Star Wars Reveals Anakin Skywalker Heard - and Ignored - Qui-Gon Jinn at Pivotal Moment

A new Star Wars novel sheds new light on a turning point scene from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, confirming Anakin Skywalker's first step in his fall to the dark side of the Force and eventual transformation into Darth Vader. It's well-timed, considering Hayden Christensen's upcoming return as Anakin in the Ahsoka series and as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The moment comes in Attack of the Clones after Anakin has dreams about his mother, Shmi Skywalker, in pain. He decides to return to Tatooine to seek his mother out, learning that Watto sold her to Cliegg Lars, a local moisture farmer. Upon visiting the Lars ranch, Anakin learns that Tusken Raiders took Shmi during one of their recent attacks on the area.

Anakin takes it upon himself to attempt on a one Jedi rescue mission. He sneaks into the Tusken Raider camp and into the tent where they're keeping his mother. He finds her there, badly beaten and tortured, and she dies in his arms. In his rage, he slaughters the entire tribe of Tusken Raiders.

As the film cuts away from the massacre and back to Yoda in the Jedi Temple, Qui-Gon Jinn's voice calls out, screaming, "Anakin! Anakin! No!" Because of how the film's editing, fans have not agreed on how to interpret the scene. Did Anakin hear Qui-Gon's voice? If so, did he ignore it or not recognize it? Or was it only Yoda who sensed the fallen Jedi, learning of Anakin's turn to the dark side at the same time as he learned that Qui-Gon was still alive in the Force?

The upcoming Star Wars Novel Queen's Hope by E.K. Johnston provides clarity. A new excerpt from the novel -- the third in a trilogy focused on Padmé Amidala -- released on finds Padmé and Anakin on their wedding day. Before getting married, Anakin pays his respects to Qui-Gon at the shrine built on the planet honoring Qui-Gon's sacrifice, having died at Darth Maul's hands there years earlier. At that moment, Anakin recalls hearing Qui-Gon's voice on Tatooine and ignoring it:

"He'd heard Qui-Gon's voice in the desert, begging him to listen to his better nature, not to give in to his hatred. He hadn't listened. At the time, he'd told himself he was imagining it, but he knew he was lying. If Qui-Gon was out there, somehow, Anakin owed him an apology. And he would always appreciate the Master's advice.

"But he found nothing. Anakin looked deeper. There was so much fighting in his future, but it was all for the good of the Republic, for order. Maybe that was what Qui-Gon wanted him to see. There was always a way for him to make it right."

It isn't surprising to find that Anakin does some mental gymnastics to justify his actions in respect. Either way, that's one more Star Wars mystery solved and a clearer picture of how deep Anakin's fall to the dark side was.


What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Star Wars: Queen's Hope goes on sale on April 5th.

A previous version of this review said that Shmi Skywalker was sold to Cliegg Skywalker at Skywalker Ranch instead of Cliegg Lars at Lars ranch. We regret the error, which has been fixed.