The main question they hoped to answer before releasing The Clone Wars’ prequel trilogy was: Why and how did Anakin become Darth Vader? Despite the prequels and later The Clone Wars offering valuable insight into this issue, the answer isn’t immediately or explicitly presented to the fans. There is no doubt that, to the dismay of many fans, the answer to that question will require some extrapolation and inference. It might seem, on the surface, that Anakin’s transition into the darkness in Revenge of the Sith is written poorly because the prequels don’t really show how a seemingly innocent young Jedi quickly became a murderer and remained close to Darth Sidious despite his many inabilities to save Padme. We thought this would make an interesting topic for our next blog post.
Reason #1 – Anakin Was Altered by Palpatine To Shift To The Dark Side.
This may be the best explanation as to why Anakin was a victim of the dark side and became Darth Vader. Palpatine appears highly intelligent and plans everything carefully with his meticulously meticulous plans to start the Clone Wars as a way to gain power, as well as his similarly calculated, long-term, and planned strategies to influence Ben Solo into becoming Kylo Ren.
It is unclear how much and how far Palpatine participated in Anakin’s birth; however, as Palpatine states in the closing of The Phantom Menace, “We’ll watch your career with keen attention,” he clearly shows an early interest in the prophesied Chosen One.
By using the now-famous scenes in the opera houses, Palpatine exploited Anakin’s fear of losing Padme in the same way he lost his mother Shmi, sowing the seed of Anakin’s thinking that the dark side of the force is home to a variety of powers that are considered supernatural.
Anakin’s aversion to and anxiety about losing Padme is the main reason for his eventual defection into darkness. He realizes that the atrocities that he will have to commit, such as the murder of Mace and his younglings, and possibly even the murder of Obi-Wan are only steps towards delve deeper into the darkness, and aligning himself with Palpatine, thus learning the skills of Palpatine to protect Padme.
Within Revenge of the Sith, Anakin says, “Help me save Padme’s life. I cannot exist in a world without her.” Many are uncomfortable with this truth but, Anakin remains Darth Vader and, therefore, is still evil even after Padme’s death.
In order to save Padme’s life, he must have changed his ways in order to achieve these abilities. Why would he stay in the dark if his pursuit led to her death? There must be other motivations…
Reason #2 – The Volatile, Aggressive and Impulsive Nature of Anakin.
Throughout the prequels, Anakin displays some flecks of anger. Anakin often displays aggression during his reactions to events, from his angry comments regarding Obi-Wan to his disapproval of the Jedi’s feelings regarding the slaughter of Tusken Raiders to his brutal encounter with Clovis.
Luke, like his father, reacts impulsively to situations. As a consequence, he fails to evaluate the potential benefits and dangers of his actions.
These traits are crucial to understand Anakin’s descent to the dark side since it’s not only his transformation into Vader and betrayal of the Jedi Order, but they also make him susceptible to falling into the trap of Palpatine and unable to properly deal with negative events in his life.
Despite these flaws in his character, maybe Anakin could discern Palpatine’s lies and deal effectively with his anger over the Jedi’s principles and his fear of losing Padme.
Anakin and Ahsoka are both different in this respect. Ahsoka has every right to switch to the dark side, or at least to rebel against the Jedi, because the latter disregarded her without even considering her viewpoint. They realized it was too late to salvage the relationship.
In contrast to Anakin, Ahsoka did not react aggressively to the Jedi’s actions, but instead, remained in the light, but was not aligned with it. It is because she does not possess these fundamental character traits that cause her to not react aggressively and violently to the actions of the Jedi.
It was Anakin’s impulsive and aggressive nature that ultimately led him into darkness.