How old do you think Anakin SHOULD have been, as portrayed in the PT?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Quietman77, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. Quietman77

    Quietman77 Jedi Master star 1

    Jan 5, 2000
    Hello all:

    I'd like to get your opinions on something that's been bothering me (and that may help me, someday, with a plot bunny). I don't think that this topic has been brought up in quite the same way that I'm presenting it, but, if it has, I apologize. I tried to search for existing threads, but I was hard-pressed to come with the proper wording for my search terms.

    Ever since the first time I watched Phantom Menace, I'd been bothered by the decision to make Anakin a 9-year-old. Of course, that's hardly an original idea - many others have voiced that complaint before - but there was always something that just felt wrong about it, something I couldn't put my finger on.

    I finally realized what the problem was when I was skimming through Return of the Jedi; Sebastian Shaw seemed like he was too old for Anakin/Vader's timeline. I didn't know precisely what Mr. Shaw's age was, but I did know that Anakin/Vader would have been in his mid-40s at the time of his death (if I understand the span between the movies, Anakin would have been 45-years-old at the time of his death), and Mr. Shaw, even under all the makeup, seemed like he was pushing 60.

    I looked up Mr. Shaw's bio on, and was shocked to find that he was born in the year 1905, which would make him a well-preserved seventy-eight at the time that ROTJ was filmed. As Mr. Shaw was IMHO the most direct embodiment of the character prior to the PT, that would translate to a 42-years-old Anakin during TPM.

    Now, I realize that I'm probably drawing too big of a conclusion from this; ROTJ did nothing to establish a canonical age for Anakin, and - quite obviously - I was unable to determine Sebastian Shaw's age simply by looking at him. Still... a 9-year-old Anakin during TPM seem less and less like a good choice, either artistically, or for continuity's sake.

    To further complicate the situation, I looked up the bios of the other men who, one way or another, embodied Anakin/Vader, and the results are as follows:

    James Earl Jones (the voice) - born in 1931, 52-years-old during ROTJ, corresponds to a 16-year-old Anakin during TPM.
    Bob Anderson (swordmaster) - born in 1922, 61-years-old during ROTJ, corresponds to a 25-year-old Anakin during TPM.
    David Prowse (man in suit) - born in 1935, 48-years-old during ROTJ, corresponds to a 12-year-old Anakin during TPM.

    Alright, if we take David Prowse as the best representation of the character, then a 9-year-old Anakin is close enough. Otherwise...

    So, what do you think? I seems to me that Anakin could have been written as significantly older, without upsetting continuity, and I'd really appreciate your opinions. What age should Anakin have been throughout the PT? Again, if this has already been posted, I apologize.

  2. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    I would have liked to see Anakin's journey parallel Luke - the young brash teenager in E1, the young man in love in II, and then the jaded vetran in III - Sith was too rushed IMHO...
  3. Duragizer

    Duragizer Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2009
    I think that Anakin should have been about 19-20 years old when we were introduced to him, and in his late 40s by the time Episode III rolled around.
  4. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    May 27, 2003
    I think Anakin should have been about 10 in TPM, but played by James Earl Jones. It would have added a lot of mystery.
  5. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Anakin definitely should have been older from the beginning. Maybe around 18-20, slightly younger than Obi-Wan. It would have given an interesting edge to their relationship (a younger rival that Qui-Gon paid more attention to than his established padawan causes some tension between them, a more developed sense of competitiveness that evolves over time into a mature friendship).
  6. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    The problem with having him older in TPM is that there would have been NO way the Order would have trained him. 9 or 10 was absolutely pushing the limits as far as that was concerned. The actors' ages really shouldn't factor into it. Anakin's injuries would have aged him greatly in any case. I think it's important to separate the actor from the character because otherwise we'll start going round and round with things like "Well, Vader was older than Obi-Wan and Ian McDiarmid would have been 39 in ROTJ and 61 in ROTS..." So yeah, it could get complicated. 8-}

    I think his age was appropriate. I was a little surprised at first, especially given that Padme was older, but I think that made sense. She was older, wiser, and should have known better. But hormones get in the way no matter what your age and so we have Luke and Leia. :p
  7. Takianna

    Takianna Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 22, 2005
    I'm with everyone else. I think that Anakin's journey should have paralleled Luke's more closely. The teenager who is dying to leave a world that has nothing to offer (as many of the teenagers in Luke's time were). It would've given the story an arc that would have been easier to follow. I also think that ROTS was a rush to tie up all the loose ends in the trilogy. I think that maybe even a fourth movie which could have been in between AOTC and ROTS would have been helpful in the storytelling. Anakin's character was not as developed as it could have been, leaving us (the fans) to wonder about the dimensions of his life.

    When I was a kid and remember hearing Obi-wan say that Anakin was his good friend, I pictured them being much closer in age and really "growing" together. Learning together even though Obi-wan was his master. When Anakin finally appeared at nine, well I just couldn't believe that he wasn't closer to Obi-wan's age. I think the writing and casting of a very young Anakin was a mistake. It was almost like he was trying to conjure sympathy for the character by making him a child. Although I think I would have been sympathetic to his story no matter if he was 20 years old. The story of redemption easily speaks for itself.
  8. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    Obi-Wan is about 15 years older than Anakin. If they were too close in age, Obi-Wan would never have been allowed to be Anakin's Master. Now, if they wanted to change the story arc completely, Anakin could have been an angsty teenager, but then he'd never have been trained as a Jedi and therefore could never fall from the light. Of course, in the novelization, Owen is also Obi-Wan's brother :p so it's apparent things were altered later on according to George's vision. Which, as every story writer knows, is our prerogative. [face_laugh]
  9. Vader1242

    Vader1242 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 17, 2009
    LOL, well, we know that Anakin's/Vader's age changes like crazy now with the updated DVD's...he goes from Sebastian Shaw back to pre-Mustafar! (wonder how much he paid for the botox?) I've heard other folks argue that the dark side warps and ages its users, etc. The argument could go on for days.

    If you dwell on it too much it'll only make you crazy. I just decided to go to Lucas' site a few years back and calculate for myself (ignoring the actor's ages) It's the character that matters. So, that makes Vader about 22 when the suit is introduced. Poor guy. :(

  10. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 14, 2004
    I'm pretty sure in an interview with Lucas (in the offical script book of TPM,) he mentions that Anakin was meant to be 12 in TPM and if you see a lot of the early production art Anakin is drawn to look older, (so the age difference with Padme being 14 wasn't so big,) but Lucas decided that Anakin should be younger so that separating him from Shimi seemed more traumatic.

    IMHO I agree with the original plan, I think he should have been 12 at the least.
  11. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    12 would have worked. Didn't he turn 10 in the novelization? That wouldn't have been so much of a stretch. But I still don't think that 19-20 would have been plausible, with the Order already raising a stink about him being too old to train at 9 or 10. There's simply no way they train a young man if they were hesitant to train a boy.
  12. Game3525

    Game3525 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2008
    Episode I-Anakin is 12
    Episode II-Anakin is 20, and a brash young Jedi Knight
    Episode III- Anakin is 23 and falls to the darkside.

    I wish Lucas had gone this route.
  13. CPL_Macja

    CPL_Macja Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 29, 2008
    Think 9-10 was the perfect age for Ani in TPM. At that age most kids are still attached to their parents emotionally. By the time kids get to be preteens they are wanting to be more adventurous and seperate from their parents. That way with him having to make the decision to leave his mother in slavery was still harsh enough to cause him fear, anger, and suffering.

    That is just my $0.02
  14. anakin_girl

    anakin_girl Jedi Knight star 6

    Oct 8, 2000
    This exactly. AOTC Anakin should have been TPM Anakin, and there should not have been 10 years between TPM and AOTC. The timeline should have also paralleled the OT.
  15. Jedi_Master_Cazz

    Jedi_Master_Cazz Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 13, 2005
    I personally think that the age was perfect. It weighs up all the points about the Order training him, Obi-wan being his Master, and the age gap between Anakin and Padmé.

    If Anakin's story was closer in structure to Luke's, I think that would be TOO close of a match up. Lucas says himself that Anakin and Luke mirror each other, like stanzas in a poem. Mirroring, not matching. I think making the two of them too similar would have been like a slap in the face saying, "Hey! These guys are going through the same stages!" That just cultivates a lazy audience imo. That's why I love the little bits of Padmé that are interwoven into Luke's character. While Anakin has more impulsiveness and a great deal of arrogance, he does have compassion. While Luke has compassion, he does also have that impulsive streak and arrogance, its just not as dominant. And that, is what made the difference, when Palpatine asked Luke to take his father's place. It wasn't their similarities that made Vader act and save Luke, it was the differences.

    And as to do with ROTJ Shaw? Wow, he's a good looking 78 yr old!

    I mean, if you'd gone through all that Anakin had, physically, and then been sealed in an iron lung, with no intimate interaction with any other people... I'm not surprised his isolation affected him so much.

    Remember, in ESB, Luke was the same age Anakin had been when he'd been put into the suit, so his life had come to two halves of one whole and the two different phases were matched, and that's when everything started to change. In ANH and ESB, Vader is impulsive, demanding and in control of his life (to a point.) When we see him again in ROTJ, he feels quieter, thoughtful, like he's always caught up in some sort of reverie.

    But his age made the story and his death so much more tragic. The point wasn't like he was in his 70's, died from his age and injuries to save his son, and he just happened to be a Sith Lord. The point was he died from his injuries (if Palpatine hadn't of zapped him, he would have had years left imo) to save his son, and he was only 45 years old, it reminds us that his first choice to turn to the dark side was wrong, and that much of his life was a wasted one. 45 is still young, he was still a young guy, I know 45 year olds with toddlers! And for such a drastic amputee on a breathing machine, he had a very good run.

    And besides, I find it amusing that Vader fell for an older woman.:p
  16. Sara_Kenobi

    Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Sep 21, 2000
    I always felt that Anakin should have been the Jedi student about to become a Jedi Knight in Episode 1 and Obi-Wan already in the role as his master. It was interesting to see how Anakin started out but it wasn't really something that had to be told in an over 2 hour film period. Not to me, anyway. I always felt that the adult relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan would have been even better if we didn't have to spend so much time getting to know the characters origins before their relationship even really began in Episode 1. I would have been more interested personally in seeing that relationship already established as Anakin becomes an adult and a Jedi Knight. Then we could have possibly seen more of Anakin and Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars as that event could have begun in earnest in the first film. They could have had them meet Padme during the Clone Wars too as she could have still had a hand in helping form the Rebellion. I don't think there's really anything wrong with how Anakin was written in the Prequel films, I just think it could have been different.
  17. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    When my old roommates and I outlined our own AU PT, we started Anakin off at 17. He also had a much more normal (for a Jedi, anyway) upbringing, thereby bypassing the concerns about him starting his Jedi journey too late in life. There is something to be said for the discovery of new powers, but due to the Order's stringent rules, we didn't think it served the story very well to follow him from the beginning. Then again, we threw most of the PT out the window. :p
  18. Jedi_Master_Cazz

    Jedi_Master_Cazz Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 13, 2005
    As fanfiction writers, that is our goal.;) Nice move DWH:cool:
  19. Jedi_Liz

    Jedi_Liz Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 24, 2000
    My dad has always wished Anakin had been 12. He didn't like Anakin being 9.

    You can't make him too old, but you can't make him too young either.
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