Anakin Skywalker – Darth Vader – is the pivotal character of the Skywalker Saga.
He is the hero, then villain, of Episodes I to VI, with the sequel trilogy exploring his legacy.
Anakin’s parentage was revealed in The Phantom Menace.
Viewers learned Anakin’s mother was a slave named Shmi Skywalker. And his father?
As Shmi tells Qui-Gon Jinn:
“There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him, I can’t explain what happened”.
Anakin Skywalker’s father is the Force itself, conceived by midi-chlorians.
In 2018, a canonical comic series strongly suggested this was achieved via Palpatine’s interference.
This has been rejected as an outright fact by Star Wars writers but remains a popular theory. Others have suggested Qui-Gon or another unknown human could be Anakin’s father.
How did Anakin’s mother get pregnant?
Shmi Skywalker became pregnant with Anakin purely through the Force.
His mystical conception is via midi-chlorians – tiny biological entities in the blood of all Force sensitive beings.
The sudden arrival of Anakin would have been a bewildering, frightening experience for Shmi – a slave, living alone in Tatooine.
The first Skywalker was a brave woman who raised her son the best she could, in difficult circumstances.
Shmi is always aware her son has special powers, and is ready for Qui-Gon to take Anakin for training as a Jedi.
Anakin has an exceptionally high midi-chlorian count.
This, plus his lack of a biological father, convinces Qui-Gon Jinn that Anakin is the chosen one.
Is Palpatine Anakin’s father?
Chancellor Palpatine is an insidious, grooming father figure to Anakin through the prequel trilogy.
A canonical comic series suggests he may actually have manipulated the Force to bring Anakin to life in the first place.
Lucasfilm has denied Palpatine is Anakin’s father, but it’s a theory that could perhaps become canon in time.
In Darth Vader (2017) issue 25, Anakin has an extended vision of key moments from his life.
This includes seeing Palpatine lurking ominously around his pregnant mother.
The possible implication is Palpatine created Shmi’s pregnancy by manipulating Force midi-chlorians.
Many readers were quick to take this implication as face.
Throughout the Skywalker saga, Palpatine is clearly shown to be obsessed with cloning and manipulating life.
His own former master, Darth Plagueis, was said to have the ability to influence midi-chlorians this way.
A Star Wars story group member confirmed Anakin’s vision wasn’t meant to be taken as fact, but rather the latter’s paranoia about his origins.
I’ve gone into this at length a few times. No, that is not what the comic is implying. Just no. There’s more to that comic than those two panels. It should be read in context.— Matt Martin (@missingwords) December 19, 2019
Anakin knew of Darth Plagueis’ life-tampering abilities, first described to him by Palpatine in the “opera” scene in Revenge of the Sith.
From that time on, the possibility he was really one of Darth Plagueis’ experiments must have lingered in Anakin’s head.
A final point to make on this theory is even if Palpatine did create Shmi’s pregnancy, this does not make him Anakin’s biological father.
The latter would only be possible if Palpatine could somehow imbue every midi-chlorian with his own reproductive DNA – a horrible kind of “dark science” that no one wants to think about.
Are Anakin and Rey related?
Anakin and Rey are canonically not related.
Rey is the daughter of Miramir and Dathan, the latter being Palpatine’s clone. Anakin is the son of Shmi and the Force itself.
Rey becomes an adoptive Skywalker at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, honoring the family she loved and rejecting Palpatine’s heritage.
If the Papa-Palpatine theory from the Darth Vader comic was canon, Anakin would be Rey’s uncle (making Ben Solo her first cousin, once removed).
This doesn’t take into account Palpatine being Anakin’s father in a non-biological sense (as in half his DNA), or Dathan being a clone.
Is Qui-Gon Anakin’s father?
Qui-Gon Jinn, in the brief time before his death, is a strong father figure to little Anakin.
There is nothing in Star Wars, canon or non-canon, to imply he is also Anakin’s biological father.
Qui-Gon never traveled to Tatooine before the events of The Phantom Menace, and never met Shmi Skywalker
This hasn’t stopped Star Wars fans, mostly tongue-in-cheek, theorizing a secret love affair between Shmi and Qui-Gon.
There are elements of the child-of-forbidden-love trope, with Qui-Gon taking love-child-Ani away from his mother for a better life.
The case for Qui-Gon being Anakin’s father includes the following:
1. Anakin is Force Sensitive, so is Qui-Gon
The argument here is that Anakin inherited his Force abilities from Qui-Gon.
Technically, this could be applied to any Jedi knight who happened to travel to Tatooine around 40 BBY and meet a young lady called Shmi Skywalker…
2. Attachments are forbidden, but hooks-up are OK
George Lucas himself clarified Jedi Knights aren’t celibate, just forbidden from strong emotional connections with others.
While this makes sense in light of the disastrous consequences of Anakin’s love for Padme, it also suggests an unsettling Jedi ‘hook-up’ culture at play.
So, Qui-Gon went to Tatooine, had a brief liaison with Shmi resulting in Anakin, and does not even remember.
Perhaps when Shmi pointedly tells him “there was no Father” she is letting Qui Gon know he’s a massive…
3. Qui-Gon and Shmi are just so good together
This one is not so much a theory but an observation.
Qui-Gon and Shmi have chemistry in their scenes together, which can be fun to interpret as romantic.
The actors, Liam Neeson and Pernilla August, themselves played into this dynamic.
George Lucas, however, didn’t agree with a canonical Qui-Gon/Shmi romance.
Is Anakin’s father really a stranger?
When Shmi tells Qui-Gon “there was no father” it could have been her way of saying Anakin’s biological father is not part of their lives.
Perhaps he was an old partner who abandoned her, or maybe Shmi did not choose to become a single mother on Tatooine.
In either case, she refuses to acknowledge the man’s existence.
This is, sadly, the most realistic explanation for Anakin’s missing father.
Star Wars however is a space fantasy, a modern fairy tale written for children.
In this universe, there was no absent or abusive father for Anakin – only magical, mystical midi-chlorians hard at work.
Read more: Do Rey and Kylo Ren Get Together?