Dear 100 Hour Board,
If Qui-Gon Jinn had just made a quick call to the Jedi Council to arrange a small low-interest loan to buy Shmi out of slavery, do you think that the entire fate of the Universe would have been changed? I imagine that having his mom around would have prevented Anakin from making a lot of poor choices. (His mom would have never let him stay the night with Padmé!) A good choice making Anakin would have eliminated Darth Vader and would have prevented Kylo Ren from ever turning to the dark side.
-Make the call Qui-Gon!
Did you watch the prequels and come away with the idea that the Jedi Order did everything right except for leaving Shmi on Tatooine? Because if you did, I think you may have missed the point in a big way.
First of all, the Jedi Council would have never let Anakin stay in contact with his mother. Even if Qui-Gon had been successful in getting Shmi off of Tatooine, did you forget the part where they said that he was too old? Don't forget that this was when he was only nine years old, but apparently having any kind of emotional attachment to anyone, including his mother, would interfere with his ability to follow the Jedi Code.
There are plenty of other things that the Jedi did wrong (the clone army, unethical levels of involvement in both the Senate and in the Clone Wars in general, manipulating Anakin to spy on Palpatine, putting him on the Council but not granting him the rank of master, etc.), but I want to keep this short and talk about the moment that Anakin became Darth Vader. Remember that, in spite of the fact that Palpatine had all but promised to help him save Padmé from dying in childbirth, Anakin reported him to the Jedi Council. Anakin almost certainly didn't plan on turning on Windu when he went with him to arrest Palpatine, but you can imagine how conflicted he felt when Windu suddenly threatened to do something that directly contradicted everything that Anakin had been taught for the past thirteen years. When Anakin cut off Windu's hand, it wasn't (at least not entirely) because Palpatine said that the dark side could save his wife; it was because the Council had decided to become the judge, jury, and executioner. This is the sort of thing that Anakin was referring to when he told Obi-Wan that, from his point of view, the Jedi were evil. Was that statement hyperbolic? Probably, but the Jedi were undeniably corrupt, even if they weren't as bad as the Sith. With no moral obligation to remain loyal to the Jedi, Anakin entered a very individualistic mindset (which prompted the exclamation that anyone not with him was against him), and joined the one person who promised to save him from the grief that he knew was coming.
My point is that following the Jedi Council blindly was by no means a good choice, and the Jedi really brought everything upon themselves.
PS: If Anakin and Padmé had never gotten together, Ben Solo would never have been born, so there wouldn't have been a Kylo Ren to turn to the dark side.
I completely agree with Ento's response.
I'll add that the whole issue on Tatooine was that Watto refused to accept Republic credits. I also seem to recall that they were traveling in relative secrecy. Both of these factors would have prevented Qui-Gon from making a call for a short term loan in the first place. The whole reason he even becomes involved with Anakin is that he needs him to win the pod-racing prize to pay for the part to the ship and pay for his freedom.
However, your question got me thinking, and I think that Qui-Gon's death honestly made a bigger difference to Anakin than Shmi's death. Shmi's death definitely was a tipping point for Anakin - killing the Sandpeople's children was arguably a huge stepping-stone that led to him being the kind of person who would kill Younglings in the Jedi temple as part of Order 66. However, as Ento said, Shmi wouldn't have had much of an effect on Anakin even if she had left Tatooine with everyone else.
But a huge factor in Anakin turning to the dark side is his disillusionment with the Jedi, as Ento described above. This disillusionment starts with his angsty frustration with Obi-Wan, and builds as he disagrees with the Jedi requirement of celibacy and disagrees strongly with Obi-Wan's unquestioning devotion to the decisions of the Jedi Council.
Meanwhile, Qui-Gon was always somewhat of a loose cannon. Qui-Gon was also a mature, experienced, patient teacher who actually wanted to teach Anakin and believed in his potential. Obi-Wan disagreed with the decision to teach Anakin and only took over from Qui-Gon because it was his dying wish.
I think that if Qui-Gon taught Anakin, he would have done so a lot more compassionately and effectively. I think Anakin would have been less frustrated with him, and I think that Qui-Gon would have listened to his concerns. When Anakin noticed hypocrisy or poor decision making by the Jedi Council, Qui-Gon would have believed him. In fact, Qui-Gon probably would have seen that as an essential part of Anakin's prophesied role in rebalancing the Force. He may even have been someone Anakin would have confided in about his love for Padme. Because of this, Anakin would have felt no need to seek out Palpatine's mentorship. He would have felt comfortable talking to Qui-Gon about some of the issues that Palpatine raised. I think that, ultimately, Qui-Gon could have helped Anakin to see that he could disagree with the Jedi Council and oppose its corruption without swinging to the other extreme and becoming a Sith.
No, because sand would still be too sandy.
P.S. Turning into James Earl Jones is probably the best thing that ever happened to Anakin Skywalker. And at least he gets to die before having to see Benedict Cumberbatch cosplay Snape as the leader of his fan club.
If I remember the Revenge of the Sith novelization correctly, Anakin was quite resentful about this. His anger at the Jedi Council for doing nothing for his mother, as well as his fear of Padme dying, is part of why he turned to other sources of help. Those sources of help turned out to be the dark side, which didn't really help him in the end.
I think Qui-Gon was actually planning on doing something for Anakin's mother later, but he died.