Anakin Wouldn’t Have Turned To The Dark Side In The High Republic Era

Star Wars has just introduced the High Republic Era – and it’s pretty clear Anakin Skywalker wouldn’t have fallen had he lived in that timeline.

Anakin Skywalker probably wouldn’t have fallen to the dark side if he had been born in the High Republic Era. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn discovered a powerful Force-sensitive child on the desert planet of Tatooine. Qui-Gon swiftly became convinced Anakin Skywalker was in fact the Chosen One, a being destined to bring balance to the Force.

The Jedi assumed this meant Anakin Skywalker was destined to destroy the Sith, but they had failed to understand the insidious nature of the dark side. The prequel trilogy is the story of Anakin’s fall; the fear Master Yoda sensed within the child in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace turns into anger in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and then is transformed into outright hate in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Anakin’s strong attachments to others proved to be his downfall, with his mother’s death breaking the Jedi Padawan and his fear for his beloved Padmé leaving him vulnerable to Palpatine’s manipulations. It certainly didn’t help that the Jedi seemed to have nothing to say to their troubled young colleague, with Yoda offering up what must have seemed like trite platitudes.

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Related: Star Wars: The Chosen One Prophecy Explained

Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi introduces readers to the High Republic Era, a time set 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It’s immediately clear Anakin probably wouldn’t have fallen to the dark side in that time; while the Jedi still believed attachment to be dangerous, they were much more relaxed about the subject. One prominent scene in Light of the Jedi sees two of the central Jedi in the book remembering their time together as Padawans, in which they’d apparently been rather intimate with one another. “Shared moments as Padawans, tolerated and understood and even common – but things to be left behind once one ascended to become an adult in the Order.


Star Wars Light of the Jedi Cover


From an in-universe perspective, there’s a reason Anakin Skywalker was so bad at romance in the prequel trilogy. It’s because being in the Jedi Order, he had nobody to show him how to handle these difficult emotions, nobody to teach him how to conduct himself and properly understand boundaries. Desperate for intimacy, he appears to have fantasized about Padmé throughout his entire time as a Padawan, explaining the intensity of his emotional reaction when he hears her name in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. But in the High Republic Era, Anakin would have been surrounded by other Jedi who understood the need for intimacy, and he would have potentially even been able to meet that need with fellow Padawans, ultimately learning to move beyond it.

Of course, there’s a reason Anakin Skywalker was not born in the High Republic Era. The Force was not so badly out of balance at that time, and so the Chosen One was not needed. Indeed, the failure to understand attachment may well be one of the ways the Jedi themselves wound up out of balance by the time of the prequel trilogy, helping explain why Anakin was destined to destroy the Jedi so they could begin again.

More: The High Republic Show Is The Biggest Test Of Star Wars’ Future

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Updated: January 6, 2021 — 4:33 pm

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