Anakin’s mother was still a slave when he left for the Jedi Order, but she devised a clever plan to escape before Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
Young Anakin Skywalker’s freedom was a bittersweet victory, for while he was no longer condemned to a life of slavery on Tatooine, his mother, Shmi Skywalker, had to be left behind. However, despite Shmi eventually meeting a brutal end, her tale in Star Wars does have some joy to it, as she slowly crafted a clever plan to free herself and live a far better life on the Lars homestead.
After Anakin leaves his mother and trains with the Jedi Order, he doesn’t see her again for an entire decade, with their next and final meeting being in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Upon seeing visions of her suffering, Anakin returns to his home planet to seek out Shmi, which leads him to the Lars homestead. Here, he finds out Shmi has been missing since a group of Tusken Raiders captured her during a fatal attack. But furthermore, Anakin discovers that his mother has been free from slavery for a long while — and it’s all thanks to a cunning plan.
Shmi’s Life After Anakin Left
Anakin and Shmi’s owner in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was Watto, a scummy Toydarian salesman with a gambling addiction. And it’s this addiction that sent him deep into debt as his bet with Qui-Gon Jinn left him with one less slave and expensive ship parts being given away for free. This loss from Anakin’s podrace made Watto desperate for money and forced him to start renting out Shmi as a mechanic to other nearby residences.
According to E.K. Johnston’s canon novel Queen’s Hope, it was during this time that she was introduced to the Lars family, who took note of her tinkering expertise and invited her over to the iconic homestead. While they had to pay a fee to keep her there, Shmi stayed with the Lars family for long periods — with her and Cliegg Lars becoming particularly fond of one another. And so, with their ever-growing relationship, they devised a plan for Shmi’s freedom.
Shmi Skywalker Deceived Watto
Shmi knew it was hopeless trying to sneak away from Watto, as he had ties to the Hutt family and would likely have her hunted down. And while the Lars family farm may have had enough to buy Shmi, they knew her owner would never give her up willingly. So they decided to strike at Watto’s biggest vulnerability — his gambling addiction.
The cunning Skywalker began casually encouraging Watto to gamble more and more, all while trying not to seem suspicious. And through her persistence, Watto fell for the suggestions and dug himself deeper into debt, which only made him desperate. This is where Cliegg stepped in, as he lured Watto into another gamble with Shmi’s ownership being the prize, which he desperately accepted. And it’s unknown what they gambled on or whether the Lars family cheated, but they won and took Shmi home as a free woman.
So while Shmi’s life was certainly a tragic one, she at least had a satisfying taste of freedom before meeting her end. She’s usually the most forgotten member of the Skywalker family but no less important, as her cunning and kindness were certainly passed down to Anakin, even if her death would later impact his downfall.