15 'Star Wars' Prequel Fan Theories That Are Better Than The Actual Movies

Voting Rules
Vote up the prequel theories you could actually see coming true.

Practically since A New Hope premiered in 1977, Star Wars fans have been coming up with their own theories to explain what's happening on-screen. Star Wars has always relied on shocking revelations - "I am your father" - so it makes sense that diehard fans would be inspired to find meaning in the smallest details. We're still arguing over whether Han fired first over 40 years later. 

Even the prequels get this treatment. They might be among the most reviled movie trilogies of all time, and some Star Wars fans might prefer to forget them, but plenty of other fans are happy to dissect the prequels and come up with theories about them. 

Like many fan theories, some of these prequel theories are outlandish and not supported by evidence. These are really just fun "what if?" exercises. But some prequel fan theories are so spot-on that they ended up becoming canon in later Star Wars supplementary material. Here are some fan theories about the Star Wars prequels that might just be better than the actual movies.

  • 1
    3,913 VOTES

    Qui-Gon Could Have Saved Anakin From Going To The Dark Side

    Qui-Gon Could Have Saved Anakin From Going To The Dark Side
    Photo: The Phantom Menace / 20th Century Fox

    This is one of the rare fan theories that was later confirmed by Star Wars supplementary material. For years, fans have wondered what would have happened if Qui-Gon Jinn had survived the lightsaber fight with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. Specifically, they've wondered if Qui-Gon could have accomplished what Obi-Wan Kenobi could not: training Anakin Skywalker into a Jedi without Anakin breaking bad. And thanks to the 2018 comic Star Wars: Age of Republic: Qui-Gon Jinn, which takes place before The Phantom Menace (making it a prequel of a prequel), we now know Qui-Gon would have been better prepared for Anakin than the rest of the Jedi.

    Anakin's downfall really begins with the Jedi Council. The Jedi believed their purpose was to protect the Galactic Republic by eradicating the Dark Side from existence, and they believed Anakin was the "Chosen One" who would do this. Of course, Anakin had too much of the Dark Side already in him to fulfill the prophecy.

    But in the comic, Qui-Gon has a different understanding of the role of the Jedi - and one that's probably closer to their true purpose. After a crisis of faith, Qui-Gon communes with the Force and sees a vision of the galaxy at peace, which is only possible because both the Light Side and the Dark Side are in harmony - meaning, the Dark Side has to exist for the galaxy to be in balance. 

    Senator Palpatine was able to exploit Anakin's darkness to turn him into a Sith. But if Qui-Gon had lived, and encouraged Anakin to accept his duality, it's possible his path would have gone in a completely different direction.

    3,913 votes
  • 2
    3,634 VOTES

    Obi-Wan's Defeat Of Darth Maul Helped Him Beat Anakin On Mustafar

    Obi-Wan's Defeat Of Darth Maul Helped Him Beat Anakin On Mustafar
    Photo: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    The climactic lightsaber showdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith comes down to arrogance. Obi-Wan has taken the high ground, while Anakin is only able to stand on a small platform floating in a river of lava. Obi-Wan points out his tactical advantage and warns Anakin not to attack. Anakin ignores him and tries to jump over him, but Obi-Wan anticipates the move and severs both of Anakin's legs and one of his arms. 

    But as Redditor u/mrparsnip points out, this scene parallels the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace - and it may have helped Obi-Wan prevail. After Darth Maul has taken down Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan is dangling precariously on a ledge over a deadly drop, while Maul stands over him - giving Maul the high ground and Obi-Wan the low ground. Like Anakin, Obi-Wan attempts to jump over Maul, but Obi-Wan pulls it off and cuts Maul in half.

    So when Anakin attempted his desperate maneuver in Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan likely knew it was coming, because he had done it himself years earlier.

    3,634 votes
  • 3
    4,136 VOTES

    Palpatine Killed Padme To Ensure Anakin's Turn To The Dark Side

    Palpatine Killed Padme To Ensure Anakin's Turn To The Dark Side
    Photo: Attack of the Clones / 20th Century Fox

    Various fans have posted versions of this theory, like Joseph Tavano at Retrozap and Redditor u/cyborgcommando0, and it makes a whole lot of sense. Instead of Padme dying of a broken heart because Anakin turned to the Dark Side, what if Palpatine did the deed himself?

    For starters, Padme's demise is the event that pushes Anakin over the edge and allows him to become Darth Vader, which was Palpatine's plan. Palpatine offing Padme would have been a relatively easy way to accomplish this goal. The fan theory speculates that Palpatine was "draining her life force" from across the galaxy. The medical droid treating her never says she's dying of a broken heart, it just says she's "lost the will to live," which could be how a droid interprets Palpatine's invisible Force powers. 

    But there was another reason Palpatine might be the guilty party here. According to the theory, Palpatine specifically drained Padme's life force and then transferred it into Anakin to ensure he would survive his transformation into Darth Vader. Anakin is awake during the transformation, and he later says he sensed Padme the entire time. But the moment the procedure ended, he stopped sensing Padme. When it was clear Anakin would live on as Darth Vader, Palpatine had no need for Padme to live.

    4,136 votes
  • 4
    3,226 VOTES

    Count Dooku Planned To Execute Darth Sidious

    Count Dooku Planned To Execute Darth Sidious
    Photo: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    The former Jedi Count Dooku was Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious's secret Sith apprentice. So when Anakin defeats Dooku and Palpatine orders him executed, it's a massive betrayal. But according to a theory from Redditor u/KillKrites, if Dooku had lived, it's likely he would have betrayed Palpatine himself. 

    The reason has to do with Count Dooku's motivation. Although he does voluntarily join the Sith and leads Palpatine's Separatist army, he wasn't a true believer in Palpatine's plan. Dooku had already become disillusioned with the Jedi Council, which he believed was more interested in manipulating the Galactic Republic than listening to the Force. So when his apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn, perished, it was the last straw. Secretly joining Palpatine was Dooku's best chance at overthrowing the corrupt Jedi Council and Galactic Republic. According to this theory, Dooku then would have slain Palpatine and taken over the galaxy himself, with General Grievous acting as his right-hand droid. 

    3,226 votes
  • 5
    3,922 VOTES

    Mace Windu Is Actually Still Alive

    Mace Windu Is Actually Still Alive
    Photo: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    Mace Windu was one of the few brand new prequel characters that fans fell in love with, so it was a bummer to see the Jedi Master perish at the hands of Palpatine. But one Redditor thinks Windu might have survived. As u/shahkabra points out, we never see Windu expire on-screen. Furthermore, Star Wars films have shown that other Jedi are very much capable of surviving each of the three mishaps that befall Windu: having a limb chopped off (Luke and Anakin Skywalker), getting hit with Force Lightning (Luke Skywalker), and falling a great distance (Luke Skywalker). According to the theory, after he survived, Windu felt that he wasn't strong enough to defeat both Anakin Skywalker and Palpatine, so he disappeared. 

    The theory might be a stretch, but Samuel L. Jackson himself agrees with it. "In my mind, I'm not dead," he said on Twitter. "Jedi can fall incredibly high distances and not die." Jackson even put the question to George Lucas, who agreed that Mace Windu could still be alive. Maybe he was just placating one of his stars. Or maybe Mace Windu and his purple lightsaber really are out there somewhere.

    3,922 votes
  • 6
    2,292 VOTES

    Naboo Is Much Smaller Than Earth

    Naboo Is Much Smaller Than Earth
    Photo: The Phantom Menace / 20th Century Fox

    Star Wars movies really only show planets in orbit by themselves or from the perspective of the characters on the ground. We seldom see planets in relation to each other. Because of this, it's difficult to get a sense of their sizes, and it's easy to assume most planets are roughly the same size and shape as Earth. 

    But as u/AnInfiniteAmount argues, details about the planet Naboo suggest it's much smaller than our planet. First, travel times. In The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon land on one side of the planet and travel via submersible through the planet's core to reach the capital. The whole process takes no more than a day. Then there are the physics. Both Jedi and Gungan characters are able to jump from high distances. On Earth, this would cause injury, but on Naboo they're unharmed. Sure, it could be that the Jedis are highly trained, and the Gungans' natural biology protects them. Or it could be that gravity on Naboo is weaker, because it's smaller.

    2,292 votes