If there was a be-all and end-all royal family of sci-fi pop culture, STAR WARS’ Skywalker family would probably be it. Their exploits have made up a good majority of the legendary film canon, with STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER set to close out their story for good. And whether you’re a newbie or a die-hard fan, it can still get a bit confusing as to who’s related to who.
So, for the benefit of you dear moviegoers, we’d like to give you a history lesson in everything you need to know about the Skywalker family before seeing STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. We’ll be going through the entire family lineup, their character traits and how they play into the STAR WARS series at large.
There’s no need to follow along on a blackboard, as we’ll be laying it all down here, starting with the man who began this entire saga. And if you're interested in watching the various films we'll be mentioning below, don't forget you can rent or buy them on AMC Theatres On Demand!
Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader)
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Anakin Skywalker was born to his mother, Shmi, pretty much out of nowhere. With no father to speak of, he was claimed to have been born by the pure will of the Force. (Though, there are some histories that claim Darth Sidious manipulated some Midichlorians and created a Force baby.)
Born into slavery on the desert planet of Tatooine, Anakin would win his freedom through the sport of podracing, serve as a general in the Clone Wars, and eventually turn to the Dark Side of the Force after failing to attain the rank of Jedi Master. Confined to bionic life support, he’d eventually give his life for his children, though not before antagonizing them a bit under a new name: Darth Vader.
Padmé Amidala (Queen Of Naboo)
Queen of the forest planet of Naboo, Padmé Amidala found herself wound up in a game of political intrigue and Jedi protection, as she palled around with masters Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi during THE PHANTOM MENACE. It was also in that first STAR WARS prequel that she met her eventual love, young Anakin Skywalker.
While love was a concept forbidden for any Jedi to indulge in, Anakin’s romantic overtures eventually won her over, and they secretly marred in the early days of the Clone Wars. Not too long after, this former royal figure turned senator found out she was pregnant with twins, just about the time Anakin gave into his evil impulses. Injured in a fit of anger by her husband, she delivered their twins, but tragically died of a broken heart.
Don't forget you can watch STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE on AMC Theatres On Demand.
Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master)
Raised by his step-uncle, Owen Lars, and his wife, Beru, Luke Skywalker knew nothing of his true parents, Anakin and Padmé. All he knew was the life of a farm boy who dreamed of joining the Imperial Army to escape Tatooine. Luke eventually found himself on a similar path of adventure among the STAR WARS galaxy his parents fought to protect and/or conquer. And joining him in his journey was a wise old man who knew his father: Obi-Wan (now Ben) Kenobi.
Luke was discovered by the old Jedi and put on the path to learning the ways of the Force. Through further training with Master Yoda, his powers grew, until he had to quit his lessons to save his friends Han Solo, Chewbacca and Princess Leia Organa. After confronting Darth Vader and learning that he was his father, Luke fought to preserve the good in his villainous dad and somewhat succeeded.
After that point, Luke Skywalker went on to become a Jedi trainer himself, with his nephew Ben Solo as one of his pupils. Before he died in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, Luke helped start Rey's Jedi training and confronted his nephew, who turned to the Dark Side after a bit of a disagreement with his uncle. We'll talk more about that later.
Don't forget to look for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI on AMC Theatres On Demand.
Leia Organa (Princess of Alderaan/General of The Resistance)
The other twin born to Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, Leia Organa was raised by Bail and Breha Organa on the lush planet of Alderaan. While occupying a royal title, Princess Leia was also a part of the Rebel Alliance, and she tried to stymie the very activities her father was undertaking as Emperor Palpatine’s right-hand man.
Eventually, she linked up with Luke (not knowing he was her brother until the end of the classic STAR WARS trilogy) as he was trying to rescue her from the Death Star, and she met the love of her life in her adventures with the Rebellion: smuggler, scruffy-looking Nerf herder Han Solo.
The trio were inseparable as they fought the Galactic Empire in any way they could, which eventually resulted in two Death Stars being exploded. After the war against the Empire had presumably ended, Leia married Han, and they had a son together, whom they’d named Ben after their dearly departed friend Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Sadly, their family unit was torn apart by their son’s turn to the Dark Side, but Leia and Han eventually reunited in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, right before Han’s death at their son’s hands. Now a figure in the Resistance against the First Order, General Leia Organa is still crusading for peace in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER and is one of the last remaining Skywalkers alive.
Don't forget to look for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS on AMC Theatres On Demand.
Ben Solo (Kylo Ren/Master of the Knights of Ren)
Originally trained to be a Jedi under Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo renounced the ways of the Order after Luke tried to kill him. Believed by his uncle to be a force for evil in the galaxy, Ben escaped his attempted murder and helped form the Knights of Ren, the latest group to obey the teachings of the Sith, much like his grandfather, Darth Vader.
Renaming himself Kylo Ren, Ben joined up with Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order, in a mission to conquer the galaxy and finish the job his grandfather started. But eventually, his meeting with Rey in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS turned him away from Supreme Leader Snoke, convincing him to kill his master and start anew.
His proposal to form a tag team in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI was rebuffed by Rey, and Kylo remained with the First Order, ready to continue fighting for his cause. To our knowledge, Kylo/Ben is the only other living person with Skywalker blood in their veins. But of course, as STAR WARS lore loves to point out, there could be another.
Could Rey Be a Skywalker, Too?
The parentage of Rey is rather vague, but here’s what we know: Apparently, her parents were nobodies according to Kylo Ren’s explanation in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Drunks and scavengers, they dumped her off on the planet of Jakku, where she lived as an orphan who fought to survive.
Found by deserting Stormtrooper/new best friend Finn, she got looped into some pretty Skywalker-ish adventures in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, and she’s been speculated to be born of Skywalker blood herself. After all, Luke and Leia were separated so their father wouldn’t find them. Was there a chance that once Ben turned to the Dark Side, Leia and Han would have wanted to hide their hypothetical daughter, so she wouldn’t turn?
Or maybe, much like Anakin Skywalker himself, Rey was born by someone messing with Midichlorians? Perhaps the return of Emperor Palpatine is what helped kick this new era of Force users off to begin with.
We have absolutely no clue if Kylo was right or if STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER will set the record straight. But what we do know is you’ll have to see the movie to find for sure, as it’ll probably come up at some point in writer/director J.J. Abrams’ concluding chapter to the Skywalker Saga portion of STAR WARS.
As you can see, while royal, gallant and full of their own personal convictions, the Skywalker family is just as mixed up as any other family out there. Only, most families don’t take their anxieties out on each other with lightsabers. But, the big difference is that you and your family can sit back and enjoy the drama of STAR WARS as these critical moments in a galaxy far, far away unfold on the silver screen at a theatre near you.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER hits theatres December 20, and you can get your tickets now on the AMC website.