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Star Wars Prequels Theory Links Each Villain With Anakin's Dark Fate

Each of the Star Wars prequels had a different villain, and one fan theory connects all of them with Anakin Skywalker’s tragic journey. Unlike the original trilogy, which saw only Darth Vader and the Emperor as significant villains, the prequels expanded the world and the type of antagonists the Jedi would face. While none of those villains managed to be as remarkable as Darth Vader, the Star Wars prequels allowed George Lucas and his team to come up with creative new designs and backstories for Sith, droids, and even cyborgs.

Although Palpatine was the mastermind behind all the prequels’ conflicts, it was up to Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grievous to face the Jedi while Dark Sidious remained hidden. The Sith apprentice Darth Maul was introduced in Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the separatist leader Count Dooku started the Clone Wars in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and General Grievous was the final pawn in Palpatine’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith plan. However, all of those villains were only part of a setup for the arrival of Darth Vader.

Related: Did Star Wars Just Connect The Sith Eternal To Darth Bane?

As a consequence of the prequels’ episodic nature and of the time jumps between each film, there is not too much of a connection between Maul, Dooku, and Grievous – at least not in the movies. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, on the other hand, the stories of these three characters often intersect. Still, one fan theory (via Reddit) was able to link the stories of Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grievous with Anakin’s fall to the dark side. According to this theory, each of the three main prequels villains foreshadowed something about Anakin’s fate, whether regarding the reasons that led Skywalker turning to the dark side or his future as Darth Vader.

Darth Maul had two lines of dialogue in The Phantom Menace, and while that has to do with the character being nothing but a henchman for Palpatine, it also symbolizes the Zabrak’s tragic story. Maul was taken from his family in Dathomir by Darth Sidious while still very young and was then trained in the ways of the dark side of the Force by the Sith Lord. Maul was raised by Sidious as a weapon, growing to hate the Jedi and to serve the Sith cause. All of that led to the subservient character audiences see in The Phantom Menace. In a way, Darth Maul foreshadowed what would be of Anakin after he became Darth Vader – a servant of the Emperor who only acted as his master commanded. While the old Expanded Universe had examples of Vader defying the Emperor and acting on his own quite a lot, the new Star Wars canon is making sure to point out that Vader was loyal to his master, either due to fear or because he had already given himself up to the dark side completely. In any case, Darth Vader had almost entirely let go of Anakin Skywalker in the years between the end of Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi – and is nothing but a Sith servant of the Emperor, just like Darth Maul was.

Qui-Gon Jinn is often described as a questioning Jedi who only didn’t join the Jedi council because he did not agree with them on every occasion, and something similar can be said about his master, Count Dooku. Before becoming Darth Tyranus, Count Dooku was a Jedi trained by Yoda and who, in turn, would someday train Qui-Gon. Dooku had been interested in politics since a very young age, and he could see all the problems in the Jedi Order, the Senate, and the Republic as a whole. Dooku was not raised in a vacuum of hate like Darth Maul, but his questioning attitude was enough to slowly draw him away from the Jedi nonetheless. That process was accelerated after Qui-Gon Jinn’s death in The Phantom Menace, and by the time Attack of the Clones started, Dooku had not only formed the separatist alliance but had also become a Sith Lord. The story of Count Dooku mirrors Anakin’s disillusion with the Jedi, as Skywalker had been known to question his master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi Council since he was a padawan. Although losing faith in the Jedi way was not the only reason why Anakin turned to the dark side, it did play a significant role in how Darth Vader came to be.

Twenty years before Obi-Wan referred to Darth Vader as “more machine than man,” the Jedi master had faced another similar cyborg, General Grievous. The Kaleesh warrior never had a massive injury like Anakin, but he still agreed to receive cybernetic parts and upgrades from Count Dooku to become as strong as someone could be without the Force. However, the successive upgrades caused Grievous to lose his own sense of humanity, and by the time of the Clone Wars, it was difficult to distinguish the leader of the droid army from its droid soldiers. Anakin ended up having a similar fate, forced to live the rest of his life inside a mechanical suit that hid all of his humanity. Darth Vader was even put together by the same crew of droids who worked on the creation of General Grievous.

Related: Why Luke Skywalker Didn’t Know Palpatine Was Alive In The Sequels

In all of the appearances of Darth Maul, Dooku, and Grievous during the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker was the hero of the story. Audiences were cheering for Anakin to destroy the Trade Federation’s ship while Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon fought Darth Maul or for Anakin and Obi-Wan to be able to defeat Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. There were also seven seasons of The Clone Wars in which Anakin is the hero protecting the galaxy from those three villains and the droid army. As such, it is sad to consider that Anakin’s story in the Star Wars prequels would mirror that of the very characters he was trying to defeat, making his story from The Phantom Menace to Revenge of the Sith more tragic in hindsight. Whether that was intentional or not is impossible to say at this point, but George Lucas has always been a fan of parallels in his Star Wars movies.

Next: Star Wars Confirms Why Anakin’s Force Ghost Didn’t Return In The Sequels

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