In the Skywalker Saga, we learned that one of its most iconic characters, Anakin Skywalker, is fatherless. Or is he? There are several viable candidates who could be Anakin’s dad. The most notable candidates include Qui-Gon Jinn, Palpatine, Darth Plagueis, a stranger, and the Force.
There is evidence to varying degrees that Qui-Gon, Palpatine, Plagueis, a stranger, or the Force is Anakin Skywalker’s father. Fans have long theorized and provided such evidence, though one of the top five candidates listed above wins hands down.
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Is Qui-Gon Anakin Skywalker’s Father?
In The Phantom Menace, we learn that Anakin Skywalker’s mother, Shmi, claimed to have become pregnant with him and that he had no father.
Qui-Gon acted as Anakin’s father figure during the events of The Phantom Menace. Darth Maul, however, killed Qui-Gon and the father-son relationship never manifested.
While there is no foolproof evidence suggesting Qui-Gon is Anakin’s father, fans have theorized circumstantial evidence surrounding Qui-Gon. For one, they are both Force-sensitive. Jedi aren’t forced to take a vow of celibacy, they just may not form an emotional connection.
While it is theoretically possible Qui-Gon could be the father, the evidence is spotty at best. Qui-Gon never stepped foot on Tatooine in Canon or Legends before The Phantom Menace.
Overall, the Qui-Gon is Anakin’s father theory has more evidence against it than it does for it.
Is it a Character We Never Met?
There is always the possibility that Anakin’s father is a character we have yet to meet. Some fans interpret Shmi’s quote, “there was no father,” in a few ways. The likeliest possibility is that Shmi had a partner and the two split up before she realized she was pregnant with Anakin.
The perceived father could have left her, or vice-versa. This could have resulted in a nasty split between Shmi and the man, but there are also a few drawbacks to this theory. If Shmi was only seeing one man at the time, she would have told Qui-Gon about him.
Some fans speculate that Shmi simply didn’t acknowledge the man’s existence, but such an argument holds little water. Anakin’s midi-chlorian count was the highest ever recorded, and Shmi knew he was gifted.
Is it Palpatine?
One striking piece of evidence suggesting Palpatine is Anakin’s father is that the Chancellor and later Galactic Emperor became the Jedi’s father figure in Revenge of the Sith.
We know that Palpatine learned how to influence life under Darth Plagueis, raising the possibility that he could have used that influence to create Anakin’s life.
Darth Vader (2017): Issue 25 also provides striking evidence that Palpatine is the father. One of the comic’s basic plot points involves a vision of Palpatine. In the vision, Vader sees Palpatine around Shmi.
There is also evidence against the Palpatine theory, with the strongest evidence coming from George Lucas’ denial that the Sith Lord is his father. Also, Anakin’s vision in Darth Vader (2017): Issue 25 stems from paranoia, so it remains disputed whether what he saw was real.
However, if you conduct an online search, you will find several sources either claiming Palpatine is Anakin’s father, or even outright confirming this. But it still doesn’t take away George Lucas’ denial of this theory.
Is it Darth Plagueis?
Darth Plagueis is another popular theory. While we know Palpatine killed the Sith Lord at some point before The Phantom Menace (32 BBY), we do not know when the event occurred. If Palpatine committed the act before Anakin’s birth year in 41 BBY, we can rule out Plagueis.
Plagueis was as much of a scientist as he was a Sith Lord. And since he could manipulate midi-chlorian counts, Anakin could have been one of the many experiments Plagueis conducted.
However, one drawback to this theory is that if Plagueis manipulated midi-chlorian counts to impregnate Shmi, he doesn’t need to be Anakin’s biological father. The same holds true for Palpatine.
Is it The Force Itself?
The most popular and most evident theory is that the Force is Anakin Skywalker’s father. Fans point to the fact that his high midi-chlorian count could only be achieved by the Force. It was also through the Force that Shmi became pregnant with Anakin.
This is also the most logical explanation, considering George Lucas’ preferences when creating Star Wars. Lucas liked to use classic tropes, one of which involved the hero’s journey, which we saw in The Original Trilogy regarding Luke Skywalker.
The hero’s journey involves steps like the call, refusing the call, and crossing the first threshold, something we see from Luke in A New Hope. Another common trope is the virgin birth, something those well-versed in the Christian Bible are familiar with.
Since Shmi stated she became pregnant with Anakin without a man, juxtaposed by his high midi-chlorian count and Lucas’ preferences, the safest bet is that Anakin is a product of the Force, which could symbolize the virgin birth.
While there is compelling evidence regarding Darth Plagueis or Palpatine, it is inconclusive since no proof exists that Plagueis experimented to create human life by controlling midi-chlorians.
Palpatine managed to create life via cloning, as is the case with his cloned son, Dathan, Rey Skywalker’s father. Dathan was also born in 12 BBY, implying Palpatine did not know how to create life in Anakin’s birth year of 41 BBY.
In 2007, George Lucas even stated the Force is Anakin Skywalker’s father. So if the Force conceived Anakin, did it do so on a whim, or was there a reason behind it?
Prevailing Theory that the Force is Anakin’s Father
We know Anakin Skywalker is the subject in the Chosen One Prophecy, which originated in ancient times. It was quoted from an ancient Jedi Mystic as saying, “A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance of the Force be restored.”
This doesn’t rule out that either Darth Plagueis or Palpatine tried to manipulate midi-chlorian counts to create the would-be life. But the Force prevented Plagueis’s attempt to create a Sith Lord with a high midi-chlorian count, balancing the light with the darkness of Plagueis’ efforts.
From what we know about Darth Plagueis and his ability to manipulate midi-chlorians to create life, the Force would naturally match it to strike the balance that is Anakin.
It also fits that Plagueis (or Palpatine if he killed Plagueis before 41 BBY) had a hand in bringing Anakin to life, but not in a sense that he would be the boy’s biological father. Ultimately, the Force is what caused Anakin’s birth.
The Force is Anakin Skywalker’s father. As the prophesied Chosen One, the midi-chlorians created him and impregnated Shmi in the process, likely as a response to Darth Plagueis or Palpatine’s attempts to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.
When Plagueis or Palpatine tried to influence the midi-chlorians to create a powerful Sith Lord, the midi-chlorians instead thwarted the attempt. This fits with both Plagueis’ storyline and Palpatine’s knowledge that his master taught him.
It also fits the phrase, “born of no father,” in the original prophecy, and even Palpatine’s quip to Anakin in The Phantom Menace, “We shall watch your career with great interest.”.
Sion Fawkes has been covering Star Wars since January 2022, expanding his expertise in both Star Wars Canon and Legends. When not writing, you can find Sion in the gym or running trails. He also likes watching sports and listening to audiobooks.