The Playlist: The Balance of the Force

Curious about what that whole Chosen One prophecy is about? Here's where to gain the knowledge you seek.

For Star Wars fans who want a better understanding of various topics, there can be a lot of material to wade through. In The Playlist, we’ll curate select installments of Star Wars that will give you that greater understanding of a specific topic. Consider it your own Jedi Archives — or cheat sheet for your Jedi midterms.

For our first installment, we’re going to take a look at the balance of the Force. When I first heard about the prophecy of the Chosen One in The Phantom Menace and how that Chosen One, as represented by Anakin Skywalker, would bring balance to the Force, I was initially confused. What did that mean? The Jedi believed in prophecies? What was this balance? I’m certain that we’re still not quite sure. Some argue that Anakin indeed brought balance by eliminating the Jedi and bringing the number of Sith and Jedi in the galaxy into balance. Others still feel there are much larger things at stake that the prophecy referred to and the number of Force wielders in the galaxy was irrelevant.

For a better understanding of what the prophecy might have meant and how it’s been clarified over the years, we offer the following playlist. After watching these seven installments of Star Wars, you’ll have the best possible information to base your theories on.

The Phantom Menace - Anakin as a padawan

1. Star WarsThe Phantom Menace – The first installment of the Skywalker saga gives us our first mention of the balance of the Force and introduces Anakin Skywalker and the mysterious nature of his birth as the Chosen One. But there is a cloud of uncertainty about what this might mean.

The Clone Wars - Qui-Gon's ghost with Obi-Wan

2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Overlords” (Season 3, Episode 15) – After the events of The Phantom Menace and the onset of the Clone War, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Anakin’s Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, are drawn into a conduit through which all the Force flows.

The Clone Wars - Ahsoka, under the influence of the Dark Side, fighting Anakin

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Altar of Mortis” (Season 3, Episode 16) The balance of the Force has been upset and only Anakin may be able to bring it back.

The Clone Wars - The Son gives Anakin a vision of the future

4. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Ghosts of Mortis” (Season 3, Episode 17) – Anakin faces the demons in himself when the Son, a physical embodiment of the dark side, confronts him with a terrible vision of his future.

Revenge of the Sith - Anakin with Sith Eyes

5. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Anakin fulfills at least part of his destiny, as foretold by the Son on Mortis. He turns his back on the Jedi and ultimately joins the Sith as the evil Lord Darth Vader.

Star Wars Rebels - Darth Vader preparing to fight Ahsoka

6. Star Wars Rebels – “Twilight of the Apprentice” (Season 2, Episodes 21 and 22) – These episodes offer us a window into the dark side and follow fascinating parallels in imagery and story with the episodes of The Clone Wars that occur on Mortis. These episodes can definitely offer clues into the nature of this balance.

Return of the Jedi - Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker on the AT-AT gantry

7. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Decades after the events that ended Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader is confronted by specters of his past and former self that will lead to what we hope will mean an ultimate balancing of the Force.

It’s important to note that this list isn’t everything we can find about the Force itself, but these are the keys to understanding the specific nature of the prophecy of the Chosen One and the balance of the Force. That would be an entirely different (and forthcoming!) list of the Cosmic Force vs. the Living Force.

Though we have more information about the prophecy than ever, the balance of the Force still remains an enigma. Do the events of The Force Awakens unbalance what we’d come to know? What upset those scales of the galaxy so much later on the timeline? Only future installments of Star Wars, both in print and on screens large and small, can tell us. This particular playlist will give you a deeper understanding of this mystery, and I’d be delighted to hear your theories.

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of BigShinyRobot.comHe’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith.

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