George Lucas Mishandled Star Wars’ Chosen One Prophecy
Even though George Lucas crafted the Star Wars prequels with the idea of a prophecy influencing Darth Vader’s fate, the concept of a “Chosen One” was mishandled by the movies as they progressed. Instead of enriching the doomed story of Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One prophecy introduced in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace served to confuse and muddle the story more. It was already known that Anakin would become Darth Vader, so the prophecy should have added embellishments to his fall to the dark side, rather than a complicated take on destiny.
Because of the prophecy’s lack of explanations in the movies, the excitement around Anakin’s potential as the Jedi’s Chosen One fizzled out. Instead of elaborating on exactly how he would alter the galaxy’s fate, the movies focused more on his personality traits and relationships with other characters. In retrospect, all the mentions of the Chosen One prophecy early on in the prequel trilogy have an anticlimactic ring to them considering the lack of payoff.
George Lucas Never Actually Revealed The Chosen One
Though Anakin was generally acknowledged as the Jedi’s Chosen One, the films never officially confirmed that he was the person to whom the prophecy was referring. Only Qui-Gon and Palpatine ever clearly vocalized their belief in Anakin’s importance before his fall to the dark side. Throughout several quotes and interviews, it’s been confirmed that Lucas intended Anakin as the Chosen One in the prequel trilogy, but for some reason never explicitly says as much in the movies. Obi-Wan’s last words to Anakin after their duel on Mustafar are as close to any confirmation the series ever gives.
In fact, by the end of the prequel trilogy, there was confusion as to exactly how Anakin had eventually brought balance to the Force come Return of the Jedi. Some theories circulate the idea that Anakin balanced the Force by “balancing” the number of Jedi to match the Sith’s Rule of Two, while others suggest the concept refers to the death of Darth Sidious and the end of the Galactic Empire. Each theory requires a different interpretation of what it really meant to “balance” the Force.
Since the Chosen One prophecy itself was never even revealed in the movies, there was only Qui-Gon’s word that Anakin fit the description. Other theories point to Anakin’s son Luke being the one who ultimately balanced the Force when he helped Darth Vader find redemption. The point remains that after over 45 years, the identity of something as important as the franchise’s Chosen One shouldn’t be surrounded by so much doubt and confusion.
The Chosen One Was Largely Irrelevant After The Phantom Menace
Not only did the movies fail to confirm that Anakin was the Chosen One, but the prophecy itself went unmentioned for most of the series. Though Qui-Gon made a huge deal about Anakin and the prophecy, his death marked the end of the Jedi’s (and the movies’) discussions about it. After The Phantom Menace, Anakin just became a Jedi, rather than a potential prophecy fulfillment. Episode II – Attack of the Clones focused instead on details that would be important once Anakin became Darth Vader – his rage and raw power, frustrations with the Jedi, and romance with Padmé – but not his role as the Chosen One.
The Star Wars prequels centered on the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker as he became Darth Vader. The original trilogy shifted the focus away from Vader and put the narrative on Luke Skywalker’s efforts to defeat the Emperor and redeem his father. The prophecy is never mentioned in the original trilogy, but the actions taken by Luke under the direction of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and even Darth Vader point to the importance of balance within the Force. The idea of destiny has always been intertwined in the original Star Wars trilogy as well, so the prequels’ introduction of a prophecy should have fit right in.
Particularly after the release of the Star Wars sequels, the Chosen One prophecy has only become more confusing. If Anakin was meant to bring balance to the Force, why is Darth Sidious still the dark side’s driving force 30 years after Anakin’s death? New theories have been created interpreting the events of the sequels as Rey being a Chosen One, but the movies (once again) never actually say so. This makes a bit of sense, considering Lucas initially intended for Leia to be the sequels’ Chosen One.
Lucas’ Only Real Exploration Of The Chosen One Was In The Clone Wars
Though the movies tend to avoid the discussion of the Chosen One and the prophecy surrounding him, The Clone Wars never shied away from pushing Anakin’s storyline into the territory of examining his role as someone who will eventually drastically impact the fate of the entire galaxy. In season 3, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka follow a mysterious distress call to a strange planet where they encounter physical representations of the Force.
The Mortis arc stresses the complicated interpretation of “balance” between the light and dark sides of the Force through its Father, Son, and Daughter characters. Beyond their basic representations, the symbolism of Anakin’s role as the Chosen One gets more complicated as the layers of the episodes reveal its many different sides. The events of Anakin’s future are mirrored by the characters on Mortis, but his individual role is left up to interpretation. Though the episodes seem to clearly lean into the prophecy and Anakin’s unavoidable fate, the events are forgotten by the characters after they leave the planet.
Star Wars Is Still Exploring The Chosen One Prophecy Today
Star Wars has never limited itself to the screen. The novels that enrich the world of Star Wars continue to explore the many details that Lucas planted in the series, and the Chosen One prophecy is no exception. With books like Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray focusing primarily on the history of the Jedi, the Chosen One prophecy is getting more attention than ever.
Master & Apprentice takes place eight years before The Phantom Menace, and it provides a new look at the relationship between Qui-Gon and his then-young apprentice, Obi-Wan. As The Phantom Menace highlights, Qui-Gon is very interested in prophecies, and the novel outlines his opportunity to study them.
The book contains several Jedi prophecies, one of which describes the Chosen One specifically. Below is the prophecy referred to by Qui-Gon in The Phantom Menace, though it’s the first time the text has been explicitly spelled out in Star Wars canon:
Only through sacrifice of many Jedi will the Order cleanse the sin done to the nameless. The danger of the past is not past, but sleeps in an egg. When the egg cracks, it will threaten the galaxy entire. When the Force itself sickens, past and future must split and combine. A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.
While Lucas clearly had big ideas concerning the Chosen One prophecy, the way the concept was executed only served to undermine its effect. There were many ways this concept could have been explored and fleshed out in the movies. Instead of being an exciting new detail about Anakin Skywalker, the prophecy was just another criticism of the prequels. Luckily, it creates a lore opportunity for the Star Wars world to continue expanding.