Star Wars: How strong was Palpatine’s influence over Anakin?


Of course Palpatine stealthily manipulated his surroundings in order to rise to power but just how deep was his influence over his coveted apprentice?

From the very first time Chancellor Palpatine met young Anakin Skywalker during the events of Episode I, the shrewd politician kept a keen eye on the youngling’s Jedi progression. As audience members watching the Prequel Trilogy, we already knew how their relationship ended but being able to see how their uneasy alliance formed from the very beginning was intriguing.

The scene where Anakin pledged his allegiance to the relentlessly evil Sith Lord in Episode III perhaps could have been better executed in the eyes of some moviegoers but, in the grand scheme of things, it was virtually the most significant moment in all of Star Wars canon.

More from Editorial

Sheev Palpatine’s secret guise as Darth Sidious finally came to the forefront and after he anointed Anakin with his Sith name of Darth Vader and directed the execution of Order 66, the total devastation of the Jedi commenced.

Emperor Palpatine played all of his cards perfectly in order to lure Anakin to the dark side of the Force but what if his influence went even further beyond his political scheming, half-truths, and outright lies?

When Qui-Gon Jinn first crossed paths with a 9-year-old Anakin in The Phantom Menace, the master Jedi asked the boy’s mother, Shmi, who his father was to which she replied that there wasn’t a father. From there, Jinn theorized that Anakin could have been conceived by the midichlorians.

Palpatine later relayed to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith that his own master, Darth Plagueis, could wield the Force as an influence over the midichlorians in order to create life. Since he learned everything that his master knew (and more!) could Palpatine have been the one responsible for Anakin’s conception?

More so, beginning in Episode II and continuing on into Episode III, Anakin experienced trouble sleeping and was haunted by terrible nightmares. First, he had visions of his mother’s suffering back on Tatooine and then he had visions of his wife Padmé dying during childbirth. I feel like Anakin’s anguished visions of the two people he loved the most in pain were due to continued machinations from Palpatine in his effort to continuously, and subtly, influence Anakin’s choice to betray the Jedi.

Anakin took decisive action as it related to both of his visions but both scenarios yielded the same result. In the case of his mother, Anakin raced to Tatooine in order to rescue her from the camp of the Tusken Raiders but he was too late to save her life. He got to Shmi in just enough time to untie her and to have a brief conversation with her before she ultimately succumbed to her injuries.

In his emotional rage, Anakin ignited his lightsaber and proceeded to slaughter the Tusken Raiders men, women, and children alike. The hatred for them that he showed in the immediate aftermath of his mother’s death came as a result of him channeling his darkness for a sinister purpose and those were definite steps toward the dark side.

In the case of his wife, Anakin’s entire choice to either remain with or go against the Jedi hinged on whether he could still learn what he thought he needed from Palpatine in order to save Padmé’s life. Once he helped Palpatine kill Mace Windu however, Anakin was resigned to doing whatever he needed to save his wife, which included killing the younglings in order to grow his dark side capabilities.

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

In both cases, the women that Anakin loved died and their deaths drove him deeper towards darkness which is exactly what Palpatine wanted. So, in my mind it’s entirely possible that Palpatine was engineering everything down to the tiniest of details, to include Anakin’s dreams. He knew that Anakin was purely devoted to his wife and he expertly parlayed that knowledge to his advantage.

A few months ago, I wrote an article on the circumstances  of Padmé’s death where I considered the possibility of Palpatine using Force drain to funnel life away from her so he could transfer it to a gravely injured Anakin as he was being permanently outfitted in the black armor that served as his mobile life support unit.

If Palpatine was indeed the architect of every detail as it was shown to us in the prequels, it seems as if Anakin didn’t have any choice but to turn. Palpatine’s scheming and evil influence seemingly knew no bounds.

Next. Illustrating Anakin Skywalker’s fall – movie vs. novel. dark

What do you think? Agree or Disagree? Let us know in the comments below!