What if Anakin’s Story Were Different?

I wanted to write up a bit of a response to this video, but I was already starting to go a bit over what would have been allowed on Youtube’s comments.  To summarize, it asks what would have been the result if Anakin Skywalker has been found just after birth and taken in as a Jedi then, rather than at a much older age. Now, his attitudes and ideas may have changed greatly, or they may have morphed into something similar with different circumstances, still leading to his downfall to the dark side. After all, the majority of Sith Lords were raised the right way, from a very early age. Going so far back as Ulic Qel-Droma, and possibly further before the Sith were even a thing known to the Jedi, otherwise good and proper Jedi have fallen to the dark side, while at least one example of an older person being taken in as a padawan has managed to avoid falling completely to the dark side. At least permanently. Luke was the son of a Sith Lord, was improperly trained when he was an old man at 19, had unchecked rage, and learned the lessons of light vs. dark on his own without a Jedi Master or even Knight to guide him!

So enough about nature vs. nurture.  Let’s assume that Anakin ends up turning out very different from his canon self. This is partially irrelevant and leads to a completely different galaxy from the one we know, regardless of whether or not we get a “Darth Vader”.

First off, The Phantom Menace nees to be addressed, as it suffers the most direct and powerful changes to the timeline. Anakin is, of course, never brought along with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn from Tattooine to Naboo. He never meets Queen Amidala, and most importantly, never gets stuck in a working Naboo fighter. He’s on Coruscant, still being trained by Yoda, blissfully unaware of space politics. The fight for Naboo, rather than being won by the Gunguns and Naboo people is instead lost, despite having two Jedi to bolster the ranks. Things would play out pretty much just like they did, right up until the shield fell and the droids were knocked out.  The Gunguns lose the fight, are taken as prisoners by the Trade Federation, which then turns its attention back to the palace, quickly dispatching all the royalty and forcing the Queen to surrender her planet, and thus her presence in the Republic, to the Trade Federation. The Federation, thus, assumes the Senator’s vote in his stead. They don’t know that the guy they’ve been taking orders from is also the Senator from Naboo. They simply subjugate him like the rest and keep things going as usual, because there’s no opposition to their rule.

Now, being agents of the nigh-omnipotent Galactic Republic, the two Jedi are released to the Senate, and then to the Council. Few if any hard feelings are really had, and the Senate continues to live in an uneasy peace with the Federation. No longer in a seat of power, and having abdicated even a cursory place within the legitimate government, he would have n recourse to continue to work his machinations… through the Republic, that is.

From here, the timelines begin to diverge further and further, becoming more like, say, Knights of the Old Republic, and less like the prequels. Some of the events are, of course, going to happen the same way, and the result could still be the same, virtually. Rather than relying on the decaying four-millennia-old Republic for his plans, he could go to his fallback with the Federation. He ordered those clones, and by golly, he’ll use them. This time, however, he’s not going to use them wastefully fighting the droid army, but supplement it. Begun, the Clone Wars have.

Palpatine commands both armies, as the Federation leadership is confounded by stupidity and a complete lack of a clear vision forward. As the aggression begins, the Republic army and navy are completely caught off guard, losing several planets quickly to Federation rule due to the large clone army of the Federation and the already powerful droid army. Though commanded by great generals like Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a Knight and taking on his first padawan known as Anakin Skywalker, and the dejected, aged, yet resilient General Qui-Gonn Jinn, the overwhelming numbers of the combined droid and clone army, largely commanded and represented by the clones themselves leads to multiple painful defeats.

So much for Episode II, which ends with a dejected and scattered Republic army leaving the Galactic core and retreating to the outer rim territories. Near the end of the multiple scenes showing fight after fight held bravely by the Jedi, but ultimately losing, the young, hotheaded Jedi Knight Anakin finds himself, as many young Knights before him have, on Korriban. While Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan reminisce and trade tactics, Anakin learns the ways of the dark side of the force to combat this new overwhelming foe, as his predecessors Ulic and Revan did before him. He gains great power through this knowledge, but hides it from his master, leading to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

The third tale of this new reality begins much like the original did, with Anakin already feeling the tug of the darker parts of the force, taking more risks, and endangering his master.  There is a huge space battle, leading to Anakin and Obi-Wan on the capital ship of the droid army, with the clone troopers laying siege to Coruscant below. The fighting is intense both above and upon the ground, with thousands being laid to rest, but Anakin finds the leader of the new Sith Empire, risen from the ashes of the failed Federation. He confronts both Count Dooku and Emperor Palpatine, working in a dark, deep battle against the aging yet powerful Sith apprentice, hearing the cackling words of the elder Sith Lord:

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.”

Repeated over, and over again, he recalls these words he read on Korriban, and finally recognizes that this was his destiny. He fights with it in his mind, trying to back away, go toward the light side, but he realizes that everything he’s done, he’s done to protect order and peace in the Galaxy. He knows that he can only do so through the dark side, because it is more powerful and he can stop it all. In what can only be described as a rage burst, he exudes the force as none have done before, shattering the ship around him, killing Dooku to take his rightful place at the hand of Darth Sidious. Even his wife, the former Queen of Naboo, Amidala, who he met in little more than a cutaway, feels it through the connection she has with her twin children. Two there shall be, and only two. He takes a knee before his new master Anakin Skywalker, and rises Darth Vader. Together, they destroy the remnants of the Federation, killing all the aliens they can find, and begin the process of wiping out the Jedi, but fail to catch several. Obi-Wan, realizing what has been done, escapes, knowing he is outmatched and has no chance of fighting off this new Sith Apprentice alone. Yet.

Order 66 obviously never happens. The Jedi simply begin falling to the superior numbers. The Council is overrun by the forces of the new Sith Empire. Master Yoda hears of this slaughter and considers returning to Coruscant to protect as many as he can, but realizes that the hope he once had is now lost. The greatest Jedi he had ever trained has now joined the dark side. He can feel the sudden fall and is destroyed. He feels a vision, though. A powerful vision of a child discovered on Tattooine. A Skywalker, found and delivered as the savior of the Republic. But this is a fuzzy, faded vision of the past that never happened. He retreats, finding solace and proper hiding in the dark-force laden swamps of Dagobah, knowing the Force will guide events the way they should go.

Obi-Wan races back to Coruscant to join in the fight. His ship is caught in the gravity wave of an early prototype that will eventually become a short-lived staple of the Empire, leading to his crash and escape, only to find himself face-to-face with the greatest Jedi he’s ever known: Anakin Skywalker.

“You were my brother, Anakin! We were to stop this menace together!”

No, Obi-Wan. I was your padawan. We were to fail together, just as Revan and Malak were. Today, the Republic will be reborn.

“Think of your children, Anakin, your wife, stop this madness and help us defeat the Federation!”

There is no Federation. Soon, there will be no Republic. Join me, and we will overthrow the Emperor. We will rule the galaxy in peace, and crush those who challenge us!”

“I will never join the Sith. Don’t you see? You haven’t found power, only the lust for it!”

Obi-Wan is cut short of his heroic speech as a purple lightsaber is flung forward, barely passing over Anakin’s head as he ducks, followed by the sudden surge of electric power, the Jedi Master Mace Windu giving over to the darker side as he absorbs Anakin’s life force, watching him burn and scream, his body giving way, losing capabilities and surrendering to the overwhelming power. Suddenly, as though from a dream, the visage of the Emperor himself steps from the fog of war, grabbing at Windu’s throat through the force, choking him with all his might but suffering the brunt of Windu’s attack, he kills him with a snap of the neck, but at a terrible price. Seeing even the powerful Mace Windu felled by the dark magics of the Sith Lords, Obi-Wan has no choice but to flee, tearfully. Sidious and Vader have been temporarily crippled by the great attack, with Vader’s body suffering greatly, moreso than the much more powerful Sidious.

The aftermath leads to Sidious crawling toward his new apprentice. Vader croaks out through a strained voice “give me my revenge, save me, and I will serve you until my dying breath… Master”

Sidious calls in a contingent of clone troopers, who help Darth Vader back to a transport ship, augmenting him as Obi-Wan arrives on the only planet he can think of to run to, Tattooine. For their safety, the twins, Luke and Leia are split up, with one of the few loyal Senators, King Bail Organa of Alderaan taking the infant Leia, and the family of the long-dead Skywalker claiming Luke as their own, to keep the family name and continue toward a long-storied but simple history on Tattooine.

The newly refitted Darth Vader stands, outfitted in his cybernetically-enhanced suit, asking the frail Sidious “Where is my child?” to which he only receives the response “I do not know. They may have died in the attack on Coruscant.” He hangs his head in silence, gripping the new synthetic lightsaber tight in his gloved hand, replying “He will join us someday.”


Now, I know, this leaves out some serious plot holes. Where did C3PO come from? Well, As droids go, he’s not all that unique. Besides, Anakin basically built him from a kit in the original timeline. Someone at some point would have assembled the parts, and he was likely some kind of cheap mail-order droid that just about anyone could have grabbed off the back of a space-magazine. He gets built, it doesn’t need to be explored, really. He and R2D2 meet during the clone wars offscreen, it doesn’t matter.

Coruscant is once again conquered by the Sith, nobody is really surprised, and life goes on as usual for most people. Palpatine does his conqueror thing, promising the senate will stay in-tact as he takes over as the Emperor, and it does. For a while. The rest, is Episode 4, AKA history.

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