Balance to the Force

June 7, 2012 at 10:27 am | Posted in Opinion | 1 Comment

One discussion that often pops up in Star Wars is the ‘Balance of the Force’ debate. Anakin Skywalker was declared the Chosen One, and it was foretold that the chosen one would bring balance to the Force. But what does balance mean?

There are a couple theories on how balance can be brought to the Force. One theory is that it’s a simple matter of numbers. In order to have balance, there has to be an equal number of Sith and Jedi. This idea would almost work if we looked only at the films. After the purge, there are only two Sith left, and two Jedi: Vader, Sidious, Kenobi, and Yoda. If balance is brought by even numbers, and we look only at the films, then the theory works. However, the Expanded Universe has shown us that there are a handful of Jedi that survived the purge. There’s also a planet full of Sith out there. Furthermore, Return of the Jedi adds even more imbalance to the numbers theory because Vader kills Sidious and then dies afterwards, thus eliminating all the Sith in the films.

Another theory is that in order to bring balance, all of the Sith must be eliminated. Again, this is a theory that works if only the films are considered. While the numbers theory falls apart in Return of the Jedi, the no Sith theory holds true. However, the Expanded Universe ruins the theory with the existence of all the Sith on Kesh. It also doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense. The Sith are no longer defined as a race. The Sith are simply a group of individuals who adhere to a certain philosophy. In that respect, the Sith are more of an idea than an actual physical villain that can be defeated. You can kill every Sith in the galaxy but as long as their teachings still exist in holocrons, books, or other media, then the idea lives on, and so do the Sith. It would be nearly impossible for the Jedi to eliminate every aspect of the Sith from the entire galaxy. If this is the case, then there could never be balance.

One more theory is the possibility that it’s not about hard numbers. Maybe the need for balance in the Force is skewed by how powerful the individual beings are. Perhaps it’s a matter of how much the light and dark sides of the Force are used throughout the galaxy. It could even be an issue of how much negative and positive influence the Sith and Jedi bring about. Going along this line of thought, bringing balance to the Force would require a harmony between the light and dark. In my opinion, this is the most logical explanation. The idea for the dark and light side of the Force was influenced by the real world ideas of yin and yang. These concepts are not about wiping out one or the other, but instead finding a harmony between the two. When applied to the films, Anakin first wiped out the Old Jedi Order, a very powerful organization that may have been affecting the galaxy in a bad, yet not so obvious way: it was propping up a flawed government. It could be argued that Anakin then completed the prophecy by wiping out Sidious and toppling the Empire in Return of the Jedi. At this point there may have been balance in the Force, a harmony between light and dark.

The theory still holds up when the Expanded Universe is brought in. The Sith on Kesh are isolated and have very little influence on the rest of the galaxy. The Jedi Order, at this point in time, lies solely on Luke’s shoulders. What survivors of Order 66 that are left are just as isolated as the Lost Tribe of Sith on Kesh and are exhibiting just as miniscule of an influence. Luke is growing in power in the Force, but he still has a lot to learn. He’s a hero of the Rebellion, but at this point, there isn’t a Republic yet. While he does have some pull, he’s not at the level where he influences a large portion of the galaxy. There’s relative harmony in the Force, a certain balance between the powers of creation and destruction.

Then there’s Mortis and Abeloth. Mortis was injected into The Clone Wars television show, a project that George Lucas is involved in. For those who believe only film canon matters, the TV show is part of that (technically one step lower, but also one step higher than comics, books, etc). Thus Mortis is very important to the balance debate. In those episodes, the Ones gave Anakin an opportunity to bring literal balance to the Force. This wasn’t some alluded to, vague prophecy. The show came right out and said “here, do this, and there will be balance.” Even more surprisingly, Anakin refused the offer, thus declining to bring balance to the Force.

In the novels, the Ones were expanded upon to included an entity named Abeloth. The books explained that Abeloth was a creature of chaos. Every so often there would be unbalance in the Force, and she would be freed to unleash chaos upon the galaxy. The Son and Daughter would be tasked with quelling the chaos and putting her back in her cage. This line of thinking appears to suggest that to bring balance to the Force, the dark and light sides of the Force must align to quell chaos when it erupts in the galaxy. I like this interpretation because it goes along with the idea of harmony between the two. It also suggest that there are worse things in the galaxy than Sith. While the literal embodiments of these ideas (the Son, the Daughter, and Abeloth) are a bit constraining, when taken into broader contexts, they fit in quite nicely.

So, did Anakin bring balance to the Force? Most likely, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an ongoing issue. Just because it was balanced at one point, doesn’t mean it won’t need to be balanced again. What does bringing balance to the Force mean? Well that all depends on how much of the Expanded Universe you want to take into consideration. If you want to look only at the small picture, then Anakin brought balance to the Force by killing Sidious and freeing the galaxy from the control and influence of Force empowered beings (at that point in time). If we look at the big picture, Anakin brought balance to the force by tipping the tides of chaos to a more controllable situation. With the death of Sidious, there was no longer a war between Jedi and Sith, no longer a war between the light and dark side of the Force (again at that point in time). Without the turmoil in the Force, creatures of chaos like Abeloth were stuffed back into their proverbial cage. Its an idea, a theory, and it’s worth consideration.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

1 Comment »

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  1. Really appreciate this, especially in light of the recent EU and Clone Wars episodes.

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