[Contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: Rebels episode 'Twin Suns'.]
The Prequels are a divisive entry to the official Star Wars canon. Although Episodes I-III explore the fascinating past of archetypal villain Darth Vader, certain aspects never quite jived with many fans of the classic saga. Less-irksome than Jar Jar Binks and far less-derided than midichlorians, the concept of a Chosen One actually added to (or detracted from, depending) from the overall far-away galaxy.
Although it's never explicitly mentioned where the prophecy originates, it states that a powerful Jedi will bring balance to the Force. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn staked his very reputation (and in the end, life) on his belief that Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One. Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi after him, put their faith in Skywalker’s abilities to destroy the abomination of the Sith – something which Vader finally accomplished after tossing Emperor Palpatine down a poorly-railed chasm during the dramatic conclusion of Return of the Jedi.
Vader’s final act of purification returned his spirit to the Light Side, giving him the chance to schmooze with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the Force afterlife, and brought an end to the Galactic Empire’s Dark Side reign, finally balancing the Force. Or did it? The rise of the Dark Side in Episode VII – The Force Awakens, coupled with a new spin on the prophecy introduced in the Star Wars: Rebels episode 'Twin Suns' (read our review), could cast the third Star Wars trilogy – especially Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – in an entirely new light.
“A Certain Point of View”
The startling late-season episode, 'Twin Suns', focused heavily on destiny. After communing with a Jedi Holocron, young padawan Ezra Bridger was convinced Obi-Wan Kenobi was the key to ending the Sith. With Maul’s aid, they performed a ritual, discovering that Kenobi was alive and hiding out on a planet with "twin suns." This revelation stoked the fires for a major rematch, as the episode brought the old foes together for the final curtain call. The now Zen-like Obi-Wan, stronger-than-ever in the ways of the Force, handily defeated the vengeance-infested Maul. As the Dathomirian lay dying, he finally learned of his longtime nemesis’ true intentions: Kenobi was back on Tatooine to protect the Chosen One – young Luke Skywalker.
Aside from flying in the face of everything established in the first six films, this new revelation actually makes a lot of sense. In spite of Star Wars’ at times telegraphed plot points, many aspects of the overall galaxy aren’t drawn in the contrasting colors of good and evil, right and wrong. As things stood, the Star Wars Trilogy that concluded in Return of the Jedi – more than Luke’s story or that of the other legacy characters – was the culmination of Anakin journey from prodigy to prodigal Force user. Obi-Wan's revised perspective puts a new spin on things, giving the son of Skywalker a more significant role in the entire saga.
At the same time, much like old Ben himself said, “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” 'Twin Suns' manages to keep things vague by "changing" the prophecy via assumption rather than exposition. Since Anakin not only failed to defeat the Sith. but actually joined them, Kenobi felt the children of Skywalker (and he seems to be betting on Luke) embodied the true role of the Chosen One. The Jedi Master himself laid the foundation for his own change of heart with one of his last and most heart-felt lines in Revenge of the Sith:
“You were the Chosen One! It was said you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force…not leave it in darkness!”
From that perspective, Kenobi’s interpretation of the prophecy was already in flux at the end of Episode III. Since he didn’t “live” to see Vader's final, surprising twist, his understanding of bringing balance was stained by his feelings of betrayal.
Emotion aside, Kenobi is purportedly one of the most powerful Force users alive during Rebels, and not just some kooky hermit hanging out in the desert as Luke initially assumed. The Prequel Trilogy both demonstrated his mastery of the Force and vindicated his desert “exile.” Rather than merely hiding from the Sith (which he had good reason to do), he’s watching over the son of a preternaturally talented Jedi, one that he's transferred the legacy of the Chosen One onto.
At the conclusion to Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan and Yoda were also able to commune with the living Force. Both were probably capable of communicating with Qui-Gon Jinn, and likely one-another, even through the vastness of space. In the remaining moments of his life, Jinn saw Anakin as nothing less than a source of cosmic equilibrium, hence his insistence that Obi-Wan train him in spite of Mace Windu and Yoda's skeptecism. If Qui-Gon, Yoda, and Ben spent countless hours chit-chatting in the ether, Obi-Wan might not be alone in his perspective that Luke is the Chosen One, hence Yoda's great fears as Luke runs off to face Vader preemptively.
Franchise-internal speculation aside, many fans also feel that Vader would have continued along his Dark Jedi course of action – enforcing the Empire’s might with his long shadow, red blade, and clenched leather fist indefinitely – were it not for Luke's intervention.
Rewriting the Chosen One?
The debate over the true Chosen One has always been a contentious one, though. Even though George Lucas has insisted, during a Revenge of the Sith featurette, that Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One. Of course, he also claimed that Luke Skywalker is the most powerful Jedi out there, so there are plenty of inconsistencies in his own statements about Star Wars canon. More so, as vital as Lucas is to the franchise, he’s only minimally involved in plotting its future course, at least since selling off Lucasfilm.
In that regard, Lucas may have a certain reverence within the galaxy far, far away, but his vision is limited to, for the most part, the six films he put in play. Disney has already deviated from particular aspects of Lucas’s ideas for the future. Also, if Vader is the Chosen One, or at least the only iteration of it, Luke is resigned to a minor role in his own saga – essentially the vehicle for his father's redemption – which isn’t likely what even Lucas intended for the beloved character.
If Luke's nothing more than a plot device, why make him the focus of the sequel trilogy (or Episodes IV-VI) in the first place? For that matter, if the elder Skywalker was the end-all and be-all of Force users, why would Palpatine express such interest in corrupting Luke, grooming him to “take your father’s place at my side,” especially in lieu of the Sith Rule of Two – which admittedly hadn’t really been established at that point. In light of the current state of the galaxy, it would make more sense that the Emperor sensed the raw power of his apprentice’s offspring and sought to replace Vader with a younger, even more powerful version of Vader.
Plus, if Luke is the Chosen One, as Obi-Wan fervently believed, it also gives him a vested importance in the classic trilogy and makes him absolutely vital to the current storyline.
The Chosen Ones?
Perhaps Luke really is the Chosen One. Or maybe he's merely one of many. Qui-Gon's own belief in the prophecy was merely an interpretation based on his observations (one not shared by much of the Jedi Council, either). Naturally, after Anakin's failings, and without the benefit of distant foresight, Obi-Wan's perspective is also biased by his understanding of events. Perhaps Kenobi’s communion with the living Force didn’t lead him astray after all. His conviction in 'Twin Suns' could imply more of a fluidity to the concept than Qui-Gon's take on things as well. Since the prophecy was vague in the first place, there is plenty of room for alternate meanings – something Disney is undoubtedly banking on, because it creates an infinite Jedi legacy.
One popular fan theory details the prophecy cycling throughout different generations, something loosely explored in the Clone Wars episodes where Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka dealt with Force entities on the planet Mortis. If so, each generation would have its own champion to mediate the Dark and Light sides. The prior generation’s “savior” was Anakin/Vader and the future Chosen One is (in theory) Rey – hence her hazy parentage. Unless there’s a hereditary link to the prophetic moniker, further suggesting Rey's Skywalker lineage, Luke is the odd one out.
The problem with discounting Luke is that it also resigns Obi-Wan’s perspective (and perhaps that of Yoda as well) as delusional. In all of his years of meditating, tapping into the will of the Force, Obi-Wan shows an undying conviction to his new belief. Also, if Luke is the true Chosen One, and there are no others, it makes him crucial to the latter third of the series, as well as the overall Star Wars saga: His first act brought his father back to the “good side,” tipping the balance back towards the light. His transformative gesture was then undercut by a valiant if failed attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order. Now, the Dark Side has regained prominence and is sweeping the galaxy once more.
During his own period of exile, Luke spent years collecting Jedi lore, learning from past mistakes, and meditating on the nature of the Force. The Jedi’s fire has gone out in the universe, with the exception of one brightly burning candle, the son of Skywalker. However, The Force Awakens introduced Rey and her naturally powerful abilities, someone who could be a “Chosen One” herself. She’s unquestionably the future of the Jedi legacy, but without a learned instructor, all her raw skill has nothing to hone it into an agent of change, as Obi-Wan and Yoda once did for their young ward. Once again, Luke stands as the fulcrum for good and evil in the galaxy. His ability to reestablish the guardians of peace and justice, and either reclaim his former apprentice Kylo Ren, destroy Snoke, or instruct his protege to do so, will form the crux of the third trilogy.
Is Luke truly is the Chosen One? Maybe. Could he just be one of many? That’s another distinct possibility.
At this point, the Lucasfilm Story Group is keeping things vague. Continuity guru Pablo Hidalgo himself warned fans about the limited impact of a fictional character’s belief structure on official Star Wars canon. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be the first time Disney’s iteration of Lucasfilm has altered continuity through Star Wars Rebels or in general. Obi-Wan’s personal perspective isn’t definite proof that Luke Skywalker is the Chosen One, but it offers an intriguing new interpretation of the theory – one long supported by a faction of the fan base.
Thanks to the Star Wars Story Group, there’s a growing synergy within the burgeoning far-away galaxy, one which lends validity to Obi-Wan’s view expressed in Rebels and could also point to a broader potential for the concept of “Chosen Ones.” If so, Luke, not his father, may be the most important Jedi in the galaxy throughout the series, as two of the three major legs of the soon-to-be nine movie saga are dedicated to his efforts to bring balance to the Force.
At the same time, the legacy of Anakin still hovers over the galaxy. Kylo Ren’s quest to become Vader points to yet another potential father-son-grandson fulcrum point, one which may conclude with Luke’s proper ascension to savior of the Jedi Order – and leave the door open for Rey (or even Ren) to become the next Chosen One. In the long run, it’s unlikely that Lucasfilm will ever point to Luke, Vader, or anyone else as the “official” Chosen One at this point. Hopefully, they won't make it implicit either, as much like the prophecy itself, the concept of an all-powerful counterbalance to the Force works best as an amorphous idea rather than a personification.
In the long run, fans will likely have to wait until The Last Jedi, or even Episode IX for any further clues or answers.
What do you think? Is Luke, Rey, or Vader the Chosen One, or are all of them part of the cycle? Let us know in the comments.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018