And there we go. Based on the fact that there are fewer "likes" than I often get, but that a higher percentage of them are "loves" than typical, I'm assuming that this is a "love it or hate it" post, which, frankly, mission accomplished to some degree. It's just not Star Wars
without a divided fandom, so Verisimilitude Achieved.
Believe it or not, but this isn't my "fan wank" or what I wanted the prequels to be (I would have butterflied the Gungans/Roona entirely for one!), but my attempt to reframe Lucas's central Story (the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker) within the butterflies of the TL. Your mileage may vary on if I succeeded or not, but the fact that people are talking and debating is a good sign that people are thinking
, which is what I really want.
Speaking of discussions, I'll answer some questions here, but let's try to take any future conversations to the Commentary and Speculation thread, please.
Impressive! Will you be doing episode three as well?
It’s very pulpy that’s for sure.
Mission accomplished, then! Star Wars
is pulpy and campy, and occasionally cheesy. Feature IMO, not a bug. In fact, George Lucas, upon first seeing the 3 K's Empire Strikes Back
, complained that they made it "Too good" (his words). The incredible success of the original Star Wars
, back when it was just "Star Wars" (a stand-alone salute to the pulpy old Flash Gordon serials of Lucas' childhood ), not "Episode IV: A New Hope", was in a large part because (and this is going to sound weird to modern audiences) it was fun
Mind-blowing, huh? A fun
adventure film. What a concept, eh? But in 1977 that was exactly the case. This was post-Watergate and post-Vietnam, in the middle of an energy crisis, a crime wave, the formation of the Rust Belt as factory jobs ended, and movies were in the midst of the "New Hollywood" movement, which dogmatically adhered to an "Auteur Theory" approach that also insisted that every film had to address serious topics in a naturalistic manner, ideally quoting Fellini in some way. Pretty much everything at the time was shades of grey, cynical, and jaded, nothing was pure and good, corruption was everywhere, optimism was delusion, the House Always Wins. The competing Sci-Fi film released that year, which everyone "knew" would win at the box office, Damnation Alley
, was a cynical post-nuclear dystopia with killer mutant cockroaches. Even Jaws
, a film about, um (checks notes) "giant shark eats people", had a subplot about a corrupt politician conspiring with the local business interests to cover up the fact that, well, giant shark eats people. Who cares if a few people get eaten, gotta have those tourist dollars!
Simply having a fun, fast-paced film with black & white morality, straightforward characters, heroes and villains without much nuance, cheesy dialog, lots of eye candy effects, and deliberate pulp and camp was a huge breath of fresh air in 1977, and audiences responded well to this.
And if Lucas had layered some deeper meaning in there about nature and spirituality vs. mechanistic militarism, then hey, great, but that's not what audiences in 1977 responded to, and lots of people in 1980 actually complained, often loudly, about ESB "ruining" Star Wars
simply because it added some shades of grey and seriousness. ("This is depressing. The Bad Guys win? Where's my pulpy space opera?" "Vader is Luke's Father? What is this bullshit?")
Gee I wonder who will be directing this /S
Was your assumption right? Did you guess Zemeckis? If not, who did you assume directed, out of curiosity?
This article is a good summation of Lucas’s views and what he tried to convey
It’s a common take: the Jedi were wrong to forbid “attachment,” and Luke proved this by saving the galaxy through his love for his father. Themes are always open to interpretation, and my reading i…
Basically the light side IS the way of balance, teaching that emotions can be good IF they’re properly controlled and guided. The dark side is “fuck restraint I’m gonna do what I want and damn the consequences.”
In fact the backstory of one dark sider in the EU (Kadann) is that he thought he could control both light and dark and ultimately fell. I think that might be a better thing for Thorpe….he arrogantly thought he could control both and fell.
Yep, fully, completely, 100% familiar with Lucas's thoughts on it (I've seen many interviews, read many behind-the-scenes accounts), well aware of the Canonical Jedi Philosophy, and also fully familiar with the Buddhist cosmology that informs it (though admittedly not an expert there). And unlike other things that Lucas has insisted after the fact to be "always part of the plan", I am willing to believe that this was indeed always the plan, seeing as how Lucas is a practicing Buddhist.
The concept of "attachment" in Jedi circles is clearly directly derived from the Buddhist concept of Upadana, translated (somewhat incorrectly) into English as "attachment". And that this central tenet of Buddhism is what drives Jedi Philosophy and the Force seems self-evident.
[Bad Dad Joke]
Q: What's the biggest problem with Buddhist vacuum cleaners?
A: They come with no attachments.
[/Bad Dad Joke]
This, of course, reflects in the idea, in both Buddhism and Jedi Philosophy, that the Dark Side/Suffering is the Imbalance, not
, as Thorpe seemed to think, the "balance", mistaking the Light and Dark for a Yin-Yang style Whole (as some Fans have incorrectly assumed).
And if Baron Thorpe's (for lack of better words) "Grey Jedi" philosophy, and his hubristic belief that he can control "both sides" of the force and that "balance" meant dominating both, flies completely in the face of the Canon, well, yeah, it does. That's the point.
How did his attempts to put this philosophy into practice work out for him?
The Kadann-style scenario you point out is explicitly what happens to Thorpe here: he hubristically thought that he could live in both balance (The Force) and imbalance (The Dark Side) at the same time. He looked up to some "Ancients" whom he assumed had mastered the "duality" when in fact they "broke the Force" in their arrogance, creating the Dark Side.
Now, how does this Buddhist-based philosophy translate into the story of the Skywalkers, iOTL and iTTL? The Jedi Philosophy is clearly portrayed as "right" and that Attachment is what holds a Jedi back from the Force and what leads to pain and suffering. In fact, the "sin" of the Jedi Council, which I make more explicit iTTL but which was very much implicit in OTL's PT (see OTL Qui-Gon's "rebellion" and devotion to "the Living Force" in contrast to the prescriptive way that the Council wanted him to behave), is that they too (ironically) suffer from one of the Four Big Attachments outlined by the Buddha, specifically "rites-and-rituals clinging" (silabbatupadana). This is portrayed iTTL by the arcane rituals and portrayed iOTL and iTTL by the dogmatic adherence to Rules and represented in the symbolism in both TLs of them being isolated in a literal Ivory Tower, disconnected from the Galaxy around them.
In fact, the Old Jedi, Obi-Wan and Yoda included (but apparently not OTL's Qui-Gon) were so blinded by the dogma that they confused Connection (good) for Attachment (bad). They saw Luke's love for and devotion to his friends and his compassion and hope for his father as Dangerous Attachments and tried to dissuade him from a) going to rescue his friends on Bespin and b) trying to save Vader/Anakin, insisting to Luke that he couldn't be saved and had to be destroyed. Had Luke listened to them, he would have failed. Instead, he ignored them, followed his intuition (the Living Force) and thus rescued his father by trusting in his friends, allowing his father to destroy Palpatine and restore balance to the Force.
In short, the Father is corrupted by his Attachment (possessive obsession and false-love) and redeemed by his Son's Connection (love, compassion).
Or at least that's how I have interpreted the central story of Lucas' 6-film saga iOTL and attempted to portray iTTL. In truth, he's said a lot of things over the years, and they often contradict one another, so who really knows?
If you’re not calling Sidious DARTH I think Lord Sidious is fine. The surname afterwards is kinda corny
I've already mentioned this, but I'll reiterate: "Darth" was originally a name, and (ironically given later attempts to claim it was a contraction of "Dark Lord of the Sith") one originally NOT assigned to the stated
"Dark Lord of the Sith" [sic] in the first draft of "The Star Wars" (that would be Prince Valorem), but assigned instead to an imperial bureaucrat that the Sith Valorem kills in Act III. When Obi-Wan called Vader "Darth" in 1977 he was explicitly at the time calling an "old friend" by his first name, not a title, though later Intertextuality retroactively made it a title when Lucas changed his mind iOTL in the late 1990s.
When Star Wars
was filmed, and as best as I can tell all the way up to the writing of Episode I (no EU or other materials that I can find use Darth as a title prior to 1999), "Darth" was always Vader's first name, originally his true name when he was a separate person from Father Skywalker and then later his "assumed name" when the two characters were combined in the Second Draft of Ep. V. But still, a name. Ep. I was also the first time that the name/title "Darth Sideous" appears. Prior to this he is always referred to either as "Emperor Palpatine" or "The Emperor" (or, originally, Cos Dashit). He doesn't even gain the first name "Sheev" until later in the post-PT EU.
And you're absolutely right about Sideous Morg's name being corny. From this point forward I'll stick to more dignified names like Dexter Jettster, Kit Fisto, and Count Dooku.
Man, cheese, corn, camp, and pulp in Star Wars
, what have I done?
Not gonna lie, I was a bit disappointed that the Clones are not the antagonists of the Clone Wars since that was kinda hinted at in the Thrawn Trilogy and/or Dark Empire (making it entirely different from OTL)
I debated taking things in a different direction, but truth be told I have no idea when Lucas came up with the Clones being the forerunners of the Storm Troopers, as that's one of those things buried deep in the Black Box. Perhaps it was part of his "
12 9 3 6
9 Movie Plan" first devised in the late '70s after Star Wars
broke box office records, and maybe not. Anyone's guess is as good as mine. I decided to be lazy and go OTL.
That said, my gut feeling is that Lucas went to the Droid Armies as antagonists and Clones as erstwhile allies of the Jedi in order to avoid having scenes of Jedi cutting down hundreds of living people
. That would be an ugly visual and the MPAA may have been a factor.
The Bardo trial was a stroke of genius, IMO. It peers into Anniken's deepest and darkest thoughts/fears while clearly exposing the only thing that will cause him to fall: Padme. We saw hints of this in the third film and in the Clone Wars miniseries/animated series but never to this level of detail in the Prequel Trilogy.
I took the Buddhist nature of the Jedi a step further than OTL on that one, taking the Buddhist afterlife - well, interlife - concept of the Bardo, a sort of purgatory for attachment between lives, and formalized it.
Considering the Tales of the Jedi comics and future material, the Jedi have a lot of examples of why love and connections can ultimately cause one to fall, though they can also redeem a person as well.
Attachments (toxic clinging), to follow the Buddhist model, can ultimately lead us to fail, while Connection will redeem us.
I wonder if Dooku shared this same philosophy or if this is original to Thorpe. Regardless this is an interesting viewpoint of the Force that we rarely see others express IOTL.
IIRC by Canon Dooku became disgruntled with the Jedi Council following the death of his Padawan Qui-Gon, which he (frankly partially justifiably) blamed on the council, and this left him vulnerable to Sith manipulation.
I took Thorpe in the "grey Jedi" direction mostly as a contrast to the Canon of Dark Side as the corruption and imbalance in the Force, and as a counter to the common (and Jossed) Fan Theory that Anakin "restored balance to the force" by killing Jedi until there were an even 2 Sith, 2 Jedi. Here Thorpe clearly shows why this idea is wrong, that the Dark Side is not Yin to the Force's Yang, but corruption and imbalance that must be purged for balance to return. His hubris led directly to his fall as his Master (Palps) betrays him without remorse, likely knowing of his hubris and duplicity and even counting on it.
I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I love the reverse mirroring of Empire Strikes Back.
Yep, totally intentional. Playing around with the Star Wars Ring Theory, which means that Ep. II should mirror Ep. V in reverse, or more technically Ep. V should retroactively mirror Ep. II in reverse.
OTL Beauty and the Beast
is an excellent example of a Chiastic Structure done right:
(Image from Kelly Quindlen on Tumbler)
I really like how you've leaned into "their slightly flawed understanding of Medieval Ring Theory" to create a lovely inverse to the original trilogy (something which I feel Lucas kind of gave up on after Episode I OTL).
While I've tried to actually use Ring/Chiastic Structure, I've done it deliberately a little bit "wrong." Admittedly, the more I look into the OTL PT the less I believe that Lucas was actually giving Star Wars a chiastic structure, or that if he was then he did it wrong. Ep. I would, if using a proper chiastic structure, reflect Ep. VI in reverse
. So it would have started with the rise of a politician (Palps?) or other change of a government, then proceeded to a massive, multi-way battle possibly involving a force field while a force user dealt with a temptation, then maybe a big escape, then something involving the death or birth of a powerful Force Master, then something involving a remote planet and/or the Hutt and/or a rescue/capture of a friend. Instead iOTL Ep. I more directly reflects Ep. IV with some elements of Ep. VI in the same order while iTTL Ep. I reflects Ep VI directly, not in reverse.
I've often thought that, in response to critiques of how the Prequel Trilogy handled the Jedi Order, it's a phenomenally unfortunate and necessary rule of storytelling that of the 'thousand generations' Obi Wan talks about, it is inevitable that we have to follow the generations that failed. The nine-hundred and ninety-ninth if you want to get particular about it, the one's that could not help sowing their own downfall. The inevitable end result of being a Guardian of Peace and Justice in a system that has been in place so long it's starting to crumble out of entropy. How much of that is intended by Lucas and how much is a combination of fan-theory and Dave Filoni weaving in this narrative ion the small screen that inevitably became impossible to avoid in the present day is not something I really know. But here, there's definite meat to that theory.
I firmly believe looking at how the Jedi Council was portrayed iOTL's PT (and looking at Lucas's interviews) that the failure of the Jedi Council to live up to Obi-Wan's gushing words about the "more civilized time" was a Feature not a Bug. Fans were upset that the Jedi were flawed, but that was the point. Yoda and Obi-Wan, though noble at heart, were stuck in a wrong way of thinking, essentially caught up in a dogmatic view that Emotion/Desire = Attachment and thus seeing love/connection/friendship as something dangerous. And yes, Attachment (toxic clinging) is definitely dangerous to a Jedi and to be avoided, but it was precisely Luke's refusal to adhere to Yoda and Obi-Wan's warnings against acting on Love and Hope that won the day. And that's the direction I'm taking the TTL PT.
Of course Lucas has said a lot, and much of it contradictory, so I could certainly be wrong.
There's been a recurring theme of attachments and personal connections that's been more emphasized in this Prequel Trilogy than OTL with the Bardo Trial, Obi-Wan's personal struggles with intimacy, Anniken, and the Jedi Order itself. I noted that Obi-Wan and Anniken are kind of foils in this regard as Obi-Wan strives to sever his personal attachments to even his closest friends and enemies while Anniken revels in them by kissing Padme, finding joy in Thorpe's teachings as a mentor, obsessing over his father, and seeking vengeance against Mauk over Shmi's death. Yoda argues that these attachments are what cause people to fall into the Dark Side, and he seems to be proven right in Episode II with Anniken.
It's so ironic that Luke's personal attachment to Obi-Wan and his father is what ultimately saved him and led to his redemption. It shows that the Star Wars universe and the Force itself don't work in absolutes, and it's honestly a good thing.
Almost. Anakin/Anniken's "Attachment" (his possessive obsession with Padme, which he mistakes for love) led to his downfall. Luke's Connection (actual love and compassion) to his friends and father, is what saved him.
While I forget the exact nature of Episode VI IITL, I remember it being pretty clear that Luke brings his father back to the light somewhat. I imagine the argument of 'chronological vs real-life' airing arguments to be quite interesting because if you go by the latter you see Annikin deconstructing the nature of Luke's story-arc compared to the former which sees Luke reconstructing Annikin's ideals into a more sustainable method.
I always saw the intent of Lucas' Skywalker Saga OTL to be that the Jedi were born in nobility in the far ancient times, rightly working to purge themselves of Attachment, but that over the centuries they ironically became attached themselves to the Rite and Ritual and Dogma of the Jedi Rules, mistaking emotion and passion and love and connection for attachment. This made them unable to nurture Anakin through his internal challenges and steer him away from his self-destructive attachment, which led to his downfall and through him the fall of the Jedi and the Republic. Luke, meanwhile, saw through the Dogma and saw the true nature of Love and Friendship and Compassion not as dangerous Attachments, but liberating Connections, and this is why he was able to redeem Anakin, who brought balance back to the Force by purging Palpatine.
It wasn’t his attachment though. It was his compassion. He saw that Vader secretly hated himself and wanted to make amends, and wanted to help Vader not suffer.
Yep. Spot on. 100% agree.
I wonder why other Jedi went with Mace to fight despite Mace being kicked out
Palps both freed and reinstated him, and since the Jedi are nominally supposed to follow the will of the Republic, they went along with this, though some may grumble.
The same way that some of the Jedi left with Revan to join him in order to defend the Republic.
That too. Many Jedi saw Mace's move, however duplicitous, as prudent, and clearly the Galaxy needed that army, right?
Ooof going from $1 billion to $600 million is going to hurt.
Somehow I think that Fox and Lucasfilm will survive.
Can there be Jedi cops that exist between life and death and which also send you back in time?
Well, that would certainly open up a whole new dimension in SW Lore! Maybe something for the EU there.
Correct me if I'm wrong but most of the backlash from the OTL actors is from some of the dialogue they had to say or a general nastiness from the fandom in general, correct? There was no real problem with the cast themselves together, they all seemed to have enjoyed each other's company even if they had misgivings about the project.
That's what I've always heard. Ewan and Hayden and Natalie got along very well, from what I understand. Here, things are different.
there was a real chemistry between Ewan and Hayden that I doubt will be emulated in the Hensonverse. I
They say the best screen couples are those who really like each other, and those who despise each other. Jenifer Grey and Patrick Swayze apparently couldn't stand each other, but the resulting contempt ironically translated as real chemistry. Assuming thern Obi-Wan series, this may happen, assuming Branagh would go for it.
And again, all reminder to take any more discussions to the Commentary Thread
. Really great questions and discussions, but we're coming close to a derail here.