Asking what would happen if Anakin never turned to the dark side is one of the most popular questions in the Star Wars community.
We know what happened when Anakin betrayed the Jedi and became Darth Vader, so you may wonder what Star Wars would have become had Anakin not turned to the dark side. Today, we will outline a scenario.
In this scenario, had Anakin never turned to the dark side, you would see some variation in The Original Trilogy and major changes in The Prequel Trilogy.
Anakin’s emotions led him to the dark side so, in the scenario below, he will learn to better control those emotions.
Table of Contents
- What Factor Led to Anakin Turning to the Dark Side?
- What Could Have Prevented Anakin From Turning to the Dark Side?
- Would Order 66 Have Happened?
- What Would The Original Trilogy Look Like?
What Factor Led to Anakin Turning to the Dark Side?
In the Skywalker Saga, Anakin started showing signs of turning to the dark side in 32 BBY during The Phantom Menace.
We know Anakin was emotionally attached to his mother, Shmi, and when he left her for Coruscant, he could never find peace with his decision to leave her behind.
In Attack of the Clones, Anakin was tempted to find his mother after he had disturbing visions of her in severe pain. After talking with Watto and Cliegg Lars, Anakin found out Tusken Raiders had abducted Shmi.
When Anakin located Shmi, who died moments later, he unleashed his anger by killing the Tusken Raiders. Shortly after, he married Padme, who he had grown emotionally attached to in The Phantom Menace.
The Jedi Code forbids emotional attachment like falling in love or getting married, since such emotions can lead to a downward spiral of fear, anger, and ultimately, hatred. This leads to the dark side.
Since Anakin experienced all of these emotions, they ultimately led him to betray the Jedi and turn to the Sith in 19 BBY.
Anakin’s Emotions Led to Faith in the Wrong Man
That year, he once again had troubling visions, this time involving Padme dying in childbirth. He turned to Chancellor Palpatine, who became the closest thing to a father figure in Anakin’s life, as his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, took on more of a brother-like role.
When Anakin put his faith in who he later discovered to be the Sith Lord controlling the Clone Wars, it was only a matter of time before he fell to the dark side and adopted the persona of Darth Vader.
This is important, because had a brewing father figure like Qui-Gon Jinn survived, Anakin most likely would not have fallen to the Sith.
What Could Have Prevented Anakin From Turning to the Dark Side?
Had Anakin trained under Qui-Gon instead of Obi-Wan, he most likely would not have turned to the dark side. Unfortunately, this probably would not have stopped Palpatine, and Anakin would not have discovered he was the Sith Lord controlling the Clone Wars.
Suppose Qui-Gon survived Darth Maul; he would have become the father figure Anakin craved and would have understood Anakin better than Obi-Wan. Why? Because Qui-Gon had more in common with Anakin.
Some viewed Qui-Gon as a Gray, given his outspoken nature and critique of the Jedi. Obi-Wan was a stickler to the Jedi Code, something we saw in The Phantom Menace when Qui-Gon lobbied to train Anakin despite the latter being overaged.
Obi-Wan went as far as to plead for his master to follow the Jedi Code. He also advised Qui-Gon not to defy the Jedi Council, something he implied Qui-Gon had done on numerous occasions.
Qui-Gon Would Have Kept Anakin From Turning
Since Anakin was not raised in the Jedi Temple at an early age, he developed more of an emotional, independent mind, something Qui-Gon would have handled better. Obi-Wan’s hardliner persona did not mesh well with Anakin’s personality.
With Anakin serving as Qui-Gon’s Padawan in this alternate timeline of events, Obi-Wan would have ended up training another.
Upon Anakin’s graduation to Jedi Knighthood, he would still train Ahsoka Tano, and Qui-Gon would ultimately wind up on the Jedi Council, replacing Yaddle, who stepped down following The Phantom Menace.
Would Order 66 Have Happened?
Order 66 would have occurred nonetheless, only Anakin would not have led the Clones into the Jedi Temple. Someone else would have. But first, let’s discuss what Revenge of the Sith would have looked like had Anakin not turned to the dark side.
At this point, Qui-Gon is sitting on the Jedi Council, and Obi-Wan gets the seat Anakin would have had.
The opening moment in Revenge of the Sith when Obi-Wan and Anakin rescue Palpatine remains the same, only Anakin kills Count Dooku during the duel instead of after disarming him.
Training under Qui-Gon doesn’t just allow Anakin to resist temptation, he is also able to handle his visions better. Therefore, he never embarked to Tatooine to locate Shmi, instead finding peace in the inevitable thanks to Qui-Gon’s help.
And he also finds peace in those visions haunting him that Padme will die in childbirth.
Yes, even if Anakin doesn’t fall to the dark side, his independent spirit is not extinguished. Anakin was still overaged when he started his Jedi training, and while he’s more equipped to handle his emotions, it doesn’t stop him from marrying.
Why? Because we know Qui-Gon, in certain circumstances, defied the Code and the Jedi Council given Obi-Wan’s remarks during The Phantom Menace. Anakin would have done the same.
Enter an Old Face…
In this version, Anakin comes to terms with his visions. Unfortunately for him, an opportunistic Maul re-emerges, angered now more than ever at the Jedi, especially Obi-Wan.
Of course, Maul’s emergence in Revenge of the Sith changes the events in The Clone Wars television series. While Palpatine will think little of Maul, he sees his former apprentice’s shocking re-emergence as an opportunity to purge the Jedi.
Mace Windu and the Jedi Council, though suspicious of Palpatine, never go to arrest him. Since he’s not falling to the dark side, Anakin never grows close to Palpatine, and therefore, never informs anyone of the man’s true identity.
Palpatine reinstates Maul as his apprentice and unleashes Order 66, killing most of the Jedi except for Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Ahsoka, and a few others.
Qui-Gon does not survive the purge as the newly rechristened Darth Maul locates him and finishes the job he started 13 years prior.
Anakin and Obi-Wan Duel Darth Maul
Darth Maul travels to Mustafar on Palpatine’s orders and carries out the job Anakin did in Revenge of the Sith’s original timeline. Anakin, Yoda, and Obi-Wan return to the Jedi Temple, kill the clone troopers, and send the beacon to stay away from the Jedi Temple to any surviving Jedi.
They uncover the hologram of Palpatine reinstating Maul, and the trio collaborate. Yoda goes after Palpatine while Anakin and Obi-Wan travel to Mustafar. Anakin and Obi-Wan duel Maul as the latter holds his own with his famed double-bladed lightsaber.
The duel reaches a climax and it’s Maul who gains the high ground. Anakin, seeing an opportunity, tries to end Maul, but instead loses his arm and legs in one swift motion. Anakin, having never turned to the dark side, dies.
Obi-Wan retreats, as Yoda did against Palpatine, but not before he takes his former apprentice’s lightsaber, leaving Maul to inform Palpatine that Obi-Wan and potentially more surviving Jedi are in the galaxy.
Padme Still Dies in Childbirth
As in the original timeline, Padme dies of a broken heart shortly after giving birth to Luke and Leia. Revenge of the Sith ends similarly to its original, with Yoda, Bail Organa, and Obi-Wan debating on where to hide Luke and Leia.
Organa takes Leia to Alderaan while Obi-Wan brings Luke to Tatooine. Yoda still goes into hiding on Dagobah and tells Obi-Wan to remain in hiding on Tatooine: “Until the time is right, disappear, we will.”
Since Qui-Gon survived longer, he ultimately discovered the “path to immortality,” allowing Yoda to train Obi-Wan on how to connect with his old master. Anakin also learns to return as a Force ghost, given his ability to deepen his connection to the light side under Qui-Gon.
What Would The Original Trilogy Look Like?
You might be asking how then, as a Force ghost, does Anakin bring balance to the Force? In this timeline, Obi-Wan never kills Darth Maul, who spends 19 years wreaking havoc in the galaxy at Palpatine’s orders and killing off remaining Jedi.
In 0 BBY, the events of A New Hope remain identical, except Maul takes Darth Vader’s role, which includes striking down Obi-Wan. Luke still destroys the Death Star, and Palpatine, long-since known as the Emperor, realizes Luke is Anakin Skywalker’s son.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda still trains Luke, but so does Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon, as the trio are now Force ghosts. Instead of Yoda taking the lead role in Luke’s training, Anakin takes it, and eventually, Luke grows strong enough to confront Maul in Return of the Jedi.
Leia Also Becomes a Jedi
In this sequence of events, there is less mystery since Anakin would have revealed Leia to be Luke’s twin sister. In this case, they both train on Dagobah in Return of the Jedi following the events seen in The Empire Strikes Back.
The duo leads the charge in the Battle of Endor and they duel Darth Maul, which impresses Palpatine, who secretly wishes they would kill Maul so he can recruit them. After dueling and defeating Maul, Palpatine tempts them into joining the dark side.
They refuse, and Palpatine strikes them with Force lightning. Or he tries to, but Luke and Leia, having trained under Anakin, Yoda, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan, are too quick for Palpatine and avoid the Force lightning. His lightning instead hits and kills Maul.
Palpatine again tries to hit the duo with Force lightning, but they block and reflect it with their lightsabers back onto the Emperor, as Mace Windu did during the original events in Revenge of the Sith.
With no Darth Maul to prevent the inevitable, the lightning kills Palpatine. Or, perhaps, he still uses his Sith magic to move his consciousness into another vessel, setting the stage for The Force Awakens.
For Anakin to remain with the Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn would have survived Darth Maul’s attack during The Phantom Menace’s closing moments. This would allow Anakin to train under a more understanding master with Qui-Gon, who would teach the boy to control his emotions.
While Anakin would still secretly marry Padme and display some deviation, his visions would not have affected his emotions. This also means Maul would have returned to the series in Revenge of the Sith, providing shock value and a massive plot twist for audiences.
Maul would kill Anakin on Mustafar, while forcing Obi-Wan to retreat. The Original Trilogy would see Luke and Leia training under Anakin, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Yoda, ultimately confronting and defeating both Palpatine and Darth Maul.
Sarah Hood is a freelance content writer and editor with a love for all things Star Wars. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, singing, and spending time in the great outdoors.