The Rise of Skywalker screenwriter Chris Terrio has hinted that Anakin Skywalker would cast a shadow on the film, and that the ending of Return of the Jedi and Sith lore would be particularly important to Episode IX. In that vein, a clever new theory claims a prequel scene already predicted the true identity of the Chosen One, and it may not have been Anakin after all.
Warning: Speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
In the prequels, the ancient Jedi prophecy of the Chosen One foretold of an exceptionally powerful person whose efforts would bring balance to the Force. Anakin Skywalker has long been presented as the Chosen One and Star Wars creator George Lucas has always maintained that his status has never changed. But perhaps the sequel trilogy, and Rise of Skywalker in particular, will alter our understanding of Anakin’s place in things.
According to a theory from SpoiledBlueMilk user davestrrr, Anakin was nothing but Palpatine’s decoy, set up to trick the Jedi into believing he was the Chosen One. Instead, that title might actually belong to Rey.
“If Rey is the real Chosen One, then it explains why she is so powerful, it explains why the Skywalker saber called to her, and it explains what she must do in Rise of Skywalker,” writes the theorist.
The theorist looks to the opera scene from Revenge of the Sith as evidence. In it, Palpatine explains to Anakin that his mentor Darth Plagueis was the first Sith to create life. Palps looks directly — and creepily — at Anakin when he says this, which lends credence to speculation that Palpatine played a role in Anakin’s immaculate conception, as detailed in Darth Vader #25.
Why would Palpatine do that? Recent interviews with the actors and filmmakers of Episode IX have described the Emperor as playing a “chess game” over the decades. With that in mind, the theorist argues that Anakin was nothing but a pawn in Palpatine’s ongoing scheme. What’s more, there’s no evidence in the films that Anakin ever fulfilled the prophecy.
Tricking the Jedi into believing they’ve got a savior would’ve been the ultimate manipulation. After Anakin’s turn, the remaining Jedi lost hope, unaware the true Chosen One wouldn’t come until much later. The theory helps to explain the existence of the new trilogy and why Palpatine is Episode IX’s villain. But it’s not likely to impress prequel fans who’ve held onto the belief that Anakin is the Chosen One.
However, Rey’s story very much parallels Anakin’s, who was also very powerful in the Force for mysterious reasons. It’s a safe bet that Rey’s story was set up to mirror Anakin’s by design. Director J.J. Abrams has said Rey’s power will further be explored in the film, so it’s still possible this explanation will confirm her identity as the Chosen One once and for all.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.