Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He is a major antagonist in the original trilogy, but, like Anakin Skywalker, he is the main protagonist of the prequel trilogy. Star Wars creator George Lucas collectively referred to the first six episodic films of the franchise as “The tragedy of Darth Vader “.
Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to force, Anakin Skywalker is drawn to the dark side of the force by Palpatine and becomes a Sith Lord. After fighting a lightsaber battle with his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi in which he is dismembered, Vader turns into a cyborg. He then serves the Galactic Empire as Darth Vader until he redeemed himself by saving his son, Luke Skywalker, and killing Palpatine, sacrificing his own life in the process. He is also the father of Princess Leia, the secret husband of Padmé Amidala, and the grandfather of Kylo Ren, the main villain in the trilogy of the sequel to Star Wars.
The character was played by countless actors. His film appearances cover the first six Star Wars films, as well as Rogue One, and he is referenced both in the Force Awakens and in the last Jedi. It also appears in television series (most not including The Clone Wars) and numerous iterations of the expanded Star Wars universe, including video games, novels, and comics.
Darth Vader became one of the most emblematic villains of popular culture and was included among the greatest villains and fictional characters in history. The American Film Institute included him as the third-best film villain in the history of cinema in 100 years… 100 Heroes and villains, behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. His role as a tragic hero in the prequel trilogy was found with positive criticism.