Star Wars has now been around for over 45 years, and during that time the fans have often felt that they’ve known better than the filmmakers behind their beloved characters. George Lucas has long been a controversial figure – simultaneously lauded for creating the original trilogy, but also admonished for ‘ruining’ everything with the prequel trilogy.
The controversy doesn’t end with Lucas, of course. Fans debate the various merits of JJ Abrams, Rian Johnson, Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, Kathleen Kennedy and anyone else brave enough to take on a franchise that means so much to so many. Star Wars lore and canon has been debated across the films, books, and both animated and live-action Star Wars series – with consistency being an issue now that it’s so expansive.
Character motivations and decisions can be disagreed upon, but that’s obviously part of what has made the universe have the longevity and the passionate fanbase that it has. Even George Lucas apparently said in a 1999 interview with Cut Magazine (via ScreenRant) that Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) should not have trained Anakin (Jake Lloyd, then later Hayden Christensen).
Lucas said; “I think it is obvious that he [Qui-Gon] was wrong in Episode I and made a dangerous decision, but ultimately this decision may be correct. The ‘phantom menace’ refers to the force of the dark side of the universe. Anakin will be taken over by dark forces which in turn destroy the balance of the Galaxy, but the individual who kills the Emperor is Darth Vader – also Anakin.”
With the benefit of hindsight, it may have been better not to have trained Anakin with the skills he would later use nefariously as Darth Vader. But both Qui-Gon and certainly Obi-Wan Kenobi desperately tried to keep Anakin on the ‘good’ side of the force, and obviously believed that their training and influence would succeed in this. Anyway, if Anakin had not been trained as a Jedi – the prequels would be over before they began, so it needed to happen for the benefit of the story!