How Did Anakin Get His Scar?

Summary

  • Anakin Skywalker’s scar between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith remains unexplained.
  • The Dark Horse comic Star Wars: Republic #71 offers a non-canon explanation, depicting a lightsaber duel between Anakin and Asajj Ventress.
  • The scar’s symbolic meaning is more important than its practical explanation, as it represents Anakin’s journey to the dark side and the toll of the galactic war.


Anakin Skywalker took his share of licks in the Star Wars saga, even before he fell to the dark side of the Force and became Darth Vader. Count Dooku claimed his right hand in their duel at the end of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. But he also had a scar on his face, which he gained sometime between the end of that film and the beginning of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. Considering its prominence, and that it didn’t come at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi like most of the rest of his scars, the question of its origins looms large.

Strangely enough, no canonical explanation currently exists. The omission is curious, not only because of Anakin’s enduring status in the Star Wars franchise, but because the era in which he got it has been thoroughly explored thanks to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. That series more or less reveals when his scar appeared… but not how. Star Wars Legends has a more specific answer, but until more definitive canonical explanations arise, fans continue to speculate.

Updated October 9, 2023: After credits rolled on Revenge of the Sith, fans may have thought that Anakin’s story was complete in the Star Wars universe, but this was not so. FIrst The Clone Wars series began, introducing his padawan learner Ahsoka Tano. In the 2020s, Hayden Christensen returned for both the Obi-Wan Kenobi series and Ahsoka, the live-action show following his former padawan in the years after The Return of the Jedi. While much about the character is being demystified, how he got his scar remains an open question in the canon.

RELATED:Star Wars: How Much Older is Anakin Than Ahsoka?


When Did Anakin Get His Scar?

Animated Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi at a market in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The clearest answer about Anakin’s scar came from the Dark Horse comic Star Wars: Republic #71 (by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons, Michael David Thomas and Brad Anderson), which was published in late 2004 between the release Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It depicted a vicious lightsaber duel between Asajj Ventress and Anakin on Coruscant.

Always a canny foe, Ventress baited Anakin by threatening to kill Padme Amidala, before striking him across the face. The scar became another symbol of Anakin’s journey to the dark side when he punishes Ventress by binding her in cables and flinging her from the top of a skyscraper. While the Star Wars comics have explained plot points before, that one remains non-canon.

Canonically, the backstory is far murkier. The scar officially appeared at the beginning of the feature-length Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated movie, which means Anakin received it fairly early in the Clone Wars. The 2D Clone Wars microseries that inspired the later 3D-animated series depicted Padme’s reaction to the scar, but not the incident itself. Unlike the 3D content, the microseries also isn’t canon, which renders any explanation it might offer moot as well. For now, the Dark Horse comic is the most complete explanation.

RELATED:Why Anakin Massacred the Younglings in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Anakin Skywalker’s Scar May Never Be Explained

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) on Mustafar in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Ventress is a strong candidate to have caused Anakin’s scar, owing to her canon status that involves semiregular throwdowns with various Jedi Knights. She has the skill to injure Anakin. General Grievous is another possibility: a tough fighter who can give any Jedi Knight more than they can handle. Though, Revenge of the Sith clearly establishes Anakin and Grievous never met in person before, but they could’ve clashed in starfighters. If the scar does indeed represent Anakin’s slow corruption, it could even have been inflicted by a dark Force user, though that doesn’t preclude a more mundane injury such as a fight with a wild animal or an injury suffered from falling debris.

George Lucas reportedly offered an extremely cheeky answer, though it’s never been officially confirmed. Pablo Hidalgo’s diary from the set of Revenge of the Sith says that when asked about the scar, Lucas referred to Lucafilm’s marketing president Howard Roffman. “I just put it there,” he said. “He has to explain how it got there. I think Anakin got it slipping in the bathtub, but of course, he’s not going to tell anybody that.” It’s telling about what details in Star Wars were important to Lucas and which were made just for visual and cinematic reasons. The scar is the perfect shorthand image to show even the Chosen One himself didn’t escape combat unscathed.

Anakin probably didn’t slip in the bathtub, but it’s also a way of saying that the answer may not matter. At the time, Star Wars was almost entirely limited to feature films. The scar was a quick way of conveying to viewers how much time had passed between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, as well as the fact that its protagonists were neck-deep in a galactic war. Lucas is correct: its symbolic content remains far more important than its practical explanation.

RELATED: Darth Vader’s Suit Fed Him Drugs and Protected Him From Anakin’s Worst Enemy

The Lingering Mystery Of How Anakin Got His Scar

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in a training hologram on Ahsoka.

With nearly hundreds of hours of movies, television shows and other media in the canon Star Wars universe, it might seem surprising to not have all the answers to lingering questions like how Anakin got his scar. Yet, part of the fun for Star Wars fans is imagining for themselves the answers to these burning questions. Some will eventually get answered, such as what Baylan Skoll was looking for in Ahsoka. However, not every question should get a canon answer. The story of how Anakin Skywalker got his scar is definitely an interesting one, but it could probably never live up to the “head-canon” fans created to answer the question.

This is not bad nor incomplete storytelling, but rather a way to keep these characters alive forever. So long as Star Wars never gives the canon answer to how he got the scar, there is still an unknown adventure for Anakin Skywalker in his larger story. Since its inception, Star Wars was always meant to be a “bigger” story than any movie or television screen could hold. For all the harrowing battles Anakin and the Jedi fought, it’s great the most costly battle for him (since losing his hand, anyway) remains a mystery. How Anakin got his scar is not as important as what it means for his growth as a Jedi and, eventually, his fall from grace.

Ahsoka and all of Anakin Skywalker’s other Star Wars adventures are now streaming on Disney+.

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