Balancing the Force

I had the idea of writing a post about the ‘Balance of the Force’ back in March (it’s 11th October when I finally started writing) and have made a few attempts at gathering research and ideas and even some quotes from people in the Star Wars community but I could never truly commit. How do you write about something so huge as the concept of balance in the Force, honestly I find it quite daunting. Well I’m going to give it a go.

When the concept of ‘Balance’ was introduced in Phantom Menace I had no idea what it would mean. How does Anakin bring balance? Why does the Force need balance? How do you balance the Force out? Granted I was 13 and wasn’t quite putting two and two together in terms of overall plot.

The concept was brought up again with Mace Windu reminding Obi-Wan that his apprentice (Anakin) would bring the Force back into balance. Again, how?

With Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan mentions it twice, once in conversation with Yoda and Mace Windu and again after he has defeated Anakin on Mustafar.

By then I was thinking about it a bit more and came to the conclusion that Anakin had fulfilled the prophecy (or almost) by wiping out the Jedi in the Temple whilst the Clones around the Galaxy were doing their part, and of course Vader would continue to hunt down the Jedi in the following years but essentially by the end of Revenge of the Sith we had two Jedi and two Sith. Balance.

Then through the trilogy that Balance in maintained. Two Jedi and Sith throughout, Luke takes Obi-Wan’s place after Kenobi becomes one with the Force. When Yoda passes on, we have the existence of another Force user revealed to be Leo’s with Sidious and Vader representing the Dark Side. But then, Vader returns to the Light Side, making it 3 on 1 and finally 3 – 0 after killing his master. After Vader/Anakin dies it leaves us with Luke and Leia. One Jedi and one Light Side orientated Force Sensitive who never really goes through the training.

But after the six film saga was complete, Lucas himself said that Anakin had fulfilled the prophecy at the end of Return of the Jedi by killing the Emperor and irradiating the Sith. But how is this putting the Force into Balance? How I ask?

I looked up the definition of Balance:

The Force is still swaying towards the Light. The scales are tipped to one side, unbalanced.

Could Lucas have been talking about it from the Jedi point-of-view and their interpretation of the Chosen One prophecy?

When Lucasfilm was bought by Disney and we started getting new material, suddenly we were getting more Light and Dark Side users, Ezra, Kanan and a whole group of Inquisitors. Maul was still alive, as was Ahsoka. The Force was starting to look a little unbalanced again. Then in the post-ROTJ world we got two new Dark Side users. Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke and the freshly awakened to the Force Rey who went to find Luke Skywalker.

The Last Jedi finally brought a clearer notion of Balance within the Force during Luke’s teachings to Rey. Her first lesson where Luke has he open herself to the Force and everything she feels and experiences, life, death, peace, destruction, powerful Light and powerful Dark.

But Luke makes mention that for a while there was Balance during his second lesson where he tells Rey what had happened in the years between the fall of the Empire and the destruction of the New Republic. He said that there was balance but then he took Ben Solo and a dozen students. Does this mean that Luke became a more neutral Force user like Bendu from ‘Rebels’, only to return to the Light during The Last Jedi? Is that how the ‘Balance’ works?

Allow me a paragraph or two of fan-theorising. In the first Jedi Temple there is the mosaic of the ‘Prime Jedi’

It’s very reminiscent of the Yin/Yang symbol. The dark and light in equal parts. What if the original Jedi were neutral and over time a group of them splintered off and became the Sith and to maintain balance another group, or the remaining neutral Jedi turned towards the concept of the Light Side, forming the Jedi Order that evolved into what we see in the Prequel Trilogy. Perhaps the original prophecy of ‘The Chosen One’ was actually about a Force User who would wipe out both the Jedi and the Sith and that way the future Force Users would rise to be more neutral based on the mistakes of the past?

Of course this leads me to the sequel trilogy. Rian Johnson said that Rey and Kylo were essentially the two sides of a coin. My thought is that they are the new balance. The Force has manipulated the two of them to be the opposing sides. Ben Solo is conflicted, he always has been through The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. He wants to be good but is unable to turn away from the Dark. Rey now has access to the ancient Jedi texts that, I think direct her to tread a more neutral path but until Ben is killed or he turns from the Dark she will be the embodiment of the Light Side.

My belief is that the end of the Skywalker Saga with Episode IX will culminate with the Force finally being in balance, whatever that means. Will that end the episodic films? Only time will tell but that’s for another blog post for another time.

In my attempts to write this post I have asked around the Star Wars community on Twitter and have had a few great responses from Podcasters and a certain member of the Star Wars Story Group at Lucasfilm and I’ll put them here for you to have a look at and bask in the differing views of the fans.

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