Thanks to a Jedi prophecy, and some low-key daddy issues, Anakin Skywalker went on to become one of the most feared tyrants in the galaxy. But what if the Jedi had just…left him alone?
Odds are, even someone who’s never seen Star Wars will recognize the name Darth Vader. It’s been 40 years to the day since we first met the Sith, and he has since become one of the most revered villains in pop culture.
As villains go, Darth Vader stands out as one who wasn’t extremely violent, at least in the original trilogy. Then the character was recently revived in 2016’s Rogue One, and gave fans a perfect example of why Vader was so terrifying.
But could the rise of the Empire have been avoided? If Anakin had never become a Jedi, would Chancellor Palpatine simply have found someone else? If he had, what would Anakin be doing? Of course, there are no real answers to these questions.
There are endless possibilities though, and those theories can be fun. So on this, the 40th anniversary of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, let’s explore the potential of one such idea.
My argument is this: If the Jedi had just left him alone, Anakin Skywalker would have made a prime Nicholas Sparks character.
If you are a member of the population who hasn’t seen a Star Wars film, allow me to give you some background. Darth Vader’s real name is Anakin Skywalker. When he was a boy, he and his mother lived as slaves on Tatooine. One day, a Jedi named Qui-Gon Jinn shows up and manages to free Anakin in the hopes of training him as a Jedi.
Sadly, Qui-Gon is killed and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, promises to train the boy. Flash forward 13 years, and Anakin is now dealing with some intense trust issues. The Jedi want him to spy on a friend, and Obi-Wan has gotten severely condescending. To top it off, he’s having premonitions of his wife dying.
As it turns out, that friend is actually a Sith Lord who has been playing the long game. As Anakin’s fears of losing Padmé grow, and the Jedi continue to upset him, Anakin is further seduced by the dark side of the Force.
When Qui-Gon first asks the Jedi Council about training Anakin, they say no.
One of the main teachings of the Jedi is to not have personal connections. Keeping people close leads to the fear of losing them, and fear is a path to the Dark Side. At nine years old, Anakin has developed a close relationship with his mother. He has no siblings, and was supposedly conceived by the Force itself.
Anakin’s caring nature is one of his defining characteristics. He wants to help everyone he can, and gets easily invested in a person. As a result, he is also fiercely protective. But, Anakin doesn’t confide in people easily.
Though he develops a deep trust with Chancellor Palpatine, Anakin really only tells Padmé everything. There is a mysterious, brooding vibe to Anakin – one that the Jedi couldn’t quite see past to figure him out.
Anakin was also a skilled pilot and mechanic. He liked getting his hands dirty.
Combining all these traits, Anakin’s character seems very familiar. But he usually exists in a much different universe.
Sparks in Space?
When it comes to the men in Nicholas Sparks books, they’re all nearly identical to Anakin Skywalker. The only real difference is that they tend to live in North Carolina. Still, he has all the potential to lead his own novel.
In this version of Star Wars, instead of becoming a Jedi, Anakin would have stayed on Tatooine. He would have worked on repairing speeders and building droids, not really talking to too many people.
His look would be closer to that of Revenge of the Sith, rather than Attack of the Clones. Let’s face it: in Nicholas Sparks’ world, the male lead has to have an edge to him. The one thing that would stay the same? Anakin’s love story with Padmé.
She shows up out of nowhere, their love is a bit forbidden and in the end, she still dies. But instead of the duo sharing cool battle scenes – or should I say “aggressive negotiations” – the entire story would focus on their hideaway in Naboo.
Basically, if the Jedi had left well enough alone, Anakin could’ve just been the hot mechanic in the space version of a Nicholas Sparks movie. He probably would’ve gotten better dialogue.