The Jedi — Not The Sith — Were Responsible For Anakin Skywalker’s Turn To The Dark Side; Here’s How

By now, we all know who Anakin Skywalker is. Even though he wasn’t the reason George Lucas made Star Wars, he became the central theme of the first six films in the saga. His story is very tragic and he falls to the Dark Side to become the infamous Darth Vader. And while he was seduced by Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious), it’s actually not the Sith that are to blame for Anakin’s turn. While Palpatine was highly influential, and definitely part of it, the Jedi actually played a huge role in Anakin falling to the Dark Side. 

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in front of the Jedi Council in 'Revenge of the Sith.'
Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in front of the Jedi Council in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ | Lucasfilm

The Jedi Council constantly belittled Anakin Skywalker

Okay, so it’s not a huge secret that Anakin was pretty reactive to different scenarios. As seen in Attack of the Clones, he rushed into fights he couldn’t win alone and he was very quick to rebel against his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was like many teens: immature, full of emotion (angsty, if you will), and deadset on trying too hard. 

However, even after he matured a bit more and showed how good of a leader he was thanks to his time as a general in the Clone Wars and as a master to Ahsoka Tano, the Jedi Council didn’t acknowledge that. In The Clone Wars and in Revenge of the Sith, the Council still holds Anakin at arm’s length. He had a ton of responsibility in the war, however, they wouldn’t even grant him the rank of Master on the Council. 

It all boiled down to distrust. Anakin was The Chosen One and proved himself as a great Jedi Knight, but because of his passionate emotions and place in the prophecy, many on the Council didn’t trust him. Because of this, they didn’t give Anakin the attention he needed when he was falling and didn’t respect him as they would other Jedi Knights. 

No one saw the signs of Anakin’s deteriorating sanity and mental health 

Not only did the Council have a lack of faith in Anakin, but they were also blind. Not only to the Dark Side brewing around them but also to Anakin’s spiraling mental health. The boy was taken from his mother around nine years old, then taught strict rules and regulations around how he has to feel — or not feel — about certain things. Combine that with his already intense emotions and eventual love for Padmé, and he was a ticking time bomb.

There were many times where Anakin’s rage was obvious. Like when Obi-Wan “gets killed” by Rako Hardeen, and Anakin is literally murderous in front of Yoda and the Council. Or the way he’s very visibly attached to those around him like Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and even R2-D2.

And it’s displayed right in front of Yoda when Anakin came to him in Revenge of the Sith. He was having dreams about losing Padmé and wanted guidance. Yoda didn’t step in to help Anakin through his feelings. He just said, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” In theory, this is really good advice, considering the Jedi Code. However, Anakin’s proven time and again that he can’t let go of those he’s close to. There are just too many times where Anakin’s visibly drowning in his feelings and struggles, and no one calls an intervention to help him through it.  

The Jedi Council never seemed like they were on Anakin’s side

The point of the Jedi Council is to be a fair and guiding light for the Jedi Knights. However, when it came to Anakin Skywalker, they weren’t very impartial. In fact, in general, the Jedi Council was highly flawed and proved that they weren’t there to support the Jedi all the time.

Take Ahsoka’s trial, for example. As we’ve written in the past, the whole reason why she was expelled from the Order in the first place was that the Jedi Council wanted to save their butts. The Jedi weren’t favorable among the people of Coruscant, so when a rumor started that a Jedi was the one to bomb the temple, the Jedi Council decided to expel Ahsoka so she would go on trial in front of the Chancellor as a regular citizen, not a Jedi. 

However, we all know this backfired, because Barriss Offee came clean about plotting the bomb while still a Jedi. But the damage was already done and Ahsoka left the Order. And as Anakin saw first hand in her trial with the Jedi, they had already planned their decision, regardless of evidence or what she had to say. Just like how the Jedi planned Obi-Wan’s “death,” Anakin’s disillusionment with the Jedi Order was growing more and more.

The Jedi’s way of life isn’t fair to regular emotions and reactions

Jedi are taught not to love or form attachments, because “attachment leads to jealousy,” which could lead to fear, and you know what they say about fear. It sort of makes sense and is a similar thing among religious orders today when it comes to celibacy. However, the Jedi strictly enforced little to no emotions, which isn’t easy or normal for anyone. 

The attachment rule is probably the hardest. Humans are social creatures and form attachments all the time. That rule is in place for even familial connections, which are the toughest to break or abandon for many people. So, Anakin’s actions and difficulties with this rule are normal. His attraction to Padmé and his deep care for his mother are normal. Now, how he deals with it isn’t, like killing the Tusken Raiders’ men, women, and children, too. However, on top of his powerful Force abilities, he’s extremely passionate and fiercely loyal and protective of those he loves (Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, Padmé). 

The fact that Anakin can’t turn his feelings off and represses his emotions often, leaves them to fester. It’s just another reason why the Jedi are what lead him to the Dark Side and created an easy scenario for Palpatine to seduce Anakin in.