- "Fully defeated by just anyone, the dark side cannot be, but only by the Chosen One. And who might be this Jedi? Know I do not, but not yet born is he or she. This much, sense I can. A vessel of pure Force the Chosen One will be, more powerful than any Jedi in history."
- ―Yoda, from the Great Holocron
The prophecy of the Chosen One was an ancient Jedi legend that foretold the coming of a being who would restore balance to the Force. The idea of balance of the Force, a central tenet of the Jedi Order, referred to the ideal state in which the Force existed in nature, namely as the light side. According to Jedi dogma, the presence of the dark side corrupted and destroyed this natural balance, and the Jedi viewed it as their duty to restore it. The prophecy was one of hundreds of obscure legends maintained by the Jedi Order, though its origins and actual content remain unknown. It was thought to have been created by the earliest Jedi philosophers, after the creation of the Galactic Republic but before the Jedi assumed an active role in it.
- In the time of greatest despair,
- a child shall be born
- who will destroy the Sith
- and bring balance to the Force.
One of the oldest prophecies contained with the Jedi Temple Archives on Coruscant, the Prophecy of the Chosen one was suspected by Jedi Master Sooloot to have originated from the time of the First Great Schism. Sooloot speculated that in its original form the mention of the Sith was most likely not present, and that the Sith was added to the text to give it more clarity as some later date. Analysis of the text clearly detailed the birth of one strong in the Force, conceived by the midi-chlorians themselves and a vessel of pure Force power who would ultimately bring balance to that mystical energy field through their actions of vanquishing the Sith. Grand Master Fae Coven cautioned those who studied the prophecy into interpreting the idea of balance correctly; describing it as a fulcrum, Coven insists that good will not accept evil. Instead, the dark side has nothing to do with and is not present in the balance. The balance is in fact the Living Force, the circle of life and the symbiosis that exists within the natural order of the universe. The dark side, through agents such as the Sith, acts as a cancer on the Living Force that must be excised by the Jedi. Because of the raw strength and power of the Chosen One, Grand Master Coven believed that such a being would exist outside of the authority of the Jedi High Council as they would exist as an agent of the Force in its purest form.
However, as the Sith were believed destroyed at the Seventh Battle of Ruusan, many Jedi began to question whether the prophecy had any meaning in the modern era. The prophecy was not explicit but the Jedi assumed that the Chosen One would be of the Order, due to the prophecy's being contained within ancient holocrons of the Jedi. But it would later come to pass that Anakin Skywalker would fulfill the prophecy of the Chosen One after 23 years of conspiring with Palpatine to effectively eradicate the Jedi Order in 19 BBY as part of the Great Jedi Purge.
Another, similar prophecy existed among the Celestial group known as The Ones, although it instead focused on literal balance in the Force and required that the Chosen One succeed the Father once the latter had become too old to continue restraining the Son and the Daughter, the embodiments of the Dark side of the Force and the Light side of the Force, respectively, as too much of either would spell disastrous consequences for the galaxy at large.
History of the Chosen One
In the waning days of the Galactic Republic, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn discovered a young slave boy named Anakin Skywalker on the desert planet of Tatooine. Jinn believed the boy could be the Chosen One himself, due to his extraordinary ability with the Force—brought on by his unusually high midi-chlorian count of over twenty thousand in each cell of his body—and his apparent virgin birth by Shmi Skywalker. Darth Plagueis of the Sith also discovered the boy's existence, and was disturbed that in his Grand Experiment, he inadvertently created the very thing that would destroy the Sith.
Despite Qui-Gon's belief of the boy's true purpose in the galaxy, the Jedi High Council was not entirely convinced, and forbade Qui-Gon from training Anakin. However, after Jinn's death on Naboo, his former Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, took Anakin as his apprentice. The fact that a Sith Lord slew Qui-Gon may have indicated to the Council that, with the Sith returned, the prophecy could still be completed.
Although Anakin Skywalker's powers grew as the years passed, he began a slow slide towards the dark side of the Force, in part due to the increasing influence of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, someone Anakin thought of as a friend and mentor. The High Council was still dubious that Anakin was truly the Chosen One, and Yoda himself even mused that the prophecy could have been misread, and that Anakin could not have been the one destined to bring balance. This assumption became a conviction when Skywalker fell to the dark side and, as Darth Vader, was partly responsible for the fall of the Jedi Order.
The destruction of the Jedi plunged the galaxy into darkness, with the Dark Lords of the Sith in control. Obi-Wan Kenobi, during his confrontation with Vader on Mustafar, stated that he believed Anakin was indeed the Chosen One, but that his destiny had been altered, and the prophecy left unfulfilled. Yoda and Obi-Wan then looked towards the offspring of Anakin to one day overthrow the Sith, possibly hoping they would fulfill the prophecy instead.
It transpired, however, that the prophecy was still to be momentarily fulfilled; decades later, above the moon of Endor. There, Vader stood witness to a confrontation between the Dark Lord of the Sith, Palpatine, and Vader's own son, Luke Skywalker. When Palpatine unleashed violent Force lightning upon the boy, Anakin Skywalker returned and turned against his Sith Master in a violent attempt to save Luke's life. It was this conscious choice that fulfilled the Prophecy and brought a temporary balance to the Force. Skywalker killed Sidious at the cost of his own life, and in doing so, fulfilled the prophecy by destroying the Sith leadership, his Master's original body and himself.
Having embraced the Light side of the Force once again, Anakin Skywalker passed away, and left his son to continue the teachings of the Jedi, to maintain the balance that he had restored. His mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, accepted him as the Chosen One and agreed to teach him how to become one with the Force.
Behind the scenes
It is believed by some that the prophecy of the Chosen One is connected to the prophecy of the "Son of the Suns", as mentioned in the second draft script of what became Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope:
- "…And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as THE SON OF THE SUNS."
- ―Journal of the Whills, 3:127
This, however, was written in 1975, when the prophecy of the Chosen One had not been developed, and is actually referencing the actions of Luke Skywalker, not his father. This specific prophecy was eliminated in future drafts, but the name and general concept found its way back into canon, but with no reference to the Skywalker family—instead it is a more generic prophecy from Thyrsus, and a Talz title belonging to Thi-Sen.
In an interview, Lucas compared the difference between the light and dark sides as being a symbiotic relationship and a cancer. A symbiotic relationship is one which benefits both parties and in which neither is harmed, whereas a cancer takes without giving back, eventually causing the death of both parties. However, this was contradicted by the Mortis arc from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where the Father specifically states that the Chosen One is supposed to tame both the Light Side and the Dark Side and is supposed to replace the Father upon his death, with the implication that too much of the Light Side would have disastrous implications for the Galaxy at large. George Lucas, in the commentary for Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three, also indicated that the concept of bringing balance to the Force involved keeping the selfless (which he referred to as the light side) and the selfish (referred to by him as the dark side) in check.
Some fans question whether or not the Prophecy was fulfilled, or if it was very effective. In the EU, several dozen Sith and Dark Side practitioners were alive and well when Palpatine was temporarily killed on Endor. Palpatine himself returned to a cloned body a short time later. The Empire managed to retain some of its power, while the Galaxy remained in conflict after conflict. Over a century later, galactic peace would be seriously threatened by a dark side collective known as the One Sith.
However, if one were to view the balancing of the Force in an alternate light, ending at just after Episode VI, the prophecy was fulfilled by settling the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith dating back 5,000 years. The Great Hyperspace War marked the first major conflict between the Jedi and Sith, with its aftermath resulting in continued conflict between the two sides to determine the ruler of the galaxy. Darth Revan, a key figure of the post-great hyperspace war era, was a Sith Lord who passed on his knowledge and teachings of the dark side through holocrons, that would be discovered more than a millennia later by Darth Bane. Darth Bane would go on to create the Rule of Two which over the next millennia would achieve its ultimate goals of destroying the Jedi Order as it stood, as well as complete galactic domination. With the destruction of the Sith, its Empire and the Old Order, a New Republic subsequently took its place with a New Jedi Order to replace the old. With a new galactic rule, which has yet to be fully unified under one power, and the destruction of a multi-millennia old Sith legacy, the galaxy (and by extension the force) can be interpreted as in balance with the prophecy fulfilled.
In addition to the above, the nature of the creation of the Chosen One was also briefly called into question in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Although The Phantom Menace claimed that the Force conceived Anakin completely without outside influence, Palpatine implied in Revenge of the Sith that Anakin may have been the result of Darth Plagueis' experiments to create life by manipulating Midi-chlorians. The novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis combined both views: Although Plagueis was indirectly responsible for Anakin's creation, the Force conceived of Anakin as a way to stop Plagueis and the Sith.
Although not the Jedi Prophecy itself, a very similar prophecy was foretold by the Heinsnake Cult in Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin, where it foretold an armored individual who would end up wiping out both the Jedi Order and the Galactic Empire and in its place establish full anarchy.
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- "Matt Lanter & the Rigors of Mortis!"—Star Wars Insider 123
- "Secrets of the Force"—Star Wars Insider 123
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
- "Family Tradition"—Star Wars Insider 130
- "Luminous Beings Are We"—Star Wars Insider 131
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars: Beware the Sith (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- "Authors of the Expanded Universe: Chris Claremont"—Star Wars Insider 146
Notes and references
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Overlords"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
- ↑ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- ↑ The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Page 210
- ↑ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary
- ↑ "Star Wars Q&A"—Star Wars Insider 74
- ↑ Galaxy at War
- ↑ Trespass
- ↑ The Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas and Bill Moyers
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three