First comes the day then comes the night. After the darkness shines through the light. The difference, they say, is only made right by the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight. – Journal of the Whills 7:477 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster
As you know, the above passage comes directly from the seventh installment of the Skywalker episodic films and storyline, Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster. What’s striking about this citation is that it seems to eerily reflect the ongoing legacy of the Skywalkers – walking between both, the light and the dark, in other words, between shadows.
Shadows are the middle murkiness that lies between the light and the dark. We cannot have one without the other just as there cannot be a day without the night, both complete the other, not much different than a ring and how it symbolizes eternity. Intriguingly enough, this reminds me a lot of the Skywalkers. With every generation, they must walk the same path between the shadows, for every end is a new beginning. And with the Skywalkers, starting with Anakin, the brightest light casts the darkest shadow. In other words, “Walk in the midday sun and the dark is with you, attached to the soles of your feet.” – Matthew Stover, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith novelization.
That said, which is it? A lifelong legacy of destined heroics or a reoccurring family curse – a bloodline burden – one they are forced to bear throughout the generations? After all, all is as the Force wills it. Yes, pun intended.
As you digest all-of-the-above, I’d like to talk about the bearer of this so-called legacy, the one who paved the path or prophecy known as the “Chosen One,” Anakin Skywalker. It’s always wise to start at the beginning, but I’m going to color outside the lines a bit and talk about Anakin in the afterlife.
“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.’ That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin’s ghost could come back. If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let’s see him as a character with a dark and light side. The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side — that it was not separate from him.” – Iain McCaig (concept artist for The Force Awakens)
McCaig’s idealized speculation of Anakin Skywalker’s Force ghost is not that farfetched, in my opinion, and fits perfectly with that of my own. In fact, this is truly befitting for the entire Skywalker line. As you know, the Force runs strong in their family.
“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it and… My sister has it.” – Luke Skywalker
So, there’s no reason not to think that any Skywalker, even Ben, would be any different. Meaning, they tend to hover somewhere in the middle. If the Force had an intermediate state, limbo, the Skywalkers would be in the thick of it. Honestly, if you think about it, it rather makes a lot of sense.
Both Anakin and Luke went against the grain. One to save his wife and unborn child(ren) from certain death, and the other, to confront his estranged father without having to kill him and in doing so, redeeming him back to the light side of the Force. How is this a middle ground? Well, because neither of them chose as they were told or taught to do. Instead, they listened to their heart and forged their own path.
What’s interesting, is both sentiments were set in place by the most influential women in their lives. Shmi Skywalker and Leia Organa. In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Shmi asks Anakin, “what does your heart tell you?” She is telling him to trust his heart and to follow his instincts. This is not much different when Leia says to Luke, “He’s got to follow his own path. No one can choose it for him.” in regards to Han fleeing the Rebellion in A New Hope.
My point? The Skywalkers aren’t meant to follow the dogmatic views of the Jedi or the ways of the Sith doctrine. They walk between shadows because they embody both, the light, and the dark sides of the Force. They are guided by their minds, their hearts, and their senses, not by lessons and lectures. The Skywalkers are the day with night, and after the darkness, shines through the light, but even the brightest of lights can cast the darkest shadow. I, for one, could not even begin to imagine how it must feel to love your family so much, knowing that in an instant, they could destroy an entire galaxy.
Destruction, replaced by creation and so, every end shall have a new beginning. Such is the way of things, the ways of the Force.