Luke Skywalker Was the Only One Who Could Bring Anakin Back From the Dark Side and This ‘Star Wars’ Fan Theory Explains Why
With Star Wars: The Clone Wars revving up and nearing Order 66, fans are reminded of the terrors that lie ahead for Anakin Skywalker and the Jedi. Specifically, the terrors Anakin will inflict on the Jedi. But despite all Anakin’s done, those closest to him never lose faith in him, even after they find out what he’s capable of. But as audiences know, Darth Vader never relinquishes his hold on Anakin until his son Luke comes along and he turns back in Return of the Jedi. A fan recently explained why Luke is the only one with the ability to save his father. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 10].
Everyone around Anakin has an ‘unshakeable’ trust in him, even though he has dark moments
Ever since Qui-Gon Jinn brought Anakin to Coruscant, the young boy’s training has been contested in some way. From Mace Windu believing he’s too old, to Yoda sensing his intense emotions, Anakin Skywalker’s time as a Jedi hasn’t been smooth sailing. And in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Anakin truly snaps and lets his heartbreak and anger take over and he kills a tribe of Tusken Raiders (men, women, and children, too).
Not to mention, Anakin’s dark side has come out many times throughout The Clone Wars. Those closest to him — Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka, and Padmé — have all experienced this side, and they still stick with him. And when they’re told of his horrible deeds in Revenge of the Sith, none of them believe at first. Fans have pointed this out as maybe ignorance on their part, however, they truly just have so much trust in him, that becoming a Sith Lord is so out of the realm of possibility. Most recently, we saw this in Episode 10 of The Clone Wars when Ahsoka fights Maul after he said Anakin will destroy the Jedi.
And when Anakin turns to the Dark Side and succumbs to being Darth Sidious’ apprentice, the faith his friends have in him, weigh on him. As the Tumblr blog, Consumed By Star Wars Feelings, pointed out, Anakin knows he’s in the wrong. When he stops Mace Windu’s assault on Palpatine, and then Windu dies, he agonizingly moans, “What have I done?” In that moment, he acted out of impulse and a severely twisted arm, metaphorically of course. He also cries on Mustafar after he raided the Jedi Temple and killed younglings. That faith his friends have in him is still there, haunting him, and that’s why he keeps going further to the Dark Side.
Anakin knows that they’d welcome him back, but that’s why he doesn’t
All three of his closest bonds show that they would take him back in a heartbeat. Even after Padmé knows what he did on Tatooine, to Clovis, and then to the Jedi and younglings, she still wants to run away with him. To raise their child together. Obi-Wan tries to appeal to him, and Darth Vader has a vision in Dark Lord of the Sith that his old master would absolutely take him back if he came to him for help. But, again, that pushes Anakin away from the Light.
“Yet he still rejected them all, because he couldn’t live with himself and what he’d done, that accepting their love for him again would mean that he’d have to admit they were right,” the Tumblr blog wrote.
This is perfectly shown in Star Wars Rebels with Ahsoka, his former Padawan. While Anakin had a few close bonds, his connection with Ahsoka was unique. She was the closest thing he had to a younger sister; someone who looked up to him, idolized him, and who he had to take care of. She’s also the last of these three to find out he’d turned into Darth Vader. So when it dawns on her that she’s fighting her old master when she duels Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker comes back for a split second.
However, Anakin is overpowered by Darth Vader; Ahsoka was never able to bring Anakin back
In “Twilight of the Apprentice Part 2,” Ahsoka gets the upper hand on Darth Vader and slices his mask. She can finally hear his voice without the machinery, and she can hear Anakin say “Ahsoka.” It seems like he comes to, and Ahsoka tells him she’s not going to leave him, “not this time.”
For showrunner Dave Filoni, that wasn’t Anakin coming back to the Light even for a moment, but rather just a moment of recognition.
“Not because he feels empathy for Ahsoka. Not because he has any thought of turning away from the Dark Side,” Filoni said on Rebel Force Radio in 2019. “But in this moment of shock, that he’s been struck and falls… inside, deep within, is still Anakin Skywalker, that’s undeniable. And he sees what looks like Ahsoka across from him. And he says her name.”
Luke Skywalker was the only person able to bring his father back to the Light Side because he didn’t know Anakin before Darth Vader
Even though you can hear Anakin’s voice, and it’s not hostile at first, Darth Vader pushes that part of Anakin down and is determined to destroy every last bit of his former life and existence, including Ahsoka.
“Because Ahsoka Tano to Darth Vader represents everything that maybe perhaps he was wrong about, and Anakin right,” Filoni explained. “[Anakin] trained Ahsoka, he put all of his knowledge into her hands. She became a Jedi very much in the way that he was going to be a Jedi. She reminds him of Padmé, she reminds him of Obi-Wan, she reminds him of growing up in the temple. And Darth Vader wants to destroy that.”
And Filoni states, clearly, that Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa were the only two who were able to save their father from Vader and the Dark Side.
As the Tumblr post explained, these two “represented only the future to him, not the past.” Luke doesn’t know Vader and didn’t know Anakin. So there’s nothing for him to remember and he doesn’t truly grasp Anakin’s fall. “The only person that Anakin can accept love from is someone… who can never look at him and truly see what he broke before he finally fixed it again.”
Even though Vader told Ahsoka that Palpatine would spare her if she surrendered, Filoni said that was a rouse. That moment of recognition wasn’t going to last, not like it did in Return of the Jedi.