Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. Born Anakin Skywalker, the character is a primary antagonist in the original trilogy and a primary protagonist in the prequel trilogy. Star Wars creator George Lucas has collectively referred to the first six episodic films of the franchise as “the tragedy of Darth Vader”.
Originally a slave on Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker is a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force. He is lured to the dark side of the Force by Palpatine and becomes a Sith Lord. After a lightsaber battle with his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, in which he is severely burnt and dismembered, Vader is transformed into a cyborg. He then serves the Galactic Empire as its chief enforcer until he ultimately redeems himself by saving his son, Luke Skywalker, and killing Palpatine, sacrificing his own life in the process. He is also the secret husband of Padmé Amidala, father of Princess Leia, and grandfather of Kylo Ren.
The character has been portrayed by numerous actors: David Prowse physically portrayed Vader while James Earl Jones voiced him in the original trilogy, and Sebastian Shaw portrayed the unmasked Vader in Return of the Jedi, as well as the character’s ghost in the original release of that film. Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen played the character in the prequel trilogy in the first and next two films, respectively, with Christensen also portraying the character’s ghost in re-releases of Return of the Jedi from 2004 onwards. His cinematic appearances span the first six Star Wars films, as well as Rogue One. He is referenced in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and makes vocal cameos as both Vader and Anakin in The Rise of Skywalker. He also appears in television series (most substantially The Clone Wars) and numerous iterations of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, including video games, novels, and comic books.