George Lucas Makes It Abundantly Clear That The Force Is Out Of Balance When One Succumbs To The Dark Side

George Lucas. Photo Credit: Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Numerous Star Wars fans have come under the impression that the Force is in balance when the Light Side and the Dark Side are on equal footing. However, this is not how Star Wars creator George Lucas has explained balance in the Force.

Harrison Ford and George Lucas attend the U.S Premiere of Lucasfilms’ Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, sponsored in part by Dolby, Swaine and Hamilton at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, June 14, 2023
(photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

This idea that the Force is in balance when the Light Side and the Dark Side are on equal footing likely comes from watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars and specifically the Mortis trilogy episodes created by Dave Filoni.

In the show’s third season episode 15 “Overlords” a character named The Father states, “A family in balance, the light and the dark, day with night, destruction replaced by creation.”

He adds, “Too much dark or light would be the undoing of life as you understand it.”

After Anakin completes a test taming the Father’s children. He informs him, “But this is yours. It has been foretold. The Chosen One will remain to keep my children in balance.”

The Father instructs Anakin about keeping the Son and the Daughter in balance on Mortis in Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Overlords” (2011), Lucasfilm

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This idea about the balance would be reinforced in the subsequent episode “Altar of Mortis” when the Son appears to Anakin in a vision.

He instructs, “How simple you make it…light and dark as if there is one without the other. Aligned, you and I can restore balance wherever we go, peace to the universe.”

After Anakin rejects his offer, the Son shouts in fury, “We will destroy the Sith and the Jedi.”

The Son offers Anakin a deal in Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Altar of Mortis” (2011), Lucasfilm

This idea would be even further emphasized in the opening intro to next episode “Ghosts of Mortis” where the narrator states, “Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and his Padawan Ahsoka Tano are caught in the middle of a treacherous battle between good and evil. The scales now tipped toward the Dark Side, our three warriors must guard against attack as they plan their escape.”

However, George Lucas made it abundantly clear that balance in the Force is the suppression of the Dark Side. Back in 2010 Lucas discussed the Force during a writers meeting for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

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He said, “The core of the Force. I mean you got the Dark Side and the Light Side. One is selfless. One is selfish. And you want to keep them in balance. What happens when you go to the Dark Side is that it goes out of balance, and then you get really selfish and you forget everybody.”

“And, ultimately, you lead yourself, because when you get selfish you get stuff or you want stuff and when you want stuff and you get stuff then you get afraid somebody’s going to take it away from you whether it’s a person, or a thing, or a particular pleasure, experience. Once you become afraid that somebody’s going to take it away from you or you’re going to lose then you start to become angry especially if you’re losing it. And that anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering. Mostly on the part of the person who is selfish because you spent all your time being afraid of losing everything you’ve got instead of actually living,” he explained.

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) warns to not underestimate his power in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Disney

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) warns to not underestimate his power in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Disney

In contrast, he stated, “Where joy, by giving to other people, you can’t think about yourself and therefore there is no pain. But the pleasure factor of greed and of selfishness is a short-lived experience. Therefore you’re constantly trying to replenish it. But, of course, the more you replenish it the hard it is to sort of…so you have to keep upping the ante.”

“You’re actually afraid of the pain of not having the joy. So that is ultimately the core of the whole Dark Side, Light Side of the Force. And everything flows from that,” he detailed.

Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader screams in agony after being left for dead on Mustafar by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Lucasfilm

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Lucas then elaborated, “Obviously, the Sith are always unhappy because they never get enough of anything they want. Mostly their selfishness centers around power and control. And the struggle is to be always able to let go of all that stuff.”

“And that’s the problem with Anakin, ultimately, is that you’re allowed to love people, but you’re not allowed to possess them. And what he did is that he fell in love, and then married her, and then became jealous, and that he saw in his visions that she was going to die, and he couldn’t stand losing her. So, in order to not lose her he made a pact with the devil to be able to become all powerful. But of course, when he did that she didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. So he lost her,” he shared.

Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader Force chokes Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Lucasfilm

“Once you are powerful being able to bring her back from the dead, well if I can do that I can be emperor of the universe, I can get rid of the Emperor, I can do everything, I can make everything the way I want it. And once you do that, you’ll never be satiated,” Lucas said. “You’re always going to be consumed by this driving desire to have more stuff and be afraid that others are going to take it away from you. And of course they are because every time you get two Sith together– you have the Master, you have the Apprentice and the Apprentice is always trying to recruit another Apprentice to join with him to kill the Master.”

“And the Master knows that basically everybody below him wants his job,” he added.

Ian McDiarmid as Darth Sidious and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Lucasfilm

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Lucas then asserted, “The only way to overcome the Dark Side is through discipline. The Dark Side is pleasure, biological, and temporary, and easy to achieve.”

“The Light Side is joy, everlasting, and difficult to achieve. A great challenge. Must overcome laziness, give up quick pleasures, and overcome fear which leads to hate,” he concluded.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

While the Mortis trilogy in Star Wars: The Clone Wars definitely muddies the water with how it portrays the balance of the Force as being an equal part Dark Side and Light Side, there are hints teasing Lucas’ idea about it becoming out of balance because one  succumbs to selfishness.

In “Altar of Mortis,” The Father instructs the Son, “Vanity, however, is getting the better of you. … You have done what is forbidden. You’ve chosen the dark side and allowed it to feed your anger and desire for power.”

The Son retorts, “By bringing the Chosen One here, you’ve shown me my potential. You’ve only yourself to blame.” To which the Father responds, “Do not do this, Son. Do not become what you should not. Be strong, I implore you, or else I will be forced to contain you.”

The Father encourages the Son to reject the Dark Side in Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Altar of Mortis” (2011), Lucasfilm

What do you make of George Lucas’ explanation of the Force?

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