Light. Dark. Balance - In the Words of George Lucas

Originally published at:

What exactly is the dark side, the light side, and what effect do they have on the living? Do free-will and destiny co-exist? And what about balance?

1 Like

Wow. Finally someone who gets it! :clap:
I literally just signed up so I could respond to your article on what Balance really means according to George Lucas.
Sooooo many people just refuse to accept what really should be pretty clear as it’s been the message of Star Wars all along.
It’s all about good vs. evil, that mythological idea of the core of those concepts and as Lucas also said many times, it’s about the Hero’s Journey [Joesph Campbell] and the Hero’s quest.
To a hero, there is no acceptable amount evil. The Lightside does literally correspond to “Good” and the Darkside does literally respond to ‘evil’. They are the symbolic representation of those concepts.

Just to be clear, it’s people using the Darkside that causes the Force to go out of balance. It isn’t just the Sith.
The Prophecy is about destorying the Sith, Balance in the Force is about stopping people from using the Darkside. - It just so happens that the Sith use the Darkside. The same Darkside as any other Force user who taped into the Darkside uses.
Lucas terms these two things like this -

"Anakin is the Chosen One, and even when Anakin becomes Darth Vader he is still the Chosen one. The Prophecy is that Anakin will bring balance to the force AND destroy the Sith. He becomes Darth Vader. Darth Vader does become
the hero. Darth Vader does destroy the Sith, meaning himself and the Emperor. He does it, because he is redeemed by his son.”

~ George Lucas, The Making Of Revenge Of The Sith; 2005

’AND’ is the keyword here, as in, ‘in addition to’. At the time of the Prophecy it just so happened that Vader and the Emperor were the only two people in the galaxy using the Darkside.

The Expanded Universe was never canon, Lucas literally said it was a ‘parallel Star Wars universe’ and not canonical. Beware EU purist liars. This is very important to recognize because what they did over there doesn’t corrispond to Lucas’s Star Wars, so things about Balance in the EU don’t apply.

Lucas said of the Expanded Universe: 2005 -
“I don’t read that stuff. I haven’t read any of the novels. I don’t know anything about that world. That’s a different world than my worldWhen I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.”

“Lucas’ canon – and when I say ‘his canon’, I’m talking about what he was doing in the films and what he was doing in The Clone Wars – was hugely important. But what we were doing in the books really wasn’t on his radar.”
~ Leland Chee, 2018

“What George Saw as Canon”

"In the old days, George Lucas saw his universe as separate from publishing [EU]. He wasn’t at all interested in connecting."
~ Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2016

"But Lucas allows for an Expanded Universe that exists parallel to the one he directly oversees. […] *Though these [Expanded Universe] stories may get his stamp of approval, they don’t enter his canon unless they are depicted cinematically in one of his projects.”

~ Pablo Hidalgo, Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, 2012

"There’s this notion that everything changed when everything became Legends. And I can see why people think that. But, you know, having worked with George I can tell you that it was always very clear – and he made it very clear – that the films and the TV shows were the only things that he considered Canon. That was it. -
Dave Filoni interview on ‘The Star Wars show’ [41.40 mark]-

I’d like to add a few more quotes just in support of yours. I site that same video and what Lucas said in it all the time.

Speaking strictly about the Force, not Jedi, not Sith, about the Lightside and the Dark Side, about the Force itself -
"When you go to the Darkside it goes out of balance."

"The Darkside is always there, it is experienced daily by people. It’s like a huge cancer, alive, festering - both a reminder of the moral state and, at the same time symptom and symbol of a very sick society"

~ George Lucas, “The Mythology of Star Wars”, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth DVD, 2001

George Lucas defines balance in the Force as "the removal of the toxicity of the dark side, a la the removal of toxins from blood. You return things to balance by eliminating whatever is causing them to go out of whack; thus, you keep the Force in balance by making the light side pure and free of the dark side."

"Sith rely on their passion to get things done. They use their raw emotion, their hatred, their anger, their bitterness - which is the dark side of the Force. The Force is what binds the galaxy together, and it has a good side and a bad side.

The Sith learned how to manipulate both sides of the Force, and then they fell into the trap of being corrupted by the dark side."
~ George Lucas, Sci-Fi Online interview, 2005

George Lucas on the bottom line of Star Wars.

"The secret, ultimately, which is the bottom line in Star Wars and the other movies us there are two kinds of people in the world, compassionate people and selfish people. The selfish people live on the Darkside. The compassionate people live on the Lightside.

“The key part of this scene is Anakin saying, ‘I’m not going to let this happen again.’ We’re cementing his determination to become the most powerful Jedi, and the only way you can really do that is to go to the Dark side because the Dark side is more powerful. If you want the ultimate power you really have to go to the stronger side, which is the Dark side, but ultimately it’ll be your undoing. But it’s that need for power and that need for power in order to satisfy your greed to keep things and to not let go of things and allow the natural course of life to go on – which is that things come and go – and to be able to accept the change around you and not want to keep moments frozen forever in time.”

~George Lucas, AotC DVD commentary track [during Shmi’s funeral]

"The Phantom Menace refers to the force of the dark side of the universe. Anakin will be taken over by dark forces which in turn destroy the balance of the Galaxy…"
~ George Lucas, Cut Magazine interview, 1999

"As evil begins to take over, [all darksiders are evil] it pushes the Force out of balance. It’s easier to succumb to evil than it is to be a hero and try to work things through on the good side. Evil is inherently more powerful—it doesn’t have the burden of worrying about other people."

~ George Lucas

"I wanted to have this mythological footing because I was basing the films on the idea that the Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there. Most religions are built on that, whether it’s called yin and yang, God and the devil—everything is built on the push-pull tension created by two sides of the equation. Right from the very beginning, that was the key issue in ‘Star Wars.’"

-George Lucas, Times Magazine, 2002

[Again, it isn’t the Darkside that causes imbalance and you can’t destroy the Darkside because that’s about the evil in the hearts of men, but, balance is caused by people using it and you can destroy the Darksiders. - - It’s a story about Good vs. Evil so you need evil there to tell the story about Good overcoming evil, and God punishes evil doers by casting them into h-ell, he doesn’t share heaven with them. God opposes the Devil, he doesn’t try and balance good with evil.]

'It’s common these days to talk about good and evil in terms of gray areas, but in your films, good and evil are more strictly defined.'

"It’s the more old-fashioned version of good and evil – the version that those of us who grew up in the '40s and '50s had, when there was a strong sense of good and evil because of World War II. That’s one of the few times in history when the bad guys were very clearly delineated for us. There really was a fight for survival going on between pretty clearly good guys and bad guys.

~ George Lucas

[We didn’t try and ‘balance’ Hitler, we destroyed him and his followers completely. Interestingly, Lucas is very outspoken on that he based the Empire on Nazi Germany, and The Emperor on Adolf Hitler and The Sith on The SS. - The Nazi’s were evil and we annihilated them root and branch.]

"The Force has two sides - [Light and Dark]. It is not an inherently malevolent or a benevolent thing. It has a bad side to it, involving hate and fear, and it has a good side, involving love, charity, fairness and hope."
~ George Lucas

“Friendships, honestly, trust, doing the right thing, living on the right side and avoiding the dark side,” Lucas said. “Those are the things it was meant to do.”

~ Lucas on Star Wars and what its about, 2017

‘How would you articulate the message of the Star Wars movies?’

"The message of the Star Wars films is pretty classic. There’s good and evil and the hero’s journey, his quest."

~ George Lucas, May 2020

To a hero, there is no acceptable amount of evil. He wants it all gone. All of it. He doesn’t leave half of the evil out there. He doesn’t try and live in harmony with it. He doesn’t seek to ensure it is always there to some degree.

The Good defeat the Bad guys, you don’t get more classic than that.

You will never destroy all evil because evil is about what’s in the heart’s of men and more importantly that they act on it.

There are no evil thoughts, only evil acts. - - - Evil does not good for anyone, it adds nothing positive, it destroys harmony, brings misery, and only serves to injure. No one wants evil to persist in any amount. - Leaving evil to thrive and go on when you can stop it is nothing short of evil by inaction. This is the core of what the Jedi represent.

Lightsiders are the ‘Good guys’, Darksiders are the ‘Bad guys’, and there will never be peace or harmony found between Good and Evil. They are the eternal, primordial enemies of one another.

"The Dark Side consumes. And there is no balance to be found in such a path."

Qui-Gon Jinn, Age of Republic: “Balance”

Thank you for this article. You did a great job with this.

"When you go to the Darkside, it goes out of balance."

1 Like

Thank you for joining! I totally agree with you about the mythos of Star Wars and how George Lucas understood th meaning of the balance of the Force.

1 Like