "Who's Shmi?"

Beru jumped. She hadn't seen Luke in front of the parked speeder and didn't know that he'd been listening. She glanced at Dama, then back at Luke and said, "Shmi was your grandmother, Luke."

"Oh," he said. "Is my father buried there too?"

"No," Beru said. "Your father didn't die on Tatooine."

"Oh," he said again. Then he looked at Dama and Sam and said, "My father was a navigator on a spice freighter. Uncle Owen told me so."

The event remained memorable to Luke, as when he was seven:

He dipped his hand into a pocket and withdrew a droid caller he'd rigged to allow him to sneak past the small, roving guard droids that patrolled the homestead's perimeter. Out of habit, he walked carefully around the area where he knew the bodies of his grandmother and Owen's parents and uncle were buried.

And while he was fifteen:

The suns were close to the horizon. Looking beyond the homestead's courtyard, Luke saw long shadows crawling across the desert. And then his gaze landed on the area of the unmarked graves that included his grandmother's final resting place.

So, at least in Legends, Luke did learn about his grandmother's fate at young age, despite of his uncle's efforts.

EDIT: It is now canon that the headstones were hidden (not removed) by Owen and Beru. The following images are taken from the comic book Darth Vader 1 published in February 2020.

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  • 3
    +1 for giving a Legends answer from an obscure novel.
    – Neow
    Mar 20, 2017 at 8:30

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