Did Anakin Being ‘The Chosen One’ Almost Ruin ‘Star Wars’?

Creating a savior-like central character in movies can arguably never be done again because of the Star Wars saga. Not that some movies still try, if being knocked as insanely derivative. This “Chosen One” trope already seemed worn by the time the first Star Wars prequel released in 1999.

Perhaps the prequel releases were a bit off on their timing due to the times. After all, by the time The Phantom Menace released 21 years ago, no one was really doing savior stories anymore, other than the Harry Potter books.

One might say the Star Wars prequels set it back in motion, what with the Harry Potter movie adaptations starting just a couple of years later.

What do fans think of the ‘Star Wars’ Chosen One trope?

Hayden Christensen
Hayden Christensen | Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

As iconic as that “Chosen One” plot idea is, fans are more than a little down on it nowadays. On Reddit, fans gripe about whether it really ruined the Star Wars prequels or helped them become more compelling.

One user noted: “The whole chosen one thing didn’t work with Anakin. I find that in films as in real life, the best way to ruin a kid is to tell them they are special. It just leads to arrogance and them not trying. It’s why I love Rey, she’s an exiled princess, who had to endure pain and suffering and abandonment.” A statement like that gives a more approving nod to the recent new trilogy, especially since it knocked the “Chosen One” concept on its head.

Since George Lucas had his story outline already in place, though, the prequels were inevitably going to stay consistent with his vision. The above fan comment, however, does bring a valid point about Anakin Skywalker.

Other fans point out he really never did reference himself as a savior, other than others saying so. Some think this proved he never fully grasped the gravity of the idea, if creating an organic balance in the force by going temporarily bad.

Did the ‘Star Wars’ prequels borrow from other sources?

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While true that Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings movie franchises all started after the Star Wars prequels began, the books beforehand all used the “Chosen One” concept. Even if many realize Star Wars overall was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, one could draw a line from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books to the general Star Wars concept.

Also, the Harry Potter books began in 1997, giving them a stronger push on the Star Wars prequel frame of reference. Perhaps there was more of subtle influence on the prequels from the Harry Potter books than anyone ever knew.

No evidence points to this. Nevertheless, the Chosen One trope was never played up completely in the original trilogy, albeit being hinted at. Only in the prequels did it become more obvious, without Anakin referencing it himself.

Did he really know he was considered chosen, or did he not? Fans seem to have preferred just the focus on him turning bad rather than being deemed someone divinely inspired by The Force.

Perhaps the ‘Star Wars’ prequels needed more human elements

Another Reddit user from above noted: “I used to love TPM as a kid (it was the first SW movie I saw), but it hasn’t aged well imo. Things like the prophecy, the virgin birth, midichlorians, and so on made starwars feel too ‘small’ from that point onward.”

Others point to the Star Wars universe perhaps being too connected, ruining the chance for individuality, something Rey helped establish later. Maybe the new trilogy helped humanize Star Wars movies better than they ever were. Now the prequels may forever be deemed weak, if more recently mined for their seeming prescience about our real-world politics.

Ironically enough, the political angle probably helped bring something more realistic to the prequels than the idea that other life forms could be born divinely.