We know that Star Wars’ Anakin Skywalker was the prophesized Chosen One that was supposed to bring balance to the Force. While he eventually did so when he killed Palpatine at the end of the reign of the Empire, he was partly responsible for the rise of the Empire and the destruction of the Jedi Order. As such, he brought balance back to the Force after more than 20 years of death and destruction. So, what would have happened if Anakin had killed Palpatine earlier?
If Anakin had killed Palpatine earlier and before he fell to the dark side, there would be no Empire. That also means that Anakin would have fulfilled his prophecy as the Chosen One that would bring balance to the Force. However, the status quo would be maintained, and the Jedi Order would still be flawed.
One of the reasons the destruction of the Jedi Order was necessary was that it had become a shell of its former self and was no longer functioning as it was supposed to. While the death of millions or even billions of people worldwide could never be repaid, Anakin’s journey to the dark side was also necessary. Now, let’s look at what would have happened if he had decided to kill Palpatine early.
The Prophecy Would Be Fulfilled Earlier
From the very start, Anakin Skywalker was already the prophesized Chosen One that was supposed to bring balance to the Force during a time when it was out of balance due to the influence of the dark side of the Force. Of course, Anakin fulfilled this prophecy during Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi when he killed Palpatine.
So, if Anakin had killed Palpatine earlier and right after he learned of his true nature as the Sith Lord that manipulated the events of the Clone Wars, he would have fulfilled his prophecy earlier. In that regard, he would have been able to bring balance to the Force and save the Jedi Order in the process of doing so.
Anakin Might Have Taken His Place
While it might be true that Anakin would have destroyed the Sith Order if he had killed Palpatine, the thing is that there would still be a good chance of him taking the place of the fallen Supreme Chancellor as the next dark lord.
That’s because not even Palpatine’s death would have quelled Anakin’s fears of losing Padme. We know that Padme died of heartbreak due to Anakin’s downfall to the dark side. But Anakin didn’t know that. And that means that he would still continue to live with the fear of eventually losing his beloved Padme.
Because Anakin would have been too afraid of losing Padme, he tried his best to keep her alive by meddling in forces he did not understand. And we are talking about the dark side of the Force, which has unnatural powers that might have allowed him to find a way to cheat death.
Of course, if Anakin learns to overcome his fear of losing the people he loves, that would mean that it would be unlikely that he would fall to the dark side. But because Anakin always valued his attachments in life, it would have been likely that he would have fallen over to the dark side of the Force eventually, even without Palpatine in the picture.
There Would Be No Empire
Of course, the Empire would not have risen from the Republic if Anakin had killed Palpatine in Episode III. The death of the Supreme Chancellor during the end of the Clone Wars would have only allowed the senators to elect a new leader that would take his place. Of course, that means that the status quo would not have changed.
The Republic was fundamentally flawed because of the bureaucracy and politicking within the Senate. For all of his flaws, Palpatine’s presence as the emperor immediately allowed things to happen. But if the Senate were to continue to operate as it was before the events of the Clone Wars, a new war would have surfaced.
That would mean that the flaws of the Republic would not have been corrected. Of course, we already saw how flawed the New Republic was during the events of The Mandalorian, as everything had to go through a series of processes that made it difficult for urgent matters to be addressed. And the same thing would have continued to happen if the Republic continued to exist.
The Jedi Wouldn’t Correct Their Flaws
Similar to the Republic, the Jedi Order was also flawed. The Jedi Council was more concerned with the politicking in the Senate and was not minding some of the more important problems happening in the galaxy. As mentioned by Eno Cordova in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, he already foresaw the fall of the Jedi Order, but the Jedi Council completely ignored his visions. On top of that, certain characters, such as Count Dooku, Barriss Offee, and Ahsoka Tano, already saw some of the flaws of the Jedi Order.
So, if Anakin had decided to kill Palpatine before the destruction of the Jedi Order, the Jedi would not have changed at all. The status quo would have remained the same because the Jedi would not have seen the error in their ways. It is possible that the Jedi Order would become more cautious because Palpatine could operate as a Sith Lord under the noses of the Jedi. But that would not have changed the very nature of the Jedi Order as a flawed organization.
A New Enemy Would Have Surfaced
The galaxy’s problems would not have been solved if Palpatine had been killed early. Of course, Palpatine himself was the galaxy’s biggest problem. Still, he also fixed some of the fundamental flaws within the galaxy, especially when it came to the politicking going on in the Senate. Of course, he replaced democracy with fascism and dictatorship, which means that what he did was worse. But nothing would have changed in the galaxy if Palpatine had been killed quite early.
In that regard, it would only be a matter of time until a new enemy surfaced. The problem with the status quo in the Jedi Order and the Republic was that the flaws in the systems opened up the possibility of enemies suddenly appearing to oppose both of these entities. That happened when the Trade Federation abused the bureaucratic approach of the Senate. Of course, we saw how the Sith navigated through the flaws of the Jedi Order for centuries without getting caught.
As such, it would be possible that a new Palpatine would have surfaced somewhere along the road. And this bigger threat could be Anakin, as mentioned above, or an entirely different type of enemy that might be more dangerous than anything the Republic and the Jedi faced.
In a manner of speaking, Anakin’s decision to join Palpatine was necessary for the galaxy’s people to find a way to fix a broken system. It might be true that this led to the Empire’s rise and countless lives’ deaths. But the fact is that the Republic and the Jedi needed to fall for them to realize that there were flaws in their systems.