How powerful it would be for Anakin Skywalker to come before his doomed grandson. Luke admitted, in The Last Jedi, that while he would confront his nephew, he ultimately knew he could never save him. I also saw Revenge of the Sith over the weekend, and, as always, I kept an extra close eye on Anakin. Never mind the direction that Hayden got, but stop looking at it as a movie, and look at it as a chapter in the saga and you can see how Anakin was in the middle of the most dangerous game of tug of war there’s ever been. When Palpatine appoints him as his representative on the Jedi Council, Anakin believes his time to step up to the rank of Jedi Master has come. After all, he’s proven himself throughout the Clone Wars time and time again. Not only is he denied that rank, but the council uses Anakin’s newfound status as Palpatine’s advisor to spy on Palpatine himself. Things begin to pile up for Anakin. Obi-Wan distrusts Palpatine, Anakin has lost and failed his apprentice, Ahsoka, because of the Jedi’s unfounded distrust in her, his lingering guilt over killing a clearly defeated Count Dooku, Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council willingly kept Anakin in the dark for pertinent assignments during the Clone Wars, Padme wants Anakin to persuade Palpatine to end the Clone Wars, not to mention Anakin is plagued by dreams of Padme dying in childbirth. Can you see how Anakin’s slip to the dark side did not happen in the span of a few days?
You could argue that Anakin’s greatest weakness is actually what makes him so remarkable: the fact that he cares for those who are important to him. It did lead to his downfall, in desperately trying to save his wife and child(ren), but his transformation into a Sith Lord hinged on the fact that he tried his best to honor the Jedi Code. After being distrusted by the council for years, to the point where he accepted the council’s assignment to spy on Palpatine, much to his unenthusiasm, Anakin tried and tried to honor the Jedi Code despite the flaws of the Order’s leadership.
On that fateful day when Mace Windu was about the strike Palpatine down, Anakin pleaded that outright killing the Chancellor is not “the Jedi way”. After all, the council was loyal to the senate, not its leader, according to Obi-Wan. Now imagine, had things gone differently that day and Palpatine went to trial. How does a trial of a Sith Lord, a Force practitioner, hold up in court? Mace was right in a sense. Palpatine did have control of the senate and the courts. A trial would be a fool’s errand, despite being the logical and acceptable route to take. Mace’s mistake, you could say, exactly mirrors Luke’s contemplating killing Ben Solo in his sleep. Mace could have seen everything terrible that would transpire if Palpatine lived. In a moment of pure instinct he thought he could stop it. Unlike Luke, however, Mace Windu decided to go all in, forsaking the Jedi Code and swung his lightsaber for the kill.
Imagine this from the mindset of Anakin Skywalker. In the span of a few seconds, I believe he came to realize that the Jedi Code he tried to honor was perverted, or never existed in the first place, if one of its highest ranking leaders had forsaken his oath in an effort to kill, despite the reason being from a position to do good. The Jedi really are evil. There is no such thing as a Jedi Code. I was too late to save my mother. The council doesn’t trust me, like the council didn’t trust Ahsoka. Ahsoka is gone. I failed my mother. I failed my apprentice. The Jedi Order failed me. I will not fail my wife and child.
I can’t say exactly what was running through Anakin’s mind, but you can’t say he wasn’t burdened by so much. Interestingly, the Jedi Purge also mirrors Kylo Ren’s belief that the past should die. “Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become what you’re meant to be.” It lends credence to Darth Vader’s assertion to Obi-Wan, “I have brought peace, justice, and security to my new Empire,” in a galaxy where the Jedi Order failed. In that sense, I do believe it was the will of the Cosmic Force for Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader to be two sides of the same coin. The Living Force manifested as this physical entity in order to bring balance to the Force. I also believe the Jedi Order had to be destroyed for that to happen. I love that Lucasfilm itself even hints at this through Bendu in the third season of Star Wars Rebels. “Perhaps it is the will of the Force that the Jedi and all your kind perish, and I serve the will of the Force!”
Possibly without realizing it, Vader’s hand in the destruction of the Jedi was necessary for the greater good of the galaxy. Kylo’s mission to “finish what you [Vader] started”, may be interpreted as a misconstrued notion to bring order to the galaxy. After all, “At the height of their power they allowed Darth Sidious to rise, wipe them out and create the Empire. It was a Jedi Master who was responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader.”
“And a Jedi who saved him.” There, my readers, is where I will bring things to a close. Rey’s retort to Luke Skywalker. It was a Jedi who saved Darth Vader, with all of Luke’s flaws, being the furthest away from what’s considered a conventional Jedi Knight, and yet Luke could not bring himself to destroy is father. Not because of some code, not because the fate of the galaxy was on the line, but because he could relate to his father’s anguish. Up until their final duel, Luke could sense the conflict in his father, the call to the light tugging at him.
Anakin let the past die when he returned to the light. I really want him to come back to appear before Kylo to tell him of his own failure. Perhaps it could even take a joint conversation between Ben, Luke, and Anakin to set Ben on a better path. It’s time for a Jedi, a Jedi who failed but served the will of the Force, to influence Kylo instead of the Sith for a change. What a dynamic to see that on the big screen. Supreme Leader Snoke was enticed by Kylo Ren because of his ideal combination of light and dark. He grew angry with his apprentice in The Last Jedi when he became unbalanced. Anakin, having walked both those extremes, would be the perfect teacher for Ben, emotionally and spiritually I think. Anakin is the prophesied Chosen One to bring balance to the Force. I’d get shivers knowing that his destiny doesn’t stop in the physical world, but that he can still restore a balance of clarity and peace in his grandson, and the galaxy again, from beyond the Cosmic Force.
I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’d like to think that it’s possible for something like that to happen off screen. Imagine this: now that Luke Skywalker has passed into the Cosmic Force, he is at long last reunited with Anakin, and that makes me very happy and very curious at the same time.
What are your predictions for Star Wars: Episode IX? Until then, check out this great video on the tragedy and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. For more on Star Wars be sure to keep your eyes on Mammoth Gamers.