If Yoda fought Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, the Star Wars saga would have been vastly different whether he lost or won. In the prequel trilogy, audiences witnessed several impressive lightsaber fights between the most powerful Sith and Jedi. From Obi-Wan and Qui Gon Jinn’s duel with Darth Maul on Naboo to Mace Windu’s attempted arrest of Emperor Palpatine, these great battles all became key turning points in Star Wars. If the endings to each of these fights had been slightly different, the story in a galaxy far, far away would be quite unfamiliar from what fans know and love.
During Star Wars‘ prequel trilogy, Yoda and Anakin shared more of a distant relationship, unlike the tight-knit bond between Skywalker and his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The two of them never had ill will toward one another meaning if they matched up, their battle wouldn’t have been as personal. That said, how would a duel between Jedi Master Yoda and Anakin Skywalker have turned out if they squared off on Mustafar? What would be the consequences?
Yoda & Anakin’s Duel Would Be Very Aggressive
Enraged and overconfident, Anakin likely would’ve assumed that he was already stronger than the Jedi Grand Master. Although they never sparred, it would be wise for Anakin not to underestimate Yoda. Skywalker would have to be wary of Yoda’s incredible agility, swift lightsaber strikes, and small stature, making him a difficult opponent. However, Skywalker’s advantage is that he has more of a youthful nature, better stamina. Yoda and Anakin vary greatly in age, and regardless of his power, the Jedi Grand Master couldn’t fight for long periods of time being nearly 900 years old. Still, Yoda was far better trained, experienced, and much more connected to the Force.
Anakin and Yoda both used offensive lightsaber styles as their primary attack – Djem So (Form V) and Ataru (Form IV) respectively. This would make their battle very intense as they both would always be on offense. The two of them would constantly switch roles with one being the aggressor until one faltered. For Yoda, the downsides of Form IV are that he’d require lots of space for his strikes and acrobatics. He also couldn’t use it for too long as he’d tire out very quickly. The best chance Anakin Skywalker would have at defeating Yoda would be to play defense and wait until this happened.
In this timeline, instead of having Obi-Wan go to face the Emperor, it would be wise for him to find a safe haven where Jedi aren’t being killed. This way, if Yoda had won his duel with Anakin and killed the turned-Jedi knight, he and Obi-Wan could’ve later rendezvoused on Coruscant. Together, Yoda and Kenobi would be just enough to take on Emperor Palpatine. Yoda, however, would be heavily exhausted and not at his full potential during this fight given he would’ve just had an intense battle with Anakin hours prior.
Although there were different variables present, in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda’s duel with Palpatine proved he was one of the greatest Jedi. But throwing Obi-Wan Kenobi into the mix, who was proficient in Soresu (Form III) – a defensive lightsaber style – would’ve been a big help. A tired Yoda would often need to stop and recover during a fight with the Emperor. This duel likely would’ve ended in a draw or with Palpatine escaping, given that Yoda wouldn’t be up to par and Obi-Wan alone didn’t stand a chance against the Emperor. Another factor here is that Palpatine would’ve been flanked by an army of Clone Troopers, making things even more difficult for the two Jedi.
If Yoda Wins: The Empire Is At A Great Loss Without Darth Vader
If Yoda had ended up winning the Mustafar duel, there’s no doubt the Empire would be devastated. Without his esteemed apprentice, Darth Vader, Palpatine would require a replacement. With Vader gone and both Yoda and Obi-Wan alive after the events of Order 66, the chance for them to help restore light to the galaxy would be there. Both Yoda and Kenobi would be in their prime and together, they would be able to take on Palpatine and possibly even defeat him. It would, however, be a tremendous risk given that much of the Jedi Order has been eliminated at this point.
If Yoda Wins: Princess Leia Gets The Rebels The Death Star Plans Quicker
During the opening scene of A New Hope, Princess Leia’s starship is intercepted by an Imperial Star Destroyer under the command of Darth Vader. Before she’s captured, Leia manages to hide the Death Star plans by storing them in the memory systems of R2-D2. If Yoda had managed to defeat Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith, though, there would be no Darth Vader meaning Princess Leia would likely not have been captured by the Empire.
This would give the Rebels a great advantage in their war with the Empire as Princess Leia could get the plans for the superweapon to them much quicker. Also, the events of A New Hope would also be drastically different as the first half of the movie dealt with Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan trying to rescue her from Imperial captivity.
If Yoda Wins: Ben Kenobi Can Further Train Luke To Become A Jedi
With Darth Vader not present, there would be no need to rescue Princess Leia in this timeline. Audiences could have seen an expanded version of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi training with Luke. Yoda was another option to train him, of course, but a secondary one at that. Kenobi wouldn’t have to face his former apprentice on the Death Star, meaning he’d be alive longer to continue Luke’s Jedi training.
Although Palpatine and his Imperial army still remain a prominent threat in the galaxy, Yoda and Obi-Wan would still need to go into exile in order to stay safe. But with Darth Vader out of the picture, Kenobi could train Luke in secret. He would be given more time to train the boy and could do so properly without having to worry about fighting one of the Empire’s top military leaders.
If Anakin Wins: There Would Be (Almost) No One To Train Luke
During the rescue of Princess Leia in A New Hope, Darth Vader killed Ben Kenobi in a lightsaber duel on the Death Star. This left only Yoda, one of the last key figures of the Jedi Order, remaining in the galaxy. But in this timeline, Yoda is out of the equation, and there wouldn’t be many people to train Luke given that most of the Jedi were killed in Order 66. His only other options would be Cal Kestis or Ahsoka Tano.
Though, the problem with Cal Kestis is that his solo adventure in Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order takes place only five years after Revenge of the Sith. Because of this, not much is known about the latter half of his young adulthood or if he somehow shares a connection with Luke. Also, Ahsoka’s whereabouts during Empire Strikes Back are unknown at this point, leaving Luke’s journey to become a Jedi without Yoda or Ben in question.
If Anakin Wins: Luke Is Powerless In His First Duel With Darth Vader
Without Yoda or any Jedi to train Luke in this timeline, he still remains the young farm boy from Tatooine. If he did manage to cross paths with Darth Vader during the events of Episode V, he wouldn’t even stand a chance let alone know how to properly use a lightsaber or the Force. Luke and Darth Vader’s duel would be much different.
At best, Skywalker likely would’ve been limited to being armed with a blaster or any other weapon he could’ve found in the underground chamber on Cloud City. Darth Vader could’ve easily disarmed him, though, and taken Skywalker down with all the power he had at this point. With Luke powerless in this scenario, Vader may have been able to capture Luke and bring him to Palpatine much easier as he wouldn’t be much of a threat.
Why Yoda Would Have Won His Duel Against Anakin
At the time of the Mustafar battle, Anakin was not as experienced with the Force as Yoda was. Being an extremely powerful Force user, Yoda’s lightsaber form (Ataru) could be combined with the Force. Doing this would greatly enhance the Jedi Grand Master’s strikes, increase his speed, and allow him to see attacks before they even happened. While not able to be used for long periods of time, Yoda could definitely weaken Skywalker with this trick and give him a great advantage. Although Anakin’s powers were constantly increasing, as noted by Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith, his chief downfalls would be arrogance, impatience, and being fueled by rage.
Yoda oversaw Anakin being raised in the Jedi Temple and as a prominent teacher, he could easily point out the boy’s flaws in battle. Skywalker was too young and inexperienced to match the skills of the Jedi Grand Master who was calmer, more connected to the Force, and overall, a better fighter. While it’s not to say Skywalker wouldn’t stand a chance, the duel between Yoda and Anakin would be close. In the end, though, Yoda would be the ultimate victor if he fought Anakin in Star Wars’ Revenge of the Sith.