In the original trilogy, Emperor Palpatine was always presented as the ultimate bad guy. He was more powerful than Vader and appeared to have access to a far wider array of force powers, including lightning which he used against Luke in the final film.

In the prequel trilogy, we're introduced to the prophecy and told Anakin is the chosen one, who will bring balance to the force. However, in my own opinion, he's never really presented as being incredibly force-powerful. Of course he has the ability to use and manipulate it, but I never for a moment considered him to be on the level of the Emperor.

Obviously, there are hundreds of novels based around the Star Wars universe as well. Given this wealth of material, and the many new Jedi and Sith it introduced, it seemed to me that in the grand scheme of things Anakin's force power was nothing special.

Is this correct? Is there evidence in the books that Anakin is actually far more powerful in the force than what we saw in the films? Or is it the case that he simply fulfilled the prophecy, eventually, but Luke (i.e. the new hope) is the one who will become what Anakin could have become?

Perhaps I should clarify. It's not necessarily midichlorian count I'm interested in. It's more demonstrable uses of power. Anakin may have the highest count ever, or one of the highest ever, but in the original series he doesn't seem to use it very much. Are there examples in the expanded universe showing he had access to a far greater use of the force than the films depicted?

  • 21
    9001 midichlorians per parsec
    – CyanAngel
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 11:02
  • 20
    A Jedi's strength flows from convenience in the plot.
    – Gaius
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 12:28
  • 1
    Are you looking for answers solely from currently canon materials, or are you open to Legends canon (everything previously considered EU) as well?
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 13:35
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    It's worth noting that Vader's powers in the original trilogy were diminished due to his loss of limbs.
    – Null
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 15:31
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    (Continued) I believe Lucas once stated that Anakin had the potential to become twice as powerful as Sidious. But after he lost his limbs, he could only peak out at 80% of Sidious' power.
    – jliv902
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 2:51

5 Answers 5


the chosen one, who will bring balance to the force

Just as a point, this doesn't necessarily imply that he will be powerful - merely that his actions will bring balance.
Given that the whole Jedi / Sith thing is a big cycle that balances and imbalances fairly regularly on a galactic scale, it seems that his power isn't terribly important - just his interaction with his son, in the future.

  • “the whole Jedi / Sith thing is a big cycle that balances and imbalances fairly regularly” — I’m in no way an expert, but I don’t think the balance is between Jedi and Sith. I think Jedi are meant to embody balance in the Force, whereas the Sith embody imbalance. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 16:31
  • This doesn't really answer my question. It doesn't address how powerful he actually is. What is his most powerful action? Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 17:17
  • Ah, sorry - I was going more off Or is it the case that he simply fulfilled the prophecy, eventually, but.... Seems to me that he's just one of the more powerful (politically) force-users about, at the time, and that's his power - the rest is destiny rather than Force-power.
    – Jeeva
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 17:20

Anakin was able to kill every jedi in the jedi temple when the Emperor took power (although with help from clone troopers). This is probably the strongest demonstration of his power (although I agree, lots of other characters seem more powerful). We could speculate that perhaps he was just never trained to his full potential as he converted to the dark side while still quite young, and I suspect Darth Sidious has no particular interest in helping him increase his powers further and become a threat to his own power.


I apologize for my lack of citations, but in all of my years of research into the star wars universe I came across interesting information. That Darth Plaugues...or however you spell it... (Who was Darth Sidious' master) was very experimental in the force. How or why is not clear, but he chose Shmi Skywalker to impregnate with the force. Anakin's father was literally the force. It isn't clear on the most powerful things that he had done since there are uncounted for instances in which Darth Vader hunted down jedi in between the third and fourth movie (And in between the books and canon that you can find) but I do know that Anakin was a terror on the battlefields of the clone wards. Philosophically, the power of the force is not measured in the biggest thing you can pick up with it or how many beings you can slaughter with your "mind", but in your ability to immerse yourself in it. Anakin never had any problem doing so.... Hopefully that at least helps answer your question.

  • I agree with this answer that you cannot measure someone's force ability by their ability to throw out powerful or flashy moves (this isn't Dragonball Z, after all). Anakin's ability to perform incredible feats show that he had a strong connection to the force and that he was powerful. I have to point out however, that according to the Darth Plagueis book, Plagueis did not intentionally create Anakin. Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 18:32

Anakin was able to control the beast-forms of both the Son and Daughter simultaneously. However, other than that, we haven't really seen him do anything incredibly Force-powerful. It is arguable that Anakin's midichlorian count signified future theoretical potential rather than actualized power. Other Jedi may have had smaller midichlorian counts but they had more experience and tended to display a more serene mindset. Anakin was vulnerable due to his immaturity.


Anakin performed quite possibly the greatest feat ever performed in canon, bringing the Son and the Daughter - literal embodiments of the light and dark sides of the Force - to their knees.

The Father, who is another god on the planet who is also powerful enough to control them, says Anakin is the only being beside him ever that can control his children.

This happens in the Mortis arc of the Clone Wars, and if that isn't "great power" I don't know what is.

Not to mention he defeated and killed Count Dooku himself, and was an incredibly gifted user of telekinesis, and could see things before they could happen.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. I assume you're talking about the "Altar of Mortis" Clone Wars episode, but I don't think it really played out that way; it's more like Anakin was being used by them, and most of the damage was done by them to one another. (And he's not the only Jedi who successfully fought Dooku.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:30

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