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During the Prequel trilogy, the Jedi wanted to bring balance to the Force, in accordance with a prophecy. There seemed to be a general agreement that this was a 'good thing', but a disagreement with the assertion that Anakin was the one to do it.

Why did the Jedi Council believe it was good to bring balance to the Force? The Republic was mighty (in theory), the Council was established as THE source of Force users, the Sith were thought extinct, and the number of Dark Jedi was apparently very, very low.

It seemed, for all intents and purposes, as if the Force was strongly imbalanced in favor of the Light side...so why did the Council want to 'balance' it?

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    One must consider the possibility that, like many of the plot elements in that trilogy, it just didn't make much sense. – Beta Jun 27 '11 at 19:38
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    @beta: In the Prequels, yes. In the OT, much less. – Jeff Jun 28 '11 at 2:13
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    Consider also that had "bringing balance to the force" meant eliminating the dark side, ultimately it happened as Anakin himself killed the emperor. Perhaps it took a bit longer than anyone anticipated, that's all. – Neil Jun 29 '11 at 15:43
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    @Neil: Ah, so that explains why there were no evil Jedi ever seen again in the Extended Universe. – Jeff Jun 29 '11 at 17:46
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    @Jeff - No one ever said it was a permanent balance. How boring (and non-money making) would that be? ;) – Chuck Dee Nov 29 '11 at 20:37

12 Answers 12

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The simple answer is that the Council knew Anakin was a critical player in the events of the future, but they didn't know how or why. They had no clue what bringing balance to the Force entailed. Looking back, it is obvious, but in the canon, they didn't. In fact, read this quote from the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith book, by Matthew Stover (p. 213, hardback, first edition):

"Yes. Always in motion, the future is." Yoda lifted his head and his eyes narrowed to thoughtful slits. "And the prophecy, misread it could have been."

Mace looked even grimmer than usual. "Since the fall of Darth Bane more than a millennium ago, there have been hundreds of thousands of Jedi -- hundreds of thousands of Jedi feeding the light with each work of their hands, with each breath, with every beat of their hearts, bringing justice, building civil society, radiating peace, acting out of selfless love for all living things -- and in all these thousand years, there have been only two Sith at any time. Only two. Jedi create light, but the Sith do not create darkness. They use the darkness that is always there. That has always been there. Greed and jealousy, aggression and lust and fear -- these are all natural to sentient beings. The legacy of the jungle. Our inheritance from the dark."

"I'm sorry, Master Windu, but I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying -- to follow your metaphor -- that the Jedi have cast too much light? From what I have seen these past years, the galaxy has not become all that bright a place." [My note: Obi-Wan speaking here.]

"All I'm saying is that we don't know. We don't even truly understand what it means to bring balance to the Force. We have no way of anticipating what this may involve."

All bold emphasis is mine, but italics were in the original text. I typed this by hand, so there may be typos in there, but the gist is there.

This book is considered G-level canon, so I consider it to be a very valid source. More info on the levels can be found on this Wikipedia page.


On another note, he did indeed bring balance to the Force when he killed Palpatine in the end. It's an interesting twist, given that one would think at the end of Episode III that the prophecy was referring to raising the level of darkness to that of the light -- but not so.

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    Wow, that passage demonstrates a quality of writing fairly on par with the quality of the prequels: "looked grimmer than usual", "every beat of their hearts", "to follow your metaphor" (in dialogue). This makes me sad. Every since the prequels came out G-canon's not what it used to be. – Adam Wuerl Oct 24 '11 at 15:59
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    Anakin also brought balance by killing many Jedi if you read this as "there must be a balance between Jedi and Sith" (between users of the dark and the light side). – Aaron Digulla Mar 12 '12 at 13:08
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    @Aaron: that isn't what Lucas intended (see the other high ranked answer on this question) – Reid Mar 12 '12 at 15:44
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    @Raid: true; it's an unintentional interpretation of the prophecy which would suit, for example, a Sith. – Aaron Digulla Mar 13 '12 at 9:13
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    @Aaron Digulla: it’s so true when you think it over. Considering the movies only, he brought perfect “balance to the force” by helping to kill all Jedi, leaving only Yoda and Obi Wan, in other words two Sith and two Jedi—a perfect balance. When Luke started to become a Jedi, Obi Wan had to go—guess who brought the balance again. When Yoda died, one of the Sith had to go—again it was him who brought balance by killing the Imperator. You could say, he spent his whole life bringing balance to the force and his death made it unbalanced again… – Holger Apr 12 '16 at 9:26
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It's because what the Jedi Order call "balance" is not the middle point between dark and light side, i'ts the absence of Dark Side use :

Traditional Jedi were keen to keep the Force "in balance". They attempted to achieve this by destroying the Sith and denying the dark side—essentially "keeping balance" by restoring the Force to its natural state, as they viewed the dark side as "corruption".
- Wookipedia article about "The force" section "The Jedi Order" paragraph 2

Also, about the Chosen One prophecy :

The idea of balance of the Force, a central tenet of the Jedi Order, refers to the ideal state in which the Force exists in nature, i.e. as the light side. The presence of the dark side corrupts and destroys this natural balance, and the Jedi viewed it as their duty to restore it.
- Wookipedia article about the "Chosen One"

Finally as from Georges Lucas's intention :

Many fans incorrectly assume that balance refers to an equal mix of both light and dark side users. However, as George Lucas explains in the introductory documentary for the VHS version A New Hope, Special Edition, this is not the case:

"[...] Which brings us up to the films 4, 5, and 6, in which Anakin's offspring redeem him and allow him to fulfill the prophecy where he brings balance to the Force by doing away with the Sith and getting rid of evil in the universe..."

In an interview, Lucas compared the difference between the light and dark sides as being like the difference between a symbiotic relationship and a cancer. A symbiotic relationship is one which benefits both parties and in which neither is harmed, whereas a cancer takes without giving back, eventually causing the death of both parties
- Wookipedia article about the "Chosen One", Section "Behind the scenes"

Update : On a side note, I just watch the French translation of "The Phantom Menace" with my son and the "bring balance to the Force" concept was translated to "restaurer l'harmonie dans la Force" (to restore the harmony to the force). This is one of the unusual case where the intended concept was better in translation than the original.

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    "Getting rid of evil in the Universe" - really? Exar Kun, Joruus C'baoth, the Dark Side Elite, the Emperor's Hands, the Dark Side Adept, Jerec, Desaan, etc must not have been evil, then. I'm just sayin'...the 'prophecy' brought balance to the Force for about 5 minutes. – Jeff Oct 24 '11 at 13:36
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    At the end of the Wookipedia article about the "Chosen One", the is this quote : "However, it should be made clear that as far as George Lucas is concerned, the story ends with Return of the Jedi with the Sith destroyed and the Force in balance. "But there's no story past Episode VI, there's just no story. It's a certain story about Anakin Skywalker and once Anakin Skywalker dies, that's kind of the end of the story."". I'm sorry to say that, but the extended universe is just a dollars bill press for Lucas. He own Star Wars, so whatever contradict his vision is just peripheral matter. – DavRob60 Oct 24 '11 at 13:46
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    "to restore the harmony" would have been a much better wording. – Aaron Digulla Mar 12 '12 at 13:10
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    “This is one of the unusual cases where the intended concept was better in translation than the original.” With George Lucas’s writing, I don’t think it’s that unusual :) – Paul D. Waite Apr 21 '13 at 10:34
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    George Lucas didn't say it was about getting rid of the dark side of the force, but rather about getting rid of the Sith, who were unbalancing the force in favor of the dark side. He has talked in many interviews about the need for balance between dark and light, see the quotes at swtor.com/community/showpost.php?p=6544611&postcount=27 ...for example, note the 2002 quote where he said "I wanted to have this mythological footing because I was basing the films on the idea that the Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there" – Hypnosifl Jul 22 '14 at 13:51
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When a system that seeks a balance becomes out of balance one way, it typically rebounds and becomes out of balance the other way before stabilizing.

The stronger the initial imbalance, the stronger the resulting "rebound" imbalance the other way.

Perhaps the Council feared that if the Force was as strongly imbalanced in favor of the Light side as it appeared to be, a strong rebound towards the Dark side was inevitable if steps were not taken to moderate the situation.

The subsequent events would seem to back up this idea, as, by the end of the Prequel trilogy, the Light side of the Force became almost as scarce as the Dark side was at the beginning.

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Good and evil are both eternal. The balance was basically done. The sith were the ultimate evil in the universe. After the death of Palpatine, the sith never regained power until 137 ABY. The balance was restored for about 133 years. That sounds good to me.

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    On a galactic scale, that's less than a heartbeat. – Jeff Nov 30 '11 at 14:57
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The Jedi would to bring the balance of the Force for his selfish reasons. Palpatine were right when said to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith that Jedi become arrogant, selfish and dominant. The balance is the balance between Dark and Light - so one who can use and understand both Dark and Light, who can live with one and another inside him.

A Sith was a menace but Jedi are not rules of the power, galaxy. Jedi is suppose to defense light with light not with dark and Sith is suppose to defense dark with dark not with friendship or understood. The Sith betray but in last decades Jedi betrayed too. They betrayed Anakin:

  1. they robbed from his feelings to his mother,
  2. they had him as a weapon against the Sith,
  3. they did not understand the nature of his feelings,
  4. they left him on Mustafar (his friend, father and brother altogether) instead they saved him.

So the Jedi would power and the dominant role like the Sith.

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If there is no bad to challenge the good, the good would have no meaning. The force wouldn't function as there would be nothing to define what the light side of the force is without having the dark side.

Its like having day without night. If night didn't exist, the concept of day wouldn't exist as it would be the only thing we would know.

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Chances are the 'bringing balance to the Force' prophecy was interpreted different ways by the Jedi and the Sith. The former thought it meant light vanquishing darkness and all evils shunted aside, the Force becoming wholly good, etc. The latter saw it as a weapon to blind the Jedi.

Don't we have an Expanded Universe novel about Palpatine and his master? I believe they dabbled quite heavily in prophecy distortion.

  • If you are referring to the novel Darth Plagueis, I don't believe there was anything in there about "prophecy distortion" – The Fallen Nov 2 '12 at 19:49
  • "All evils shunted aside, the Force becoming wholly good": There is no evidence that the Jedi actually thought that. – Ras Morthil Aug 19 '15 at 2:01
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It is thought that the Jedi were in agreement that bringing balance was in the act of eliminating the sith completely and thoroughly. This was shown throughout the perspective of the jedi and its order. The movies and books before "the old republic" showed the jedi with the upper hand of numbers. In the old republic however the sith were ruling the galaxy in large numbers with a whole PLANET dedicated to their order. (koriban) <- might be wrong spelling. / Anyways this was a power trip in a sense. Sith rule the galaxy and there is few to none jedi hiding in the crevices in the galaxy. Later in the present movies and books (before the old republic) it is the sith hiding in the shadows with few numbers and the jedi out in the open, proud and in charge so to speak. Good and evil are never in balance. Depending on the era, one always is stronger so to speak than the other. Balance cannot be achieved with one side or the other. It must COMBINE good and evil to find an equal middle. But as the jedi and the sith viewed it. They thought it was eliminating the other side.

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Maybe the old adage of there can not be light without darkness, Without the bitter the sweet would not be as sweet thing.Good needs evil to survive as far back as history goes it has to be two sides to every coin. God vs Devil, Cain vs Able, Adam vs Eve and of course King Kong vs Godzilla.

0

The prophecy of the chosen one AKA anakin skywalker. The sith were evil (depends point of view) and jedi and sith been at war for thousands of years so there was obviously no middle ground in the war. Anakin was supposed to destroy all sith and bring order and peace to the galaxy.

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    When Qui-Gon returns to the Jedi temple to report back, he explains that his theory that the Sith were behind the attacks. Ki-Adi Mundi and Mace Windu are both skeptical because they both believe that the Sith have been extinct for a millennium and that there was no way that the Sith could have returned without the Jedi's knowledge. Until this time, as far as they were aware, there were no Sith for Anakin to destroy. – phantom42 Aug 11 '13 at 18:52
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The Force is meant to balance both light and dark-an over abundance of one would result in an unbalanced Force. I believe Luke realized this in The Last Jedi and hence his desire to live alone and die- "I came here to die" and "The Jedi need to end". For without light, there would be no dark. Without a Jedi, there would be no Sith, and vice-versa, so there would be no need for conflict and suffering.

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    While your answer posts an excellent explanation of Luke's desire to disappear, what about the Jedi in general, if there needs to be a Dark Side, why did they want to balance it? – Edlothiad Jan 15 '18 at 6:56
  • Also, your analogy doesn't make sense, because without light, there is only dark. That's just basic physics, and thus isn't a good parallel for the metaphysics of The Force. – Jeff Jan 15 '18 at 14:07
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Balance of the Force does not mean balance of the Force-users. The Jedi wanted to bring balance to the Force because that is the optimal, desired state of the Force. Or in the words of the Father in Mortis: Too much light or dark would be the undoing of life as you understand it. Bringing balance to the Force means destroying the Sith which is a good thing.

  • This..doesn't make sense. Who is the Father in Mortis? If he says too much light would undo life as it's known, how is it good to eliminate the Sith (and thus have only 'light side' Jedi)? This answer is very late, unsourced, and adds nothing to the existing answers. – Jeff May 31 '15 at 1:08
  • Once again the balance of the Force is not a "Jedi and Sith head count". It is not the balance of the Force-users. It was good to eliminate the Sith because the Sith were the ones who unbalanced the Force. We know from Lucas that the Force is brought back into balance by the destruction of the Sith at a time when there is a nonzero number of Jedi. (The Father is one of the group of beings called Force Wielders or "Ones" in the Mortis arc of TCW. The quote appears in the episode "Overlords".) – Ras Morthil May 31 '15 at 18:18

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