Evidence The Jedi Fell To The Dark Side 200 Years Before The Star Wars Prequels

Evidence is building that the Jedi fell to the dark side 200 years before the Star Wars prequel trilogy. When Qui-Gon Jinn discovered Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine, he recognized the possibility Anakin was the fulfillment of the Chosen One prophecy. Although the Chosen One was mentioned many times in the prequels, the text was only revealed in Claudia Gray’s novel Master & Apprentice back in 2019. “A Chosen One shall come,” some ancient prophet foretold, “Born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.

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The text raises as many questions as it offers answers. It’s still unclear, for example, exactly what “ultimate balance” really looks like – especially in light of Palpatine’s resurrection in the sequel trilogy. The use of the word “restored” is also significant, because it implies a previous state of balance that has been lost. But when exactly did the Force go out of balance in the first place? Star Wars is gradually beginning to answer that particular question, through Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative.

Related: Star Wars’ High Republic Era Explained


What Does The Balance Of The Force Really Mean?

The first clue is from an out-of-universe comment by Lucasfilm’s Dave Filoni, mastermind behind The Mandalorian era, in which Filoni discussed the balance of the Force. This is an important contribution to the debate, simply because Filoni previously worked so closely with George Lucas himself, meaning his remarks are only one step removed from the creator of Star Wars himself. Filoni explained the nature of the light and dark sides of the Force and offered important clarification on how every being’s decisions contribute to the balance of the Force.

“Ultimately, the Force is an ability that can be used selflessly or selfishly and how one chooses to wield it determines whether you stand on the dark side or light. The dark side of the Force is manifested in our greed, desire for power, and fears. And the light side of the Force is propagated by selfless action, by living in balance, by overcoming our fears. The Force naturally exists in balance; that balance is thrown out when someone chooses to give in to their fears and then spirals out of control making selfish choice after selfish choice. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”Our own ambitions can make the Force into something terrible even when our intentions might have been good. We do not always realize we are acting out of fear, or selfishness. Anakin believes he is trying to save his wife, he is afraid to lose her, he chooses to act out of his fears and try to control the situation. That moment of choice, how we act and react is so important. The choice between dark and light is often subtle and not limited to the Jedi and Sith. Everyone struggles with the balance between light and dark. The Mandalorian has a choice: do his job, find the Child and hand him over to the Empire, or take this lost child in and protect it, become it’s guardian. It is a critical choice and one that greatly impacts both their lives.”

According to this principle, the Force goes out of balance when people become increasingly selfish, choosing actions in their own interest rather than for the good of others. These actions are typically driven by powerful emotions such as fear, anger, or hatred. Every being’s choices exert an influence on the balance of the Force, but those who are powerful in the Force are undoubtedly the most significant.

The Jedi Of The High Republic Era Fell To Their Worst Fears

Star Wars Light of the Jedi Cover

Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative has traveled back to the High Republic Era, when the Jedi and the Republic were at their height. Most of the story is told roughly 200 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, a time of exploration when the Republic pressed on into the Outer Rim, with the Jedi serving as its protectors. Unfortunately, the greater the light the darker the shadow it casts; the Jedi found themselves opposed by fearful forces, a ruthless organization of space pirates called the Nihil.

But the story of Star Wars: The High Republic is not just the story of the battle between the Jedi and the Nihil. Lucasfilm has marketed this as the tale of the Jedi’s greatest fear – a monstrous creature called the Levelers or the Nameless. Jedi have always claimed they are without attachments, but in truth all they do is substitute relationships for an intimate attachment to the Force itself. The Leveler attacks that attachment, because its mere presence warps and distorts the Force around a Jedi, subjecting them to nightmarish visions. Worse still, the Leveler then preys upon the Force within a Jedi, killing them – with their bodies reduced to crumbling stone. Little wonder the Jedi of the High Republic Era fear the Nameless.

The Jedi Will Give In To Their Fears In The High Republic Phase III

Nameless Creatures in Star Wars High Republic

The story of the Jedi’s battle with the Nameless will be explored in Star Wars: The High Republic Phase III, but there have already been disturbing hints they will go too far in this conflict – actually committing genocide. Tie-in comics have hinted at an event called the “Nameless Purge,” which presumably refers to the Nameless being wiped out. The fundamental problem, though, is that this is an overreaction by the Jedi.

The Nameless originate from a mysterious, still largely unexplained world called Planet X. They are simply beasts of nature, predators unable to leave Planet X, and can only be taken from this world when they are collected by forces who use ancient dark side artifacts to control them. Rather than wipe them out, the Jedi should surely have simply destroyed the artifacts and sealed off the location of Planet X. The Jedi have erased records of many Sith planets from galactic records, after all, and they could do the same with Planet X. Their choice to wipe out the Nameless instead suggests they give in to their fears, acting in aggression. They thus bring an imbalance to the Force.

Ancient Jedi Prophecies Linked The Nameless To The Chosen One

Obi Wan and Qui Gon Jin on the cover of Master and Apprentice.

Disturbingly, this provides context for the Chosen One prophecy itself. Claudia Gray’s Master & Apprentice includes a number of ancient Jedi prophecies that appear to be related to the Chosen One prophecy; indeed, Qui-Gon Jinn realized the Chosen One’s coming was imminent when he recognized some of these prophecies being fulfilled in his lifetime. One of these seems to link the suffering of the Jedi Order to the Nameless Purge. “Only through the sacrifice of many Jedi will the Order cleanse the sin done to the nameless,” this prophecy foretells.

There’s a clear implication here; that the Jedi of the High Republic Era reacted in fear to the Nameless, committing an atrocity when they wiped these creatures out. Ir’s important to remember many Jedi Masters are from species much more long-lived than humans; in fact, Yoda wasn’t the only member of the Jedi Council whose tenure lasted from the High Republic Era to the prequel trilogy. There is, therefore, a clear narrative throughline between the Nameless Purge and Order 66, an act of suffering that ultimately led to a rebirth of the Jedi under Luke Skywalker, and later Rey. The Jedi of the High Republic Era fell to the dark side, surrendering to their fears, and matters were only put right when the main Star Wars saga began.

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