Qui-Gon Jinn initially discovered Anakin Skywalker as a child-slave on Tatooine. Would Anakin still have fallen to the dark side if Qui-Gon were his master?
I subscribe to the YouTube channel Star Wars Theory where a video was done that posits an alternative course of events where Qui-Gon Jinn survived the duel on Naboo and went on to train Anakin Skywalker in lieu of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The YouTube channel has a compelling, full on fan-fiction story depicting events as if Qui-Gon had trained Anakin and while entertaining, I will be delving more into the idea of what could have developed differently within the universe rather than the events as depicted on YouTube.
If Obi-Wan had fallen to Darth Maul’s crimson saber instead of his master, ”The Chosen One” prophecy would have been fulfilled quite differently in my opinion.
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A Jedi individualist
Qui-Gon Jinn was notoriously known as a maverick Jedi. His own master, Count Dooku, was also known to buck commonplace trends of the Jedi Order. Jinn frequently challenged the status quo of the Jedi High Council and was a consummate student of the Living Force.
He did not subscribe to all of the notions within the Jedi Code and sought to find his own answers instead of merely accepting what he was given by his High Council masters.
It was his challenging mindset that ultimately precluded Qui-Gon from becoming a member of the High Council and considering how things eventually developed for the Jedi, being totally decimated by one of their very own, perhaps Qui-Gon Jinn’s ”outside-of-the-box” way of thinking could have prevented that devastation.
A more prepared mentor
It was only by the request of Qui-Gon’s dying words that Obi-Wan Kenobi was reluctantly allowed to take young Anakin on as a Padawan in the first place. However, Kenobi had only just recently shed his own Padawan learner status and was essentially overwhelmed from the very beginning as he took on the daunting task of teaching the Jedi Way to the Chosen One.
Had Anakin been Jinn’s apprentice, he would have inherited a seasoned Jedi Master with more than enough experience and insight to better navigate the difficulties in instructing such a talented pupil.
Photo Credit: [Star Was: The Phantom Menace] Lucasfilm
A more flexible approach
As Anakin grew older, he developed feelings of angst and he often began to verbally and emotionally rebel from his Jedi peers and leadership. In part, it was due to the way he was being handled by Obi-Wan. Despite fostering a strong relationship with Anakin, Kenobi was a bit stringent with his approach at times and would often reprimand his gifted protégé whenever mishaps occurred.
Eventually Anakin developed a disdain for his master’s methods and began to believe that they were largely fueled by Obi-Wan’s jealousy of him.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s laid back guidance would have been more suitable for Anakin’s unorthodox training. Skywalker needed more specialized leadership due to his delicate dynamic. He had already been deemed as “too old” to begin Jedi training and was already filled with sadness from having to leave his mother enslaved on Tatooine and, not to mention, his fascination with Padmé Amidala after meeting her at an impressionable age.
Those were two complex scenarios in which Anakin’s leadership ultimately failed him. He was too afraid to share his true feelings with the Jedi, which further played right into the manipulative plans of Senator Sheev Palpatine who, unbeknownst to anyone else at the time, was a powerful Sith Lord. The former senator’s sinister plot laid the groundwork for the destruction of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Galactic Empire with himself as installed its ruler.
A different course of action
As I mentioned above, Anakin didn’t feel like he was able to bring his two largest dilemmas (the fear of losing/loss of his mother and burgeoning feelings for Padmé) directly to the attention of the ones who allegedly had his best interests at heart at the Jedi Order. Had he been able to do so, then the long-haul master plan of Palpatine would definitely not have come to fruition the way that it did.
At the very least, with Qui-Gon as his master, Anakin would have had a person whom he could confide in and not have to worry about that information being used to diminish his standing within the Jedi Order.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
With Qui-Gon’s history of challenging the status quo, he could have approached the Jedi Council on Anakin’s behalf and potentially have negotiated in Anakin’s favor. Something like that could have led to an unprecedented level of change within the halls of the Jedi Order.
Or, Qui-Gon could have leaned on what he had already learned from the will of the Living Force and advised Anakin on what actions he should take instead of doing things in secret such as trying to rescue his mother from the Tusken Raider camp or marrying Padmé.
Anakin’s trust in Qui-Gon and his overall methods would have prevented him from seeking out and receiving advise and acceptance from the one person in the universe (Palpatine!) that shouldn’t have had his ear in any way whatsoever. Qui-Gon would have already let it be known where Anakin stood in his eyes and there would be no way that he would have let the chosen one of the ancient prophecy descend into the dark side of the Force. Qui-Gon discovered Anakin himself and he would have likely rather seen Anakin depart from the Jedi Order than to let him be deceived into becoming Palpatine’s newest apprentice.
And though Senator Palpatine had the wool pulled over folks’ eyes for a long time, I feel as if it would have only been a matter of time until Qui-Gon unearthed the truth. After picking up on Palpatine’s not-so-subtle attempts to prey off of Anakin’s vulnerabilities and insecurities, he would have been able to surmise Palpatine’s true identity as the Sith Lord that the Jedi were trying to pinpoint.
And for those of you who think that I’m giving Qui-Gon Jinn entirely too much credit, just remember that he is the same Jedi who showed Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi how to achieve immortality by retaining their consciousness through the Force.
An 800+ year old Jedi Master – the Jedi Master of them all! – was taught about something that he didn’t even know was possible from a man who was seen as too headstrong to be a member of the Jedi Council.
It seems to me that the Jedi High Council could have used Qui-Gon’s counsel more than they ever knew!