Why Was Anakin Skywalker Denied the Rank of Master in ‘Star Wars’?
For the most part, Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith is more mature than the Anakin we see in Attack of the Clones. Hayden Christensen does a good job of showing his growth between films from a cocky, immature 19-year-old Padawan to a decorated Jedi Knight. But there are still some moments where Anakin’s immaturity comes out. One of those times is when the Jedi Council denies Anakin the rank of master. But why did they deny him in the first place?
Anakin Skywalker had a strained relationship with the Jedi Council from the get-go
When Qui-Gon Jinn found little Ani on Tatooine when he was nine, he almost immediately sensed something was special about the boy. Then, once he heard about his visions and fast reflexes, he conducted a midi-chlorian test. Sure enough, Anakin was powerful with the Force, but it took a lot of convincing to all the Jedi to train him.
Jedi have to be very young to start training so that they can abide by the Jedi Code for their whole life. Anakin was already a kid and grew up with his mother, so he, of course, had a bond and attachment to her. Also, he experienced fear normally and had lived nearly a decade without a second thought about it. But all of that was forbidden of Jedi. The Council saw his powerful presence with the Force and his strong emotions as negatives.
But after Qui-Gon died, Obi-Wan insisted that his dying wish be granted, and that’s how Anakin was allowed to train as a Jedi. We see that even a decade after that, and Anakin’s issues with the Code didn’t go anywhere. His tension with the Code, the Council, and overall morals never go away.
Palpatine overstepped his democratic boundary with the Jedi Council
One thing that the prequels don’t really show all that well is how good of a Jedi Anakin Skywalker really was. Now, with only so much screentime, this is to be expected. But when you add in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, audiences can see more development there. He’s powerful, one of the best in the Order, and has a lot of great leadership skills. Surely someone like Skywalker could be a Master on the Council, right?
Well, no. At least, not yet. Nowhere in The Clone Wars is Anakin pining after a spot on the Council. His disillusionment with the Order is shown time and again, but the tension between him and the Council isn’t as prominent. It does show up, especially when Obi-Wan Kenobi fakes his death to go undercover, yet no one told Anakin. Plus, Anakin blew up again later when the Council banned Ahsoka from the Order without even trying to back her up or hear her side.
But by the time Revenge of the Sith rolls around, Palpatine takes it upon himself to elect Anakin to the Jedi Council. Anakin is taken aback but flattered and it seems like this opens up his mind to seeing himself as an official Master. However, Yoda called it “disturbing,” since Palpatine is over-stepping his power by dictating Jedi business.
They allow him to sit on the Council, but Anakin famously becomes livid when Master Mace Windu does not grant him the rank of Master. Anakin is mad more at the fact that they went along with Palpatine’s appointment by allowing him on the Council but then didn’t grant him that rank. That’s what he deems as embarrassing.
The Council didn’t like Palpatine’s actions and also didn’t fully trust Anakin
When it comes down to why the Council didn’t appoint Anakin as a Master, it was how it came about. Time and again, you hear Windu’s caution about Anakin which stems from his passionate emotions. He’s also pretty skeptical that Anakin’s The Chosen One. And if it isn’t skepticism, then it’s more hesitation since he’s so powerful and unstable; those are not good combinations for someone who’s supposed to bring balance to the Force.
Could the Council have given Anakin the rank of Master later on? Possibly. As stated before Anakin was actually a well-respected and good Jedi Knight. It was probably only a matter of time. Especially considering Obi-Wan told Anakin that no one his age had ever been appointed to the Council. It just wasn’t his time yet.
However, Palpatine inserting him in without their consent or input put them off. Obi-Wan tells Anakin that the Council is very angry that Palpatine “interfered” with Jedi business. They ultimately allow Palpatine’s wish for Anakin to be his representative on the Council because they want Ani to spy on the Chancellor.
Did this play a part in Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side? Yes and no. It added to his overall disillusionment with the Jedi. If you watch his full journey from Attack of the Clones through The Clone Wars and then Episode III, you can see where his last straw was and why it was so easy for Palpatine to manipulate him against the Jedi. But this gesture alone didn’t turn him.