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Saga It Is Your Destiny: What Does Star Wars Have To Say About Fate?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    Which is a good argument against introducing a Force prophecy into the story, especially so when the films weren't produced/released in chronological/episodic order.
     
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  2. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jan 1, 2011
    I actually thought the prophecy was great as a misdirecting tactic for those who watch the Saga I-VI. It never really crossed my mind, for example, that Anakin would actually turn (in part because of the prophecy).

    It seems like a classic "Like you would really do it" moment (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt). So when Lucas actually does go through with it, it's all the more surprising. Well, at least it was for me.

    I would say that in something like Harry Potter the prophecy did more damage because I was able to perfectly guess at how the series would end. I knew that there was no way that Voldemort wouldn't be dead by the end of it, so it was clear that Harry would kill him (the fact that Harry was blatantly a Horcrux didn't help matters either).
     
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  3. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    But see, even then, as a 'misdirecting tactic' it would only convincingly work with people who had never seen the original trilogy .
     
  4. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jan 1, 2011

    Yeah. But considering those who have seen the original trilogy know the ending already, I don't think it's such a huge deal. I guess my point is, for OT-first viewers, it doesn't really affect their experience while it does work on complete newbies.

    Additionally, in terms of the story, I think it does address some key points:

    --The Chosen One prophecy explains (in part) why the Jedi chose to train Anakin at an advanced age. And his more advanced (though still quite young) age is a big reason why he was susceptible to the Dark Side.

    --It adds to the Jedi being blind-sided by Anakin's turn

    --Plus (my favorite point here), it allows for Anakin's origins to be ambivalent. Is he a creation of the Sith? Is he of the Force? I think it's a cool way to subtly parallel ESB's "I am your father" moment without being a rip-off. Though, of course, your mileage may vary.
     
  5. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2013
    You have to remember that Anakin choose to go off his path, then choose to resume and fulfill it.
     
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  6. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    Well, it DOES 'affect their experience' in that it feels a bit gratuitous.



    I would have thought that "he was ALREADY an amazing pilot" would have sufficed. Plus, we didn't really need a 'Chose One' thing with Luke (even though that almost happened , back when the OT was being developed).


    As far being "blind-sided" goes, it just imho comes off as another weak plot/writing excuse, in the same vein as, "The Dark Side clouds everything!!!" .


    Personally, I think they got lucky with the "I am your father" thing. The Anakin Chosen One or Sith creation inuendo, otoh, was just pushing it, to me.
     
  7. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent 2017 Celebrity Deathpool Winner star 10

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    Apr 3, 2002
    [​IMG]

    This character could make Star Wars confusing.
     
  8. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Jan 6, 2004
    I would say that knowing the ending is one thing, whereas knowing that the ending is pre-determined by fate in-universe is another thing altogether.

    An interesting one to be sure. Perhaps whoever it was who said that the interaction of fate and will is beyond ordinary human comprehension has it right. Better get the meditation mat out...
     
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  9. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jan 1, 2011
    I suppose it could. But I also like the idea of returning balance to the Force -- it's something that adds another layer to the conflict in the OT. With how the OT stresses the connection between the Force and life, I like how the PT uses the prophecy to suggest that eliminating the Sith will return it to balance. Kind of like bringing homeostasis back to a body.

    But what does being an amazing pilot have to do with being a Jedi? What I mean is -- Han's a pretty amazing pilot. He arguably shows some of the most impressive flying in the Saga (more so than Luke even). Yet he's not a Jedi. With Luke, I got the sense that it was important that Luke feel that he had the choice. Anakin (as Vader) often talks about destiny, how he "must" obey and in the PT we do hear him say "I don't have a choice." With Luke, I felt it was a really cool aspect of the OT to establish that although Luke was one of the only people who could defeat the Sith, that he didn't have to do it. It was his choice. And his realization of this choice is the reason he can go against Yoda and Obi-Wan telling him that his father is lost to try to save the man.

    Contrasting him with Anakin and the prophecy was, I thought, a good move.

    Fair enough. I do have a deep love for how Obi-Wan brokenly yells at Anakin that he was the Chosen One, though. There's a real depth of disappointment and disillusionment there that I personally enjoy a lot.

    I've always liked the idea that Star Wars is about fathers and sons, so I liked the little tie-in. Especially since they didn't beat us over the head with it too much. Unless you're a fan, I've never met anyone who made this link. I am extremely grateful they took out Palpatine's lines about being Anakin's father from earlier drafts though.
     
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  10. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2013
    The idea is Dark Sides users abuse the force and throw it off balance which affects other force users.
     
  11. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 23, 1999
    The dark side is the "quick and easy" path. So it seems like there 'should' be a lot more dark siders than "pure" light siders, because of how it seems to appeal to certain aspects of human nature. If this is the case, though, then the Force is either always out of balance from all that activity, or whatever Palpatine and the Sith were doing was of a different type or magnitude, compared to simply being 'of the dark side.'
     
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  12. CommanderDrenn

    CommanderDrenn Jedi Knight star 4

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    Oct 19, 2013
    Some impossible to answer questions:
    If violence is never the answer, then what's the answer to: What's never the answer?
    What happens if two irresistible and indestructible forces hit each other?
    How can free will coexist with divine preordination?
     
  13. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    Re: the issue with destiny and Force prophecy having to do with Anakin's "awareness" of it and the whole free will vs. determinism debate.....

    The problem for me, is with the Force vision of Padme's death being a catalyst for Anakin's turn. As a poster from a year ago on the old xenforo temp boards pointed out (Darth Angelus???), the Force vision looks like a 'causal loop'. Iow, the vision exists at all because he turns/will turn, and he turned because of the Force vision, which exists because of his turn, which.....infinite regress, etc.
     
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  14. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 23, 1999
    Mmm... I'm not sure how much of a problem that is for me personally. I mean you know I could definitely have gone in a different direction with the prequels, but the self-fulfilling prophecy might not be that much of a problem. If it were a completely unique occurrence in Anakin's life - if Jedi did not make a practice of clairvoyance - then it might jar as only a blatant plot device. But since the Jedi do look into the future frequently, and their visions are incomplete (I'm thinking that Anakin's surety about Padme's fate was an assumption, and had he been less fearful he might have realized something similar to Yoda's "difficult to see. Always in motion is the future."), it doesn't bother me so much. I don't think. It's kind of like Luke going to Cloud City because of a vision.

    More and more I think the "destiny" problem, for me, is less a determinism problem as a 'the future is magically set and guided by a supermind' problem. That affects the apparent agency of the characters. Determinism and clairvoyance can work with the characters acting according to feelings and reasons that can make sense to them at the time. It's when characters do things, or are maneuvered into positions that are needed simply because the Force (the plot) needs them to do things (such as if Anakin were given that vision as a unique thing, because fate 'needs' him to turn), that "choice" (which is a word I'll use here even though it can be fraught) is affected.
     
  15. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

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    Jul 2, 2004
    "No prophecies in prequels"? Gotta love imaginary rules, especially ones that make no sense.
     
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  16. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    ^^^^This.
     
  17. therealharvywallbanger

    therealharvywallbanger Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Oct 30, 2013
    Nothing completely hangs together. Fortunately and unfortunately we have a story we love. Fortunately it's a great story. Unfortunately it will never be perfect in our own minds.
     
  18. TOSCHESTATION

    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

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    Jan 17, 2003
    Not a 'rule', per se.....but, consider this:

    You're G. Lucas, and you want audiences to view the SW saga in 1-6 order. Yet....you practically telegraph the ending of the saga via a prophecy???

    Now, I can hear someone say in rebuttal:

    "But, see...there's this CURVE-BALL thrown where your protagonist turns to evil and becomes one of the bad guys!!!!

    Fair enough. But the point still stands that with a prophecy you've just telegraphed your ending, for the sake of 'drama'. And I'm talking about from the viewpoint of the 1-6 episodic order paradigm. So then, when it comes to viewing the saga in production order (4-5-6-1-2-3), what precise 'dramatic angle' is served by having a Force prophecy?
     
  19. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 23, 1999
    Also, regardless of the dramatic angle or logic behind the addition of the Force-agency, does it not seem like this is a difference between the OT and PT? It may not bother some people that this was added, but personally it feels like it changes the whole dynamic of the story, and for me it affects the potential for the worldbuilding itself. Here's why: in the OT, the Force being a background aspect more than an active participant means that the story only has stakes that reach into the political and interpersonal. While Ben and Yoda phrase things in terms of 'only hope for the galaxy,' we aren't given any reason to think, in 4-6 alone, that that's more metaphysics than hyperbole. But in the PT, the scale is changed. The story we are shown is assigned huge importance not just to the societies and people but seemingly to the galaxy, the universe itself. It just feels like a mismatch to me.

    It also means that any story you tell will never be on the same scale as that of the film characters. One of the things I like most about SW is the wealth of backstories and ancillary characters who are all 'main characters' in their own stories. This change feels like it diminishes that, to me. The films are the focal point of all of history in the galaxy. (It doesn't necessarily have to be that way, but the phrasing The Chosen One makes it feel that way.)
     
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  20. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2013
    The films have always be the focal point of the SW universe. In fact the EU is a different universe from the films, what the EU does, doesn't affect the films.

    What you have posted sounds very much like Starlog's criticism of TESB:
     
  21. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

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    Jul 2, 2004
    Yet consider Dark Empire and its supplements, an EU work created when there was no PT, or in other words having only the OT to extrapolate from. At that point we see at least one author's take on what could have happened if Palpatine had survived, and it's a dark side theocracy eventually geared toward siphoning the life force of whole planets and making everyone an extension of Palpatine's will. Palpatine's end point becomes a kind of metaphysical threat in this scenario. No, we don't hear that the Force is out of balance - but the results may be much the same, as we find a galaxy drowning in the dark side.

    As to the question of active participation on the part of the Force, it seems significant that the OT is where the term destiny gets thrown around; where Ben admits that the Force, in part, controls your actions; where Han, in disputing ( canonically incorrectly ) the very existence of the Force, characterizes it as an energy field controlling destinies. The presumed gulf between the trilogies on this issue may not ultimately be very wide. Getting a Force vision and then rushing off unwisely in an attempt to avert it has been old news since 1980. The Force actually going so far as to create a being is new, of course, but it's worth noting that such was never actually definitively established in the films and it remained only one of several possibilities. The other workable option, creation by the Sith, maintains the preexisting paradigm.
     
  22. darth-sinister

    darth-sinister Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Jun 28, 2001
    Yeah, but it had been clear that "Harry Potter" had an ending at a point in time. And in having an ending, you'd have Voldemort die. That's usually how these things go.

    That's part of why Lucas did that. Not the whole reason, but to give the new generation a different perspective on the Saga. For those of us who were there first, we get to understand the greater implications of what it is that Anakin does at the end of ROTJ.

    It would have added weight to Palpatine's saying, "It is your destiny" because he created Anakin and thus Anakin does fulfill his destiny by destroying the Jedi. Especially if Palpatine had been the one to make him as Lucas originally planned. As it stands now, it only serves a purpose in driving Anakin further to the dark side.

    It leans towards the latter. Palpatine caused a state of fear, confusion, greed and uncertainty in the galaxy that allowed him to gain power, while also causing the Force to go out of balance. He causes the lines to mix and blur, which in turn pushes the Force out of balance.

    I had also mentioned it quite a while ago myself. That it was the Force's way of showing him the consequences of his actions. He ignores the greater implications of his vision and instead focuses on his fears and becomes consumed by his selfishness.

    Ah, but in ROTS, Yoda says that the prophecy may have been misunderstood. That it might not have been Anakin who was the Chosen One, which then gives us Luke, who starts on the path to greatness in ANH. Then in TESB, Palpatine says that Luke could destroy the two of them and Vader himself says that this is why he wants to turn Luke so that they could kill Sidious and rule together as father and son. Then in ROTJ, Luke says that he feels the good in his father and tries to help him come back, but is in danger himself of becoming evil.

    And in "The Making Of Return Of The Jedi", it is discussed that Vader's pitch to Luke wound up telegraphing what was to come in ROTJ. That he still wants to kill the Emperor, but won't do it without Luke's help.
     
  23. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Force Ghost star 8

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    Nov 20, 2012
    There is no good or evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.
     
  24. Samnz

    Samnz Jedi Master star 3

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    Sep 4, 2012
    Absolutey and, in the case of Anakin, it also provided a special situation in which a person was brought down by their fatal choices and adverse circumstances. Anakin was labelled the Chose One and obviously highly regarded among Jedi. That was certainly contributing to his behaviour.
    "You expect too much of yourself." (Padmé) more or less describes a lot of the roots of Anakin's motives.

    Anyway, I think people take the terms "destiny", "prophecy" etc. way too literal and serious. "Prophecy" only means that there was someone who thought he knows the future for a reason. Nothing more.
    "Destiny" can be interpreted in many different ways. "He is destined to destroy the Sith" can also be seen in a way that he is the one who gets the chance to destroy them (because he is just powerful enough, which is something others aren't), meaning: if someone manages to destory them, then it's him. No indication that he is "forced" to do it or anything.

    The concept of destiny is just vague and in the case of Star Wars it's clearly more about creating certain feelings and portraying philosophies of some kind and less about real predetermination. It was Anakin who cut off Mace's hand (not the devil) and it was Anakin who saved Luke (and not an angel) and that's plain obvious when you watch the films, imo.
     
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  25. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 18, 2012
    But that aspect ( the effect of the prophecy, Anakin's predicament as being the chosen one) is not really touched upon within the movies. The psychological effect upon Anakin is not broached really at all (in the way that, for example, Dune deals with the dehumanising aspect of Paul Atreides' terrible purpose).As a fundamental process of story it is null and void.

    And...to @darth-sinister's argument here (which i have somehow missed?) - I just don't get this idea that a character is bettered by having a reason to exist. This is what I mean by 'destiny' being a belittling concept; the corollary being, only those who perform great things have a reason to exist, so there is no purpose in any other existence?

    Except that Lucas says that the prophecy is fulfilled by Vade/Anakin's actions in ROTJ. Fulfilled, as in the prophecy was correct and truly prescient. And your argument here hardly conforms with your agreement with @darth-sinister's point above - where the prophecy gives purpose to the heroes story. Is it something or is it nothing really?

    But...the virgin birth? The creation of Anakin for the purpose of destroying the Sith is way beyond the concept of 'destiny' that I agree exists as a choice of paths within the OT. And you agreed that that purpose gives a reason for his existence

    But that, imo, is the problem with the prophecy - as in its fulfillment and Anakin's creation for that purpose. It renders Anakin/Vader as the hand of the Force; not as a human trying to atone for his own selfish choices and wrong-doings, but simply acting out the will of some over-seeing greater consciousness. It robs ROTJ Anakin of his fragile and flawed humanity.
     
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