With Star Wars: Episode IX slowly inching ever closer, we take a look at how one of the series’ core goals, to achieve a balanced Force, has pushed itself into prominence heading into the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga.
As we inch ever closer to the release of Star Wars: Episode IX, the sheer volume of rumors surrounding what is sure to be one of the biggest movie experiences of the past decade continues to grow.
Hosts of leaked concept images, rumored plot points, and prospective trailer release dates flood social media and beyond. Something gaining the most theories, however, is as small as a minor detail in the grand scheme; the title. Son of Darkness, The New Order, and Ashes of the Empire all gained some notice, but the suggestion that caused needle to move the most online was Balance of the Force.
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Balance of the Force is one far from confirmed (given the tenuous links surrounding it’s source, take with a large pinch of salt), however it’s a suggestion that certainly got me thinking. Not necessarily about the title, but about the balance of the Force itself, and how the definition of “balance” within the Star Wars universe is something that has changed.
The easiest place to start when discussing “balance” in relation to the Force is The Prophecy of the Chosen One. The Phantom Menace establishes that the Jedi Order, in its current form, believed that a single Jedi, “the chosen one”, would destroy the Sith, and bring balance to the force forever. It’s clear throughout the prequel trilogy George Lucas’ definition of balance rests solely on Anakin Skywalker, the prophesized Chosen One, destroying the Sith, and leaving the Force to be used for pure and light motifs.
As we know, Anakin did not do this (at least, not in the prequel trilogy). Luke Skywalker, however, restores balance to the Force when he turns Darth Vader from a Sith Apprentice back to the light, who subsequently defeats Emperor Palpatine, and ending the line of active Sith users in galaxy there. Balance restored, job done. Right?
The Knights of Ren
The sequel trilogy frames Snoke, Ben Solo, and the Knights of Ren, as the heir to the Sith mantle. While not Sith by name, their role and beliefs basically mirror those of the Sith. And, in that position, have once again unbalanced the Force.
The First Order, helmed by Kylo Ren, begin to dismantle the New Republic, with no equal or opposition to the two (confirmed) force users atop the military chain. Until we meet Rey.
I won’t recap the events of The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, as I’m sure you’re all aware of what goes down across those two films. The most important thing to take from those films, however, is a seemingly throw away taunt by Snoke to Rey in the throne room aboard the Supremacy.
“Darkness rises, and light to meet it. I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise.”
What we’re dealing with here isn’t a prophecy, or the idea that the light is the only way to achieve balance. This is the concept of true balance: in order to achieve balance, there must be equal parts light and dark. This is certainly reflected in Luke’s reasoning behind his disappearance.
As much as Luke was ashamed of his role in creating Kylo Ren, he realized the only way to end the feud between the Jedi and the Sith, thousands of years old at this point, was for there to be no force manipulators. Of course, True Balance can only be achieved if EVERYONE agrees to not use the force in any fashion, which Kylo Ren and Snoke aren’t too quick to agree to.
Photo Credit: [Star Wars: The Phantom Menace] LucasfilmWhen you take this concept, and apply it to basically all known Star Wars, it’s one that makes total sense. Take The Rule of Two, for example. After the Sith essentially destroyed themselves thanks to infighting in pursuit of power, Darth Bane pledged to the Rule of Two. There would only ever be two Sith Lords active at any one time, a Master and an Apprentice, to easier escape the gaze of the Jedi.
This would allow them to plot their revenge in secret. Consider a line from Mace Windu to Yoda in Attack of the Clones, however: “I think it is time we informed the Senate that our ability to use the Force has diminished.”
Apply what we know from the Sequel Trilogy, and True Balance, and you either have a situation where the Force is balancing light and dark by actively making the Jedi weaker, or equalling the power of the Sith Lords to that of the Jedi. So, the Master and the Apprentice were as powerful as 10,000 Jedi Knights.
Assuming True Balance is the THE true form of balance, it makes sense of the common complaints and questions that tend to arise when discussing the two films from the Sequel Trilogy so far. How did Rey become so powerful without any training? She has been granted the same power as the dominant Dark Side users. “Darkness rises, and light to meet it.” In this scenario, Rey has been risen to meet Snoke and Kylo Ren.
True Balance is a concept that also allows for Star Wars, as a series, to continue indefinitely. No matter how many times a dark force manipulates the Force, balance will always be restored in the form of an equal of light. It’ll be interesting to see how Episode IX deals with the notion of balancing the Force. Based on everything we know, however, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for a title.
Hopefully Episode IX will shed further light on what it means for the Force to be truly balanced on December 19th, but what do you think? Let me know your thoughts and theories down below!