According to official Imperial records/propaganda, when & how did Anakin Skywalker die?

Given that the identity of Darth Vader is a secret in-universe, we also know that the galaxy at large believes Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi Knight who died during The Clone Wars. What is the "official" location and cause of death for Anakin Skywalker? Official pre-Empire records would have shown he was located on Coruscant when Order 66 was executed, so I imagine some doctoring would be needed to have him killed elsewhere along with the other Jedi. Or perhaps he was supposedly killed at the Jedi Temple massacre?

I'll accept any answer that shows an official location/time/cause of death as per Disney canon or Legends continuity (not Elseworlds/Tales, though).

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    I would think that they would reflect reality: the traitorous Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi murdered him and all the other Separatist leaders on Mustafar. Anakin, of course, had been dispatched there by Chancellor Palpatine to protect them so a peaceful end to the wars could be negotiated.
    – phantom42
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:53
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    I have a vague recollection that during Episode III it was stated that he died defending the younglings. Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:55
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    @phantom42 I thought of that, but to place Skywalker on Mustafar they might have to admit he killed the Separatist leaders, which would make him the hero responsible for ending the war. I would think that officially Vader did that, not some traitorous Jedi Knight.
    – Omegacron
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:55
  • But... why would the empire care enough to falsify or even record a story at all?
    – user16696
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 19:08
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    @cde - Palpatine established an entire ministry within his government whose sole purpose was propaganda & alteration of official records. I think it's fairly safe to say that the Emperor saw the need to keep up appearances.
    – Omegacron
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


Wookieepedia's article on Anakin cites the Legends novel Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor regarding the widely accepted story of Anakin's "death". This book was written by Matthew Stover (who also wrote the Revenge of the Sith novelization), so Stover's explanation is likely what Lucas had in mind. @Richard has helpfully provided a quote from the book:

“Kid, in the Clone Wars, everybody knew him. He was the greatest hero in the galaxy. When he died, it was like the end of the universe.” Nick’s gut twisted again at the memory. “It bloody well was the end of the Republic.”

Luke stopped. He looked like something hurt. “When he … died?”

Nick came to a halt gratefully, bending over with hands on his knees while he tried to catch his breath. “Way I heard it, he was the last Jedi standing in the Temple Massacre—when Vader’s Five Hundred First went in and killed all the Padawans.”


“That’s where your father was killed: defending children in the Jedi Temple. He was not only the best of the Jedi, he was the last. Nobody ever told you the story?”

Luke’s eyes were closed against some inexpressible pain. “That’s … not the way I heard it.”

This is may not be exactly the Empire's official story for Anakin's "death" since it portrays the stormtroopers in a bad light (killing mere Padawans). However, since this story is widely accepted (Nick is surprised that no one told it to Luke), it's likely that the Empire told everyone that Anakin was just one of many Jedi who died in the attack on the Jedi Temple by the 501st.

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    @DaveJohnson When I saw your comment to the question I searched the script but couldn't find anything. That doesn't mean it isn't in the movie, but I can't find it.
    – Null
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 19:23
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    I just rewatched RotS last night and there is no mention of it at all. It was the special edition Blu Ray, so perhaps it was in the original, though I doubt it. Commented May 30, 2015 at 15:47
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    @DVK Heh, Luke had to wonder if there was much difference between the light and the dark side if Obi-Wan was willing to tell such huge lies to him and then try to justify it. I always thought Obi-Wan should have just told him "sorry, I lied, but that was because you weren't ready to learn that your father is the evil Darth Vader." I think Luke would have understood, and I would have respected Obi-Wan's decision to lie given that reason.
    – Null
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 19:17
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    Hold on a second. That novel is set after Return of the Jedi. Luke already knows that Anakin lived on as Darth Vader, so why is he shocked by this story as if he believes it to be true?
    – Ben Sutton
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 21:32
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    The way I read it, the story hurts Luke precisely because he knows the real story. I think we're interpreting it too literally. When Luke says "That's not the way I heard it," he is trying to head off questions with a not-entirely-true answer that references Nick's original framing ("way I heard it"). He's not about to say that he knows the truth because Darth Vader told it to him.
    – Adamant
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 2:28

I remember that in the Coruscant Nights Trilogy, Jax Pavan searches for how Anakin died. While all/most the other Jedi have pretty detailed descriptions of how they died, Anakin only has a sentence saying he died on Mustafar. I've been scouring the books for the quote, but I can only find this from "Patterns of Force":

[H]e (Jax) recalled one of the rumors of where and how Anakin was supposed to have died on Mustafar - thrown into the magma stream by...no one knew who.

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