The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Anakin Skywalker

The most obvious choice for Chosen One in Star Wars has been, since 1999 at least, Anakin Skywalker. He was conceived by the midichlorians, was the most powerful Jedi in all six films, and the Jedi viewed him specifically through the prophecy of the “Chosen One.”

Sure, you could argue he wasn’t truly “most powerful” until he turned to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith, but at that point you’re really going to lose yourself in the “when does he truly become Vader” debate.

It's Darth Vader, not Anakin with Yellow Eyes.
It’s Darth Vader, not “Anakin with Yellow Eyes.”

We’ve examined at length the unorthodox idea that Qui-Gon actually is The Chosen One – and the comments are well worth looking for further fleshing out and argument of that idea.

I reiterate, though, that the beauty of the discussion is that there is no wrong answer…depending on how you look at it. If people in the real world can tell me that morals are to be viewed on a sliding scale, then surely something as trivial as this can be too.

Building the Case for Anakin

The primary trouble with building a compelling case for Anakin as the Chosen One, is that in many ways it feels like a pointless debate, since it’s easy to accept.

He is the tying thread in galactic events through all six episodes of the saga and has a hand in laying the Jedi low, and then destroying the Sith (killing the true Sith convert, Dooku, and eventually the Sith Lord of All Sith Lords, Sidious).

He is conceived by the Force itself, via the midichlorians, which was supposed to be a sign from the prophecy. Remember that it is Qui-Gon’s statement on Anakin’s supposedly divine birth that stuns Windu into referencing the prophecy in the first place.

Further, the statement that I used to jump off with this series which showed the prophecy may have been misread, is one that simply can mean, “Well, we thought balance was all awesome and everything, but darned if we didn’t do the math right and figure out that we were the ones throwing things out of balance and the Force wants to clean house.”

So What Would Make It Inescapable?

Frankly, Anakin is the sensible choice for this debate for all the reasons listed above. So I try to latch on to something that makes it an unexpectedly persuasive argument in his favor.

The tiny little detail that kind of seals it is more subtle than you might suspect. Hidden in plain sight, so to speak.

It’s that the entire fate of the galaxy hinges on his personal decisions. The moment when Anakin chooses to ally himself with the Sith—and he is forced to choose, even after all the evil he has done, as opposed to passively accept—is the moment when the Dark Side specifically gains the irrevocable upper hand to take control of the galaxy again.

It’s not Windu’s death that Yoda feels in the Force. He reacts after Anakin kneels and pledges himself to Sidious. One man’s pledge has sent dynamic ripples through the very fabric of existence and changed the fate of every last man, woman, child, clone, Ewok and robot.

I believe that’s the most clear indication that Destiny and Free Will interact—at least in the Star Wars universe—the way that they interact in Frank Herbert’s Dune. There are many paths but they all pass through the same key points.

In other words, The Force was going to get back into balance one way or another and Anakin’s choices determined how. If he hadn’t saved Palpatine, would he have gone down a similar path? Would he have found a way to leave the Order and show the Jedi a new way to be?

What do you think?

Next Blog: The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Luke Skywalker

15 thoughts on “The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Anakin Skywalker

  1. Here you’re making a much stronger argument, but before I dive into it, I want to point out the wisest statement you’ve made in this (and maybe any) series: “There is no wrong answer.” As my appeal to Star Trek in my comment demonstrates, my views are based on what I want or expect to see. As we’ve discussed privately, I don’t believe Palpatine was disfigured by Windu’s deflection of Palpatine’s force lightning. Instead, I’m in the camp of, “the veil dropped,” and I don’t care what George Lucas himself says. Our personalities dictate how we interpret art, which is probably an extension of intuitive thought. In any case, I agree that there are no right answers.

    Onto the topic at hand, the thing that my comment to your last post didn’t express well is that I don’t believe it’s necessarily appropriate to equate “the one who brings balance to the force” with “the chosen one.” This is in sharp contrast to the dialogue from the prequels themselves, but equating the two lessens the impact of the term “chosen one.” I prefer to interpret the term “chosen one” as the individual who individually personifies some great change. That means that everyone else, however important, is an also-ran. That is, everyone else is just part of a complex chain of events that leads us to the change, but not the change itself. So, many people could “bring balance to the force.” Anakin and Padme brought us Luke (and Leia). The council approved Anakin’s training. Qui-Gon brought Anakin to the council in the first place. Shmi gave birth to Anakin. Shmi’s mother gave birth to Shmi. Is Luke’s great-grandmother the Chosen One? Without her, we wouldn’t have a new Jedi order. Well, that doesn’t make her the Chosen One.

    So from my perspective, could Anakin himself represent the change? You’ve pointed out some elements to the story that suggest it. Whereas Qui-Gon brings about a single change to the way things will be, and only for a select few, Anakin changes everything. Anakin’s actions *often* seem to have a direct impact on the known universe in ways we don’t see from anyone else. This is a much stronger argument, though ultimately one that I’ll reject in favor of the subject of your next article.

    So while my opinion is just my own and doesn’t resolve the primary issue here, I’ve at least proven one thing: As I don’t care neither what Lucas thinks nor how the script reads, if I’m not objectively wrong, then clearly there can’t be a wrong answer. 🙂


      1. Sorry, but I can’t tell you why you’re wrong without telling you what’s wrong about it, and by extension, what the right answer is, and by further extension . . . [cranial explosion]


    1. Your argument is clearly an argument for Luke, but then it seems to hinge on two things. First, it could have been Anakin, but in the end, he didn’t live long enough after his redemption to help establish the new order, and would likely have had to have been executed as a war criminal anyways. There’s no way the rebels could let “Lord Vader” live, even if he’s the one who killed Palpatine.

      Second, that Luke goes on to do wonderful things after VI. That is definitely the assumption, but then, what are the actions of the non-corporeal Anakin in the future? He seems to surely have a role that may yet be as profound as Luke’s or more so (using only the movies as source material. I’m not an EU person either).


      1. The difficulty for me is, Lucas actually declared his intent to move into a “multi-media” approach in the mid-1990s (Shadows of the Empire) so at what point does EU become “official” and at what point do you disregard it? Do you choose sources as official in an a-la-carte fashion (I certainly have).


        1. My problem here is that at some point, it seemed that Lucas had intended a follow up trilogy as well but abandoned that idea. The prequel was kinda concrete. It was definitely going to be about Anakin’s fall. The follow up is a lot more open. Yeah, it is about rebuilding, but that is a much wider topic, and I don’t trust the EU to come up with that unless it is Lucas feeding it directly himself. I read the first post Jedi book and thought it tried too hard and didn’t really gel. So, I gave up on the EU at that point. What Lucas would have done is a mystery but now the waters are muddied.


          1. Well, the warmly-embraced Clone Wars cartoon is technically “EU” but Lucas is an in-the-writing room producer guiding where the story goes. As such, it’s sort of torching previously-established EU material and fits in directly with the story in a very intentional way.

            Post-Jedi EU is, sadly, largely dreck and I won’t go near it. I gave up a while back. There are those that enjoy it immensely though, and so long as nothing comes out in movie form to contradict it directly, it “stands” in the timeline.

            Lucas may insist that he never really had an idea for a third trilogy, but the extant liner notes for my original 1980 pressing of the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack says otherwise.


  2. Both interesting arguments, but it really depends on what you mean by “balance”. An argument could also be made that Obi-Wan himself is the Chosen One.

    He knew about Anakin’s turning, and ultimately had to have known about his survival, as well as Palpatine’s role as Sidious. The lore regarding the Sith (“Always two there are, a Master and an Apprentice”) made it clear that at any given time, the dark side would be represented by the Rule of Two.

    So sure of Anakin’s ability to fill one of those two roles, did Palpatine, through his manipulations over time, command Anakin to kill his rival for the role that he (Palpatine) saw for him.

    So the dark side kept itself limited.

    Now on to the Jedi. There were thousands across the galaxy. Again, through Palpatine’s manipulations, were almost all of them wiped out in almost one fell swoop. Any that survived Order 66 were methodically hunted for years and eliminated by Anakin (Vader).

    Setting aside any EU novels, where several Jedi escaped the purge rather handily, in the films themselves, you are led initially to believe that only Obi-Wan remains. But he knows that Yoda survived as well. That means two Jedi, and two Sith. Then Obi-Wan begins to train Luke. Though not a full Jedi in “A New Hope”, Luke had shown an aptitude for use of the Force, as well as an ability to learn new skills. At the very least, he was a novice Jedi when Obi-Wan was killed by Vader.

    And that brings me to the crux of my point. Assuming that Luke could be considered a novice, that would allow that there were 3 Jedi (Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda) at the time of 2 Sith (Vader and Palpatine). Obi-Wan consciously surrendered his life to Vader. He made sure Luke saw him do it. But he seemed totally at peace at the time he died a violent death.

    Obi-Wan’s death brought into numerical balance the light and dark sides of the Force (Luke and Yoda, and Vader and Palpatine). This balance led to the full training of Luke by Yoda, and set into motion the events that led to the destruction of the Empire.

    Following strictly the events described in the movies, it was Obi-Wan’s action of allowing his death at Vader’s hand that ultimately led the Force into balance, and allowed the light side to triumph.

    Through his accepted death, Obi-Wan brought the practitioners of the Force into numerical balance, and set into motion the events that led to the full destruction of the Sith, making him a candidate to considered the Chosen One.


    1. Obi-Wan is a part of the plan, but he fails a few criteria. This doesn’t mean he isn’t necessary to the prophecy, just that he isn’t the “Chosen One.” The conclusion of the series is where I’ll go into more detail on it.


  3. Maybe he brings balance ot the force by planting his seeds in Padmé and causing her to have twins. Maybe THAT was his density (and yes I did spell that wrong on purpose – Back to the Future)


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