Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Kyris Cavisek, Nov 13, 2012.
Or the Rebels winning the Battle of Endor.
He didn't know about magical teddy bears that can easily kill the most elite Imperial troops
In wookieepedia (take that with a grain), it states the Ewoks terrorized Imperial positions, then there is this quote from Captain Toss of an Imperial Survey team, "We can ignore these contemptible little fur-balls", kinda goes back to Episode IV when the Imperials didn't think small fighters would be a threat to the Death Star.
What would have changed? Let's start by answering what did change? The first trilogy, on its own, is about an ordinary boy, brought up in the back of beyond on a moisture farm who dreams of adventure going on that adventure. Along the way he is taught some extraordinary powers by a Jedi Master and finds out that his father was a Jedi Knight who fought in the clone wars. Later he discovers that Vader is his father, who used to be that Jedi Knight but succumbed to the darkside. He, also, was a farmboy from the back of beyond, just like Luke.
At the end of ROTJ, as it was understood at the time, the rebels won the battle and the rebels destroyed the power of the Empire. That is, I think, an important part of the OT, as it was. The rebels themselves took down the power of the Empire. They did not need a 'superman', an uber-human, nexus of the Force, some sort of wizard space-Jesus to win out. The two stories were linked but not reliant upon each other; they mirrored each other but were not indelibly tied together.
Luke's choices awakened the knowledge within Anakin that he could choose; that he was responsible for his own actions. Anakin was thus redeemed by Luke. Luke's sacrifice was in distracting the Emperor and Vader while the rebels did their thing. He also, initially, felt he could turn Anakin back, but at the end had simply to make the choice not to turn himself.
Whether Palpatine and/or Vader had escaped the Death Star the power of the Empire was undone; their power was gone.
It was a story about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, fighting an evil empire and those that served it. What it became was a story of a fallen 'god' and a son of that 'god' in whose hands the destiny of the galaxy lies. Where the rebels were the masters of their own destiny in the OT, they became dependent upon the whims of this...'god'.
I don't know about you but I think that laters the whole dynamic. And not in a good way. In terms of it being 'the Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker' well, to me, that works better with an ordinary man making poor choices, bringing about his own misery but as a son of the Force? That's not a tragedy, that's an out and out betrayal.
I don't quite understand this point. If the second Death Star had been destroyed, why would the Empire be undone and the Sith's power gone? As we see from ANH, destroying the first Death Star didn't seem to impede the Empire in the slightest. ROTJ mirrored ANH strongly on that point, the only difference being that the Sith died along with the destruction of the Death Star.
And had Anakin not killed Palpatine, it's almost certain he would have escaped, given that Luke has the time to drag his father's body out of the throne room, remove his mask, have a nice chat with him, and then still make it out on time.
Even before the prequels I thought destroying the Emperor was just as important as winning the space battle. Just imagine for a second that the Emperor did escape - does it really feel like victory, even with Rebels taking out the second Death Star? I don't think so. Unlike the Republic, the Empire was built around one man (especially after the Senate is gone), with him and his second-in-command gone, it's going to be very hard for them to recover and try doing something on their own. Or, at least, we're led to believe this, I personally felt the ending was too neat and there must have been some resistance from other Imperial generals or regional governors (weren't there EU books about that?). I guess we'll have to wait for the sequels to get an answer to that.
So for me, the prequels didn't change much in terms of how I perceive the ending. Ok, maybe destruction of the Sith is somewhat more important now: we know they are very good at hiding and organizing takeover from behind the scenes. If Palpatine survived, he could have started over again. Still, I don't see why it takes away from Rebels' victory. The prophecy was about destroying the Sith, not freeing everyone in the galaxy.
First off I will say that this question only comes about because of the alterations made by the PT - and specifically the 'chosen one' aspect.
It wasn't just the Death Star that was destroyed, it was the Imperial Fleet (or the greater part of it) that was defeated. If you read interviews with GL at the time and afterwards (prior to the PT, that is) then he talks about how the the technologically deficient ewoks help the rebellion to defeat the Empire. That is a big part of the story. The redemption of Anakin, the destruction of the Sith is a personal story; the defeat of the Empire does not hinge upon Anakin's choices. One story mirrors the other.
The OT worked, imo, because Luke was a 'nobody', an any-man who turned out to be a hero. That is something that people, especially young people, can see themselves in. Being a nexus of the Force? a super-human destined by some conscious and planning greater power to a particular destiny? Anybody who sees themselves in that probably requires help.
But we only see one ship getting destroyed and this is a military force that controls an entire galaxy. It doesn't seem to me as though the Rebels inflicted enough damage on them to make much of a difference, especially since they bounced back from the destruction of the first Death Star so easily. Moreover, the film shows that it's the Rebels who are losing the battle -- hence why Luke gets upset. If they were winning and destroying a significant portion of the fleet, then Palpatine wouldn't have bothered with bringing Luke up to view the battle. Plus, the Emperor says that a legion of his best troops is on Endor, but I hardly think that constitutes even a minute fraction of the Imperial military. To control an entire galaxy, they would need more men than we saw on Endor. I just don't see how ROTJ shows the Rebels more significantly harming the Empire than they did in ANH. The biggest factor of difference, it seems to me, is that Palpatine dies.
And like I said, the Emperor would have escaped had Anakin not killed him.
But Luke wasn't a nobody -- he was the son of Darth Vader, one of the most evil and powerful men in the galaxy. He had been watched over by Obi-Wan Kenobi (a Jedi Knight from an extinct order) since he was a child. He, along with Leia, were the "last hopes" of the Rebellion. They weren't ordinary, no one else could do what they did. Luke is as unique as Anakin was -- his centrality to the OT is only made possible by his own extreme power with the Force derived from his lineage.
Saying that Luke is nobody is like saying King Arthur is a nobody. Yes, he grew up in humble origins and wants adventure which makes him accessible but even his Aunt remarks he's too much like his father. He stops being a nobody once he gets his father's sword (a weapon of the Jedi Knights) and realizes he can be trained to be one of them. And that's just in ANH alone. After TESB he also becomes a potential heir to the throne of the Empire, not just to the Jedi legacy, so he becomes even more special.
You could argue that Luke is as close as it gets to being the Emperor-he would've wound up being the Emperor eventually if he'd chosen either Vader or Palpatine's offers.
So, there's no difference between finding out your father was once a Jedi Knight, and that father being virgin born and destined by some conscious act of the Force to enact some prophecy? Son of a fallen hero, vs son of a fallen 'god'?
And, Luke (and Anakin) could be particularly force sensitive and still human - which makes, imo, a great deal of difference - and did not need to be the product of some consciously produced plan of the Force.
The Force goes from being, in the OT, an unknowable mystery to, in the PT, an Abrahamic, sky-being who interferes consciously in the matters of mortals.
And, I'll say again - and it is in line with what I am suggesting - it was understood at the time of ROTJ that this was how it was. Only with the addition of the 'chosen one' prophecy do questions like this arise. And that is rather the point. The end of the saga - and in fact the meaning of the end of the saga - is entirely altered by that addition.
The movies never clarify that the Force itself created Anakin, it could very well have been the Sith. This is left ambiguous. And Anakin is by no means a god -- he's as human as Luke is. Both are extremely strong in the Force, true, but that doesn't take away from their humanity. The prophecy doesn't mean that Anakin is not human anymore than the prophecy in Harry Potter meant that Harry was not human. So, Luke is as much of an everyman as Anakin is -- both of them are unique and can do things no one else can do.
The Force in the OT is not an unknowable mystery -- the Jedi know a great deal about it. It is an energy field that obeys your commands and guides your actions and is created by all life. That's hardly unknowable, especially because it can be actively employed by those who have aptitude in the Force. The prequels do not radically alter our knowledge of the Force itself.
The destruction of the first Death Star did not free the galaxy. Why then would you conclude the destruction of the second would? You have to look for factors that are different between the two events in order to explain why one event led to the collapse of the Empire while the other did not. The difference is that Palpatine died in ROTJ whereas he was still alive in ANH.
The Chosen One prophecy does not alter this.
At the risk of repeating myself; as I said when I first posted this as one thing I would change it is precisely because it changes the whole structure of the ending that bothers me. That that is how it was was not in question. Only because of the addition of the whole 'chosen one' prophecy gambit is there any reason to question it. And you keep repeating the question. That rather endorses my point. It altered the meaning of the end of ROTJ.
"Always in motion, the future is..." and yet... the Jedi follow a prophecy?
Forgive me, but I'm just not sure I understand what your point is. It seems to me that you lament the Chosen One prophecy because it changed the ending of the OT from the triumph of the Rebels and Luke as the everyman to centering around Anakin Skywalker as the Chosen One. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I am simply pointing out that the destruction of the Empire in ROTJ was always a result of Anakin's actions. The Rebels wanted to destroy the Death Star II, true, but note that Mon Mothma makes it a point to bring up that the Emperor will be on board -- he was their target. Because as ANH demonstrated, destroying the Death Star alone will not bring the Empire down. And yet, because the entire set up was a trap, had Anakin not killed Palpatine, the war would have continued. As the film clearly demonstrates, there was plenty of time for Palpatine to get out even if the Rebels destroyed the Death Star II.
Likewise, you said that Luke was an everyman. But he is not. Luke is special and was born as such. He can do things no one else can. Due to their lineage, he and his sister are the only hopes for the galaxy. A random person can no more be Luke Skywalker than they can be Anakin. That's essentially my point.
The Chosen One prophecy did not alter these facts in the slightest. ESB and ROTJ discredited the "everyman" argument long before the PT came around.
Sure. Just because there's a prophecy doesn't mean it has to be fulfilled after all. In the end, it was Anakin's choice that mattered.
First of all, Luke doesn't know that (obviously, since it wasn't the original idea). However, he is still told that his father was a very powerful Jedi and he tells Leia the Force is strong with their family. So, as of TESB Skywalkers are officially demi-gods. How and why it happened (conceived by the Force or a random occurrence) is is not that important in terms of Luke's path. He knows he's special and his choices will affect the galaxy.
Actually, we still don't know if he was really conceived by the Force or if it was influence by the Sith (or if it was reaction to the Sith's manipulation of the Dark Side). It's still a mystery.
Also, the Force is not entirely passive in the OT. Obi-Wan firmly believes there's no such thing as luck. So what he's talking about then? The will of the Force, maybe?
I see that as Obi-Wan reflecting, in a way, what Yoda says later, along with something he also says in ANH.
Yoda says "do or do not. There is no try" (as an aside, I think the meaning of this line is cleverly re-inforced in ROTS, as a response to Obi-Wan's "I will do what I must" Anakin says "You will try", implying Obi-Wan's impending failure, disparaging Obi-Wan's chances - in other words to say "I will try" is to admit that you do not believe that you will succeed).
Also, as the Millenium Falcon is drawn towards the Death Star Obi-Wan advises that there are alternatives to fighting (which he later demonstrates/re-inforces in his duel with Vader). He is talking of the choices you make, backed by belief in the course you have chosen. What he isn't explicitly talking of is a conscious agency interfering consciously in the actions of beings. In fact, if one believed in such there would be no Jedi Order and no Jedi, for no action would be necessary.
He says in ANH that it partially controls your actions.
The way it's portrayed in the movies, the Force has influence on the situations but the outcomes are still dependent on the choices people make. That's what we normally call being in the right place, in the right time. Anakin and Luke were born with very strong Force abilities (more than anyone else) so it stands to reason their actions will affect the fate of the galaxy significantly. But the Force doesn't make their choices for them, they do.
Let me try to put it this way. There is a difference between the concept of wu wei wu - a difficult, contemplative process of accepting one's particpation within an unknowable, unconscious framework much greater than oneself - and Deus Vult - the belief that one knows the will of a conscious deity through the direct teachings of that entity. That is the major difference between the OT and the PT, imo, in its approach to the Force - and this is a result of the prophecy of the Chosen One and the virgin birth of that one.
The whole midi-chlorian count business is also problematic, for a couple of reasons. Firstly it creates a breed of super-beings distinct from others in the galaxy (and that Luke is strong in the Force due to being Anakin's son means that this is genetic - so one has a genetically elitist stratum). Secondly, it means that these beings are collected at a young age and one is left with two concerns - if they do not become Jedi then what are they, and they are essentially taken from their parents and given no choice in their place - the Jedi decide their fate. Is this any different from what happens with the clones?
In the OT, I got the impression that any one could train to be a Jedi. That some may be more adept at this is not a problem - in the same way that someone may be better at maths than another, or a footballer, for example, might be more adept than others at 'feeling' what a ball will do and at sensing play around them. So one could be more adept at utilising the Force than others but ultimately it comes down to belief, training, that adeptness and discipline. All of that was possible with the OT. With the PT a genetic elite was created, and possibly a religously fanatical elite.
But one of the strongest factors that differentiates the Force from the other examples you posted, though, is that the Force has actual effects on the physical realm. And these effects are measurable and quantifiable. You can do experiments utilizing the Force. You can study it. Telekinesis alone opens up a huge number of options. And thus, the Force was never going to simply be an "unknowable" philosophy. It is much more than that because not only can users physically employ it, but it can control them. So there's much more of a sense of give and take. The Force, in very real ways, influences the physical world. In a setting where it can grant you the ability to see the future, I truthfully don't see why the notion of prophecies is problematic. As Yoda says, the future is variable, but that does not prevent Jedi (and Sith such as Sidious) from trying to look into it and proclaiming that they have "forseen it."
And here, I think I understand the heart of your argument. Your problem is not with the PT. Your problem is with ESB. It was ESB that established that Luke and "the Other" were the last hopes. It was ESB that created the familial relationship between Luke and Vader. And it's here that your "impression" that anyone could train to be a Jedi falls apart. In ANH, that was certainly true. Luke was a nobody and could train with the Force as long as he believed. Looking at that film in isolation, then your presupposition is correct and anyone could be a Jedi.
But that all falls apart as of ESB. ESB basically establishes that Luke is the only one who can face Vader (besides the "Other" who turns out to be his sister). But if anyone truly could become a Jedi, then there would be no reason to put Luke on such a pedestal. And this is cemented in ROTJ. ROTJ establishes that the Force runs strong in families -- suggesting that it is something that you are born with to a large extent (especially since neither Luke nor Leia was raised by Anakin/Vader). But it's here that the "anyone can train to be a Jedi" notion is destroyed:
Luke: If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.
Leia: Luke don't talk that way. You have a power I don't understand and could never have.
And it's then that Luke reveals their family connection. If Luke were to die -- Leia is the only one who could take up the mantle of the Jedi. Why? Because she is his sister and their father was strong in the Force, passing this aptitude on to his children. Without knowing this connection, though, Leia believes she could "never" have Luke's power.
The prequels did not change this fact -- that the Force is stronger with some people than others and that it is this, above all else, that determines one's ability to be a Jedi -- all the prequels introduced was the midichlorians which act as conduit. But they, in and of themselves, do not change the fact that some people are simply born with much stronger potential than others.
Plus, the PT never says that the Jedi take children away from their parents -- Qui-Gon specifically leaves that choice up to Anakin and his mother. There's no reason anyone has to be trained as Luke and Leia were just fine without it. But this also suggestive of why the "no attachment" rule is in place and families are generally discouraged. The Jedi probably want to prevent a single family dynasty from dominating the Order.
Either way, I hardly think that raising children as Jedi is akin to saying the Jedi decide their fate. That's like saying any person of any religion is denied freedom. Many children are baptized long before they understand the tenants of Christianity and are forced to attend Church and go to Sunday school and Communion. How is that different from what the Jedi do?
Why is this "problematic"? Because you don't like it? Because you believe in Equality of Outcomes?
Even though the OT never even implies this, and arguably implies the opposite from TESB onward.
Why is it problematic you ask, though I have given a number of reasons why I believe it to be so. Okay, so I will answer the sub-questions. Because I don't like it? yes. I am answering a question, as I'm sure I made clear, from a personal point of view. I think it changed some aspects of the OT, and from the perspective of someone who was brought up on the OT first - and from others I know in the same position - that it has altered some of the aspects of the OT that I wrote about.
As to whether I believe in Equality of Outcomes...I find the question puzzling. Equality of outcomes is, in reality, a test of the efficacy of legislation designed to promote fairer, less discriminatory action. The basic premise being that if equality of opportunity is truly working that will show in equality of outcome. I am aware that there has been a tendency toward a strawman proposition of actual legislation for equality of outcome that has been used to undermine anti-prejudicial legislation (working on fears and inherent prejudices) but they are just that, strawman propositions. As for whether I believe in Equality of Outcome as you seem to imply here, well given my earlier post the answer to that should be clear. No. Only a Sith deals in absolutes...
I'm not sure how any such is implied in TESB. In fact if the dialogue you refer to (as reproduced by
@PiettsHat ) is to be believed in the way it is suggested here then the only beings capable of being Jedi in the entire galaxy are Luke and Leia.
Yes, as I said, some people may be more adept at utilising the Force than others. The midichlorians were, at best, an unnecessary addition; at worst they create a genetic elite, those with and those without.
But Anakin is "too old" to be accepted under normal circumstances by the Jedi, as Qui-Gon knows. What he also says to Schmi is that, had he been in the Republic he would have been discovered and trained as a Jedi. That clearly implies that the Jedi take those with appropriate midi-chlorian counts and train them from a very young age.
Hang on, you really don't see a difference between being raised within the cultural milieu of your parents and being taken into a military/monastic order? If a state found a genetic code for a particular type, would it be OK for that state to take those children and train them as warrior monks? As the Jedi served the Republic, that is what this amounts to. That is one of the problems with the whole genetic/midichlorian concept - it sets the Jedi Order up on a very questionable footing.
I don't really see how they create "a genetic elite" -- ROTJ is pretty explicit that the Force is transmitted through lineage. There's really no reference to the midichlorians being genetically passed down in any sense. You can say they are "unnecessary" (although I think they greatly add to the thematic richness of symbiosis), but they certainly don't create a genetic elite since they're not said to be heritable in the first place. It is strength in the Force that explicitly runs in families. Again, the midichlorians are simply conduits and symbiots.
I think you're reading this very selectively though. If it were true that the Jedi forcibly took children from their families, then Qui-Gon would have never given Anakin the choice in the first place. He would have simply freed Anakin and told his mother he was taking him. But the film presents this very clearly (and with dialogue) as Anakin's decision.
Plus, don't forget that Shmi was talking about how Anakin deserves better than a slave's life. Qui-Gon pointed out that had he been born in the Republic, he would have been identified early and could have had the life of a Jedi. But he never indicates that he would have been forced to choose such a life. I think you're making a rather huge presumption in this case, especially since the only instance we see of joining the Jedi order in the films is presented as a choice. I imagine that when children are born in the Republic, a standard midichlorian count is performed and if levels are high enough, the Jedi are called in and discuss with parents if they would like their children to join the Order. There's only a few thousand Jedi in a galaxy of trillions after all. But it's never indicated that the wishes of parents are ignored. For people in extreme poverty or Shmi's situation, they might very readily agree to try to offer their child a better life. Which is what Shmi and Qui-Gon's conversation was about, at its heart.
I don't think that the children are forcibly taken away from their parents -- I think they are willingly given to the Jedi to raise. That's the difference. Again, statistically, there's trillions of beings in a galaxy. Yet we only see a few thousand Jedi (given that their entire order is confined to one Temple). And Anakin and Shmi are allowed to make the choice to send Anakin to Coruscant. Under those circumstances, I don't think it's an unreasonable assumption, personally.