Star Wars: Darth Plagueis Author Was Explicitly Told To Not Reveal Anakin Skywalker's Parents

Even relatively casual "Star Wars" fans are at least vaguely familiar with "The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise," a key moment from "Revenge of the Sith" that one, hints at some very important history within the franchise, and two, became a very popular meme format on the internet.

While the story has not been officially told in the current canon under the Disney era of Lucasfilm, author James Luceno's 2012 novel "Star Wars: Darth Plagueis" tells the tale of that famous moment from the prequels, and it is widely considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written within the franchise. The book recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and I had the good fortune of speaking with Luceno for a retrospective piece on the novel, which you can read here. When I asked Luceno about how involved Lucasfilm was in the writing process (mind you, this was just before the Disney purchase), the author revealed something pretty interesting — he was instructed not to discuss Anakin's parentage:

"Lucasfilm was always helpful in providing whatever I needed in the way of background material or answers to questions regarding continuity. I'd been thinking about Plagueis from the moment I had an early look at the script for 'Revenge of the Sith.' Once I had approval to delve into the character, it was George Lucas who suggested that he should be a Muun. I was also instructed not to be explicit about the 'parentage' of Anakin Skywalker."

The Mystery of Anakin's Father

This little nugget caught me off guard. Let's remember that Disney had not yet stepped in to purchase Lucasfilm from George Lucas and there wasn't as much obsession over keeping the canon straight. All of the old books were later designated by Disney as "Legends" and the company has picked and chosen moments/elements/characters that it wants to bring into the official canon. In an era when they were okay with Chewbacca getting crushed by a moon and had a whole book about zombie Stormtroopers, Lucasfilm making a point to tell Luceno to avoid this is interesting.

Anakin Skywalker, so far as we know, does not have a father. When Qui-Gon Jinn asks Shmi Skywalker, Anakin's mother, about this in "The Phantom Menace," she is crystal clear on the topic saying "there was no father." Lucas was seemingly going for a Christ parable of sorts here. So, that asks a major question: How was Anakin conceived? Is this something Luceno would have explored were he not instructed to avoid the topic?

Born of the Force

Having just re-read "Star Wars: Darth Plagueis" (which is incredibly good) it is pretty clear that Luceno had thoughts about this. Essentially, Plagueis becomes obsessed with the idea of being able to cheat death and achieve immortality through the Force and manipulating midi-chlorians. Later on in the book, after he has amassed a great deal of power and knowledge, the notion of being able to conceive life using the Force is introduced. The book ultimately crosses over with the events of "The Phantom Menace" and Plagueis learns of Anakin's birth. Though not explicitly stated, these ideas are certainly connected in some way.

Again, this novel is no longer considered canon (which is a shame), but what's perhaps most fascinating is that this topic is still largely avoided under the Disney era of Lucasfilm. This is something that is still left somewhat vague within the established canon and, apparently, it's a topic that Lucas wanted to avoid altogether.