Darth Vader (birth name Anakin Skywalker) is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He appears in the original trilogy as a main and pivotal antagonist serving the Galactic Empire, while his past as Anakin Skywalker and the story of his corruption are the focus of the prequel trilogy.
The character was created by George Lucas and has been portrayed by numerous actors. His appearances span the first six Star Wars films, as well as Rogue One, and his character is referenced in both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He is also an important character in the Star Wars expanded universe of television series, video games, novels, literature and comic books. Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force, Anakin is lured to the dark side of the Force by Palpatine, at the time the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. He then serves the Galactic Empire as Vader at the right hand of Emperor Palpatine until his redemption after encountering his son, Luke Skywalker. Biologically, he is also the father of Princess Leia Organa, the secret husband of Padmé Amidala before his fall, and grandfather of Kylo Ren.
Darth Vader has become one of the most iconic villains in popular culture, and has been listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever. The American Film Institute listed him as the third greatest movie villain in cinema history on 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. However, other critics consider him a tragic hero, citing his original motivations for the greater good and his family before his fall to the dark side.