‘The Clone Wars’: Anakin’s Newest Dark Moment ‘Really Stood Out’ to Skywalker Actor Matt Lanter

Anakin Skywalker’s story is obviously one that everyone knows pretty well at this point. Between Darth Vader in the original trilogies to Anakin’s origin in the prequels, we all know how tragic his journey is, but how it ultimately brings balance to the Force. The Clone Wars is tasked with filling in the major gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and showing how Anakin and Obi-Wan dealt with the war. It also shows how Anakin changes from a cocky 19-year-old to the war-battered, masterful Jedi who’s darker and ultimately turns to the Dark Side. And in the most recent episode, a major moment sticks out. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Clone Wars Season 7.]

Anakin during his mission with the Bad Batch in Season 7 of 'The Clone Wars.'
Anakin during his mission with the Bad Batch in Season 7 of ‘The Clone Wars’ | Disney+

Anakin’s Dark Side is more obvious with ‘Revenge of the Sith’ so close

On March 17, SYFY WIRE’s podcast, Jabba the Pod, did an interview with the voice of Anakin Skywalker, Matt Lanter and they talked about Episode 4, “Unfinished Business” and the Dark Side that’s pretty obvious in Anakin.

“Obviously I rely on Dave Filoni so much for his guidance and his understanding of where the character is at in that specific episode,” Lanter said. “And that’s definitely something that both Dave and I and everybody, were aware of in the latter seasons of The Clone Wars, showing more of those moments… flashes of darkness or glimpses of the Dark Side coming out. Because obviously he is approaching more Revenge of the Sith.” 

While Filoni has said that the series won’t reiterate a lot of Revenge of the Sith, it will overlap timewise, with Order 66 happening at the end of this final season. Because of this, Anakin’s menacing and dark manner is coming out more, which is what we see when he kills Admiral Trench.  

Anakin killing Admiral Trench is a ‘very significant’ dark moment for the character

Trench taunts Anakin, saying that he knows Anakin won’t hurt him because he’s a Jedi. However, he’s very wrong and not only does Anakin cut off his arms, he then plunges his lightsaber straight through his chest. “I don’t know if it’s just a bias thing because I… voice Anakin, but that moment really stood out in the episode to me. Because it is a very significant moment,” Lanter said about Anakin’s kill. 

Lanter said that this moment not only shows his anger and mood swings but also how he doesn’t have Jedi “weaknesses.” His killing of Trench shows how Anakin views the Jedi Order and code at this point, which isn’t in high regard.

“I think that’s a really, really, significant, dark moment and kind of brings that full circle,” Lanter said, referring to their proximity to Revenge of the Sith. “We were very aware of bringing these dark moments in because it really needed to connect.”

Anakin Skywalker’s dark shift was seen on ‘The Clone Wars’ before

This isn’t new. Ever since the beginning, viewers have seen how Anakin struggles with the Jedi way when it comes to his emotions and attachments to Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, Padmé, and even R2-D2. But especially from Season 3 onwards, Anakin Skywalker’s dark tendencies come up more and more. 

For one, Anakin Force chokes people quite often. And Jedi don’t Force choke; it’s a cruel punishment and often done out of frustration or anger, which are forbidden to Jedi. Also, Anakin’s fighting style when in aggravating situations becomes increasingly cruel. Like in Season 4, when Rako Hardeen “kills” Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin goes ballistic. Or in Season 5, when he’s dealing with Ahsoka’s banishment and gets in a fight with Asajj Ventress. Not to mention Anakin almost kills Clovis with his bare hands in Season 6. 

Matt Lanter said he had the ‘advantage’ of getting so much time to develop Anakin

As we’ve pointed out before, The Clone Wars does such a good job of expanding on the prequels. One of the major ways it can do this is because there are so many episodes, that the characters have time to develop and explore their journeys more. Lanter is pretty grateful for this.  

“The audience has spent a lot of time with Clone Wars Anakin,” he said. “I got the pleasure and advantage of having that time to work in these flashes of the Dark Side and really try to take the character from… the ‘happy-go-lucky’ place all the way down to what we almost see here in Revenge of the Sith.” 

He notes that Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin in the films, didn’t have this perk and only had one movie to really hit home how far Anakin has gone to the Dark Side. Now fans can see that gradual, yet stark, shift in this final season, right before Darth Vader is born.