What if Anakin Skywalker Never Turned to the Dark Side?

Darth Vader and George Lucas
What if Annakin hadn’t become Darth Vader in Episode III? Well, he’d have never gotten to to Cannes with George Lucas, for one.

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This question originally appeared on Quora.

Question details: After notifying Mace Windu in Episode III of Palpatine’s alter-ego, Anakin Skywalker was ordered to stay in the Jedi Council Chamber as Windu and three masters arrest the Chancellor. However, the young Jedi knight changed his mind and went to Palpatine’s office to assist and became Darth Vader. Imagine if Anakin waited in the chamber, how would the events turn out?

Answer by Ken Miyamoto, Working screenwriter:


After reading the initial question, without the details listed, my first and foremost reaction was that Anakin Skywalker NOT turning to the Dark Side would have had drastic consequences in the galaxy far, far, away. 

I first thought that if Anakin had not fallen to the Dark Side, and in turn had he not become Darth Vader, then it is likely that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine would have, just the same, become Emperor after he would have ordered the clone troopers to kill the Jedi.

Two things could have happened from then on, I thought. Either Palpatine would find another Jedi or Force user to come to the Dark Side and do his bidding OR Palpatine would have just utilized the Empire that he created, lead by Grand Moff Tarkin, to wreak havoc on the galaxy and attain the power that we see in the ensuing original trilogy of episodes IV, V, and VI.


Anakin would have likely been killed by the clone troopers, along with the other Jedi. However, perhaps he would have escaped. He would have taken the pregnant Padme with him. He would have needed to get as far away from the eventual Empire as possible, so perhaps they would have gone with Yoda to Dagobah?


So Yoda, Anakin, Padme, and the twins escape to Dagobah. Knowing Anakin and his reckless ways, he wouldn’t last too long there.  Vengeance would be in his eyes. Yoda would try to stop him, but not by force (or THE Force). No different than how he tried to convince Luke to not go to rescue his friends at Cloud City.

Anakin would go on a mission to overthrow the Emperor. An assassination mission would be likely. Now if the Emperor hadn’t found an apprentice by then, Anakin would likely end up in a throne room with the Emperor. A duel would ensure. But thanks to the Emperor’s crafty ways of manipulation, he could very well turn Anakin to the Dark Side right then and there, filling him with lies about the Jedi. And in that case, we’d be right back where Revenge of the Sith ended, with Anakin now as Darth Vader, although likely without the robotic body because there would have been no duel with Obi-Wan (unless that came later).


If the Emperor HAD found an apprentice, then Anakin would have dueled with them, mirroring Return of the Jedi, with the new apprentice in the Vader role and Anakin in the Luke role. Anakin would likely prevail, but then it would likely go back to the Emperor seducing Anakin to the Dark Side after he likely would have to embrace his anger and hate to defeat the apprentice. So we’d be back to Darth Vader and the Emperor together … as the prophecy said … later bringing balance to the Force.


But Luke and Leia would likely have grown up with Yoda and Padme. Together. Yoda would have surely trained them in the ways of the Force, so now we’d have two Skywalker children that would eventually become Jedi Knights and Masters.


Padme would be alive and well and she’d surely be a leading force in the eventual Rebellion, pitting her and her children against her fallen love.

Now for the sake of argument, let’s say that Anakin didn’t go after the Emperor and he stayed on Dagobah with Padme and the twins. He likely would have raised the twins himself and clashed with Yoda as far as their teachings in the ways of the Force because, again, we know Anakin.

So then two more ripples happen. 

If Yoda had to confront Anakin, perhaps Yoda would have killed him in an epic duel. If so, then there would be a secret Padme would have to keep about who killed the twins’ father. They would likely find out the truth and, given that they had the genes of Anakin, they wouldn’t be too happy to learn that the Jedi Master who trained and helped raise them was actually the person who killed their father.  At least one of them, likely Luke, would give into his anger. If Luke didn’t manage to kill Yoda because of that, perhaps he would not find out until Yoda died, with Padme confessing the truth about what Yoda did. 

So now Yoda would be dead and gone. The Jedi virtually wiped from the galaxy due to the Emperor’s order. Who is Luke going to learn from? The revelation would likely lead him towards the Dark Side, luring the Emperor, and now we have Luke Skywalker as Darth Vader perhaps. And who knows what would have happened to Leia. Killed by her own brother? Perhaps escaping with Padme to run the Rebellion? Who knows? 


If Anakin would have killed Yoda in that epic duel, then it would be the Skywalker family of Anakin, Padme, Luke, and Leia. Having killed Yoda, Anakin would likely feel the Dark Side just around the corner. Guilt or no guilt of what he did. He’d struggle with it for sure.

That struggle would trickle down to the twins, Luke and Leia. Anakin would train them poorly, leading to all three of them being vulnerable to the Dark Side, luring the Emperor to them. And since we know that with the Sith, only a master and apprentice can prevail, then the Emperor would have to choose an apprentice from the three of them. 

Or perhaps Anakin, Luke, and Leia would would forgo the Dark Side, overthrow the Emperor, have Padme lead the newly constructed New Republic, and all would be well. OR would it? The Jedi would be different. Evolved. Born of Anakin’s natural defiance to its order.  Perhaps the Gray Side, rather than outright Dark or Light side. 

Lastly, Luke never meets Han. Leia never meets Han. Chewbacca never meets them either, nor does he befriend Threepio and Artoo. Boba Fett is never killed, at least by any of the characters we know and love. The same goes with Jabba the Hutt. He’s likely still alive. 

Who knows where Obi-Wan is? He’s likely off somewhere, living under the hidden guise of Ben Kenobi, although not on Tattooine (He’d have no reason to be there with Luke not in the mix). He could be an old hermit at any end of the galaxy.

Considering all of that, the possibilities are endless. 


We go for the more simple answer, further considering the details of the question itself. If Anakin didn’t go into that chamber as the Jedi confronted Palpatine, then Mace Windu would have defeated Palpatine, killing him. 

If you remember, Mace had him. He was ready to kill him. It wasn’t until Anakin appeared, listening to Palpatine’s pleas for help as Mace was ready to kill him, when Anakin cut the arms off of Mace, plunging him out to his death. 

So if Anakin doesn’t go into that chamber, Mace kills Palpatine, eradicating the galaxy from the Sith (I’m not paying attention to Expanded Universe or even the thought that there are likely more Dark Siders out there to rise up). 

So the Sith are gone. 

BUT, Anakin is the prophecy, isn’t he? Let’s assume he is. So all seems well. Well, Anakin is Anakin, so he’d likely still defy Mace, Yoda, and the Jedi council. They sensed he was dangerous. Even going so far as denying him a seat on the council. 

Now the Jedi have killed who Anakin thought was his friend, Palpatine, Obi-Wan would be alive and well. Perhaps he could have controlled Anakin, but it’s likely not, since again, he’s the prophecy and the prophecy says that he will be balance to the Force. With no Sith, there is no balance. Without Light, there is darkness. Without darkness, there is light. That doesn’t define any sort of “balance”, especially considering the fact that the Force is everything. It surrounds us. Penetrates us. Etc.  Light and Dark have to exist together. Good and Evil. So Anakin HAS to turn to the Dark Side IF he is the chosen one. 

And that then pits Obi-Wan against Anakin. And as we saw, Anakin loses that fight. And with no Emperor to come save him, he dies. 

Then, the Jedi must await the Sith to re-emerge. 

In the end, it just goes to show that George Lucas wrote himself and the Star Wars saga into a corner when he came up with this whole Chosen One/Balance of the Force mumbo jumbo in the prequels. 

Before, with the original trilogy, it was simple. Good defeats evil. 

With George’s whole “Anakin being the Chosen One to bring Balance to the Force,” all goes to sh-t once Palpatine and Vader are dead. 

If George’s definition of Balance of the Force means that the Sith were the teetering factor of the Force, hence taking it off balance, then sure, in the end, Anakin fulfilled that prophecy by killing the Emperor to save Luke, eradicating the galaxy of the Sith’s teetering factor and bringing true balance. 

But I hardly think that was his intention.

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