The path of a Jedi is often difficult, filled with conflict and pain. Luke Skywalker's life which began as a simple farmboy and saw him become the greatest hero the galaxy has ever known is an amazing example of this. Skywalker spent his restless childhood on the backwater desert planet of Tatooine, toiling away on his uncle's moisture farm. His guardians, Beru and Owen Lars, never told Luke of his true heritage. While Luke believed his father to have been a navigator on a spice freighter, he never suspected that Anakin Skywalker was once a famed Jedi Knight and incredible starpilot.
Luke was born during the chaos as the galaxy transitioned from Republic to the tyrannical Empire. He and his twin sister, Leia, were secretly spirited away from his father and the Emperor. Luke was taken to live with Owen and Beru while his sister was taken to Alderaan to be raised by Viceroy Bail Organa.
On his uncle's moisture farm, Luke learned the essentials of desert survival and droid repair. Boredom was not as scarce as water on Tatooine, and Luke often dreamed of adventure and excitement. He had a circle of friends who would loiter around Tosche station in Anchorhead when not occupied by their chores. Luke never quite fit in with his friends; they often teased him and called him "Wormie." Biggs Darklighter, though, was different and Luke considered him a true friend.
Luke honed his piloting skills alongside Biggs in Tatooine's infamous Beggar's Canyon, racing his T-16 skyhopper. Biggs and Luke often spoke of joining the Imperial Academy. Despite his dreams, Luke was not allowed to attend. His uncle needed him on the farm, and so when Biggs went away to the Academy, Luke was stranded on Tatooine.
Luke's life changed when his uncle purchased a pair of used droids from Jawa dealers visiting his homestead. The droids, Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio, were Rebel property fleeing from the Empire. The Rebel droids led Luke on an adventure, uniting him with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a desert hermit and war hero whom Luke knew as Old Ben.
Imperial forces in pursuit of the droids murdered Owen and Beru Lars and destroyed Luke's home. With nothing left on Tatooine, Luke decided to follow Kenobi. The wise man taught Luke in the ways of the Jedi Knights and the Force, ways for which Luke showed an affinity. Kenobi gave Luke Anakin's lightsaber.
Luke and Kenobi hired the smuggling duo of Han Solo and Chewbacca for transit off planet. They were destined for Alderaan, to return the Rebel droids to their owner, Princess Leia Organa. They discovered Alderaan destroyed by the Imperial superweapon, the Death Star, and were taken captive aboard the monstrous station. There, Luke discovered that Leia was also held captive.
Luke helped free the Princess from the clutches of the Empire. Using data stolen by Rebel spies,Alliance tacticians formulated an attack plan capable of destroying the battle station. Luke piloted an X-wing starfighter in the final attack against the Death Star, and fired the proton torpedo volley that, with the aid of the Force, destroyed the Imperial weapon.
Luke eventually accepted a commission in the Alliance military, and achieved the rank of commander. On the new Rebel base on Hoth, Luke served as a scout on the frozen plains of the ice planet. While on patrol, Luke was injured by a wampa ice creature, and dragged to its lair. Using his growing expertise in the Force, Luke escaped. Han Solo eventually rescued Luke from the frozen wilderness.
Luke then led Rogue Group's snowspeeder pilots in the delaying actions taken to hold off an Imperial invasion of Hoth. After narrowly escaping death by Imperial walker, Luke boarded his X-wing fighter with R2-D2 to leave the ice planet. Instead of going to the scheduled Rebel fleet rendezvous, Luke went to a planet mentioned to him by the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi: Dagobah.
On the swamp planet of Dagobah, Luke learned the ways of the Force from Yoda the Jedi Master. Yoda honed Luke's Jedi abilities, but his training was cut short as Luke had to go rescue his friends on Bespin. Little did Luke know that it was all an elaborate trap devised by Darth Vader. Luke confronted Vader in Bespin's Cloud City, and was bested by him in a lightsaber duel. Luke suffered the loss of his hand, and the revelation that Darth Vader was in fact his father. Luke was rescued from Cloud City by Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian, and eventually returned to the Rebel fleet. Droid surgeons equipped Luke with a cybernetic replacement hand.
Luke returned to Tatooine to construct his new lightsaber in the abandoned hut of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke concealed his Jedi weapon inside R2-D2. This was all part of the plan to infiltrate the palace of Jabba the Hutt and free the captive Han Solo. Sending the droids in first, Luke then challenged Jabba the Hutt for the return of Solo. Jabba refused, sending Luke to fight his hideous pit-beast, the rancor. Luke, Han Solo, and Chewbacca were then sentenced to death at the Great Pit of Carkoon. Artoo delivered Luke's weapon to him, and Skywalker was able to destroy the Hutt's forces and escape with his friends.
Before returning to the assembled Rebel fleet, Luke went to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training. There, he found Yoda sick and dying. Yoda and the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi told Skywalker he had one trial remaining before achieving the rank of Jedi, and revealed the truth about his past. Luke found out that his father, Anakin Skywalker, had succumbed to the dark side and became Darth Vader, and that Leia Organa was his sister. For Luke to become a Jedi, he must face Darth Vader again.
Once back at the Rebel fleet Luke joined General Han Solo's strike team to the moon of Endor. This team was to deactivate the deflector shield protecting the new Death Star from Rebel attack. Skywalker feared he was a danger to the strike team since his presence could be felt through the Force. Before leaving, Skywalker confided the truth about their relationship to Leia, and left Endor to face Vader one last time.
Luke believed there was good in the Dark Lord, and that was why Vader offered Luke a chance to join forces rather than kill him outright. Luke turned himself in to the Imperial forces, and Vader brought his son before the Emperor on the Death Star. There, the Emperor planned to turn Luke to the dark side by goading his hatred and forcing the young Jedi to kill his father, thus sealing his future as the Emperor's student. The Emperor almost succeeded; in a fit of rage, Luke viciously wounded Vader. His thoughts and feelings recollected, Skywalker refused the Emperor's promised power. The Emperor, enraged, used the dark side to cast deadly lightning at the young Jedi. The Emperor almost killed Skywalker, but Darth Vader arose to save his son and hurl the Emperor down the Death Star's reactor shaft.
Luke took his father's crippled body to the Death Star hangar bay. In his final moments of life, Vader ceased to be, and Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, returned. Luke removed Vader's mask so that Anakin could see his son with his own eyes before becoming one with the Force. Luke then commandeered an Imperial shuttle and flew to Endor. He built a funeral pyre to commemorate the Jedi, and to destroy the Dark Lord's empty armor. He returned to the victorious Rebel Alliance, and could see the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin that night at the Ewok celebration.
Han and his Wookiee first mate and co-pilot Chewbacca had a variety of adventures throughout their long careers as smugglers. By hanging out on the fringe of galactic society, Solo not only made useful allies, but powerful enemies. Han eventually met up with a young gambler named Lando Calrissian. After a period of adventuring, Han won Lando's freighter, the Millennium Falcon in a heated sabacc game.
Han and Chewie made countless modifications to the dilapidated Corellian freighter, souping up the Falcon to become an incredibly fast and well-armed smuggling vessel. During a stretch of bad fortune, Solo was forced to jettison a cargo of contraband spice belonging to the gangster Jabba the Hutt. The gangster put a price on his head so large that bounty hunters across the galaxy would come searching for the Corellian and his Wookiee first mate. Desperate for cash, Solo took a charter to the Alderaan system. He was to transport Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio from Tatooine to Alderaan for the price of 17,000 credits.
When arriving at Alderaan, they discovered the planet destroyed, and were taken captive by the Imperial Death Star. Han agreed to rescue the captive Princess Leia Organa if he was to be rewarded, and rewarded well. After escaping from the Death Star, Han took the Rebels to their base on Yavin 4. Han decided not to participate in the Alliance's desperate attack against the Death Star, preferring to take his reward and leave. It was in mid-transit that Solo had a change of heart, and joined the battle just in time to cripple Darth Vader's ship, and allow Luke enough time to destroy the station. For his efforts, Han was awarded a medal of honor.
The number of enemies in Solo's past haunted him during his years with the Rebellion. Solo's debt to Jabba eventually accumulated to the point that the gangster placed a death mark on Solo's head, and sent a number of bounty hunters after him. Several bounty hunters almost succeeded in collecting during run-ins on Ord Mantell.
Han received an acting rank of captain in the Alliance, and accompanied the Rebels on numerous missions and adventures. His Millennium Falcon was stationed on Hoth's Echo Base during the Imperial attack there. When Princess Leia Organa was cut off from her transport vessel, she used the Falcon to escape from the besieged base. Despite a number of malfunctions, the Falcon was able to avoid the Imperial Fleet for a time. During quiet moments, when Solo set the Falcon down for repairs, he and Leia grew closer.
When the Falcon escaped Hoth, Darth Vader made it a priority to have it captured. Vader posted a reward, and dispatched a number of bounty hunters. One of them, Boba Fett, eventually captured Solo at Bespin's Cloud City. There, Solo was taken prisoner by Darth Vader, and underwent carbon freezing for transportation back to Jabba the Hutt. Han was encased in carbonite, where he remained in perfect hibernation. Leia, Lando, Chewbacca, and Luke planned a mission to rescue him from Jabba's fortress on Tatooine.
When his friends arrived at Jabba's palace, Han was freed from his carbonite coffin. He suffered from a mild case of hibernation sickness. A battle ensued wherein Han's friends ultimately destroyed the Hutt crime lord. With Jabba dead, Solo's debt was effectively erased. Solo also managed to knock Boba Fett into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc creature, ending that long-standing threat.
Rejoining the Alliance Fleet, Solo received the commission of General. He was put in charge of a strike team sent to the moon of Endor. Their mission was to destroy the shield generator that protected the second Death Star high in orbit. With the help of the native Ewoks, the Rebel strike force defeated the Imperial forces, and destroyed the generator, paving the way for the victory at the Battle of Endor.
Han is overly confident and arrogant. He possesses a wry, sarcastic wit, and a reckless manner. This often gets him into predicaments that only his foolhardy courage can get him out of. Han is well traveled, and claims to have been from one side of the galaxy to the other. For a time, Solo didn't believe in the Force, attributing it to simple luck. Han is pragmatic, some would say mercenary, and his personality often conflicts with Leia's idealism. Despite such conflicts (or perhaps because of them) the two eventually fell in love.
Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, was the scourge of the Jedi, a master of the dark side of the Force, and one of the Emperor's most trusted servants. He wasn't always a fearsome enforcer, however.
He began life as Anakin Skywalker, a young slave from Tatooine skilled in piloting and strong in the Force. Once discovered by maverick Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin was taken before the Jedi Council to be trained. There was some controversy on the subject -- despite Jinn's adamant assurances that Skywalker was the chosen one spoken of in an ancient Jedi prophecy, the council was hesitant to allow his training at the age of nine.
Finally, the council agreed that Anakin should be trained, and he was assigned to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kenobi recklessly thought that he could be as skillful a master as Yoda. His mistakes had dire consequences for the galaxy.
Skywalker was seduced by the dark side of the Force. Fueled by rage and discontent with the pace of Obi-Wan's training, Anakin challenged his master to a duel. Despite newfound power bestowed by the dark side of the Force, which added to his already formidable abilities, Anakin was grievously wounded in the fight. His burning anger kept him alive, and he was forever scarred not only by his wounds but also by betrayal. He abandoned his former identity. When metal coupled with flesh in the form of cyborg implants and enhancements required to sustain him, Skywalker's transformation was complete. He was no longer Anakin. He was Darth Vader.
At the time of his transformation, Vader never knew he was due to be the father of twins. Obi-Wan Kenobi hid the children from the Dark Lord and Vader's master, Emperor Palpatine. Vader somehow discovered that he had a son, Luke Skywalker, but never suspected he had a daughter, Leia, who was secretly taken to be raised by Bail Organa, Viceroy and First Chairman of Alderaan.
In the chaos that accompanied Palpatine's rise to power, Vader became one of the Emperor's most loyal servants. The Emperor entrusted him with the elimination of the Jedi Knights. During these dark times, Vader and his agents destroyed the Jedi order.
When the Galactic Civil War raged across the Empire, Darth Vader was tasked with discovering the location of the Rebel Alliance's secret base. Vader captured Rebel operative Princess Leia Organa and had her tortured to reveal the location of the hidden fortress. Vader also sought technical plans stolen by the Rebels. These plans carried the complete schematics of the Empire's most powerful weapon, the Death Star battle station. When a rescue team successfully liberated the princess, Vader found himself face to face with his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader defeated the aged Jedi Knight in a lightsaber duel.
Using the stolen plans to pinpoint the Death Star's weakness, Rebel forces launched a starfighter attack on the station. Entering the battle, Vader piloted his own specially modified fighter. He managed to destroy the most Rebel pilots in the battle, but was forced out of the conflict when his own vessel was crippled by the Millennium Falcon.
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, Vader led an elite squadron of Star Destroyers headed by his flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor. He was to seek out and capture the Rebels responsible for the Death Star's demise. Eventually, Vader tracked the Rebels down to the ice-world of Hoth. There, he launched a ground attack destroying the base. His quarry, the Millennium Falcon, escaped.
During the Hoth campaign, the Emperor commanded Vader to track down the "son of Skywalker," and have Vader turn him to the dark side of the Force. Vader planned to use Skywalker's friends as bait to lure him into a trap. He hired a motley gang of bounty hunters to track down the Falcon, and drew Luke to Bespin's Cloud City. He and Luke clashed in a lightsaber duel that Vader won by ruthlessly severing Luke's sword-hand. Vader then revealed to the broken young Jedi that he was his father, and that they would rule the galaxy as father and son. Luke refused to succumb to the dark side, and escaped his father. Vader was left empty-handed.
After these incidents, Palpatine reassigned Vader from the Imperial fleet, and instead put him in charge of overseeing the new Death Star operation. The Emperor began to distrust his once loyal servant. Vader's contact with his son sparked something within him, something the Emperor did not like.
Palpatine was scheduled to arrive at the second Death Star. The Emperor foresaw that Skywalker would come before the two, and then they would seduce young Luke to the dark side, just as Anakin had been drawn to its power decades earlier.
When Luke surrendered, and was taken before the Emperor, Palpatine pitted father and son in a lightsaber duel. Skywalker refused to fight and give into the temptation of the dark side. Vader, probing his mind, learned of his daughter, Leia Organa. He threatened to turn her to the dark side. At this threat, Luke gave into his hatred and attacked his father. In the ferocious assault that followed, young Skywalker nearly killed Vader. Horrified by what he had become, Luke abandoned his new found dark side rage, and refused Palpatine's offers of power. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me," Skywalker proudly claimed.
Palpatine unleashed a deadly barrage of dark side energy on the young Jedi. Lightning bolts spawned from pure evil tore into Luke's body with searing pain. Vader stood helplessly, watching his son writhe in agony from torture delivered by his master. Unable to watch anymore, Vader turned against his master. He gr abbed a surprised Palpatine from behind, hoisted him above his head, and tossed his evil master down a bottomless reactor shaft. Vader was bombarded by the Emperor's Force lightning, mortally wounding him.
As he lay dying, Vader ceased to be. Anakin Skywalker returned. He asked his son to remove the cumbersome, fearsome mask that had concealed his face for decades. His mask and life support removed, Anakin looked upon Luke for the first and last time. He then died, his body disappearing into the light side of the Force. Luke burned the dark armor that had encased Anakin's crippled body in a quiet funeral pyre on the forest moon of Endor that night.