The beginning of a fall – Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side of the Force started when he left his mother on Tatooine. Shmi Skywalker was a kind woman who allowed her son to follow his dreams. However, her death at the hands of Tusken Raiders would be one of the darkest periods in Anakin’s life. It would introduce him to his stepfamily while allowing him to embrace the darkness that made him become Darth Vader.
Let’s look at who Shmi is and how she impacts Anakin’s story. Now, since her death occurred before the Clone Wars, we’ll be able to cover her entire screen history. However, we will not be covering the comics, books or games.
Birth Of Anakin And Meeting Qui-Gon Jinn, Padmé Amidala, And Jar Jar Binks
Shmi Skywalker was born on an unknown planet and moved to Tatooine years later after she was sold to the Hutts as an enslaved person. As an adult, Shmi mysteriously fell pregnant and gave birth to a son she named Anakin. What was odd about this was that no father was involved with her child’s conception.
When asked about her son’s father by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Shmi said no father was involved in his conception, and she could not explain how it happened. But, it was clear that she loved her son greatly and would do anything to give him a better life.
Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar had been stranded on Tatooine along with Jinn’s apprentice, Obi-Wan, the decoy Queen of Naboo and the monarch’s handmaidens after their ship was damaged. When Anakin found them during the beginning of a sand storm, he took them home with him, and Shmi was more than happy to open their home to them.
Upon learning that their ship was damaged, Anakin insisted they help their new friends get off the planet. Shmi, despite wanting to, knew Watto would not allow it. So the group formulated a plan to raise enough money for the parts needed while freeing the Skywalkers from slavery.
However, the plan hit a slight snag when Qui-Gon had to choose which Skywalker to free; Shmi or Anakin. In the game of chance, Jinn used the Force to manipulate the result, so it fell on the boy and not his mother.
Anakin’s opponents during the Podrace almost destroy his chances of winning. Finally, however, he reaches victory as well as his freedom. He doesn’t want to let his mother go, but she encourages him to pursue his dreams.
Marriage To Cliegg And Gaining A New Family
With Anakin now training to be a Jedi, Shmi was left serving Watto. A few years later, she was freed by a kind moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars in a game of chance. Shmi became a farmhand and eventually married Cliegg, becoming stepmother to his son, Owen.
Shmi became like a second mother to Owen, who had lost his mother when he was a boy. She also became a maternal presence to Owen’s girlfriend, Beru. They and Cliegg became a close family along with C-3PO, the protocol droid Anakin had built to assist his mother.
One morning, Shmi was out picking mushrooms when Tusken Raiders kidnapped her. Cliegg put together a search group, but only a few people returned. He also lost his leg in the search for his missing wife. Not wanting to risk even more lives, Lars accepted that Shmi was gone.
At the same time, Shmi’s now-adult son, Anakin, had started having nightmares about his mother being in trouble. So finally, Skywalker is unable to take it anymore and leaves Naboo with Padmé and R2-D2, despite being told to stay put.
Arriving on Tatooine for the first time since he left a decade earlier, Anakin’s first stop is Watto’s shop. His former enslaver tells him and Padmé that he sold Shmi to a man named Lars. Following Watto’s instructions, Skywalker and Amidala end up at the Lars Homestead, meeting Cliegg, Owen and Beru. They’re also reunited with C-3PO.
Cliegg tells his stepson of what had happened with Shmi and her kidnapping. Refusing to give up on his mother, Anakin goes out looking for her, leaving Padmé in the care of his stepfamily.
Anakin finds Shmi in a Tusken village where she has been badly beaten and severely malnourished. After a few moments of reunion, she dies in her son’s arms.
Shaken and angry, Anakin slaughters the entire village of Tusken Raiders.
The Clone Wars
The death of his mother pained Anakin, but he chose to push forward. A few months into the Clone Wars, he returns to Tatooine on a mission with his new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. He tells her that he thought he’d never return to the planet again. However, when Ahsoka presses for him to say more, he shuts her down immediately. Earlier on the trip, she had expressed delight at going to her Master’s home planet. Skywalker, meanwhile, wasn’t as enthusiastic.
A while after this, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka end up trapped on the world of Mortis. While there, Skywalker sees visions of his mother where she questions his loyalty and devotion to Padmé, whom he had married in secret at the beginning of the war.
It was the Son using the Dark Side to coerce Anakin into surrendering to his fears and joining the Dark Side.
During the final year of the war, Anakin mentions the visions of Shmi’s death to Padmé after he has one of her demise during childbirth.