Grand Master Anakin Skywalker and Chancellor Tarkin? Adult Luke Trained As a Sith By Maul?
Or how a last-minute defeat of Palpatine doesn't necessarily end the menace of the Dark Side
On Twitter a few days ago, an alternate-history enthusiast I follow posted this meme depicting an older Anakin Skywalker with a beard confronting his adult son Luke, who is either dabbling with the Dark Side or has already fallen completely. Obviously things had to go very different from Star Wars Revenge of the Sith for this to happen, and so the OP suggested Palpatine’s plot had been foiled, Anakin was now the Jedi Grand Master, Tarkin was Supreme Chancellor, and this was causing…problems.
He then provided images setting up the bones of a plot — the The Clone Wars TV show revealed Darth Maul had survived and has his own brother as his new Sith Apprentice (something he tries again with Ezra Bridger in Rebels), so this part checks out. Meanwhile, Tarkin could be leading the Republic in a more authoritarian direction even without Palpatine. This prompts elements of the Jedi Order led by none other than Anakin’s former Padawan Ahsoka Tano, allied with the Mandalorians, to challenge Anakin’s “militant rule.” And Anakin’s daughter Leia is seeking out Obi-Wan Kenobi to train her in the Force to rescue/deprogram Luke because he’s her “only hope.”
Now this could be interesting…in the old canon, one of Anakin’s red flags was that he admired Jorus C’Baoth, who wanted the Jedi to rule “benevolently” over non-Jedi as philosopher-kings. Even without going full Darth there’s potential for trouble, especially if there are problems in the galaxy (i.e. possible continued trouble from Separatists, criminal gangs and the like empowered by the Clone Wars, or an outside threat like the old canon’s Yuuzhan Vong or the new canon’s Grysk) to justify or “justify” emergency measures.
A problem with the Tarkin Takeover Scenario is that if Palpatine is exposed and killed, I imagine there’d be a gigantic backlash — it would be immediately obvious what his “emergency powers” were intended for. I imagine right after Palpatine’s fall, his likely replacement would be someone from the Delegation of 2000 rather than another strongman. Chancellor Bail Organa or Mon Mothma, since Padme would be a bit young for the position?
Speaking of, where is Padme? That got me thinking — if Padme were to die in an accident or from some sort of illness that even the Republic’s advanced technology cannot treat, that could cause a lot of these problems. Luke psychologically seems like a male version of her and perhaps they were particularly close. He might not be satisfied with Jedi teachings about non-attachment (even though I imagine they’d have been dialed down if Anakin is now Grand Master, as opposed to being turned out onto the street for his illegal marriage) and that might make him vulnerable to Maul’s blandishments. Meanwhile, the civil liberties/peacenik faction in the Senate has just lost one of its prominent and well-loved members, allowing Tarkin to be elected on the basis of his war record to deal with some new threat or “threat.” And Anakin is psychologically crippled by Padme’s death, moping around the Jedi Temple and generally being useless. With her father out of action and Luke going down a dark path, Leia seeks out help from Obi-Wan.
(I actually wrote a dialogue snippet from Yoda, who resigned due to not seeing the return of the Sith despite having been Grand Master for literal centuries but is still a “Grand Master Emeritus” adviser to Anakin. It’s basically a big “I told you so” speech about emotional attachments. Rather than being the lever Palpatine used to corrupt Anakin like in the canonical film, instead they’ve crippled him at the worst possible time.)
Thing is, if Anakin is psychologically-sidelined by Padme’s death, Ahsoka and those Jedi opposed to a re-militarized Republic have less reason to move against him specifically. At this point, the most obvious target is Tarkin. Alternatively, he might seem vulnerable enough to be challenged even if he’s (for the moment) out of sorts.
(I’m thinking this would be more like a political attempt to remove Anakin as Grand Master by the Jedi Council rather than an open war, at least at first. They could say that he’s derelict in his duties, has become mentally unfit, or it’s “for his own good.” A Jedi 25th Amendment? Given their historical rivalry with the Jedi, Ahsoka’s new Mandalorian friends might be the ones causing an unnecessary escalation that could lead to violence.)
Any fan-fiction enthusiasts want to run with this? Here’s a follow-up post where I develop it further.
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