Obi-Wan Kenobi held the high ground. Gripping his lightsaber, gazing down at his vanquished, crippled opponent, who writhed in the toxic red-tinged dirt, inches away from certain death in the lava river behind him. Obi-Wan shouted at Anakin Skywalker, “You were the chosen one! It was said you would destroy the Sith, not join them!” Obviously, Obi-Wan certainly felt Anakin was The Chosen One. So did Qui-Gon and a few other Jedi masters. Were they right? What about Anakin’s triumphant son, Luke Skywalker. Couldn’t he have been The Chosen One?
Who is The Chosen One – Luke or Anakin? The Chosen One is Anakin. Star Wars creator George Lucas said so. Even after Anakin turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, he is still the Chosen One, says Lucas. But is that etched in stone?
The Star Wars saga has gone through a twisted evolution, rife with plot switch-ups, new characters, and a galaxy full of variations that make fans wonder if anything is sacred anymore, including the designation of The Chosen One. Despite Lucas’ clear assertion that Anakin Skywalker was The Chosen One, fans have debated the point for years.
Is Star Wars About Luke or Anakin?
If the issue about The Chosen One isn’t entirely settled, even by decree of the man who started it all, then can we hope to ever answer this question:
Is Star Wars About Luke or Anakin? Star Wars, episodes 4-6, is clearly about Luke. Episodes 1-3 are clearly about Anakin. Since Luke survives to appear in episodes 7, 8, and supposedly 9, we can tentatively surmise that the Star Wars saga is about Luke Skywalker.
The keyword here is tentatively. Throughout the 42-year season of Star Wars films, Lucas and other prominent figures with the power to tilt the Star Wars galaxy have allowed certain characters and certain plot points to remain enigmas. Their motivations for doing so (marketing, storyline preservation, ego?) are also hard to determine.
One of the first mysteries of the filmmaking-process centered on the fact that the first Star Wars episode to hit the theaters – way back in 1977 – was actually Episode 4: A New Hope. At the time, it raised a few eyebrows, but any discussion on that point was overwhelmed by accolades about the coolest science fiction movie to ever hit the theaters.
The answer is simple logistics. Lucas’ story was entirely too broad to fit in one movie. But that was all that he had funding for – one movie. So he pulled an episode out of the deck of cards and played it. And it worked. A New Hope shattered expectations and in so doing, guaranteed funding for more movies, making it easy to lay out the pattern for the rest of the series.
What did Ancient Jedi Texts Say About The Chosen One?
Reliable passages from the original Jedi text are difficult to come by, even from canonized books of the Star Wars realm. We do have these snippets, however:
- “A chosen one shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in The Force be restored.”
- “In the time of greatest despair, a child shall be born who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to The Force.”
- “When the shadow of the Bogan falls upon them, the Ashla will not desert them because in the time of greatest despair there shall come a savior; and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.”
That’s not much to go on, but it’s all we have. We would have had more, but Daniel Wallace’s The Jedi Path, Part 1, which originally had approval from LucasFilms, apparently went too far in describing Jedi scripture regarding The Chosen One. Lucas asked Wallace to delete the text, but the book was already out as a Kindle edition.
They ended up encrypting the text so that it couldn’t be read, and added a sticky note from Luke Skywalker, saying, “These pages were already corrupted when the book came into my possession. I don’t know who tried to suppress the prophecy, but it was most likely the Emperor.”
It has been anticipated that there will be some surprises in store for Star Wars fans in the upcoming movie, The Rise of Skywalker – the final chapter in the nine-film Star Wars saga. This was given as one of the reasons Lucas wanted Wallace’s text deleted.
Born of No Father
As the Jedi scripture says, The Chosen One will be “born of no father.” This sounds an awful lot like the Immaculate Conception of the Christian belief, but the available text doesn’t speak of the mother. Who she would be, and what her station in life would be, were not revealed.
Anakin fit that description. He was born on the planet Tatooine to Shmi Skywalker, a slave girl. There was no mention of a father. Anakin, who was very force-sensitive (affected by The Force), grew in skill and cunning and was quite an independent young boy by the time Qui Gon Jinn discovered him.
Qui Gon – a Jedi Knight – had a feeling about this spirited young slave boy and became convinced that he was The Chosen One. He took him to the Jedi Temple, where the reviews were mixed. The main issue as they saw it was Anakin’s temperament, which was sometimes beset by anger. But Qui Gon did not give up.
Darth Maul and the Appearance of the Sith
The Sith – a menacing cult of force-sensitive warriors – had lived in exile for 1,000 years, but when Anakin Skywalker was still a boy, they suddenly appeared on the scene. Qui Gon had a lightsaber battle with one of them – Darth Maul – and even though the encounter was brief, Qui Gon realized that the Sith were on the move again after a millennium of silence.
Qui Gon and Darth Maul met again some time later, and the second time, things did not go well for Qui Gon. Qui Gon was dealt a fatal blow, but before he died, he summoned the aid of his Jedi friend Obi-Wan Kenobi, who eventually defeated Darth Maul. He couldn’t save Qui Gon, however and with his dying words he asked Obi-Wan to watch over young Anakin and to train him in the ways of the Jedi.
Obi-Wan obliged his dying friend’s wish. It would turn out to be a mistake or appeared so to the people of the light side of the force. But it also fulfilled prophecy regarding The Chosen one.
It can be assumed that the Sith came to life after 1,000 years of exile because they felt a disturbance in The Force, indicating to them that The Chosen One had been born. A second, far more powerful Sith Lord – Darth Sidious – befriended Anakin when he was a teenager and would lead him to the dark side of The Force.
A Rising Jedi Talent
Young Anakin’s skillset was unmatched by anyone his age or even older. His intellect and cunning were likewise emphatically superior. Under the training of his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin became the strongest Jedi in the history of the galaxy. Yet he remained humble and compassionate until he discovered that the Jedi knights had flaws, just like everyone else.
Anakin’s friend and protege Ahsoka Tano were falsely accused of a terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple in which a man was murdered. Although she was later exonerated, she felt she had no choice but to leave the order. Anakin became disillusioned by the way Ahsoka had been treated by the Jedi Knights, and thus, by harboring this bitterness, he took his first steps toward the dark side.
This was the opening Darth Sidious was looking for. But Darth Sidious did not go by that name in public. The Sith were too wise to give their identity away like that. Darth Sidious was officially known as Sheev Palpatine, a senator, then chancellor of the republic. After he had established a solid friendship with Anakin, he came to Anakin during Anakin’s most trying time and convinced him that the dark side was the only way out.
A Secret Marriage
Jedi prophecy does not mention whether The Chosen One would marry and sire children. This detracts from the assumption that Anakin was The Chosen One because the Jedi Code forbade romantic attachments. Anakin fell in love with Padmé Amidala. They had known each other as children, but when they met again with Padmé serving as Galactic Senator and Anakin as her bodyguard, their desires for one another grew increasingly more difficult to subdue.
They kept their relationship a secret and wed in secret at a remote lakeside ceremony on Padmé’s home planet of Naboo. They conceived twins, which should have been happy news, but Anakin had already drifted into the nether realms of the dark side, and it would cloud his judgment. After having a nightmare in which Padmé dies in childbirth, Anakin’s temperament spirals out of control, and he becomes less and less inclined to follow the mentorship of Obi-Wan and of the Jedi Council in general.
Darth Sidious Exploits Anakin’s Weakness
Anakin’s time of angst gave Palpatine the opportunity to make his most compelling appeal, and the opportunity to reveal that he was actually Sith Lord Darth Sidious. He told Anakin that he alone had the power to save Padmé from the fate Anakin had dreamed. When Anakin committed to Darth Sidious, he was given a new name – Darth Vader.
Order 66 – The Chosen One Chooses to Betray the Jedi
Anakin’s first act as Darth Vader was a particularly grievous one. Chancellor Palpatine was coming under more and more suspicion by the Jedi, and it escalated when the Jedi Council learned of his true identity as Sith Lord Darth Sidious. The Jedi attempted to arrest Palpatine, but failed, leading him to retaliate by framing the Jedi Order as a band of evil traitors.
He issued Order 66, whose directives had already been implanted into the memory chips of thousands of clone soldiers. Order 66 (It’s worth noting the similarity between 66 and 666, the number referring to the Antichrist in Biblical prophecy.) was carried out, resulting in the slaughter of thousands of Jedi across the galaxy. A scant few survived, and mainly went into hiding.
For his part, Darth Vader, now fully empowered as a Sith Lord, led a legion of clone soldiers on a direct assault against the Jedi Temple on the planet Coruscant, where even Jedi children were mercilessly cut down.
Those who question the assertion that Anakin Skywalker was The Chosen One often point to this heinous incident as proof that he was anything but The Chosen One, that he was a “false” Chosen One. But when one person transforms into his alter ego, as in this case, where do you place accountability – on the person he was or the person he became?
“You Were The Chosen One!”
Vader was in a dangerous state of mind when, on the volcanic planet Mustafar, Padmé and Obi-Wan confronted him about his backsliding ways. When Padmé begs him to turn from the path he’s on, Vader reacts in anger over what he perceives as her betrayal and Force-chokes her until she falls on the floor unconscious
Obi-Wan stepped in, and an epic lightsaber duel ensured. Obi-Wan got the better of Vader. After unsuccessfully pleading with Skywalker to surrender, Obi-Wan defended himself against Vader’s sudden aggressive charge and severed both legs and his left arm.
Distraught, even in apparent victory, Obi-Wan screamed at his fallen opponent, “You were the chosen one! It was said you would destroy the Sith, not join them; Bring balance to The Force, not darkness!”
Darth Vader was left for dead amid a rolling ocean of lava, which burned his hair and seared his body horribly. Darth Sidious rescued him from certain death and had him retrofitted with body armor, cybernetic legs, a respirator, and that all-too-recognizable black helmet. Darth Vader had a new look, one that would strike fear into foe and friend alike.
A New Order
With the near-extermination of the Jedi, Palpatine had no one to oppose him, and he declared himself Emperor of the galaxy and created what he dubbed The New Imperial Order, which brought all economic, military and governmental entities under his command.
It would, of course, face resistance, but the supreme power now under Palpatine’s rule generally made short work of any rebellion. Nevertheless, the rebel movement continued to thrive in the background and in remote outposts.
Twins of Destiny
Padmé died in childbirth, just as Anakin had dreamt. At the time of Padmé’s death and the birth of twins, Darth Vader was undergoing a torturous series of operations, converting him into the fearsome cyborg he was destined to become. His first words upon emerging from the procedure concerned Padmé – was she safe?
Darth Sidious, mastering The Force in ways greater than Vader could at that point, informed him that “his anger” had killed Padmé, that she did not recover from being force-choked, but that was a lie.
Also lost in that desperate moment was the awareness that he was the father of twins. He would later learn that fact, but only after he had interacted with each of them – Leia at close range, even. He did not know they were his son and daughter, but one could assume he felt a ripple in The Force that he couldn’t explain when he was near them.
A Second Skywalker, A Second Chosen One?
In an around-about way, the term “born of no father” could apply to Luke Skywalker. True, he had a biological father – Anakin – but he never knew him until the very end. Luke was raised by his Uncle Owen (Owen Lars, step-brother to Anakin Skywalker) and Aunt Beru on Tatooine, the same planet Anakin grew up on.
Like his father, Luke showed remarkable skill and intellect, largely due to his force sensitivity. And like his father, Luke demonstrated a flair for impetuous decisions and impatience, leading Aunt Beru to remark, “He has too much of his father in him.” To which Uncle Owen replied, “That’s what I’m afraid of.”
The choices that rule one’s destiny are sometimes made for you. This was the case with young Luke, who came home one day to find the dome house he shared with his aunt and uncle destroyed and their incinerated bodies lying in the ashes. They had fallen victim to a band of Imperial stormtroopers who were looking for a droid (R2D2) that carried information valuable to the Rebel Alliance.
With nothing left to hold him on the parched planet Tatooine, Luke, with a new-found friend and ally Ben Kenobi (the aging Obi-Wan Kenobi), embarked on a mission to deliver R2D2 to the rebel command post.
A New Hope for the Galaxy
If Luke Skywalker wasn’t The Chosen One, then he surely represented a new hope, a second chance to set things right. Could it be that The Chosen One was actually two – father and son? To adopt this line of reasoning, you have to reject conventional thought. Remember all this happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
As Obi-Wan once told Luke, “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
Luke’s presence in the galaxy was felt by those sensitive enough to notice. Obi-Wan, living the life of an eccentric recluse, the virtual troll in the cottage by the bridge, certainly had a keen awareness of Luke. He knew who Luke was and knew what he was capable of. Yet he kept his distance until he had to act, as he did when he came upon a pair of Tusken raiders who had just ambushed Luke and knocked him out cold on the desert floor.
The Battle of Yavin – You Can Set Your Calendar By It
Young Luke’s greatest triumph occurred during the Battle of Yavin when Rebel forces fought to preserve their home base against the Imperial Death Star. The Death Star was moving close enough to the Rebel base – on the fourth moon of the planet Yavin – to use its enormous laser cannon to obliterate the moon and every life form on it.
If the Rebels could not stop the firing of the giant weapon, it would result in a massive loss of life and would likely end the rebellion, or set it back decades. With the Rebels’ best pilots attempting – but failing – to exploit a vulnerability in the Death Star’s exhaust port, Luke stepped up to win the day.
With Darth Vader on his tail in an Imperial TIE fighter, Luke, piloting a standard-issue X-wing fighter, fired a one-in-a-million proton charge into the Death Star’s exhaust port, which led to a chain reaction and a massive implosion that destroyed the fearsome juggernaut. While in pursuit of Skywalker, Darth Vader, not knowing he was speaking of his son, remarked, “The force is strong with this one.”
The Battle of Yavin was so iconic that 25 years later, the New Republic ordered all calendars to mark the Battle of Yavin as its base. The years prior to that year were listed as BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), and the years after that were listed as ABY (After the Battle of Yavin).
“In a Time of Greatest Despair”
It’s hard to determine when the galaxy’s time of greatest despair might have been, because there were decades of despair, before and after the decisive Battle of Yavin. At the time of nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker’s discovery by Jedi Qui Gon in 32BBY, a trade dispute was about to erupt into galaxy-wide conflict.
Ten years later, the Sith came out of hiding and began stirring up trouble and corruption in the most respected institutions, affecting people of high stature, and creating a sinister backwash that would lead eventually lead to the total dismemberment of the old galactic republic.
No doubt, Anakin Skywalker came into existence at a time of great despair, but he also created far more despair than he relieved. Does that disqualify him as The Chosen One? Again, the man in charge says no – Anakin is The Chosen One.
Things were no better in the galaxy when Luke arrived. They were worse. The empire reached into the realm of every planet’s business, enforcing trade laws that severely restricted growth and created a sub-culture of thieves, smugglers, and opportunistic thugs and swindlers.
“The Chosen One Will Destroy the Sith”
Here’s where the Chosen One debate gets interesting. The Jedi prophecy states that The Chosen One would destroy the Sith. It does not differentiate between Sith, singular, or Sith, plural. Nor does the text explicitly refer to the Sith as a whole. There were thousands of Sith Lords running around the galaxy.
Even lightweight Star Wars followers know the iconic scene in Return of the Jedi, where Darth Vader dies after saving the life of Luke Skywalker. Palpatine had Luke at his mercy (of which he had none) with lightning bolts flying from his fingertips. Just when all hope seemed lost,
Darth Vader picked up the emperor, misdirecting the lethal force field, which ends up killing the emperor and Darth Vader as well.
So, it could be said that Anakin Skywalker killed two Sith – Darth Sidious and Darth Vader – even though he and Vader were one in the same. Yeah, it’s confusing.
After Darth Sidious died, the remaining Imperial officials fractured into small enclaves and mostly retired, went into hiding, or committed suicide. Yet there were enough remnants of the old empire to put up a fight against those wishing to form a new republic, and the notion of peace and love forever and ever didn’t line up just right.
“. . and Bring Balance to the Force.”
To followers of the light side of The Force, “balance” didn’t really mean what it portends to mean – equality. They didn’t want balance. They wanted the upper hand. The ancient Jedi text didn’t say anything about peace, love, pretty flowers, and domination over the dark side. It just said “balance.”
The Chosen One would bring balance to The Force. Light equals dark. Dark equals light. Nobody wins. Nobody loses.
So how did Anakin do on that score? Roughly 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star during the Battle of Endor, we find that Luke Skywalker hasn’t been seen in a long time, yet he was still very much in demand by those who sought to destroy him and end the legacy of the Jedi once and for all.
During this time, jealousy, betrayal, and family members turning against family members marked an ugly political struggle, as members of the New Order fought against the Resistance. Here, you have Luke’s twin sister Leia as a general, facing off against her own son, Kylo Ren Solo, who was in second in command of the New Order that rose from the ashes of the old empire. The Force seems balanced, but neither side seems happy.
Could Rey be The Chosen One?
Could it be that the creators of Star Wars have a surprise for us all in the final installment of the series – The Rise of Skywalker? Is it possible that The Chosen One has yet to be revealed? If history has told us anything, it has told us that nothing is ever permanent in this franchise.
Therefore, an interesting change-of-direction could take place regarding the character, Rey. Rey, a resourceful young woman who used to be a scavenger but now rides with the resistance fighters, wants to be a Jedi. Could she be The Chosen One? Let’s apply the prophecy.
She’s force-sensitive, brave and highly skilled, she has no father (abandoned as a child by both parents on the planet Jakku). So far, in the film series, she’s had no encounters with the Sith, but that seems likely to change in a big way in the upcoming movie. We also don’t know about balance in The Force.
There’s a potential conflict in that the ancient Jedi texts are gender-specific, with the use of the masculine pronouns he and him. But here’s the thing: while we as outsiders know that, nobody in the galaxy knows what they say except Luke, and no one will know after Luke is gone because Yoda set the old books on fire (The Last Jedi). Rey could be revealed as The Chosen One. could be.
Anakin is The Chosen One. We are told that. We are made to believe that. Most of us accept that.
But movies are movies. They can be changed at the last minute. Characters can be added, killed off, or re-characterized on a whim. Plots can be changed. Ancient Jedi manuscripts can be interpreted any way the producers want to interpret them.
It’s all fiction anyway.