With the likes of Marvel's What If…? now streaming on Disney+, is it possible that Star Wars will one day get a similar treatment? After all, it's not such a stretch of the imagination, considering that Star Wars: Visions experiments with alternative scenarios, especially in the case of the episode "Twins", which pits a brother and sister against one another – a concept no doubt inspired by Luke and Leia.
While the Skywalker siblings were never enemies, that's the whole point - what if they had been? The characters in that episode are entirely original to Visions, but as all nine episodes of the anthology series are not necessarily canon, the whole thing does almost feel like a pitch for the faraway galaxy's very own ‘What If…?' series.
Such a show, however, would of course need its own name, seeing as ‘What If…?' is lifted straight from Marvel Comics and therefore trademarked. But we're not here to talk about titles - instead let's look at some major turning points throughout the Star Wars movies - as well as The Mandalorian - that could have easily gone a very different way.
As Luke once said, this is not going to go the way you think...
What if Qui-Gon Jinn never died?
While we're all familiar with Qui-Gon's fate at the end of The Phantom Menace, many fans haven't considered the implications of his death on the rest of the prequel trilogy. In the second episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, producer, and director Dave Filoni once talked at great length about the significance of the 'Duel of the Fates' - the climactic battle between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Sith Lord Darth Maul at the end of Episode I of the prequel trilogy. And what he said offers some real insight into the importance of Qui-Gon as a character:
"What's at stake is really how Anakin's going to turn out. Because Qui-Gon is different than the rest of the Jedi, and you get that in the movie. And Qui-Gon is fighting because he knows he is the father that Anakin needs. Because Qui-Gon hasn't given up on the fact that Jedi are supposed to actually care and love, and that that's not a bad thing. The rest of the Jedi are so detached and have become so political that they've really lost their way, and Yoda starts to see that in the second film. But Qui-Gon is ahead of them all, and that's why he's not part of the council. So he's fighting for Anakin and that's why it's the 'Duel of the Fates' - it's the fate of this child. And depending on how this fight goes, Anakin's life is going to be dramatically different."
Needless to say, had Qui-Gon survived, it's more than likely that Anakin never would have turned to the dark side later in life. Qui-Gon was the father Anakin needed in order to walk a steady path and be able to express himself emotionally without being penalized by the Jedi Council. It's these limitations on his character that contribute to his ultimate allegiance to Emperor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, as he grows to view the Jedi as untrustworthy for not fully trusting him, making it all the easier for him to turn against them just when Darth Sidious needs him to.
What if Mace Windu killed Palpatine?
Ever since The Mandalorian started to introduce fan-favorite characters such as Ahsoka Tano and Boba Fett, fans have been eager to see Mace Windu make a comeback. While this remains to be seen, it's fair to say that, regardless of whether it ends up being retconned, he does die in Revenge of the Sith (just like Boba Fett dies in Return of the Jedi). When the Jedi confronts Chancellor Palpatine, having learned he's the Sith Lord the Jedi have been looking for, Palpatine - or Darth Sidious - lays waste to Windu's fellow Jedi in a matter of seconds. But Windu manages to hold his own against the Sith Lord.
It's not until Anakin enters the room, fearful that his only chance of saving Padme is about to be killed by a Jedi, intervenes, literally disarming Windu and allowing Palpatine to attack him with Force lightning, before tossing him out of the window and into the aerial traffic lanes of Coruscant, and to his death. But what if Anakin had never entered the room, or had been just a few seconds late? It's plain to see that Windu had the upper hand (even if the reality is that it got chopped off by Anakin). With Palpatine dead, there would have been no Empire and no Darth Vader.
How everything else would have transpired is unclear, but it's likely the Clone Wars would have come to a swift end, seeing as Palpatine was the one pulling the strings on both sides from the very beginning. Either way, there's plenty of speculation that Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his role as the formidable Jedi inThe Mandalorian, which would go down well with fans. But, of course, this would be far more believable if Mace Windu had defeated Darth Sidious. How exactly his death can be retconned, though, is as good a guess as any, but in the Star Wars universe, no one is ever truly gone.
What if Jar Jar Binks really was a Sith Lord?
We know what you're thinking - 'What if Jar Jar Binks really wasn't a Sith Lord!' But the fact of the matter is, despite the popular theory that Jar Jar is a Sith Lord in gungan's clothing, for all intents and purposes, he's one of the good guys, and we'll likely never know whether he was actually working with Palpatine or not (which only adds to the fun of it all). However, what if it was made explicitly clear that Jar Jar was a Sith Lord from the get-go, or at the very least revealed in a later movie?
After all, the theory does carry a lot of weight, as there are scenes that appear to show Jar Jar performing the Jedi Mind Trick, his interesting fighting style, the fact that he's essentially 'Luck sensitive', and perhaps more importantly, the scene in the Galactic Senate on Coruscant in which he helps Chancellor Palpatine gain full power during the Clone Wars. The theory is that Jar Jar was Darth Sidious' accomplice the whole time, however, it's possible that due to the wave of backlash from fans, the character was relegated to being an extra and nothing more, with plans for his dark side being scrapped.
Jar Jar creator George Lucas himself even once said, "Jar Jar is the key," and has since revealed that the clumsy gungan is his all-time favorite Star Wars character, which lends even more credence to the fan theory. But let's suppose that he was a Sith Lord - then what? Well, it would have made Episode II and Episode III interesting, to say the least. While it might be hard to imagine Jar Jar being bad in any way, shape, or form, there is something a little 'off' about his character - which we can't quite put our finger on. But you never know - given the chance, he may have been the most evil Star Wars villain ever!
What if Rey and Kylo Ren switched sides?
It's a little too easy to forget that there are a number of times throughout the sequel trilogy where lead protagonist Rey is tempted by the dark side. Perhaps fans have chosen to forget, which would come as no surprise considering how diverce the sequel trilogy is. Not only that, but the fact that both The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker chose the 'gotcha' factor over clever subversion has left a bad taste in our mouths. The trailer for Episode IX teased many things, more notably the possibility of Rey and Kylo Ren switching sides, while the Episode X final trailer teased a 'Dark Rey'.
As we know, none of those things came to pass, which only added to the fact that the trilogy lacked in any sort of direction. The groundwork had of course been laid in The Force Awakens, with Rey's ambiguous heritage, however, this became the overarching theme of the two sequels, and time could have been better spent exploring Rey as a character. But suppose that she had succumbed to the darkness while Luke was training her on Ahch-To in The Last Jedi? Luke even says to her, "You went straight to the dark!" A line that suggested Rey was indeed drawn to the dark side of the Force.
In the film's third act, Kylo Ren also offers Rey a hand in partnership, and fans were convinced that the two Jedi would join forces and begin their own agenda, free of the Resistance and the First Order. But again, nothing happened. But what if they had switched places? What if Kylo Ren - already visibly conflicted - had rediscovered his moral compass, while a vulnerable Rey, an abandoned orphan with no knowledge of her lineage, passed him in the other direction, surrendering to the dark side? Unfortunately, the only Dark Rey we ever get to see is an unexplained vision in The Rise of Skywalker.
What if Din Jarin never went back for Grogu?
There's no doubt that we'll see Grogu again, whether it's in The Mandalorian or one of the many upcoming Star Wars TV shows or movies, but we think you'll agree that Grogu couldn't have had a happier ending. At the end of Season 2, Din Jarin hands the child over to Luke Skywalker, who promises to look after and train him. Where exactly Grogu will end up, though, remains to be seen, and is something that may not be explored for a long time yet. After all, as he's the same species as Yoda, and is already said to be around 50 years old, hundreds of years more will pass before he reaches adult age.
While it would seem unfair to apply a 'What If' scenario to Grogu's future, as Disney and Lucasfilm may already have plans for him to become a Sith Lord, or perhaps even the most powerful Jedi of all time, thinking how things might have gone differently at an already-established turning point is far more interesting. So, what if Din Jarin never went back for Grogu? When he's tasked with collecting the bounty, Din Jarin follows through, successfully acquiring the child and delivering him to the buyer. But as we know, he ends up having a serious moral crisis and consequently returns to rescue Baby Yoda.
But what if he didn't? What if he had remained as cold and as hard as beskar? What would have happened to Grogu? Well, we know he was briefly in the possession of the Empire, and experimental tests were already underway by the time Din Jarin came back for him, and we also know that the Empire wanted his blood, with him being a highly Force-sensitive being and all. But down what path would this have led for Grogu? Would the Empire have disposed of him after use, or would captivity and torture have led to him becoming twisted by the dark side, hellbent on revenge upon both the Empire and Din Jarin..?
Now that Star Wars is finally starting to experiment a little more, especially when you consider the likes of anime anthology series Star Wars: Visions, who knows what the future holds for the faraway galaxy. Either way, it's fun to imagine...
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