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"I don't want things to change."
"But you can't stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting."
―Anakin Skywalker and Shmi Skywalker[7]

Shmi Skywalker Lars was a human female who lived in slavery on the planet Tatooine during the last years of the Galactic Republic. She gave birth to a son whom she named Anakin Skywalker. In 32 BBY, her son was discovered by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, who found the boy to be unusually strong with the Force. He learned through Shmi that there was no father involved in Anakin's conception, leading Jinn to believe that Anakin was conceived by the midi-chlorians, With Shmi's support, Anakin was taken by Jinn to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and presented to the leaders of the Jedi Order as the Chosen One—the one who was destined to restore balance to the Force, according to Jedi prophecy.

After Anakin left Tatooine to begin his Jedi training, Watto sold Shmi to Cliegg Lars, a moisture farmer, who later manumitted and married her. Her chance to see Anakin one last time came when, in the waning days of the Separatist Crisis, Shmi was abducted and subjected to torture by a group of Tusken Raiders in 22 BBY. By then, her son had returned to Tatooine as a Jedi Padawan after experiencing nightmares of her pain. Having seen her son again, Shmi told him she was complete but died in his arms. Unable to prevent his mother's demise, Anakin gave into the dark side of the Force and massacred the Tusken Raiders, including their women and children, and buried his mother at the Lars moisture farm. Shortly after Shmi's death, her son went on to become a Jedi Knight, and a general in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. The loss of his mother created in Anakin a strong desire to save his loved ones from death, which ultimately pushed him to become Darth Sidious' Sith apprentice, Darth Vader.


Early life[]


Shmi Skywalker gave birth to Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force.

Born on an unknown world,[9] Shmi Skywalker and her parents were captured by pirates and forced into slavery when she was just a young girl[10] in 66 BBY.[11] She lived a difficult life[10] and was taken from star system to star system in the servitude of several masters,[9] as the pirates were uninterested in having an extra mouth to feed unless she could provide an essential service to them.[12] Shmi never spoke about the fates of her parents, if she knew what became of them.[12] Before she was bought by the Hutts, Skywalker was once sold in a market similar to the Zygerrian slave market her son would visit during the Clone Wars.[13]

Shmi observed that although slavery was outlawed by the Galactic Republic, the Republic's laws were unenforceable in the Outer Rim Territories where people had to survive on their own.[7] Eventually, Skywalker was enslaved to[14] and grew up on[8] the Outer Rim world of Tatooine during the last decades of the Galactic Republic. She gained an affinity for working on machinery.[14]

Mother of the Chosen One[]

"The Force is unusually strong with him. That much is clear. Who was his father?"
"There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can't explain what happened."
―Qui-Gon Jinn and Shmi Skywalker, on Anakin Skywalker[7]
Baby Ani

Shmi holding her baby son Anakin.

At some point,[7] perhaps by the will of the Force,[14] the very energy created by all living things that binds the universe together,[15] Shmi mysteriously became pregnant.[14] Without a man having fathering her child,[7] it is believed to have been conceived within her by the midi-chlorians.[16] In 41 BBY,[11] she gave birth to a son, Anakin Skywalker.[7][1] His blood contained over twenty-thousand midi-chlorians, surpassing the Jedi Grand Master Yoda and all other Jedi in the galaxy, an utter vergence in the Force.[7] The boy was the Chosen One,[5][7][14] whose destiny was prophesied to bring ultimate balance to the Force itself by destroying the Sith,[14][17] the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order. Indeed, an ancient Jedi mystic foresaw[17] that the Sith would be destroyed by a child being born of no father.[18][17] Though unable to explain or understand how the pregnancy occurred,[7] Shmi ultimately chose not to question it and loved her son regardless.[19] Upon giving birth however, Shmi was initially afraid, but was relieved to find that her son was a normal and typical infant. She also kept the true circumstances of his birth a secret from others, knowing no one would believe her or would be afraid of such unnatural circumstances.[20]

Working for Watto[]

"I can't believe there's still slavery in the galaxy. The Republic's antislavery laws—"
"The Republic doesn't exist out here. We must survive on our own.
Padmé Amidala and Shmi Skywalker[7]

Shmi and Anakin lived with other families in communal quarters during their time enslaved by the female crime lord Gardulla the Hutt.[12] Gardulla lost them in a bet with the Toydarian junk dealer Watto, who employed Anakin's skills in mechanics at his shop. While Watto could be a harsh and demanding master, he still furnished them with a home in Mos Espa's slave quarters.[7] Despite their poverty, she made Anakin and herself a good home through her tireless effort. When Watto did not need Shmi, he allowed her to gain a modest living cleaning computer memory devices. She made a small part of their house into a workstation, which possessed just enough of the tools and equipment to properly work.[19] In addition, Shmi and her son also owned a few personal possessions including an antiquated protocol droid named C-3PO and a podracer, both of which Anakin built himself.[7] In a rare showing of kindness, Watto also gave her an aeromagnifier. Kept in her work station, the gift was for the hard work she did.[19]

Often, however, Watto was unkind, understanding that nothing could stop him from doing what he wanted because Shmi had nothing valuable to trade, besides her son whom she would never trade. Thus, Watto took advantage of this frequently, requiring the boy to podrace, much to Shmi's anger. During one race, she watched in horror as Anakin crashed once again, but was surprised when he had not been thrown from his podracer for once. Watto approached her, yet again dismissing her concerns that Anakin could be seriously hurt before flying off. She made her way down to the racing pit where she reunited with Anakin and saw that his legs had become twisted from the crash. While she knew that Watto would pay to ensure Skywalker's legs recovered, Shmi held onto her son's hand to comfort herself. Before the rustic, yet effective, medical droids made Anakin unconscious to work on his legs, Anakin promised he would always be with her, yet Shmi privately wish he would one day leave her for a better life.[21]

Despite the horrors in which Anakin grew up, Shmi still tried to give him a normal childhood. She taught him how to fix things and fend for himself, since the Republic was never there for her. She taught him that he deserved more than slavery. Most of all, she taught him compassion. On hard nights, Shmi would tell Anakin the Tatooine myth of the sun-dragon. The sun-dragon was a beast who lived inside the core of a star, guarding everything it treasured. It could survive through the hardest circumstances because it had the biggest heart in the galaxy, able to protect anything and everything it loved. Shmi told this story to her son to remind him that he was the sun-dragon. She never wanted Anakin to doubt in himself and the power of his love for others. Anakin recalled this story many times as an adult when he needed to remember what should guide him. It was something he kept close and told very few other people.[22]

Shmi also tried to treat Anakin whenever she could. Most of the food they were able to acquire resulted in very bland dishes, but on the rare occasions when Shmi had extra things to barter with, she took Anakin out to the food markets in Mos Espa. In particular, she would take Anakin to a food vendor that sold franikhad, a meat dish common on desert planets.[22]

One day, she had woken Anakin from a dream where he was a Jedi and freed her. She appreciated his good natured ambition, but warned him against attracting the wrong kind of attention by being doing altruistic deeds. Then an Otoga-222 maintenance droid came in and warned them both of the work Watto wanted them to do while he was gone. The Toydarian needed young Skywalker needed to go to Mos Eisley spaceport to pick up a shipment. By night, Anakin had come home and was going to bed. Shmi asked him if he stayed out of trouble, to which he lied and said he had.[23]

Parting ways with her son[]

"I will come back and free you, Mom. I promise."
"Now, be brave, and don't look back. Don't look back."
―Anakin Skywalker and Shmi Skywalker[7]
Dinner at the Skywalker home

The Skywalkers befriended Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his companions when they were stranded on Tatooine.

One day, Anakin returned home with several strangers including the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the Queen of Naboo Padmé Amidala, disguised as a handmaiden, the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, and the astromech droid R2-D2, who were seeking shelter from a sandstorm. While Shmi and her son had initially believed that these off-worlders had come to free the enslaved people, they quickly learned that the strangers had become stranded on Tatooine after their Naboo Royal Starship's hyperdrive was damaged during a diplomatic mission to the galactic capital, Coruscant. Unable to secure a replacement with only Republic dataries on hand, they were grounded. When Anakin offered to help Jinn and his companions to obtain money for the hyperdrive by winning the upcoming Boonta Eve Classic podrace, Shmi initially disagreed with the idea. However, she relented when Anakin recalled her words on helping others.[7]

Discussing Anakin

Skywalker revealed the truth about her son's parentage to Jinn—there had been no father.

While Anakin repaired his podracer, Jinn inquired about the boy's father. Shmi explained that while she carried and raised him, he had no father. Later, Jinn tested Anakin's blood and discovered that he was particularly strong with the Force. Due to his high concentration of midi-chlorians and the peculiarity around his birth, Jinn believed that Anakin was the prophesied Chosen One.[7]

The following day, Jinn challenged Watto to a bet, knowing that Watto never turned down the chance to gamble. He put Anakin's podracer against Shmi and Anakin's freedom, but Watto did not see the worth in surrendering two enslaved beings for just one podracer. Jinn and Watto eventually settled on just Anakin's freedom should he win the race. Shmi along with the off-world visitors then attended the Boonta Eve Classic. Despite great odds, Anakin won the race, and Watto was forced to honor his promise to emancipate Anakin.[7]

Following the race, Shmi and her son embraced each other with Shmi expressing pride in her son's achievements. After securing Anakin's earnings from Watto, Jinn informed Shmi that he had freed Anakin and offered to train him as a Jedi. Anakin asked if Shmi would be going with them, and was heartbroken when Jinn broke the news. Putting her own feelings aside and knowing that this was the path Anakin needed to take, Shmi was able to convince Anakin to leave without her by explaining that her place and future were on Tatooine. Anakin was moments away from leaving with Jinn when he ran back to his mother in tears. Terrified that he would never see her again, Shmi reminded him that as long as he believed in his heart that they would reunite one day, then they would see each other again. Anakin made a solemn vow that he would return and free her someday. Adjusting his pack on Anakin's back, she told her son to be brave and to not look back, before he left with Jinn for his new life.[7]

Shmi and Tusken Raider TPM 25th

Her sons' good deeds would not take long to present themselves.

Later, Shmi was walking through the spaceport where Jira told her to keep her head up. She told her that Anakin was in a better place, but Shmi already knew that. In her house, C-3PO held onto the idea that Anakin would one day return. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. She opened the door to see a Tusken Raider, she immediately closed it trying to keep him out. The Tusken kept the door open using a gaderffii stick and held a black melon through the door. She backed up as the stranger entered her home, with C-3PO informing her of what a black melon offering represented. She knew what it was, and asked why the stranger had come. C-3PO translated a story the Tusken Raider told of Anakin freeing him from slavery. As the Tusken left, she held the melon in her hands. Her son had returned like C-3PO said he would, in a way. C-3PO stated that he would come back in more than just stories, but that didn't matter to her, she had dreamed that he would become a Jedi and he was already on his way doing so.[23]

Emancipation, captivity, and death[]

"I'm so proud of you, Ani… so proud… I missed you so much… now I am complete…"
―Shmi Skywalker Lars[4]

After bidding farewell to her emancipated son, Skywalker gained her own freedom and started a new family.

A decade before the outbreak of the Clone Wars,[4] Watto's gambling habit left him to be essentially destitute, forcing the Toydarian to sell Shmi.[24] The path to her freedom started when a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars met and fell in love with her.[4] Manipulating Watto into a gambling game that the Toydarian lost,[8] Lars purchased and freed her,[4] in approximately 27 BBY,[11] and the two eventually married.[4] Shmi became a loving step-mother to his son, Owen Lars. C-3PO also lived with them.[24] Upon her release, Shmi also helped the White Suns liberation movement that focused on freeing Tatooine's enslaved people, using her mechanical and technical talents to build a device that could locate and remove the tracking chip forced into all enslaved beings. The device was made out of kitchen equipment and saw its first use on Shmi herself and succeeded, but subsequent uses on others showed it needed to be perfected.[8]

Approximately four years after the Invasion of Naboo, Padmé sent her handmaiden Sabé to rescue as many people from slavery as she could, including Shmi. Unfortunately, Sabé's efforts took many wrong turns, enlisting help from the wrong sources. Watto had seemingly disappeared along with Shmi, and when Sabé asked of her whereabouts, they could only tell her that she had been sold. When passing through Shmi's former residence, she noted a sign on the door that was likely a mark of the local liberation movement;[25] in truth, it was indeed the mark of the White Suns.[8]

By the end, Sabé's efforts lead her to buy the freedom of over twenty five individuals, reporting back to Amidala that among the freed beings were Anakin's old friends Kitster Banai and Wald. Undeterred, Amidala asked Sabé to continue her efforts to free more people on Tatooine, although she soon needed to leave to help Amidala in the Galactic Senate. Although Amidala and Sabé remained unaware of her fate,[25] Shmi had a quiet yet happy life at the Lars moisture farm[24] in Tatooine's Jundland Wastes,[4] spending many happy years together with her husband as farmers.[14] However, she spent many nights with an ache in her heart and looking at the stars, as she was worried about where Anakin was and his well-being.[24] One month before the Battle of Geonosis, Shmi was out gathering mushrooms that grew on the moisture vaporators when a group of Tusken Raiders kidnapped her and took her to their camp[4]. Cliegg assembled a rescue party, but lost many of his companions and his right leg during the rescue attempt. Believing Shmi to be dead and unwilling to risk any more lives, Lars abandoned the rescue.[4]

However, Shmi was still alive but had been severely tortured and brutalized. Meanwhile, her son Anakin, now 19 years old and a Padawan under Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, sensed her distress through Force-induced nightmares. Anakin immediately set off to Tatooine to find and save her with Senator Amidala accompanying him. After meeting with Watto, Anakin and Amidala arrived at the Lars family farm and learned about his mother's fate after Anakin left for Coruscant: freedom, marrying Cliegg and becoming stepmother to Owen Lars, and her kidnapping. Despite Cliegg' warnings and advice, Anakin traveled into the wilderness to find her. He eventually stumbled on a Tusken Raider camp.[4]


Captured and tortured by Tusken Raiders, Shmi Skywalker Lars died in the arms of her son, who returned to her as a Jedi apprentice.

After infiltrating the camp, he found the tent where Shmi was being held. There, Anakin encountered a bound and emaciated Shmi, who was near death. Right before her death, she managed to tell her son that she was proud of him and that she loved him. She was complete after seeing her son and died in his arms. Shmi's death threw Anakin into a fit of rage, and he took his first step into the dark side of the Force when he avenged his mother by coldly killing every Tusken Raider in the encampment, including the women and children.[4] The following morning, Anakin returned to the Lars moisture farm with his mother's body. Shmi was mourned by both her son Anakin and husband Cliegg, as well as Amidala, Owen, and his girlfriend, Beru. They all attended her funeral,[4] where Beru served blue milk and cheese to everyone after.[26]


"I know wherever you are, it's become a better place. You were the most loving partner a man could ever have. Good-bye, my darling wife. And thank you."
"I wasn't strong enough to save you, Mom. I wasn't strong enough. But I promise I won't fail again. I miss you…so much."
―Cliegg Lars and Anakin Skywalker, bidding farewell to Shmi Skywalker Lars[4]

Anakin was burdened by guilt, believing that he had failed his mother and himself as a Jedi.

Shmi's death had a profound effect on influencing Anakin's journey to the dark side. Prior to his mother's burial, Anakin told Amidala that he regretted not being strong enough to save his mother. He also vowed that he would one day become so powerful that he could learn to stop people from dying. Then Skywalker confessed to his role in murdering the Tusken Raiders to avenge his mother's death.[4] Skywalker's guilt about not being able to prevent Shmi's death made him susceptible to the Sith Lord Darth Sidious' efforts to win him over to the dark side.[18]

During the Clone Wars, Anakin experienced a Force vision of Shmi on the planet Mortis, where he had been put through a series of tests by three powerful beings known as the Force wielders who wanted to determine whether he truly was the Chosen One. In reality, the Son, one of the Force wielders who embodied the dark side of the Force, had assumed the form of his late mother. The false Shmi told Anakin to give up his love for Amidala, whom he had secretly married shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, saying that he did not truly love her and that she was poison to him before transforming into the Son.[27]

By 18 BBY, Kenobi, who lived in exile on Tatooine after Order 66,[18] had gone to Shmi's grave to apologize for losing her son.[28] Some time after this, it is presumed that Owen and Beru buried Shmi and Cliegg's tombstones in order to protect Shmi's grandson Luke Skywalker who was placed in their care.[29] Years later Kenobi left toys for Luke, next to her sandblasted tombstone for Beru to find.[30]

When Anakin, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader, attempted to bleed a kyber crystal to create his own red-bladed Sith lightsaber, the crystal fought back by showing him a series of visions. One of these involved Anakin returning to the Lars homestead with Shmi's body in his arms.[31]


After becoming Darth Vader, the former Anakin Skywalker beheld a vision of his dead mother and his Sith Master, Darth Sidious.

Shortly after the Battle of Fortress Vader, Vader entered a portal created by Darth Momin and saw visions from his past, which manifested his fears and dark thoughts. Upon entering the portal, Vader was able to see his pregnant mother and a spectral appearance of Sidious behind her, resounding words that Shmi said to Jinn about Anakin having no father before passing to the next part of his visions.[32]

In 3 ABY,[11] shortly after informing Shmi's grandson Luke Skywalker about his parentage, Darth Vader returned to the Lars moisture farm. While exploring the farm's remains, the forensics droid ZED-6-7 remarked that Shmi's death at the Tusken Raiders hands was among the records that indicated the generations of animosity between the Tuskens and moisture farmers.[29]


Rey buries the lightsabers of Shmi's grandchildren, where Shmi was buried.

In 35 ABY,[33] following the ultimate destruction of Darth Sidious and the Final Order, the Jedi Rey journeyed to the Lars homestead on Tatooine, burial site of Shmi Skywalker. Once there, the former scavenger laid to rest the lightsabers of Luke Skywalker and his twin sister, Leia Skywalker Organa Solo, the grandchildren of Shmi who were birthed by Padmé Amidala. The Skywalker bloodline ended with the deaths of Leia and her son, Ben Solo, however Rey—the granddaughter of Darth Sidious—chose to adopt their surname to honor the Skywalker family.[12]

Personality and traits[]

"Mom, you said the biggest problem in this universe is that no one helps each other."
―Anakin Skywalker, to Shmi Skywalker[7]

Shmi Skywalker Lars was a peaceful, selfless, compassionate, and kind person. She loved her son Anakin immensely and was willing to sacrifice herself in order to let Anakin have the possibility of a better life.[7] During her time under Watto, Shmi still had hope that she would eventually be free, but she accepted her lot in life and had joy in her relationship with Anakin, cherishing their modest life in the Slave Quarters Row.[19]

Cliegg claimed that Shmi was the best partner a man could ask for, as he was deeply affected by Shmi's death at the hands of the Tusken Raiders.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

Shmi Skywalker was portrayed by Swedish actress Pernilla August in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.[7][4] She reprised her role as Shmi in the The Clone Wars season 3 episode "Overlords."[27]

In 1998, it was announced that Anakin Skywalker's mother would be named Shmi and that August would portray her. When the original trilogy was rereleased in theaters and VHS to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope the year before, Star Wars Trivial Pursuit was released to coincide with this. The limited-edition game contained a sequestered pack of questions that served as a preview of the first new trilogy installment, two of which divulged those bits of information.

In one of the first drafts of The Phantom Menace, her name was Shmi Warka.[34]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 StarWars Shmi Skywalker in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  2. Star Wars: Timelines establishes Shmi was captured and forced into slavery in the year 66 BBY, while she was still a young girl. Therefore Shmi must have been born by that same year.
  3. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 StarWars-DatabankII Shmi Skywalker Lars in the Databank (backup link)
  6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle!
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Queen's Hope
  9. 9.0 9.1 ToppsDigitalLogo Star Wars: Card Trader (Card: Shmi Skywalker - Tatooine Slave - Base Series 1)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Star Wars: Timelines
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Skywalker: A Family at War
  13. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Slaves of the Republic"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 The Star Wars Book
  15. StarWars-DatabankII The Force in the Databank (backup link)
  16. StarWars-DatabankII Anakin Skywalker Biography Gallery in the Databank (backup link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Master and Apprentice
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
  20. Darth Vader: Sith Lord
  21. Queen's Peril
  22. 22.0 22.1 Brotherhood
  23. 23.0 23.1 Phantom Menace 25th Anniversary Special 1
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Ultimate Star Wars
  25. 25.0 25.1 Queen's Shadow
  26. "Beru Whitesun Lars" — From a Certain Point of View
  27. 27.0 27.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Overlords"
  28. Ahsoka
  29. 29.0 29.1 Darth Vader (2020) 1
  30. "Time of Death" — From a Certain Point of View
  31. Darth Vader (2017) 5
  32. Darth Vader (2017) 25
  33. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker as taking place one year after the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker must take place in 35 ABY.
  34. Star Wars: Episode I Insider's Guide

External links[]