One Theory to Rule Them All… Maybe
If you haven’t seen the Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens yet, I’m sorry. You should’ve already, and if you haven’t, I assume that you cannot afford to see it or do not care about it. I’ll forgive you if you couldn’t afford it. In fact, email me and I’ll take you to see it. I’ve seen it three times, once with my children to just enjoy it like a child and embrace the nostalgia, once with my wife and father-in-law to watch it with a critical eye, and once in IMAX/3D to get the full impact. I am willing to see it many more… for your benefit.
Even before the film’s release, speculation has ensued about who the characters were. Kylo Ren was believed to be a dark side embracing Luke Skywalker, and Jar Jar was his Kylo’s boss. Finn is thought to be Lando’s son. Rey was thought be possibly a Solo or a Skywalker. I’m not sure if anyone really speculated about Poe Dameron, but if they wanted to know where he came from they could read Marvel’s Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire (4 issues) released in September through October prior to the film’s release.
Since the film’s release and the mind-blowing revelations, which make sense in the grand scheme of things—it was pretty predictable what would happen in this film, not that it made it worse for the ware—given the need to embrace nostalgia, provide familiarity, and a new starting point for the series that lost some of its edge with the prequels. As Lor San Tekka played by Max von Sydow, says in the first dialogue of the film, “This will begin to make things right.” And has it, as well as spawned even more fan theory, speculating on everything from Rey being a Skywalker or a Kenobi, if her name is actually Chewbacca or Padme, or is she a reincarnated Anakin. I’m not sure anyone really cares about Ren, Finn, or Poe anymore, but there’s been a lot more on Snoke. In addition to these theories, he’s believed to possibly be a Son of Mortis from the Clone Wars episodes or even a survived somehow Darth Vader.
All these theories got me thinking and something mentioned by one of these theorists really struck me. The three trilogies of Star Wars should correspond to the story of Anakin Skywalker, his rise, fall, and ultimate redemption. Then, something Reddit user Patojavier said in his theory came to mind:
So, Kylo, represents Anakin’s anger, fear, jealousy, etc is named Ben (Vader’s ultimate enemy) and Rey represents love, compasión [sic], forgiveness, etc; is named Padme (Anakin’s true love, even in Vader’s state).
Then, I recalled the prophecy that Anakin was the Chosen One who was supposed to bring to fruition, bringing balance to the Force.
Now I’m a big mythology and religious studies nerd. One of my bachelors is in religious studies with a primary focus on Judaism and early Christianity. One of the things Star Wars does well is incorporating Biblical imagery, which we find in Anakin’s immaculate conception, as he was made of pure midichlorians or Force energy, as well as all the Messianic symbolism within Star Wars in connection to Anakin and Luke. Commenting on the Biblical allusions, I recently gave an offhand comment on a Facebook post about Rey’s origins saying she was the daughter of Skywalker and Kenobi, like Christ, she brought the Kingly and Priestly Messianic lines together in one person.
In Judaism, there were two Messiahs, which originally meant anointed one and could possibly be considered something like King— or High Priest— elect. When the Temple was destroyed and the Kingdom was lost, the Messiah became the figure that was expected to return and basically bring balance to the world by restoring the Kingdom and Temple in Jerusalem. This ushered in a period in which many Messiahs came forward and attempted to reclaim the place of the Chosen People. The early Christian writers went to great lengths to show how these dual Messianic lines converged in the genealogy of Jesus.
Speaking of such duality, in regard to the distinction between the light and dark side of the Force, I have always found the Jewish concepts of Yetzer HaRa and Yetzer HaTov to provide clarity. Here is a quote from a previous blog post.
Humans are born with a good inclination (Yetzer HaTov) and an “evil” or “natural” inclination (Yetzer HaRa). In Judaism, the evil inclination is philosophical, not a demonic force; It is the needs of the physical body, in which a preponderance on such a need might lead to gluttony, lust, pride, etc. Similarly, the good inclination is philosophical, referring to the ideal good, which would be purely seeking out God and studying Torah. One must maintain balance between these two inclinations. If one does not moderate these two forces, they may lean to close to good and then they do not eat, do not have sex, and they die without reproducing. Likewise, they may become criminal leaning to close the evil.
As Judaism is monotheistic, the duel resides between non-personified inclinations, whereas Zoroastrianism names the good Ahura Mazda and the evil Angra Mainyu, who battle as opposing forces. Although it may be easy to call the light side good and the dark side evil, I don’t think that necessarily fits what we see in the Star Wars Universe. The dark siders are not necessarily evil; they just utilize a different spectrum of emotions and behaviors.
We find this similar duality in ancient myths, which likely stem from the natural cycle of Venus. Venus is considered both the morning and the evening star, which the ancients likely believed were two different stars as they named different gods for each. The ancients of Ugarit (6000-1190 BCE) called the Morning Star, Shahar, and the Evening Star, Shalim, while the ancients of Greece (800-325 BCE) called the Morning Star, Phosphorus, and the evening star, Hesperus. Eventually, the ancients realized these were the same planet Venus and reworked their myths. In Ugarit, the god ‘Athtar came to represent Venus, later evolving into the goddess Ishtar, who finds her equal in Aphrodite among the Greeks.
Sorry for that tangent into myth and religion in our universe, I’ll return now to the Star Wars universe to discuss my theory to elaborate on Rey and Snoke. First and most importantly, I am working on the assumption that these three trilogies are documenting the rise, fall, and redemption of the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker. Qui Gon Jinn believes Anakin is the fulfillment of the Chosen One prophecy, saying to Obi Wan Kenobi with his dying breath in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, “He is the chosen one. He will bring balance. Train him. “ In Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Obi Wan confirmed his belief as Anakin being the Chosen One:
Some have indicated that Anakin fulfilled this prophecy, bringing balance to the force by eliminating the oversized Jedi population compared to the two Sith present in the films. By the end of Episode III, we know that two Sith and two Jedi survived the Clone Wars and rise of the Empire. Was this the balance fulfilled by the prophecy? I don’t think so. I think Anakin, who was immaculately conceived, had the highest midichlorian count recorded, and was highly sensitive to the Force, embodied the Balance. Anakin is the Force personified, containing within him the convergence of both the light and dark side of the Force. He is not only a Messianic figure, but is literally a Christ-figure, as he brings together the Light and Dark Messianic lines and is the Son of the Force. Within him both aspects of the Force are merged as one and balanced.
His Jedi training did not prevail, because it pressured him to push aside his Dark side, which is not evil, but natural and self-centered. The Dark is good if used in moderation, like the Yetzer HaRa. Likewise, the Light side dominating his training became bad, because it forced him to suppress those natural urges. The push too far to the Light caused a backlash, resulting in a hard push to the opposite side of the Force. His embrace of the Dark side was a result of the inflexible instruction from the Jedi, who did not know how to keep him balanced, forcing him to learn their traditional instruction of suppression of the Dark side. With the death of his wife, loss of his children and friends, he had no Light to turn to and solely embraced the teachings of his Master in the Dark side. We see him as the calculated, cold killer in Episode IV: A New Hope.
After the discovery of his son, he starts to re-balance himself, regressing to the mean, so to speak, as he regains Light. Over the next two films, we see his struggle as he regains balance, moving toward the Light side by embracing his son, but trying to maintain his Dark side by following his Master. He finally regains balance in the Force when he sacrifices himself to defeat the Emperor and save his son in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The Jedi who returned was not Luke, but Anakin, embracing the Light side in his last moments of life.
So, what happened next? Where do Snoke and Rey come in? At the end of Episode VI, Darth Vader is cremated and his Force essence is released back into the universe. We see Anakin as a Force ghost, using his powerful Light side to reveal himself to his son next to Obi Wan and Yoda. However, if Anakin was truly the embodiment of both sides of the Force, what happened to the Dark side of Anakin, Darth Vader’s spirit. I propose that outside of Anakin’s body, the two aspects of Anakin split, creating a Light Force ghost Anakin and a Dark Force spirit of Vader.
During the ten years following the destruction of the second Death Star, the Dark Force spirit of Vader sought to make itself corporeal once again. Snoke is the embodiment of the Vader spirit, which his why his wounds resemble those of Anakin Skywalker, but his visage is ghoulish. As Snoke, he is pure Dark side and is knowledgeable of more than just the Sith’s Dark side powers, because he had become spirit and returned. He is able to start a new order that is much stronger in the Dark side Force.
Meanwhile, the Light Force ghost of Anakin senses the disturbance in the Force caused by his former Dark side spirit. He attempts knows he needs to return to the physical world to fight against the power of that darkness. As a Force ghost, he has always watched over and communed with his son, who has married Ben Kenobi’s granddaughter and is expecting a child. He tells his son his plan to imbibe his Light Force powers into the child. Luke agrees, believing he will train a new generation of Jedi. He is already training his nephew, Ben Solo.
Before the Luke’s child turns five, her cousin had become seduced by his grandfather’s Vader spirit ghoul, Snoke, joined the Knights of Ren, and slaughtered the new generation of Jedi, including Luke’s wife. Luke and his daughter survived the slaughter, but the Knights of Ren were always on his tail. To keep his daughter from harm, he wiped her memory and left her on Jakku. He tried to fight the Knights of Ren and killed many of them, but Kylo and Snoke were too strong for him. He ran and disappeared.
In summary, Snoke is a Vader ghoul and Rey is imbibed with Anakin’s Light Force. Rey is also Luke’s daughter and Obi Wan’s great-granddaughter, which makes things pretty interesting genealogically. I think we will see Snoke die or return to spirit form and enter Kylo Ren to make him even more powerful and save him from dying. This trilogy will no longer be about balance of the Force, as the universe is balanced now, it’s about Anakin’s ultimate redemption, as his Light side defeats his Dark side.