Anakin Skywalker's Origin Story

The Fatherless Child and Chosen One

Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker
Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

According to the Star Wars canon, Anakin Skywalker had no father. This apparent virgin birth is a common element in many hero myths and helped convince many Jedi that Anakin was the Chosen One, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Anakin's true origins, however, may have been more sinister.

Was Anakin Created by the Force?

In "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," Shmi Skywalker tells Qui-Gon Jinn that Anakin had no father, and she "can't explain what happened." Where this happened is not yet described in Star Wars lore. At the time, she was a slave owned by Gardulla Besadii the Elder, a female of the Hutt clan. It was only after Anakin was born in 41 BBY that Gardulla lost Shmi and the child to Watto in a pod-racing bet. Watto moved them to Tatooine on the Outer Rim, where they were encountered by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, when Anakin was about nine years old.

Qui-Gon theorized that Anakin was conceived by midi-chlorians—microscopic organisms that help Jedi connect to the Force. This would explain Anakin's unusually high midi-chlorian count. But why would the midi-chlorians do that?

Was Anakin Created by Sith Experiments?

In "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," Palpatine tells Anakin about Darth Plagueis, a Sith who learned to manipulate the Force to create life. His tale implies that Darth Plagueis manipulated the midi-chlorians to create Anakin. This is a belief more explicitly embraced by later Sith Lords.

However, another fan theory, which is not part of the official Star Wars canon, is that Darth Plagueis was not successful and the midi-chlorians resented this attempt to use the Force for this purpose. In this non-canon theory, the midi-chlorians retaliated by creating Anakin for the purpose of ultimately defeating the Sith.

Which View is Correct?

Qui-Gon's theory about Anakin's creation implies that the Force has a conscious will, and acts on its own to fulfill prophecy. The Sith theory of Anakin's creation is consistent with the Sith view of prophecy: that it is less of a prediction and more of a suggestion that one must act to fulfill.

On one hand, Anakin's high Force-potential, birth into slavery, and late Jedi training made him a good candidate for Sith manipulation, suggesting that Darth Plagueis did create him for that purpose. On the other hand, becoming a Sith put Anakin in the right position to fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen One from the Jedi perspective and destroy the Sith.

Both viewpoints have merit and are accepted by different characters in the Star Wars universe. It's even possible that both theories are true (from a certain point of view): that Darth Plagueis was only able to manipulate the midi-chlorians to create life— a feat his apprentice was unable to replicate—because of the Force's will to create Anakin.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Anakin was conceived in the usual way. Certainly, an enslaved woman would be at risk for non-consensual sex or might have reason to hide a consensual relationship. She might have been drugged and not know about what happened, rather than lying or being in denial. This would dethrone Anakin from being a semi-mystical chosen one, but it introduces interesting possibilities about who his human father might be.