When we look to assign blame to how the Galactic Empire came to power, there’s a lot of names that get thrown around. Sometimes it’s Palpatine, sometimes it is the Jedi as a whole, and occasionally you hear Jar Jar Binks’ name thrown into the conversation. But do you know who never gets talked about in terms of blame? Mace Windu. He is often seen as the “cool” Jedi. He is stoic, has a purple lightsaber, and is Samuel L. Jackson. But he is to blame for so much of Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark and the rise of Darth Vader. There are three specific instances where this is true.
The first instance of Windu undermining Anakin and, in a way, setting him on the path of the dark side comes during their first interactions during The Phantom Menace. When Anakin first arrives on Coruscant, he is almost immediately taken to the Jedi Council, which Windu is on, and is put through a series of tests. During these tests, they are examining if he can use the Force to see what object is behind their version of the iPad. Anakin is excelling, and after the first half of the movie, he has been propped up on a pedestal by Qui-Gon Jinn. So, Anakin has got to be feeling pretty good. Then, after some sage wisdom from Grand Master Yoda, Windu announces that Anakin will not be trained to become a Jedi.
Anakin gives a sharp glare in the direction of Windu, and it is clear that he is not a fan- the start of a troubled relationship. Anakin has been encouraged by nearly every adult through this movie, and then all of a sudden, BAM, Windu comes along being Mr. Negative and shooting down Anakin’s hopes and dreams without giving him a proper chance to prove himself. It is clear that this doesn’t sit well with Anakin and the negative emotions of Windu’s remark is not sitting well with him and is the beginning of his path down the dark side.
The next instance that Windu sets Anakin down the wrong path comes during Revenge of the Sith. There are two instances during this chapter of the Skywalker Saga, and the first is the infamous Jedi Council scene. During this scene, Anakin is appointed to be on the Council, which is one of the final steps as a Jedi; it is the cream of the crop, and with that comes the responsibility of the rank of master. Windu is the one to deliver the news in front of all of Anakin’s peers, and he gives him the elation of being on the Council and then quickly strikes down the emotional high by saying that he will not be granted the rank of master.
This is a situation that would be quite humiliating for someone. You are just given the biggest promotion of your life, and then in the same sentence, you are told it isn’t the promotion you thought it was. It would be embarrassing, and you can see the anger that Anakin has towards Windu in this moment. He is boiling with anger and resentment towards Windu. This moment comes about a third of the way into the movie where Anakin makes his final transition to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. It is hard to argue that Windu doesn’t play a pivotal part in that.
The final misstep that Windu makes is when Anakin comes to him with the news that Palpatine is the Sith Lord that the Jedi have been after. After Windu has made no real attempt to show Anakin any compassion or friendship, he trusts Windu with this vital information that could literally end the war that the Jedi and how does Anakin get repaid for this information? He gets told to stay put while Windu and others go get waxed by Palpatine.
Windu tells an emotionally fractured young man who has had some violent tendencies in his past to sit alone like a brooding tree stump while others go risk their lives because of his intel. Now, of the three situations where I am blaming Windu for Anakin’s turn to the dark side, this one is the most reasonable. Most people probably would have acted in a similar fashion, but Mace should have read the room and either brought Anakin along or waited just a little bit to the point where Anakin wasn’t so dang sad.
So, everything is Mace Windu’s fault. Well, maybe not everything, but he deserves a large portion of the blame for the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader. There are three crucial moments where Windu misspoke and pushed Anakin further and further away from the ways of the Jedi and into the Dark Side. So, thanks Mace, for enabling one of the most destructive Sith Lords in Star Wars history, I hope you’re happy.