The truth about who Darth Vader’s father really is

The major selling point of the prequel trilogy of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith was that we’d be able to see Anakin Skywalker’s origins, learning more about who one of cinema’s greatest villains was before his fall from grace. In practice, well, we didn’t get a whole lot that we didn’t already know. He used to be a Jedi, then he went bad, and telling audiences that took six hours and $345 million. There was, however, one Death Star-sized truth bomb hiding in Episode I, and none of us were really prepared for it. When Anakin’s mom, Shmi Skywalker, is asked about who his father is, she simply explains that there wasn’t one. Instead, she just woke up one morning to find that she was pregnant.

The religious overtones at play here are pretty obvious: a virgin birth foretold in prophecy, heralding the arrival of one who will bring balance to the world. They’re also a bit on the nose, even for Star Wars — a series where the guy who’s really…

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