A child born of prophecy, possibly conceived by the will of the Force itself, Anakin Skywalker has left an indelible mark on the history of the galaxy, leading it through periods of lightness and dark.
A child slave on Tatooine, Anakin and his mother Shmi were sold by their owner, Gardulla the Hutt, to the unscrupulous Toydarian junkdealer Watto. While in Watto's employ, Anakin learned valuable mechanical and technical skills. He earned the reputation of being able to fix anything. So technicaly inclined was he that at the young age of nine, he cobbled together a working protocol droid -- C-3PO -- to help his mother.
Anakin was a kind, selfless child. He had no thoughts of greed or malice in him. Though that is not to say the boy was docile. When his adrenaline surged, Anakin had an aggressive competitive streak. Anakin's participation in the foolhardy sport of Podracing is testament to this.
Anakin Skywalker is the only known human capable of handling the extreme speeds of Podracing. His small frame allowed him to sit in the tiny cockpit, and his superhuman reflexes gave him the advantage he needed to keep up with alien competitors better suited to the sport. Anakin's reflexes were actually the product of Force-intuition -- the boy could see events before they happened, and respond to them in kind.
Anakin's sensitivity to the Force and his racing talents caused him to cross paths with the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and the young Naboo royal, Queen Amidala. They were fugitives from the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo that desperately needed passage to Coruscant. In order to win the needed parts for their damaged vessel, Anakin figured into a cleverly crafted wager that depended on the outcome of the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace.
Anakin pitted his racing talents against the scheming Dug Podracer, Sebulba. The young boy ultimately bested the treacherous alien, winning not only the race and the needed starship parts, but also his freedom.
Unfortunately, Anakin was unable to win his mother's freedom. Qui-Gon sensed incredible Force potential in the boy, and Anakin's bloodstream held a record number of midi-chlorians. When he departed with Qui-Gon to proceed with his Jedi training, Anakin was forced to leave his mother behind. Although a new life of adventure awaited him offworld, his thoughts dwelled on the kind and quiet Shmi.
Qui-Gon Jinn believed Anakin to be the Chosen One spoken of in an ancient prophecy, the one who would bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council was reluctant to train the boy, feeling his future to be clouded and that Anakin was too old to begin Jedi training.
After the liberation of Naboo -- wherein Anakin bravely piloted a starfighter into the heart of the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship -- the Council rescinded its original decision, and allowed Obi-Wan Kenobi to take Anakin as his Padawan learner.
History is spotty as to the events that followed this fateful development. As turmoil engulfed the galaxy during the transition from Republic to Empire, Anakin fell to the dark side of the Force. Consumed by evil, Anakin abandoned his past and his humanity. He became Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, apprentice to the evil Emperor Palpatine.
Sustaining greivous injuries at the hands of his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader required cybernetic enhancements and replacements to sustain him. His pure innocent self seemingly lost forever, Darth Vader cast a dark pall over the galaxy, as he was one of the foremost agents responsible for the elimination of the Jedi order.
But Obi-Wan survived long enough to begin the training of Luke Skywalker -- Anakin's son -- in the path of the Jedi. The young Skywalker sought to turn his father away from the grip of the dark side. In the end, Luke stirred the spirit of Anakin that dwelled deep within the black armor, and Anakin turned against his master. Anakin killed Emperor Palpatine, but was mortally wounded in the attempt.
Aboard the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor, Anakin Skywalker lay dying. He asked his son to remove his life-sustaining helmet, so that he could look upon his long lost son with his own eyes. Having saved his son's life, and reclaimed his soul from the dark side, Anakin died and became one with the Force. His spectral form looked upon his two children -- the twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa -- during the celebration at Endor.