We’re back to our monthly character corner segment, the time when we take a deeper look at some of the characters you’ve come to know and love from the Star Wars series. This week’s character is Shmi Skywalker, Mother to the Chosen One Anakin Skywalker.
Born seventy-two years before the battle of Yavin, Shmi’s family was captured by pirates at the age of six, and sold into slavery. She was taken from one planet to another, serving as a house servant and, as she grew, a cleaning servant. Many of the masters were cruel to her, but one in particular, Pi-Lippa, taught Shmi technical skills and other abilities. At about the time of Pi-Lippa’s death, Shmi became pregnant with Anakin.
Her next master, Hutt gangster Lord Gardulla the Elder, had no such altruism for her slaves, as she allowed Anakin to participate in the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace, despite believing it was impossible for him to win. Gardulla lost the two slaves in a bet to Watto, a similarly cruel master. Shmi became even busier as Anakin grew, attempting to keep him safe and out of trouble. She passed on her mechanical skills and knowledge to her son, who began to make many things.
Shmi and Anakin meet Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and, as we see in Episode I, Anakin is taken to train and become a Jedi himself. Shmi remained in Watto’s service for a time. While the Toydarian had mellowed, the junk shop also began to fall on hard times. A moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars purchased her, immediately freeing her and asking for her hand in marriage. Even though she had a place in the Lars family, Shmi still waited for Anakin to return to her.
About a month before the Clone Wars started, Shmi was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders while she gathered mushrooms. After searching for nearly a month, Lars was forced to give up the hunt. Shmi remained alive, beaten and dehydrated but holding on to her memories of Anakin. It was at this time that Anakin began having nightmares about his mother’s death. Episode II shows us his journey back to Tatooine, and his encounter with his mother’s final moments, and his leap toward the dark side after the destruction of the Tusken Raider camp.
While her screen time is relatively short, her impact on the series is huge. Her capture and death is what leads Anakin to talk to Chancellor Palpatine in the first place, and her death – followed by Anakin’s brutal slaying – leads the way to his eventual turn to the dark side. His turn to the dark side also prompted Padme’s death after the birth of Luke and Leia, setting up the entire original trilogy.
Behind the Scenes:
Shmi is portrayed by Swedish actress Pernilla August. It was revealed she would be playing Anakin’s mother in 1998. In the Phantom Menace game adaption, Shmi is voiced by Carolyn Seymour, with Pernilla reprising her role in a Star Wars: The Clone Wars season three episode (Overlords).
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Character corner; come back soon for more fun fan information!