The What If…? series from Marvel did an excellent job of exploring alternate scenarios if certain parts of the MCU were altered slightly. The series effectively demonstrated the consequences of various changes, such as what might happen if Killmonger had saved Tony Stark in Iron Man 1.
I’ve been saying for a while now that Star Wars could really benefit from an animated series like Marvel’s. There are so many situations where even a small change could completely alter the story’s complexity.
There are numerous “What If” scenarios to choose from in the Star Wars universe, such as “What if Anakin never turned?” or “What if Qui-Gon never died?” I have compiled a list of the top 5 scenarios that I would love to see. I have made an effort to remain unbiased and have included at least one scenario from each of the trilogies. However, it is worth noting that many of the best scenarios come from the prequel trilogy due to Order 66 and the build-up.
Star Wars Theory provides excellent explanations to some of these queries, albeit in his unique style. I will attach a video link at the end of each section. If you’re curious, you can watch his perspective on that specific situation.
1. What if Yoda went to fight Anakin on Mustafar and Obi-Wan went to fight Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith
We understand that ultimately Yoda lost to Palpatine, while Obi-Wan was more successful in his fight against Anakin. Let’s get to it.
What makes this theory interesting is the fact Anakin and Obi-Wan had chemistry, Obi-Wan didn’t want to fight Anakin. Yoda didn’t really care all that much for Anakin and this would have been a much tougher test for Anakin. In Theory’s video, the end result appears to be the same although Kenobi loses an arm.
I do feel like in a normal sense, it should have really gone like this anyway. Kenobi has a lot of emotions building inside of himself whether this be guilt, anger, shock, or sadness – these are emotions Jedi are supposed to contain. It still baffles me why Yoda sent Kenobi there at this stage. I know he mentions Palpatine is more dangerous and rightfully so. I think due to them knowing Anakin was on Mustafar and Palpatine was still in Coruscant, it would make sense for them to duel up and take one of them out together.
2. What if Luke Skywalker joined Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back
This is perhaps the most interesting one of them all due to one key point.
The rule of two.
There are two possible outcomes here. Palpatine could kill Vader and force Luke to become his apprentice. Alternatively, a better scenario in my opinion would be for Luke and Vader to team up and defeat Palpatine. It’s logical for Vader to train Luke since he has a strong disdain for Palpatine and together they could overthrow the Emperor.
It would be interesting to witness the interaction between the father and son and see if they could successfully overthrow the Emperor. While we only got a glimpse of their dynamic in Return of the Jedi, a more in-depth exploration would be enjoyable. The Revenge of the Sith game’s alternate ending comes to mind, where Anakin defeats Obi-Wan and kills Palpatine without hesitation before leaving Mustafar. This raises the question of what could have happened.
3. What if Padme survived in Revenge of the Sith
We know Palpatine manipulates Anakin into believing he’s the one that killed Padme. We also know she dies from sad.
After this, Vader lives with sheer guilt. It’s always been a burden on him and Palpatine has always sensed this. In the latest comic book run for Vader, he visits Padme’s resting place, and even then – he still has a heavy regret.
If Padme survived, I do feel like Vader would’ve turned back at a much earlier point than he did in Return of the Jedi. Even in Anakin’s own twisted mind in Revenge of the Sith, he’s doing this to save Padme. He’s slaughtering kids and slicing and dicing people like there’s no tomorrow at all for her. Adding on top of that he now has 2 kids and she’s the mother, I can’t see him re-doing what he did by force-choking her.
Plus, I doubt Padme would go into hiding. She’s too much of a leader to lurk in the shadows. She lead an army in The Phantom Menace to defeat the Trade Federation and she was only 14 at the time. It’s always been known she’s fearless and I believe if she knew Anakin survived the high ground attack, she’d want to do all she could to turn him back.
4. What if Anakin Skywalker showed up as a Force Ghost to Kylo Ren
I’m surprised this one didn’t happen. Maybe it could have if Rian Johnson didn’t butcher Episode 8. Kylo Ren keeps Vader’s mask in his quarters as a reminder of who he is now and what Vader stood for when he was in the Dark Side.
Kylo likely knew Vader dunked Palpatine into the shaft. It’s also likely that Snoke lied to Kylo and mentioned it was a moment of weakness when Anakin turned back to the light, therefore, disregarding the massive moment of the Rebel victory.
The original concept does show that Vader would show up to Kylo as he does ask him to show him the power of the darkness “again”. It’s evident Vader and Anakin are pretty much two different people. If it was Anakin that showed up, I still feel like Kylo would disregard that. I mean, it’s even to the point Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo are the request of Snoke. At this stage, he’s too far gone and wants to prove himself to Snoke. It would change a lot in how Kylo operates and I’d love to see the difference in this, especially if Kylo considers it to be a “test”.
5. What if Vader lives at the end of Return of the Jedi
In fairness, I love Theory’s video on this particular one. In Theory’s video, he explains how Vader was brought to trial for his crimes and sentenced to death. It’s actually Luke that saves him from this. After all, this makes sense. As a viewer, you do feel for Vader but if you’re in the shoes of a Republic soldier then you’re going to see things very differently.
Darth Vader killed hundreds of thousands of people and was evil all the way down to his core. In this alternative scenario, I would like to see how Vader would function with Palpatine pulling his strings, more so the suit aspect as well.
I was going to add “What if Qui-Gon freed Shmi as well in The Phantom Menace” but ultimately I feel like Shmi’s death is a fixed point. She’s going to die regardless. Palpatine would have found another way to ensure she was killed to spiral Anakin even further which he successfully did in the first place. Either way, I feel like the endpoint would have been the exact same.
And there we have it, there are so many what-if scenarios when it comes to Star Wars, they could make seasons upon seasons for this. Hopefully, the success of Marvel’s What If…? does spur Disney on to create a Star Wars version as well.