It may not be the only reason why the original Star Wars trilogy was a hit with adults and kids, but the straightforward story pulled right from a children's book didn’t hurt. No need to get bogged down in politics or star systems, just know that you're rooting for the young rebels taking down the evil, planet-exploding Empire. As an added bonus, the movie’s hero managed to turn his father back to the light, with the two taking down the powers of evil together!
Or did they? It’s a question that the new trilogy will probably answer, if The Force Awakens is anything to go by - and yes, there will be SPOILERS for Episode VII in the following article. But to understand the real meaning of Star Wars, studying the messages sent by the entire saga is key – and if you catch the hidden story at its core, you might even guess what’s coming in the next chapter of the epic in a galaxy far, far away.
Keep in mind this is only our theory, and hopefully the proof we bring forward might make you see Star Wars in a completely different way. That’s the plan, anyway, in our latest docu series: The Hidden Truth Behind Star Wars.
Starting At The Middle
By now most Star Wars fans know that the first movie, A New Hope was actually the fourth chapter of George Lucas’ original story, but it’s easy to see why he thought it was the one most likely to win over movie audiences. Take away the spaceships and lightsabers, and Luke Skywalker is your average fantasy hero: born from nothing, but with a good heart, recruited by a wise old wizard, and trained to be the great hero he was always destined to become.
Director George Lucas admitted from the very start that he was just copying classic stories and archetypes for Luke’s heroic journey (with a large emphasis placed on Joseph Cambell's work on the subject, specifically "The Hero With a Thousand Faces"). As Luke's role as the galactic savior took shape, becoming a glorious Jedi Knight, even his father Darth Vader couldn’t help but see the light. The trilogy ended with Luke saving the day, ushering in The Return of the Jedi and conquering the forces of evil for good. At least... that’s what we thought.
Until Lucas decided to go back, and tell the REAL beginning of the story, re-defining Luke’s journey in more ways than fans may even realize.
The Real Story of Anakin Skywalker
While the second half of Lucas' six-part Star Wars story saw Darth Vader return from the Dark Side to the Light, the first half of the story was the exact opposite, showing his fall from light to dark. In many ways, revealing that Anakin, not Luke, was the true heart of the overall story. In fact, Luke’s own journey became a perfect echo of his father’s.
Beginning his life as Anakin Skywalker, he too lived on an isolated desert planet, existing unnoticed by the galaxy's authorities and influencers until The Force intervened, guiding yet another old Jedi to him: Qui-Gon Jinn. A Jedi who would see him as important, possibly even the savior of the galaxy, and try to recruit him to fight a growing darkness decades before his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi would do the exact same thing for this young boy's own son.
But Luke was only important because he was Anakin’s son – Anakin was important for a completely different reason.
If you believe the Jedi (and Shmi Skywalker) in the films, Anakin was born from The Force itself, destined to become the Chosen One, a prophesied person who would finally bring balance to The Force. To the Jedi, that meant defeating their enemies, the Sith, once and for all – and hopefully, the most dangerous, disciplined practitioners of the Dark Side along with them. When you combine both trilogies, Skywalker and his son fulfilled the prophecy together - perhaps acting as 'The Chosen Ones' - but it wasn’t easy.
The two heroes didn’t just face the same journey, but the same choice: with the future of the galaxy on their shoulders, would they choose the Dark Side to keep their loved ones close (finally achieving the family they had longed for, and protecting it), or the Light, for the good of the galaxy?
It’s important to point out that this central question isn’t ever stated as 'Good vs. Evil' - just Dark and Light sides of the same idea. After all, the Jedi inform Anakin that love, even the purest form between a child and its mother, leads to the Dark Side. Not an easy idea for the average viewer to agree with, and even worse, it’s a desire to protect his wife and unborn children that completes his fall.
When you factor in the admission that George Lucas took inspiration from humanity’s earliest stories, philosophies and narrative for the Star Wars saga, his description of The Force sounds more like the Eastern model of Yin and Yang than a simplified 'bad guys vs. good guys.'
Yin & Yang... & The Force
Everyone has seen the symbol for Yin and Yang, an iconic element of Chinese mythology and philosophy, but the actual meaning of the duality can be hard to discern from The Force. As the legend goes, all creation began as chaos, populated by two powerful, opposite forces. Rather than fighting, the two reached a balance, and out of them was born the first human. Sound familiar?
To be clear, one of the forces wasn’t evil or good, just opposite. Where one may be dark or old, the other is white and youthful. Different teachings may favor one side over the other, but only a balance between the two can bring peace. The Jedi are looking for essentially the same thing, but miss one key point: both sides are equally important, and the struggle back and forth between the two isn't unrest - it's balance.
There’s another major clue that The Force follows the same rule, and you can find it by looking at the Yin and Yang symbol directly. Notice that the black and white sides aren’t just balanced, but formed around a perfect circle of the other at their core. It’s the same with the forces of good and evil in Star Wars: the Jedi and Republic claim to be good, but fear, paranoia, and control take root in the prequels – and in a literal sense, it's the Emperor who is actually leading them in disguise. In the original trilogy, Darth Vader sits in the heart of the Dark Side, but his son can see that he’s still good at heart.
These similarities show what most people miss about the Star Wars story: it’s not a tale of good winning over evil; just The Force swinging back and forth. It’s family that sends Anakin to the Dark Side, but it’s family that pulls him back. And if there's any sign that the Jedi were truly wrong about the whole "love is bad" thing, it's the fact that Luke's victory is only achieved by the unwavering love for his father, and in his friends.
The Force, according to the series, created Anakin not to be good or bad, just posed with a choice to shift things off balance - before his own children were was lost, then found, to shift it back. Take this meaning to heart, and it's as much bad news as good; Luke thought the fight was over at the end of Episode VI... but The Force had other ideas.
The Force Awakens
Since shifting The Force out of balance is a Skywalker trademark, then Episode VII's reveal that things were not getting better three decades after Luke's victory really shouldn’t have been a surprise. Where Luke relied on Anakin to fight back the Dark, the new trilogy will apparently show that Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia skywalker, relied on Anakin to help the forces of oppression and hate grow stronger.
Again, another hero on a desert planet - Rey - is pulled into a galactic mission when The Force finds a way to drag her into the battle between Light and Dark, and even gets her own wise old man to guide her path (this time a smuggler, as opposed to a wise old Jedi). The mentor meets the same end as Qui-Gon Jinn and Ben Kenobi before him, sadly, once again leaving the hero to rely on family - real or adopted - to restore balance to The Force.
And just to make sure we're repeating the same story perfectly, the final scene of The Force Awakens sees Rey finally arrive to learn her true potential - again, claimed to be "more powerful than she knows" - with a new mentor: Luke Skywalker, completing the cycle once more.
The Force's True Purpose
Take away the specific political struggles and personal journeys of the original six Star Wars movies, and they tell one story: after thousands of years of conflict between the Sith and Jedi, the Emperor rose to shift power back to the middle. The Force had created Anakin to make this swing off balance possible, and Luke arrived to once again set things right. Family helped Luke achieve victory, and as the franchise was handed to new creators, family was shown to deliver the most crushing blow many years later, when Luke's nephew and apprentice turned against him.
Whether Rey is or isn’t related to the Skywalker clan, she’s walking the path that Anakin and Luke did before her. If the ways of The Force keep up, Rey should forget about defeating the Dark Side once and for all, and stick to the task at hand (stopping Kylo Ren and his mysterious mentor). After all, the next age of peace, or age of conflict will be on its way not long after.
And odds are, a Skywalker will be at the center of it – not on the side of good or evil, just Light, or Dark… exactly as The Force wills it.
This theory makes total sense when you look at the full Star Wars saga. The Force, just like the Yin and Yang, it continues the idea of a perfect balance of Good and Evil, Shadow and Light, The Dark Side and the Light Side… you get the idea. But one side needs the other side to exist. It’s expected that the new trilogy will follow the same path as the two before it, even if J.J. Abrams has taken some heat, with fans accusing him of simply copying the previous stories.
But taking the actual message at the heart of Star Wars, it would seem that the path for The Force Awakens was laid out long before. According to the hidden truth of The Force explored so far, it's clear that there was only one story to tell... since there's just one story to tell.
That’s our perspective on The Force, and it’s one that’s harder to come by when the Star Wars story's only told by one side of the struggle. What do you think? Have we missed any key points or parallels? Let us know in the comments, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.