‘Star Wars’: What if Anakin Never Left the Jedi Temple in ‘Revenge of the Sith’?

The world of Star Wars is as vast as outer space itself. Beyond just the movies, there’s a whole universe-worth of shows, books, comics, video games, and so much more that build off the base set down by that original movie in 1977. Even looking past all of the official and previously official material, fans have always had a passion for creating their own ideas by remixing the elements of canon. Now, inspired by the new Marvel series What If…?, many have started to think about what might have happened if things played out just a little differently. So what if Anakin never left the Jedi temple?

Fans consider ‘Star Wars’ would change if Anakin never left the Jedi Temple in ‘Revenge of the Sith’

Across the internet and especially Reddit, fans have debated how the Star Wars universe would change if just a few key details were different from what we’ve seen. While there are plenty of great discussion topics out there, like what might have happened if Separatist leaders like Count Dooku and General Grievous were arrested instead of killed, or how things might have changed if Yoda was a little more proactive instead of squatting in a swamp for almost 20 years. There’s one possibility that’s just too enticing not to think about: What if Anakin had never left the Jedi temple during the events of Revenge of the Sith?

Specifically, we’re talking about the middle of the film, when Anakin finally makes the connection that the obviously evil Chancellor Palpatine has been Darth Sidious all along. In the film, he immediately tells Jedi Master Mace Windu, who takes a group of other Jedi to confront Palpatine at his office. Anakin isn’t among them, though, and is told to wait back at the Jedi temple for fear his attachment to Palpatine would cloud his judgment. Obviously, Anakin didn’t follow orders, and things played out exactly as Master Windu predicted — all leading up to the fall of the Republic, the rise of the Empire, and Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader.

Still, one can’t help but wonder how the rest of the series would play out had Anakin just done what he was told for once.

Anakin might still have fallen, but in a different way

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in 'Revenge of the Sith.'
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ | Lucasfilm/YouTube

While Palpatine grooming Anakin to become his apprentice was a major factor in his fall to the Dark Side of the Force, Anakin was never the ideal Jedi to begin with. The young Jedi was constantly hungering for more power in much the same way as a Sith, not to mention his explosive outbursts of anger. Though he isn’t exactly wrong to want the respect of his peers, and many of the things the other Jedi do to him — like putting him on the council but refusing to make him a master — were unreasonable, Anakin’s fall was all but sealed back in Attack of the Clones with his mass murder of the sand people who killed his mother.

That would just leave the question of how it would go down. Some fans think that Anakin being willing to follow Master Windu’s order to stay put was actually his final test to earn mastery himself. If this was true, it’s likely the new Master Skywalker would be content for a time. However, that same hunger for power and a fear of loss would likely come back, leading Anakin further down the road to the Dark Side on his own. One of his major flaws throughout the prequels is his inability to be satisfied, and unless the other Jedi can successfully intervene in a way that doesn’t involve telling him to be happy when his loved ones die, we’d likely end up with a Galaxy ruled by Darth Vader and his children, just as he tempted Luke with in The Empire Strikes Back.

Could Mace Windu fall in this timeline?

Others have suggested that, as Palpatine’s killer in this scenario, Master Windu might have fallen to the Dark Side at some point. This isn’t totally out of the question given Windu’s dogmatic dedication to the Force. It’s also worth noting that the style of combat he practiced, known as Form VII or Juyo, was considered aggressive, and many of its former Jedi practitioners had fallen in the past.

Even so, this seems a bit unlikely. As corrupt as the Jedi could be during the Republic era, Master Windu wasn’t intent on killing Palpatine out of anger or for revenge; it was simply the safest option for preventing more harm. Like he tells Anakin in the film, Palpatine controlled the entire Senate and the Republic government at that time, with many loyalists who would help him escape judgment for his crimes. While killing him as he planned to do would still be a major decision in need of reflection and investigation, killing Palpatine in and of itself would likely not be the kind of flashpoint moment that starts the journey of Darth Windu.

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