When audiences first saw the original Star Wars trilogy, we knew that these films were only three episodes of a longer journey, with the debut of the prequel and sequel trilogies expanding the narrative in exciting ways. Those first three films made it clear that Darth Vader was a terrifying villain, though the debut of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace claimed that the future Sith Lord was prophecized to "bring balance to the Force," which he seemingly accomplished when he killed Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Now that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has seen the return of Palpatine, the film has some complex implications about the prophecy that could either support or deny the original prophecy, from a certain point of view.
WARNING: Spoilers below for The Rise of Skywalker
Earlier this year, the novel Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray confirmed that the full prophecy hinted at in The Phantom Menace reads, "A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored."
Ahead of the release of The Rise of Skywalker, fans were concerned that Rey would prove to be the actual "Chosen One," negating the events of the first six films in the Skywalker Saga. The events of the new film do confirm how Anakin's legacy did contribute to Palpatine's demise, if only in a subtle way.
Back in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata handed Rey what was referred to as "Luke's lightsaber," which audiences will know previously belonged to, and was constructed by, Anakin Skywalker. When he embraced his new identity of Darth Vader, Anakin left his lightsaber behind, likely having no idea it would come into Rey's possession. Regardless of who owned it in the future, the weapon was indisputably created by Anakin and Anakin alone.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine attempts to defeat Rey with his Force lightning, which Rey initially deflects with a lightsaber. It isn't until the hero uses two lightsabers, the ones formerly belonging to Leia and Luke/Anakin, that she is able to reflect the lightning effectively enough to vanquish Palpatine. While Anakin might not have directly contributed to fulfilling the prophecy and overpowering Palpatine, but both having created the lightsaber and fathering Leia, who created her own lightsaber used against Palpatine, means that, without Anakin, Rey wouldn't have had those specific lightsabers to battle the villain.
Another explanation for the prophecy, however, is that Anakin's redemption and his actions against Palpatine in Return of the Jedi fulfilled the prophecy and, at least briefly, restored balance to the Force. In this regard, it wouldn't matter what happened after those moments in that film, as the prophecy was proven true, only for the galaxy to have a lot more in store for its inhabitants. In the time since the events of Return of the Jedi, it's possible that new prophecies had emerged, as well as prophecies having existed, and being fulfilled, long before the Jedi began to believe in them.
No matter which theory you align with, nothing about The Rise of Skywalker negated the notion that Anakin Skywalker was the "Chosen One" who would help bring balance to the Force.4comments
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
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