- "But you can't stop the change, no more than you can stop the suns from setting."
- ―Shmi Skywalker, to her son Anakin Skywalker
Shmi Skywalker Lars was the human mother of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, as well step-mother to Owen Lars and the paternal grandmother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Through her granddaughter Leia, Shmi would become the maternal great-grandmother of Leia's son, Ben, who would become Kylo Ren.
A slave, Shmi gave birth to a son she named Anakin, who was conceived by the midi-chlorians to fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. After Anakin left to become a Jedi, she was sold to Cliegg Lars, who freed her and married her. Just before the Clone Wars, Shmi died in her son's arms after being brutally tortured by a band of Tusken Raiders.
A couple of years after her death, Shmi appeared to her son Anakin on the planet Mortis. This vision was conjured by the Son, a member of a trio of powerful Force wielders who wanted to test whether Anakin was indeed the Chosen One. During their brief meeting, Shmi attempted to convince Anakin to abandon his relationship with his secret wife Padmé Amidala since that attachment would lead to the dark side of the Force.
Shmi Skywalker was a slave who lived on the Outer Rim world of Tatooine during the last decades of the Galactic Republic. About nine years before the Battle of Naboo, she miraculously gave birth to a Force-sensitive son named Anakin Skywalker. At one point, Shmi and Anakin were owned by the female Hutt crime lord Gardulla until she lost them in a bet with the Toydarian junk dealer Watto, who employed Anakin's services at his junkyard. While Watto could be a harsh and demanding master, he still furnished them with a home in Mos Espa's slave quarters. In addition, Shmi and her son also owned a few personal possessions including an antiquated protocol droid named C-3PO and a podracer.
Losing her SonEdit
One day, Anakin returned home with several strangers including the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the Naboo Queen Padmé Amidala (who was disguised as a handmaiden), the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, and the astromech droid R2-D2, who were seeking shelter from a dust storm. While Shmi and her son had initially believed that these offworlders had come to free slaves, they quickly learned that the strangers had become stranded on Tatooine after their starship's hyperdrive was damaged during a diplomatic mission to the galactic capital Coruscant. When Anakin offered to help Qui-Gon and his companions to obtain money for the hyperdrive by winning the upcoming Boonta Eve Classic podracing game, Shmi initially disagreed with the idea. However, she relented when Anakin recalled her words on helping others.
While Anakin repaired his podracer, Shmi related to Qui-Gon about her son's miraculous birth. Later, Qui-Gon tested Anakin and discovered that he was Force-sensitive. Due to his high concentration of Midi-chlorians, Qui-Gon believed that Anakin was the prophesied Chosen One. The following day, Qui-Gon offered to sponsor Anakin for the upcoming Boonta Eve race in return for securing Shmi and her son's emancipation if Anakin won that race. However, Watto was unwilling to relinquish both slaves at the same time. Instead, they reached a compromise where Watto would agree to free Anakin if he won the race. The following day, Shmi along with the offworld visitors attended the Boonta Eve Classic. Despite great odds, her son Anakin managed to win the race and Watto was forced to honor his promise to emancipate Anakin.
Following the race, Shmi and her son embraced each other with Shmi expressing pride in her son's achievements. After securing Anakin's earnings from Watto, Qui-Gon informed Shmi that he had secured Anakin's emancipation and offered to train him as a Jedi. With much difficulty, Shmi decided to part with her son. Realizing that Anakin would have a better future offworld, Shmi advised her son to grasp this new opportunity and told him to let her go on the rationale that her place and future was on Tatooine. Prior to leaving for his new life on Coruscant, Anakin made a solemn vow that he would return and free her.
Emancipation, captivity, and deathEdit
A few years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Shmi encountered a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars, who bought her from Watto and emancipated her. The two subsequently fell in love, married, and lived as a couple at the Lars moisture farm in Tatooine's Jundland Wastes. One month before the Battle of Geonosis, Shmi was out gathering in the morning when she was kidnapped by a group of Tusken Raiders. Lars assembled a rescue party but lost most of his companions and his right leg during the rescue attempt. Believing Shmi to be dead and unwilling to risk any more lives, Lars abandoned the rescue.
However, Shmi was still alive but had been severely tortured and brutalized. Meanwhile, her son Anakin, who had become a Jedi Padawan under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi, sensed her distress through the Force. Anakin subsequently convinced his love-interest Senator Padmé Amidala to accompany him back to Tatooine to find her. After meeting with Watto, Skywalker arrived at the Lars family farm and learned about his mother's kidnapping. Despite Lar's warnings and advice, Anakin traveled into the wilderness to find her. He eventually stumbled on a Tusken Raider encampment.
After infiltrating the camp, he found the hut where his mother was being held and sliced a hole upon. There, Anakin encountered a bound and emaciated Shmi, who was near-death. Prior to her death, she managed to tell her son that she was proud of him and that she loved him. Shmi's death threw Anakin into a fit of rage and he took his first step to the dark side of the Force. Enraged, Anakin avenged his mother's torture and death by killing every Tusken Raider in the encampment, including the male warriors as well as the women and children. The following morning, Anakin returned to the Lars moisture farm with his mother's body. Shmi was mourned by both her son Anakin and husband Lars, who attended her burial.
Shmi's death had a profound effect on influencing her son Anakin Skywalker's journey to the dark side. Prior to his mother's burial, Skywalker told Senator Amidala that he regretted not being strong enough to save his mother. He also vowed that he would one day become so powerful that he could learn to stop people from dying. Finally, Skywalker confessed to his role in murdering the Tusken Raiders to avenge his mother's death. Skywalker's guilt about not being able to prevent Shmi's death made him susceptible to Darth Sidious's efforts to win him over to the dark side.
During the Clone Wars, Anakin experienced a Force vision of Shmi on the planet Mortis, where he had been put through a series of tests by three powerful beings known as the Force wielders who wanted to determine whether he truly was the Chosen One. In reality, the Son, one of the Force wielders who embodied the dark side of the Force, had assumed the form of his late mother. The false Shmi told Anakin to give up his love for Amidala, whom he had secretly married shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, saying that he did not truly love her and that she was poison to him before transforming into the Son. The Son's warning came true during the final days of the Clone Wars when the same emotional attachment that led Anakin to kill the Tusken Raiders led him to embrace the dark side during an attempt to save Amidala from death.
Behind the scenesEdit
The character was portrayed by Swedish actress Pernilla August in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. She reprised her role as Shmi Skywalker in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 3 episode "Overlords".
That Anakin Skywalker's mother would be named Shmi and that August would portray her were announced in 1998. The original trilogy was rereleased in theaters and VHS to commemorate the twenty year anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope the year before and Star Wars Trivial Pursuit was released to coincide with this. The limited edition game contained a sequestered pack of questions that served as a preview of the first new trilogy installment, two of which divulged those bits of information. One of the first drafts for her name was Shmi Warka.
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Journeys: Beginnings
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Overlords" (Vision to Anakin Skywalker)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Kidnapped" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Slaves of the Republic" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (Mentioned only)
- Lords of the Sith (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars in 100 Scenes
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- ; image #2 (of 9) (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)