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Star Wars: How Old Is Anakin In Episode 1 Vs. When He Becomes Darth Vader?

When their ship is rendered unusable in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and their companions are left with no choice but to look for replacement parts on Tatooine. There they meet a young boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who Jinn comes to believe is the prophecized Chosen One said to bring balance to the Force. With that, after securing his freedom from the vile Watto (Andy Secombe), Jinn takes Anakin away from his life of slavery on Tatooine to train as a Jedi on Coruscant at the age of 9.

Though Jinn is killed during a duel with Darth Maul (Ray Park) on Naboo, Anakin's training continues under Kenobi. The two become inseparable, forming a brotherly bond that endures throughout the Clone Wars. Sadly, as he enters his 20s, Anakin (Hayden Christiansen) is seduced by the supposed power of the dark side in "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith." Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) — aka Darth Sidious — preys on his worries and insecurities, using his fear of losing his wife, Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), against him. He chooses to become Sidious' Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, at the young age of 22.

Anakin's decision to become Vader dominates the rest of his life, but does it dominate his overall story?

Anakin's life is divided almost perfectly in half by his two personas

Anakin Skywalker, or Darth Vader, has become one of the most debated "Star Wars" characters in the entire franchise, and much of this discussion boils down to his dual identities. Should he be regarded as one of the greatest Jedi of all time who kept the Republic safe throughout the Clone Wars and redeemed himself in the end, or as an oppressive Sith who carried out the fascist vision of Emperor Palpatine? An argument can be made for either his Anakin or Vader persona being the dominant one, since he spent roughly the same amount of time embracing each.

As established, Anakin was only 22 when he adopted the Vader persona, which he'd go on to carry for multiple decades. He spent years hunting down Jedi, stepping on the weak and downtrodden, and falling deeper into the ways of the dark side. One could even claim that all the evil he did as Vader was equivalent to the good he did as Anakin. When he finally met his end aboard the Death Star II in "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi," he was only 45 years old, having spent the past 23 years in his Vader armor.

Anakin Skywalker lived an immensely tragic life that has spawned endless fan debate and was cut short for many reasons. If nothing else, at least his story is among the most compelling of any character in the "Star Wars" universe.