WARNING: SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS REBELS “TWIN SUNS”
In the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, the duel that has been building for 18 years took place: Obi-Wan vs. Maul. And to our great shock, the duel is not even what mattered most.
After Maul was struck down, he lay there in Obi-Wan’s arms, much like Qui-Gon Jinn before him. Just like Qui-Gon before him, his thoughts turn to “The Chosen One.”
“Tell me…Is it the Chosen One?”Maul
“He will avenge us.”-Maul
Cool. Case closed on who The Chosen One is Luke, the one Kenobi is protecting.
But wait, isn’t The Chosen One supposed to be Anakin?
WHY LUKE IS THE CHOSEN ONE
First, when looking at this encounter between Maul and Kenobi, Maul deduces Ben’s purpose on Tatooine is not simply to hide, but rather to protect someone. When he loses the duel, his hope of avenging Darth Sidious for abandoning him is all but lost, so in death he looks for a new hope, the one that Kenobi is protecting.
And Obi-Wan confirms that he is protecting The Chosen One, although in his heart his reason for believing in Luke is different than Maul’s reason for putting his hope in Luke.
The thing is, Luke does what both Maul and Kenobi believe him able to do in conquering the Sith. When he ventures onto the second Death Star, it is for the sole purpose of bringing Anakin back to the light, but the will of the Force has other plans. Luke, who was the purest of the pure as a farmboy on Tatooine, goes into the depths of hell to confront the devil himself: Darth Vader.
Not to kill the devil, but to save him. This is what sets him apart.
Ben, who we know believes Luke to be The Chosen One, and Yoda, who we can infer believes Luke to be The Chosen One based on his insistence that Luke must face Vader, both think that this happens through killing Darth Vader and the Emperor.
What makes “chosen ones” different from your everyday hero is that they always find a different way. When Jesus was on Earth, he did things far different from what the Jews thought he would do. The expected him to come in guns-a-blazing (yes I know they didn’t have guns) and topple the Roman Empire. Instead, he found a different way. He helped people and loved them on a more personal level.
Modern storytelling has continued this tradition. ABC’s hit show, Once Upon a Time, continually refers to its main character, Emma Swan, as the Savior, aka The Chosen One. As the Savior, she is constantly put in peril, and has to find a way to overcome. More often than not, it is not the traditional way.
The same was true for Luke. Where the Jedi wanted him to become a warrior, he held true to Yoda’s words, “Wars not make one great.” He found a different way to topple this Sith, by showing the little bit of Anakin left in Darth Vader that there was a different way. Through this, not only does Vader find redemption, Luke destroys the Sith, as The Chosen One was supposedly supposed to do.
WHY ANAKIN IS THE CHOSEN ONE
Of course, there is the argument to be made that Obi-Wan “Mr. From-A-Certain-Point-Of-View” Kenobi meant that The Chosen One is indeed, as the Jedi always thought, Anakin. Perhaps Ben, in Maul’s dying moments, simplifies the answer about who The Chosen One is in respect for Maul. Perhaps he wants Maul to be able to die with hope, a light side emotion, in his heart. Perhaps Ben is protecting the one who will save The Chosen One, so from a certain point of view he is protecting The Chosen One.
When first discovered, Qui-Gon blatantly suggests that Anakin is The Chosen One. In bringing Anakin before the Council, he calls him a vergance in the Force, to which Mace Windu replys,“You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it’s this…boy?” Qui-Gon affirms this. In his dying words, Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan, “He is the Chosen One… He will…bring balance… Train him.” Later, Obi-Wan mimics Qui-Gon’s words, looking down on a burned and defeated Anakin saying, “You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!“
Then there was that time on Mortis. You know, the one where Anakin was straight up called The Chosen One by the Father. He even proved it by being able to control both the Daughter and the Son. This, however, proved problematic, as the Son would try to turn Anakin to the dark side in order to escape Mortis.
Eventually, Anakin sees what he will become. And he is about a half a bantha hair away from abandoning it all, that is until the Father says otherwise. The Father washes away the visions Anakin saw, thereby forcing him into continuing the path created by Qui-Gon:
Anakin Skywalker: Chosen One.
Further, just like Luke, there are Christ-like parallels when it comes to Anakin. The most obvious, of course, is the virgin birth. For Jesus there is Mary, for Anakin there is Shmi. Both mothers are inherently good despite living in the midst of evil.
What is often overlooked is Anakin’s journey to Mortis. But, wait, didn’t we just talk about the importance of Mortis? We did. And we didn’t. What is overlooked is the links between Anakin’s journey into Mortis and Jesus’s journey into the wilderness.
Matthew 4: 1-11
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Both Anakin and Christ went into a wilderness, a wild and unknown arena wherein each would be tempted. What is different is how they handled it. Jesus, like Luke on the second Death Star, looked temptation in the eye and overcame. Anakin fell to the temptation.
But he did emerge from the greater wilderness. The wilderness of his life. Undoubtedly, Anakin lead an intriguing life. Deemed The Chosen One, his path was forced on him. Much like the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Anakin was tempted by the promise of power. And he fell, succumbing to the wilderness of the dark side and its promises of greater power. In the end, though, he did what the prophecy said he would do, emerging from the wilderness to destroy the Sith.
IN THE END…
It is probably a question that will never be answered, and in that is where I find my answer. In Christian belief, Christ is part of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of which serves a greater role in saving mankind from its dark side. Each part of the Trinity is a “Chosen One” in a different way. And so is Luke. And so is Anakin. (And so is Rey?)