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A common defense for the Star Wars sequels (episodes 7-9) is that the balance that Anakin Skywalker brought to the force would not last forever, which would explain why the First Order was able to rise to power and how Palpatine was able to clone himself and become even more powerful, as if he never died.

But doesn't this make the prophecy insignificant? I'm sure if the Jedi Order knew that this prophecy would only last for a few years they wouldn't fuss over it so much and look for this "Chosen One".

My question is, why was this prophecy such a big deal in the original trilogy and prequels if it had no everlasting meaning, as the sequels imply?

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    Or maybe, since Anakin fell to the Dark side, perhaps he turned out not to be the chosen one, and the prophecy failed? Obi-Wan does say "You were the Chosen One!" (emphasis mine) which suggests his failure means he is no longer. And prophecies aren't quite the kind of thing you can say "okay, what's plan B?" with.
    – DavidW
    Aug 13, 2023 at 2:41
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    My impression of Episode 1 was that the Council didn't really believe in the prophecy, but they went along with it to humor Qui-gon and because, after all, somebody did need to teach Anakin to control his powers. They weren't looking for the "chosen one" and they didn't really seem all that impressed with him once they had him.
    – Cadence
    Aug 13, 2023 at 3:04
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    @DavidW - George Lucas did think Anakin fulfilled the prophecy by killing the Emperor and then dying himself, thus ending the Sith--see the "Behind the scenes" section of the wookieepedia Legends article on "The Chosen One"
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 13, 2023 at 10:53
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    Because they pulled Palpatine coming back right out of their arses when they realised that audiences thought the previous two films sucked
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2023 at 11:45
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    I'm tempted to drag out Baldrick's roundabout way of asking why World War I started.
    – Spencer
    Sep 4, 2023 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

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Short version: because the universe isn't a static object, and it's full of people with free will. Always in motion is the future.

Slightly longer version: Just as resisting the dark side within oneself is a lifelong struggle, the cosmic balance of the force is not a single problem to be fixed once and for all, but a struggle for all time. It ebbs and flows with peoples' actions and mindsets. Basically it's more a matter of philosophy than anything practically quantifiable.

Now I'm not a big fan of how the sequel trilogy executed on that idea (especially Palpatine's return), but it was indeed only a matter of time before evil reared its head again in some form or another.

So far as the prophecy's place in all this is concerned; it's of course it's a matter of subjective opinion, but I think the best way to frame it is to say that what Anakin did, did indeed restore balance. Everything that happened in the the ST, including Rey being set on her path was a direct result of his actions. That the rise of the First Order wasn't an undoing his sacrifice so much as an aftershock. A death rattle. Not a perfect explanation I know, but it wasn't a very coherently thought out trilogy of films, so we must make do.

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    I don't disagree with your answer, but I feel there is a problem with the Short Version: a fluid universe is against the very notion of a Chosen One. Prophecies and Chosen Ones are all about static universes, narratively. Much like the original question asks, if the universe is in motion, then the Chosen One was a trifle, a small thing not to truly worry about -- "this, too, shall pass". I think the fundamental problem in the narrative is that Chosen Ones are meant to be final, but the reality of show biz requires that the show must go on and new conflict arise (just my 2 cents, not an answer)
    – Andres F.
    Sep 4, 2023 at 19:28
  • @AndresF. It's a bit hard to argue whether the prophecy is indicative of a deterministic universe, or one where free will exists when we don't even know the specifics of said prophecy. only the broad strokes. All we really know it was vague enough that even Yoda wasn't sure they even fully understood it. As for the overall significance of the Chosen One; it depends on one's perspective. On a cosmic level that spans billions of years; not so much. For this narrow slice of that spans maybe a few millennia; I'd say very significant.
    – Kris
    Sep 4, 2023 at 20:48
  • but the prophecy barely lasted enough to register even in this "slice of a few millennia", did it? People who were alive during Vader's time witnessed the prophecy come undone. Either Anakin wasn't the chosen one, or the chosen one prophecy was barely significant to make such a fuss about in the Prequels. Anakin didn't even manage to restore Balance for his children to see, he barely restored anything at all! I don't want to mention our controversial real world, but most of our prophets, saviors and messiahs made a bigger dent in years of being relevant!
    – Andres F.
    Sep 24, 2023 at 5:16
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One must consider both the Watsonian and the Doylist explanation for the subject.

Presumably, the Watsonian explanation must be that the Star Wars franchise, as I have theorised multiple times before, is in a constant state of infinite conflict between the two sides of the Force.

The Doylist explanation must be that someone at Disney needs a third swimming pool.

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    You could improve this answer by editing it to expand on the 'Watsonian' (or in-universe) explanation, as that's what the question seemed to be interested in. For example, while you've begun to explain why balance to the force isn't everlasting, you haven't offered an explanation for why the Jedi Order made so much fuss about the prophecy concerning the "Chosen One," if the balance said Chosen One was going to bring was to be as short-lived as it was. Nov 1, 2023 at 22:12

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