Star Wars: The Force in balance; What was the prophecy trying to say?


The Phantom Menace introduced us to The Chosen One prophecy as well as the concept of balance to the Force in Star Wars. But what does that actually mean? Will we ever understand what the prequel prophecy was trying to say, and does it matter?

When Star Wars:The Phantom Menace introduced us to the concept of the Chosen One and balance to the Force, it didn’t exactly give us a definitive explanation of the Jedi Prophecy — or what it actually said. The following two films continued to touch on the prophecy but still spoke in vague terms.

As we approach the ninth and final film of the Skywalker Saga, we still don’t have the clarity on what the prophecy meant, what balance in the force means, and most importantly, if it even matters.

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Despite the Jedi council’s reservations, Qui-Gon Was convinced Anakin was the Chosen One who would “bring balance to the Force.” Okay, that’s cool and sounds important, but what does that even mean?

It’s clear the Jedi thought thought the prophecy was meant to destroy the dark side of the force. Obi-Wan says as much as he speaks his truth around the campfire on Mustafar.

He says, “You were meant to destroy the Sith not join them. Bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.” This seemingly implies the presence of the Sith and Dark Side has ruined that balance.

When we consider the word itself, balance can mean a few things. It could mean equal weight applied on a predetermined scale, creating an equilibrium. Or, it could mean a natural state of harmony, with required conditions being met. The natural state is  balance. This second definition makes sense when applied to the Force, at least through the lens of the Jedi. If the Dark Side is a perversion of the Force’s true nature, then destroying it should restore the balance.

Okay back to Anakin.

We know Anakin was the Chosen One. George Lucas has said as much. Anakin destroyed the Sith when he cast out the Emperor and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, and restored balance, even if he did take the scenic route on the way toward his destiny.

But there have been a number of other cases that describe balance in the literal sense. In a three-episode arc from Clone Wars, Anakin is again reaffirmed to be the chosen one by The Father, The Daughter, and The Son, who  personified  the Force, the Light Side and the Dark Side respectively. The Father wanted Anakin to take his place to keep his children “in balance.” After the death of The Son and Daughter, with his dying breath the Father declares Anakin’s Destiny.

"You are the chosen one. You have brought balance to this world. Stay on this path and you will do it again for the galaxy. But beware your heart."

Why was his world in balance? Was it because Anakin killed the son, the dark side of the force? Or was it because the Son and Daughter — the Dark and Light — were on equal footing, in this case dead. The second reasoning would be at odds with the Jedi’s beliefs, but still makes visual sense.

In a meeting with the writers of Clone Wars, Lucas again emphasizes the need to suppress nature of the dark side and embracing the light. The balance is acknowledging two tendencies of the nature of the Force, and rejecting the destructive nature. He implies the suppression of the Dark Side was vital.

The Jedi were right, the Sith were wrong. We know there can’t be light without dark. That’s a fact. But George wasn’t saying the dark was needed, or necessary, but is a given. Balance always meant not to give in to the selfish tendencies of the Dark Side but embrace the light.

By the end of Return of the Jedi, everything is right in the world — until Luke fails to rebuild a meaningful Jedi order, The First Order reigns, and the Dark Side makes its presence known again.

Image via Lucasfilm

In the opening scene from The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka reiterates, “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance.”

He could mean the Jedi are needed to destroy the Dark Side. He could also mean the Jedi are needed to literally provide the balance between the two natures of the force. Snoke continues to imply this in The Last Jedi, when he declares, “Darkness rises and the light to meet it.”

That feels a little too on-the-nose for my liking but it makes sense.

The Last Jedi spends a lot of time using imagery and dialogue to depict a balance. As Rey mediates on Ahch-To, she senses all aspects of the living Force. Life and Death. Light and Dark. And when she decides to go to the creepy dark side hole in the ground? She felt perfectly at ease. She feels balanced.

So maybe balance in the force is more literal. Light needs dark, the dark needs light. Rey seems to have a connection to both. So does Kylo Ren. So did Anakin. So did Luke. This is where the prophecy comes in. We now have clarification about what the prophecy says courtesy of the Master and Apprentice novel.

The Prophecy reads:

"“A Chosen one shall come, born of no father, and through him will the ultimate balance of The Force be restored.”"

Note that there was no mention of a Jedi bringing balance, and that’s likely why the Jedi misread the prophecy. Luke alluded to it. And maybe the Jedi were arrogant and that ultimately led to their destruction. But even if that is true, weren’t Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan still right? Anakin was still, in fact, the chosen one. He defeated Darth Sidious and Darth Vader restoring balance.

But Palpatine’s laugh in the new trailer might throw a curve ball to that assumption, which makes the true nature of the prophecy and balance all the more complex.

But all of this begs the question if balance in the Force even matters. If balance was restored in Return of the Jedi, that’s definitely not the case during this current trilogy.

Is balance to the Force that important if it is so easy to throw it off its axis?

It feels like these new films are implying there needs to be a compromise between the Dark and Light side of the force, which would be a far departure from what we were led to believe during the first six films.

Is the Dark Side a perversion of the Force, whose mere presence creates an imbalance? Or is the Dark Side needed along with the Light to ensure the Force is in a literal balance between two opposing sides? Seems like the Prophecy wasn’t all that important after all.

The prophecy, the chosen one and balance is a complicated concept, with the actual characters unclear what the prophecy says or who the chosen one actually could be. I’m not sure if we will ever get the closure on the prophecy of the chosen one. Instead, they will be plenty of future opportunities to unveil a new piece of the puzzle that is the Force.

Next. 9 questions we have for Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. dark

What do you think balance to the Force actually means? Let us know below.