This is a controversial topic among Star Wars fans, with arguments on both sides. In this article, we’ll examine the key evidence and theories around whether Darth Plagueis could have been responsible for Anakin Skywalker’s unusual birth and extraordinary powers.
Who was Darth Plagueis?
Darth Plagueis was a Sith Lord who lived many years before the events of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. He was the master of Darth Sidious, who later took on the public persona of Senator Palpatine. Plagueis had an obsession with discovering the secrets of immortality and manipulating midichlorians to create life. This is revealed in Revenge of the Sith during the opera scene, when Palpatine tells Anakin Skywalker:
“Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
So from this scene, we establish that Plagueis had unique powers over the midi-chlorians – the microscopic life forms that connect all living things with the Force. He could potentially influence them to create a lifeform. However, Palpatine also states that Plagueis was killed by his apprentice (Palpatine himself) in his sleep, before he could unlock the full secrets of life and death.
The prophecy of the Chosen One
An important backdrop to Anakin’s origins is the prophecy of the Chosen One. This foretold that one day, an extremely powerful Force user would rise to bring balance to the Force. Many fans believe Anakin fulfilled this prophecy through his eventual redemption and defeat of Palpatine. However, the dark side cult known as the Sith also knew of this prophecy. Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious may have deliberately tried to engineer the Chosen One as a Sith weapon against the Jedi.
Was Anakin conceived by midichlorians?
In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn discovers the young slave Anakin on Tatooine. He tells the Jedi Council:
“His cells have the highest concentration of midi-chlorians I have seen in a life form. It is possible he was conceived by the midi-chlorians.”
This raises the shocking idea that Anakin had no biological father, but was conceived directly by midichlorians. Could this have been the work of Darth Plagueis, manipulating midichlorians to spawn the prophesized Chosen One? Let’s examine some key evidence.
The timing of Anakin’s birth
According to official Star Wars canon, Anakin was born in 41 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). Darth Plagueis died sometime earlier, at least several decades before The Phantom Menace. Therefore, if Plagueis created Anakin, he would have had to do so before his death while still apprenticed to Darth Sidious.
Some fans argue that Anakin’s mother Shmi was impregnated by Plagueis’s experiments years before Anakin’s birth. However, Shmi stated in The Phantom Menace that there was “no father” – she did not seem to be keeping this secret.
Did Darth Sidious influence Anakin’s birth?
If Darth Plagueis directly conceived Anakin, it raises the question of why Darth Sidious did not follow through on this plot as the next Sith Lord. However, some theorize Sidious picked up his master’s work and engineered Anakin’s birth himself. After all, Sidious was known to be well-versed in Plagueis’s teachings about midi-chlorian manipulation.
Evidence for Sidious influencing Anakin includes:
- Sidious kept close watch over Anakin from childhood, ensuring he left Tatooine to be trained as a Jedi.
- He helped escalate the Clone Wars, in part to shape Anakin towards the dark side.
- He made Anakin his right-hand man during the later stages of the war.
So Sidious clearly had an unusual interest in Anakin’s rise. It’s possible he covertly created Anakin, perhaps having learned this power from Plagueis before the latter’s death.
Anakin’s “virgin birth”
A major objection to the Darth Plagueis theory is Shmi Skywalker’s quote that there was “no father.” This implies a miraculous virgin birth for Anakin. Some fans take this as evidence that Plagueis and Sidious were uninvolved, and Anakin’s conception was an act of the Force itself. The Chosen One was spawned naturally by the midichlorians to bring balance.
However, skeptics argue that Shmi may have been kept unaware of the Sith machinations that birthed Anakin. Her mind could have been manipulated with the Force to make her believe she carried and gave birth to Anakin naturally.
Did Plagueis influence Shmi Skywalker?
A related theory is that Plagueis used the Force to influence the midichlorians in Shmi Skywalker’s body, essentially impregnating her against her will or knowledge. Plagueis may have selected Shmi to be the mother of the Chosen One.
He could have chosen Shmi because of her naturally high midi-chlorian count. Or the remote planet of Tatooine may have been picked as a hiding place for the child, away from the eyes of the Jedi Order. In this scenario, Plagueis directly spawned Anakin within Shmi’s womb.
What does George Lucas say?
George Lucas remains vague on Anakin’s origins outside of the films. In a 2017 interview, he said:
“I don’t think it’s immaculate conception, but I do think it’s created by the Force.”
This lends some support to Anakin being conceived by midichlorians alone. However, Lucas could simply mean the general concept of the Force is responsible, rather than any specific Sith lord.
The Darth Plagueis novel
While not officially canon anymore, the Star Wars novel Darth Plagueis explores Plagueis and Sidious actively manipulating midi-chlorians to create the prophesized Sith’ari (Chosen One). In this version, they arrange the spontaneous conception of Anakin within Shmi Skywalker.
So at least in the Expanded Universe, Plagueis and his experiments were directly linked to Anakin’s virgin birth. But the canonicity of this is debated now.
The exact origins of Anakin Skywalker remain ambiguous in Star Wars canon. Darth Plagueis seems the most likely candidate for having influenced Anakin’s birth through midi-chlorian manipulation. However, it’s also plausible that Darth Sidious picked up Plagueis’s work, or the midichlorians acted alone to spawn the Chosen One.
While we may never get a definitive answer, the mystery surrounding the “chosen one” adds to the epic Star Wars saga. Anakin’s origins, tangled up in ancient Sith secrets and the cosmic Force, kickstarted the entire Skywalker story.