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On the assumption that Sidious knew of the prophecy and that Anakin was the Chosen One, did he not believe it would be his destiny?

Perhaps he thought that turning Anakin to the Dark Side and giving him a Sith name would counter the effects of the prophecy, or that the Jedi had misunderstood what it meant.

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    I'd like to point out that, in a purely pedantic sense, Anakin DID "bring balance to the Force": two Sith (Sidious/Vader), two Jedi (Yoda/Kenobi). Balanced! Not my fault the Jedi "misread" (as Master Yoda put it) the prophecy...
    – Ghotir
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:06
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    Most likely, both were just the tools of the Force. Both the Sith and the Jedi (of the time) were a disbalance to the Force - the Sith by trying to force the Force to do their bidding, the Jedi by completely discarding the dark side. Both misinterpreted the prophecy in their own way - the Jedi as something to destroy the Sith (true, but not the whole picture), the Sith as something to destroy the Jedi "supremacy" (also true, also not the whole picture). The Force needs both the light and the dark side, neither is inherently evil or good.
    – Luaan
    Sep 1, 2016 at 9:10
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    Difficult to see. Always in motion, is the future.
    – reirab
    Sep 1, 2016 at 13:25
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    @Ghotir This is one of the more frustrating facts about the prequels. The plot is actually quite gripping, just lacks focus on the more important or interesting things. The subtleties here- with the Jedi misinterpretating the prophecy, alongside their arrogance and laziness- would make for a more compelling story in another writer's hands.
    – Mikasa
    Sep 2, 2016 at 5:59
  • Darth Sidious, thank you very much. He didn't spend all those years with Sith holocrons to be called Mister.
    – Paul
    Sep 2, 2016 at 9:13

3 Answers 3

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The prophecy of the Chosen One is a Jedi prophecy. As a Sith, Sidious has no reason to believe that it would come true in a way that favored the Jedi. He would regard it as no more than wishful thinking on the part of the Jedi. Sidious would have even less reason to believe the prophecy of the Chosen One would come true after Order 66 -- with most of the Jedi dead and the Sith in control of the Galactic Empire, the prospects don't look good for the Jedi.

Even if Sidious believed that the prophecy might be true, that doesn't mean he believed Anakin was the Chosen One. Even the Jedi didn't know if Anakin was the Chosen One or if the prophecy was being interpreted correctly:

Obi-Wan: With all due respect, Master, is [Anakin] not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?

Mace Windu: So the prophecy says.

Yoda: A prophecy . . . that misread could have been.

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith

The fact that Sidious managed to turn Anakin to the dark side would be a pretty good indication to Sidious that Anakin was not the Chosen One, even if Sidious believed the prophecy might eventually come true. After all, how could Anakin/Vader destroy the Sith if he was a Sith himself?

It's also worth noting that we do not know the exact in-universe statement made by the prophecy of the Chosen One: every mention of it is a merely a reference to it made by a character. Usually those references only mention the part about bringing balance to the Force (as in Episodes I and II) -- the "destruction of the Sith" is mentioned along with the prophecy only in Episode III (by Obi-Wan, as in the quote above). This suggests that the prophecy merely predicts that the Force would be balanced, and that the "destruction of the Sith" part was how the Jedi interpreted the prophecy. Consequently, it's possible that Sidious interpreted the prophecy as merely that the Chosen One would bring balance to the Force -- and since the Jedi vastly outnumbered the Sith, the prophecy would actually mean that the Jedi would be reduced in number (i.e. that the prophecy would favor the Sith). This is an interpretation commonly made by fans, although Lucas has said that the correct interpretation favors the Jedi and includes the destruction of the Sith.


In Legends, the Sith actually have their own version of the prophecy of the Chosen One: the prophecy of the Sith'ari. The Sith'ari is basically the Sith equivalent of the Jedi Chosen One, except that the Sith'ari would benefit the Sith over the Jedi. Sidious might have thought Anakin would become the Sith'ari instead of the Jedi Chosen One while Sidious was trying to recruit Anakin. After Anakin/Vader lost his limbs and was weakened in the Force, Sidious probably thought he would be the Sith'ari (he thought he would master the dark side of the Force and live forever).

The Legends novel Darth Plagueis provides yet another interpretation of the Jedi prophecy of the Chosen One (from Dooku) which favors the Sith. The following is a conversation between between then-Senator Palpatine and Dooku (still a member of the Jedi Order at the time), in which Dooku revealed the prophecy to Palpatine and his own interpretation of it. Because Dooku was still a Jedi, Palpatine deliberately played dumb so as not to reveal the fact that he was a Sith Lord:

“The Order’s place in this is a matter Sifo-Dyas and I have discussed endlessly,” Dooku snapped. “But the members of the Council are not similarly inclined. They are entrenched in archaic thinking, and slow to embrace change.” He paused, and adopted a sinister look. “Don’t let yourself be fooled, Palpatine. They see dark times ahead. In fact, they think of little else. That’s why they have allowed the Jedi to become involved in parochial conflicts like those at Galidraan, Yinchorr, and Baltizaar, which are like brush fires born of windblown embers from a massive blaze just beyond the horizon. But instead of actually rising up against the corruption in the Republic, perhaps disbanding the Senate entirely for a period of time, they have become fixated on prophecy. They await the coming of a prophesized redeemer who will bring balance to the Force and restore order.”

“A redeemer?” Palpatine stared at him in authentic surprise. “You’ve never alluded to this prophecy.”

“Nor would I now if I still thought of myself as loyal to the Order.”

“I never considered that the Force needed to be balanced.”

Dooku’s lip curled. “The Order interprets the prophecy to mean that the dark tide needs to be stemmed.”

“You don’t accept it?”

Dooku had an answer ready. “Here is the truth of it: the Jedi could fulfill the prophecy on their own, if they were willing to unleash the full powers of the Force.”

“The full powers of the Force,” Palpatine said. “I’m afraid you’ve lost me.”

Dooku blew out his breath. “Perhaps it’s something we can discuss in the future.”

“You’ve made your decision, then?”

Dooku nodded. “If one more Jedi dies because of indolence on the part of the Republic and moral equivocation on the part of the Council, I will leave the Temple and refuse to look back.”

pp. 293-294

Dooku rejected the Jedi Order's interpretation that "balance to the Force" meant defeat of the dark side of the Force. His position sounds suspiciously like the Sith belief that the Jedi don't use the "full powers of the Force" by rejecting the use of the dark side. The alleged "destroy the Sith" part of the prophecy is also notably absent.

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    Another piece I would add is that Sidious was very ambitious, and in some cases, downright arrogant. Though he had a nasty habit of being right very, very, often...
    – Brandon
    Sep 1, 2016 at 13:39
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1. The Force was unbalanced due to having too many light-side users, who outnumbered the dark-side users.

The creation of the Jedi order ensured that the Jedi were always at peak strength; the training of Younglings at the temple allowed for quick

Meanwhile, the Sith were hindered by the Rule of Two, which only allowed for two Sith.

Yoda: Always two there are. A master, and an apprentice.


2. The Jedi misinterpreted the prophecy.

Obi-Wan believed that the prophecy fortold the destruction of the Sith.

Obi-wan: With all due respect, Master, is [Anakin] not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?

Yoda, however, cautioned that this was not necessarily true.

Yoda: A prophecy . . . that misread could have been.

As has been speculated by many fans- especially when seeking answers to who Anakin's father is, it is thought that The Force created Anakin as a tool to destroy the Jedi, in order to balance the force. Seeings as there were a limited number of Sith, it's fair to say that the Force was unbalanced at this point. The annihilation of the Sith would have further tipped the scales to the light side, therefore it is inarguable that the Jedi were the ones in the firing line.

As we later see, the commencement of order 66, which murders many trained Jedi, is also aided by Anakin's mass-slaughter of Younglings at the temple.

Anakin killing Younglings: Anakin's saber extended in the foreground with two worried looking Younglings in the background


3. Sidious used this knowledge to his advantage.

By way of his careful manipulation of Anakin, Palpatine manages to seduce Anakin to the dark side.

Therefore, in conclusion, it is likely that Palpatine not only knew of the prophecy, but also attempted to help aid Anakin's success for his own means.

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    Point #1 is highly debatable....
    – Skooba
    Aug 31, 2016 at 19:12
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    Isn't Watoo was Anakin's father? Same nose. Same eyes.
    – Gusdor
    Sep 1, 2016 at 10:11
  • @Skooba really? I thought it was the strong one; but I guess I didn't explain it as in depth. What else is needed? The fact that, after Anakin kills the younglings, there are only two remaining sith- he and Sideous- and two Jedi- Obi-wan and Yoda. The force was unbalanced before, but is by the end of Revenge of The Sith.
    – Mikasa
    Sep 2, 2016 at 5:54
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    Also, there isn't only two Jedis who survive order 66 - EU gives us many Jedis who survived.
    – Devaron
    Sep 3, 2016 at 13:49
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Judging by his actions he is almost always using words as a deception to fool others and make himself look better. Such people don't trust words. They would be fools to do so.

The Emperor: [to the Senate] In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.

We all know that it is an outright lie.

Darth Vader: Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she all right?

Darth Sidious: It seems in your anger... you killed her.

Darth Vader: I... I couldn't have! She was alive; I felt it... I... Nooooooo!

Lie tossed to make Anakin feel guilty and to look at himself as on a monster. Thus making him closer to the dark side and easier to manipulate.

Anakin Skywalker: What have I done?

Darth Sidious: You are fulfilling your destiny, Anakin. Become my apprentice. Learn to use the dark side of the Force.

Convincing Anakin that what he has done was right while he himself knew it was wrong. Destiny? Really? So convenient, excuse.

Anakin Skywalker: The Separatists have been taken care of, my master.

The Emperor: It is finished then. You have restored peace and justice to the galaxy.

Again. Words aimed to portray Sidious as a good Emperor bringing together with Anakin peace and justice while in truth he was a tyrant killing all the opposition and taking away more freedom than ever. He has created this war and its sole purpose was for him to rule the world.

So, I think that Sidious was looking at words as nothing more than a tool and expect others to be just as power-hungry as him, including Jedi. I wouldn't be surprised if he thought it was an outright lie meant to fool young Jedi by their masters into thinking that "they are the chosen ones" while it was all about the power and prestige. I don't believe he has considered the prophecy to be something more. Also since he killed his previous master it wouldn't surprise him if Darth Vader would try this on him sooner or later. So, why should he bother? He managed to kill almost all Jedi, Darth Vader seemed still deep down naive, noble and guilty (no ambition, little chances to plot against him, no chances to stand up to the truth). It looked like it was all going in his favor.

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  • You can use > at the start of a paragraph to denote a quote. If you want to change or add anything here you can also edit your own post!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 22, 2020 at 9:27

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