Saga Losing the Thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by only one kenobi, Jul 16, 2013.

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  1. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

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    I am starting a new thread as I didn't want to derail another discussion, on the PT boards; it is about, essentially, story-telling. Specifically, why I feel that Star Wars doesn't work as a coherent story (ie the 'saga', Episodes 1-6).

    @PiettsHat just to let you know that, as I said I would address the points you made in a new thread. here it is.

    In terms of continuing a story (re TESB and ROTJ), and telling the story as it was before (Episodes 1-3) then it makes sense that all of these stories can be joined together, are coherent with one another. What I see with the various Star Wars episodes is...almost a desire to subvert 'what the viewer is expecting'. That's fine, to a degree; it's good to be surprised every now and then but... there's a level of subversion whereby the stories no longer match. If the writer can't be bothered with his own markers, why should I, the viewer, be?

    I should point out this is not a rant against the PT per sé, the subversion starts much earlier. Some of it is down to the perceived requirement of the individual movie being made (requiring a cliff-hanger ending, shock, 'poetic moment' etc.), some of it because the creator decides he wants to address a particular issue (the 'tragedy of Anakin Skywalker' as theme, for example) and part of that is to re-introduce themes that were previously dropped.

    I think the 'saga' is incoherent; it simply does not work for me as a whole story. Part of that is down to the PT being set up in order for Anakin to fall. More than that, I believe that because Lucas is/was a fan of Campbell and his ideas of mythology he , having described Anakin's tale as a 'tragedy', understands that Anakin must be destined to that fall.

    This, to me, undermines the message of choice that was so important to the OT. In order to bring it about he has had to subvert a great deal of what we are lead to understand from the OT.

    I'll pick this up by addressing @PiettsHat's points

    Being offered a 'lastminute.com' deal that he is lead to believe is the only chance he has of 'saving' Padmé is not being seduced by the darkside. I would expect to see him be drawn to what the darkside can offer him. In terms of that his destruction of Dooku is perhaps more fitting. As you say, his anger gave him strength; but the strength to do what? To execute a defenceless opponent in cold blood, ultimately. His anger gave him the strength to slaughter a community of Sandpeople, including the women and children - but these aren't offered as his turn (despite that in ROTJ we are shown that Luke is in danger of turning by striking down Vader in anger...) instead a calculated choice to submit himself to Sidious' teachings is his turn.

    I just don't buy this. he says those things at the height of his darkside hysteria. He knows that the only reason there wasn't peace is because Sidious had made it so. He knows that everything that Sidious has told him is a lie; that he has destroyed the Jedi as he always intended to. he knows that the Empire hasn't really brought peace, but that the war was brought about by Sidious. If not then, the man's just an out and out idiot. And referring back; his anger gave him the 'strength' to kill his beloved Padmé. In what way could he believe his anger is a good thing, or that the Empire (naturally the extension of Sidious, the Emperor) could be a good thing? His being tricked into the actions he took just does not correspond with the Vader from the OT.

    I don't see this at all. In fact it was Luke's idealistic belief in his father that almost drags him to the darkside. When Vader refuses to be the 'father' that Luke desires him to be he lashes out in anger against Vader. What saves him is his recognition of what the Jedi have been telling him. he doesn't refuse to kill Vader because it is his father, who he believes is good, but because to do so would be to act in anger and with hatred. He refuses to give in to his darkside.

    That theme is subverted because, with the PT and the advent of the 'tragedy of Anakin Skywalker' then it becomes all about Anakin and his choice - and so it appears as if it is Luke's faith in his father that saves him.

    He agrees to killing the Jedi at the Temple because he (without any evidence to that effect, just another dullard moment in his 'turn', imo) agrees that the Jedi will set out to kill them both and then turn on the Senators. We're given no reason as to why he 'believes' this, because he knows that the reason Windu was about to kill Sidious was because he was the Sith Lord who has been behind ebverything; not because he represents the Senate. But, as you have said, he is doing these things because he wants the power to save Padmé, the rest of what he says makes no sense in terms of an idea that he believes in. How does he understand that killing the Jedi, who have been fighting the Separatists alongside the army, would end the war - unless he knows that Sidious is behind the Separatists; why else would they have been expecting him? Once he learns he has killed Padmé then everything he did what he did for has gone. He, if that is the reason for his turn, must now understand how utterly meaningless it has all been; If he knows all of that, how can he believe in the Empire and in the darkside? it has done nothing but take everything from him.

    For all the reasons I gave above,I find the idea that the ROTS Vader/Anakin is the same devoted Imperial actor in the OT incoherent.

    No, but I wanted to get an idea of what you see here. What you appear to see (and what I have been suggesting) is that Anakin seems to get especially cold treatment. You don't believe that the Jedi Council would be so cold toward Obi-Wan as a child? Why not? Why were they so uncaring toward a small boy from a distant planet, recently removed from his mother? It doesn't seem to match the behaviour of Yoda towards the younglings in his class in AOTC. This is exactly what I mean; the Jedi are portrayed here, against the grain, counter to what we are lead to believe about them and how they would act toward such an individual, as cold and aloof toward Anakin in particular. the scene is set up so that we can understand Anakin as feeling isolated, regardless of how that fits with the characters involved.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, Jul 16, 2013
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  2. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Ah, but it's not a lastminute.com deal -- Anakin's turn has its roots all the way back in TPM when he is separated from his mother and then this is greatly reinforced in AOTC. This is made basically explicit in AOTC: "I will be the most powerful Jedi ever! I promise you -- I will even learn to stop people from dying!" And this is a power he believes the Dark Side can offer him and thus he is seduced. Padmé's life is a large emotional motivator, but the seeds for the desire of this power stretch far back. And, indeed, Anakin is tethering himself to the very nature of the Dark Side -- he wants to bend the natural world to his whim, to conquer death. He cannot accept his lack of control and lusts for power precisely in order to keep those things he cares about by his side. It is hardly a last-minute action, but a deep-seated need for control that manifests itself as Anakin is seduced. Anger is one expression of the Dark Side, but it is not the only one -- greed, anger, aggression, and fear are all equally important. And Anakin is nothing if not fearful -- fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

    In the end, of course, we never find out whether the Dark Side actually has the power to prevent death since Padmé is out of reach when Anakin needs to save her. But note that this is also a classical reflection of the nature of evil -- its deceitfulness. I would argue that it's a further reflection of what is established in ROTJ -- for all that Anakin/Vader talks about the power of the Dark Side, it has reduced him to a pathetic, wretched man beneath his armor.

    And in regards to Luke -- him giving into his anger is important, yes, but I think it is also important that this be a choice. Palpatine himself tells Luke to strike Anakin/Vader down with all of his hatred. He wants Luke to make the choice to do so. I don't think that merely giving into rage is enough (nor is rage the only emotion associated with the Dark Side since Yoda lists fear and aggression among them as well). Otherwise, if an emotional response is all that is necessary, turning to the Dark Side would be as simple as killing someone in a rage due to a loved one being tortured. For me, that would reduce the overall significance of a turn. Think of it like this -- there was a man in the news a little while back who killed a man in a rage when he found a neighbor raping his five year old daughter. If killing someone in anger is all it takes to fall to the Dark Side, then this man would have "fallen" and so would have Luke in similar circumstances. To me, that's not enough -- I think that choosing to embrace that anger, that fear, that aggression is as important, personally.

    Ah, but we know that Anakin has always supported an Empire -- he says so himself in AOTC during his picnic with Padmé. He is happy when more power is versed into the executive branch to help him end the war. To say it is Dark Side hysteria is to dismiss these important points. He knows that Sidious is the reason that there wasn't peace, but he doesn't intend to allow Sidious to live anyway. Moreover, Sidious did not do what he did alone -- the Senate was cheering him on all the way. And Anakin himself laments the fact that the Senate is never able to achieve anything productive because they are constantly bickering. He says himself that he doesn't believe the system works and it's not surprising -- he's lamented since he was a child that no one in the galaxy helps each other. The roots of this belief are very deep. Plus, equating the Empire and Sidious is misguided. Anakin intends to kill Sidious and install himself (and Padmé as Emperor). But Anakin/Vader when injured can no longer challenge him alone. That doesn't mean he agrees with everything the Emperor does (ANH shows us this in regards to the Death Star while ESB shows us that he still hopes to overthrow him with the help of his son). Many of his plans fall through when he is defeated by Obi-Wan, but he wasn't wholly tricked.

    Likewise, he attack on Padmé is reflective of the lack of control he has. At that stage of the game, Anakin's anger is his master, he does not control it, it controls him. And this reflects the destructive nature of the Dark Side.

    I disagree. Palpatine says that Luke's compassion for his father will be his undoing. But it is not -- in the end, Anakin tells Luke "you were right about me" with his dying breath, contradicting his master's earlier statements. Luke combines the Jedi's teachings of never using the Force for attack with his compassion for his father. He refuses to give into the Dark Side, but he also does not give up on his father. This is reflected by the fact that, as Luke is lying on the ground being electrocuted to death, he calls out to the man, begging him for help, hoping he will do something. And it is this faith in his father that saves him and destroys Palpatine -- that causes his father to act to kill his Master and save his son at the cost of his own life. Luke laying down his weapon was due to his Jedi teachings, but calling out of to his father was borne out of love and faith. Because had Anakin not acted, Luke would surely have been killed and Palpatine would have had the time necessary to escape. Palpatine might be old, but Luke was able to drag his father's body, remove his helmet, and say goodbye during the time it took for the Death Star to explode. So Palpatine could have definitely had a window of opportunity.

    It isn't all about Anakin and his choice, but Anakin's choice certainly does matter. What gives Anakin the strength to make this choice, though, is Luke and Luke's faith in him (which directly contradicts what the Jedi told him). Anakin himself says it -- that Luke's already saved him, "you were right about me."

    I disagree. I think Anakin has had his faith deeply shaken in the Jedi. He tells Palpatine as much during the opera and says that he feels excluded from the Council. And this is not without basis -- Mace Windu pointedly waits until Anakin has left the room before discussing whether the Chancellor will need to be removed from office. When Mace Windu is willing to kill Palpatine without a trial, then, Anakin has not only lost his faith in Palpatine, but the Jedi as well. And once he's implicated himself in Mace Windu's murder, he knows that he's essentially chosen his side -- that there's no going back from that. In killing the Jedi, Anakin ensures his own survival while, at the same time, continuing his temporary subservience to Palpatine. And this is important, because Palpatine can give him the location to the Separatist leadership. In killing the Jedi, Anakin ensures that they will not come into conflict with him and also that he can end the war by, in one fell swoop, eliminating the Separtist leadership and deactivating the droid army -- ending the war in mere moments. Then, all that's left is to kill Palpatine once he has reached the end of his utility. Anakin tells himself that these things are for the greater good -- that these actions will allow him to forge an Empire (a better form of government in his opinion) while quickly ending the war.

    And -- don't forget -- Anakin is more likely to blame Obi-Wan and his own weaknesses for his losses than the power of the Dark Side. He does so with the loss of his mother, when he blames himself for not being "strong enough" to save her. And there's no reason for him to turn against the notion of an Empire -- we see in ESB that he hopes to overthrow Palpatine. Disagreement with Palpatine himself does not automatically translate to Anakin giving up on the Empire or his quest for greater power.

    Anakin is devoted to the Empire -- but not to Palpatine. I think the PT does an excellent job of explaining why. How the man can retain a belief in the Imperial system while at the same time seeking to overthrow its leader (Palpatine) and disagreeing with major decisions -- such as the building of the Death Star. For me, there is no incoherence.

    Again, though, you need to look at context. The Jedi do not welcome Anakin and treat him in a certain manner because they view him as a potential threat. Obi-Wan himself says "the boy is dangerous, they all sense it why can't you?" to Qui-Gon in reflection of this. Because of this belief, they are much more cautious and, indeed, cold towards Anakin and his unique circumstances than they are to other younglings -- in whom they do not sense a clouded future nor danger. It is not against the grain because the Jedi are not bad or cruel people, but they are dogmatic and ignorant of what Anakin's upbringing entailed, which is a running theme throughout the PT. The Jedi train Anakin, but they do so with doubts, at the dying request of a Jedi Master and due to the recent emergence of the Sith (which, if it coincides with the appearance of a possible Chosen One, the Jedi are hedging their bets and training Anakin). But Anakin is isolated largely because the Jedi do not adapt to his circumstances, for those who are born within the Order, no such adaptation is necessary.
  3. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

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    That's a key issue to me as well, although I wouldn't say the Saga is as incoherent as you do.

    Always had problem with that too, the fact that he's shown so obviously as basically flawed from the onset ("I sense much fear in you", "You thoughts dwell on your mother....Afraid to lose her I think" etc...), and apparently destined to fall from the beginning.

    I wish that Lucas had taken another direction, where some flaws and insecurities would only appear when the war and the political decaying reached their peak, when the overall situation gets critical.

    At least a lot more progressively, without being conveyed so overtly from the start.
  4. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    Great posts. Look forward to replying in greater depth when time allows. In short, though, I struggle to see the 6 films as one saga. I find more and more now I see it as two series - episode 4 and 5 comprising one, episodes 6,1,2, and 3 the other. IMO as soon as the words 'I am your father' are uttered, a second story starts to be told from the one we had been watching up until that point. I'm not sure that the two stories always gel together that well.
  5. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

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    Because I saw Star Wars back in 1977, I have watched the evolution of the story and here is one way that I view the 6 movies:


    Part 1: Episode I
    -This is a prologue to the whole saga, this is the jedi in their heyday, the republic at its finest, the finding of the chosen one, the beginning of the rise of the Sith. This is nothing more than a setup to the other movies.

    Part 2: Episode II & III
    -This is the story of Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and his downfall. This covers two Friends Anakin & Kenobi and their adventures as Jedis, the romance of Anakin & his wife Padme, and the tutoring from his silent mentor, Chancellor Palpatine. This is a personal story of how one goes bad, as the Empire takes over the galaxy

    Part 3: Episode IV
    -This is the story of the Rebels vs Empire. This is a simple story of how the rebellion wins their first battle over the empire, who has ruled for twenty years. There are clear good guys: Luke, Leia, and Han, and there are clear bad guys: Vader & Tarkin. This is not a personal story, but a struggle between good vs evil.

    Part 4: Episode V & VI
    -This is the story of Luke Skywalker. This story is about Luke becoming a jedi and being tempted in similar ways his father has, and in the process being tempted BY his father. In the end he does not give in, and Vader redeems himself by killing the same man he pledged himself for over 20 years.
    Last edited by Carbon1985, Jul 17, 2013
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  6. Visivious Drakarn Jedi Grand Master

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    Interesting.
    Now, let's be honest, if this thread continues to develop, we'll get another PT vs. OT fight. So in terms of saga being incoherent, I'll say that the PT is coherent, the trouble starts with the OT. ANH establishes Kenobi's apprentice and Luke's father as separate persons. Then we get to TESB where we learn that they're the same persons, and in which Leia kisses Luke. Finally we get to ROTJ where Leia becomes Luke's sister. So the thing is, not that OT contradicts the whole saga, but every single movie of the OT contradicts the each other OT movie.
  7. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I'd say that ANH and TESB are perfectly in synch. All we are left with at the end of that movie is that someone has lied. That's not really a film making contradiction. Because those films were made first i don't believe subsequent contradictions can be blamed on those films. Leia and Luke kissing is an issue because of ROTJ. I agree, though, that this isn't really a PT v OT issue.
  8. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    I disagree partially. I think ANH and ESB are actually extremely asynchronous in terms of tone and some other areas. I'd actually say that ESB and ROTS (even AOTC) are much more tonally similar as opposed to ANH. There's just something much more...ominous...in those three films that ANH lacks. Emotionally, I think that ESB is also strikingly different from ANH as well. Compare Leia's horrified face as Han is lowered into the carbonite to her complete lack of reaction to Alderaan's destruction in ANH. Or Luke's shock and pain at the revelation that Vader is his father (and how this stays with him as he brokenly asks Ben why he didn't say anything) compared to how quickly Luke recovers from Owen and Beru's (or even Obi-Wan's) deaths in ANH. I think the emotions in ESB are more in line with some of the PT films (and ROTJ) than ANH -- Anakin's goodbye to his mother, Qui-Gon's death, Shmi's death, Anakin's choice in the Council room, Padmé's confrontation with Obi-Wan, Luke saying goodbye to his father -- all of these, I think, are more in line with ESB.

    Notably, ESB is also the first film made to suggest that Luke is in some way special -- he is the "last hope" (aside from "the Other") according to Obi-Wan. And it is in this film that we learn that he is Darth Vader's son (although that remained to be confirmed in ROTJ).

    I say this because, in my opinion, ANH has always seemed to me to be the least connected to the other films (perhaps as a result of it being made as a stand-alone feature). But I've always found that an ROTS/ESB viewing is more synchronous than an ANH/ESB viewing. In particular, ESB doesn't really focus on the Rebellion that much -- they're more of a backdrop and the story is really about Anakin/Vader's hunt for Luke with the Rebellion really only being there in the beginning for the battle. And that flows beautifully out from ROTS's story.

    Just my two cents, though.
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  9. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I agree with your 2c tonally. I'm talking straight story. Until
    'I am your father' I think the story has good continuity through those 2 films. There's not the sense of making things fit that comes elsewhere.
  10. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

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    Tend to disagree here.

    To me the dark side and the whole temptation issue is handled rather differently in the OT than in the PT.

    In the PT, Anakin Skywalker has a clear and personal motive to yearn for the powers of the dark side Palpy promises : saving the ones he loves from death (Padme).

    In the OT, nothing comparable, even if Vader uses Luke's close friends and his care for them as a bait to confront him in ESB. Luke has virtually no motives to join the dark side. The only thing that matters here is that his father succumbed to it, and that the dark side is said to be unresistible once you have tasted it (Obi-Wan, Yoda).
    But in ROTJ particularly, one can really wonder why Luke would join the Emperor, although he gave in to anger and agression to beat his father...Besides, no special powers seem to be offered, until the Emperor unleashes the lightnings on Luke at the very end.

    In the OT, the dark side is more metaphoric and symbolic than anything else. the concept is that of a strongly addictive drug. At least, It's by no way a mean to an end for Luke, unlike in the PT for Anakin.

    To be fully on topic, that's to me one of the reasons the 2 series of films can be seen as somewhere incoherent, as Only_One_Kenobi expressed above.
    Last edited by Ord-Mantell70, Jul 18, 2013
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  11. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I think you've managed to identify one of the actual reasons for the inconsistency between the two trilogies - it seems that GL changed his mind almost completely regarding the primary motivation for Anakin turning to the Dark Side. While making the OT, what little we knew about Anakin Skywalker simply points to his having been seduced by the the power it offered, just as Luke was at risk of doing. Luke does have a motivation for turning - to end the war, to save his friends, to avenge the righteous, all for the greater good. It still just boils down to the desire for more power.
    Anakin's journey most likely would have been virtually identical, except that at the crucial moment, he took the easy route. His execution of Dooku early on in ROTS could well have been that moment (the set is clearly based on the Throne Room from ROTJ), except that GL chose to explore his turn further, placing more emphasis on the Faustian bargain Anakin makes with the Dark Side/Sith to save Padme.

    There's traces of this motivation behind Anakin's turn in the PT, but the Faustian theme appears to be something GL came up with in the 1990s as he developed the character of Anakin Skywalker in far greater detail, and stumbled upon the idea that he could have been motivated by a fear of loss. It does work, but yes, the parallels between Luke & Anakin are sacrificed as a result, to a certain extent.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Jul 19, 2013
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  12. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

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    Yes, you are correct in your examples regarding The Emperors temptation to the darkside for Luke and Anakin. I guess I was generalizing in a sense that they were both tempted by the darkside, but no doubt they were 'tempted' in a much different way.

    As for seeing it as one saga, this is where I think Lucas started to totally overanalyze the movies and kinda of puts them in a box for the fans about watching them one way. If people see it as 1-6 seamlessly, that is cool with me. I have always saw the PT as a true backstory, that I watch seperate from the OT and after the OT, and I enjoy it that way.

    I fell into that trap in 2005 (after ROTS DVD was released) of trying to watch the movies as Lucas said, and it just never clicked for me that way. I had trouble watching it as 1-6, or watching it as 'Anakin's arc' and kind of walked away from SW for a few years in frustration. The best thing I did was take a step back and see the movies the way I see them and stop worrying about Lucas quotes, or which is the right or wrong way to watch them. I enjoy the OT on its own, and I enjoy the PT as a true backstory, and will probably see the ST as its own trilogy when it is all said and done.
    Last edited by Carbon1985, Jul 19, 2013
  13. oierem Jedi Grand Master

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    In a way, I totally agree with you about the differences between Luke's and Anakin's temptation to the Dark Side. It is true that in the OT, the Dark Side is basically metaphoric and symbolic -if you use anger and agression you will turn to the Dark Side-, and it works like an addictive drug. However, this "drug" aspect is also present in the PT (Anakin becoming more and more addicted from the moment when he joins Sidious up to the confrontation in Mustafar, you can see how different he acts), although not as present as in the OT (if you watch the saga in order, it seems that Yoda knows about the addictive nature of the Dark Side BECAUSE of what happened to Anakin, that's why they insist so much in it after Anakin's turn, and not before).

    However, Lucas had a big problem with the PT: in theory, the metaphorical dark side works well, but how do you turn the main hero of a trilogy into Darth Vader? All those general motives for Luke to turn had to work on a more practical (and emotional) level. Just imagine if Luke, after defeating Vader, had finally killed Vader in anger: would he turn around and say "my master" to the Emperor? Would he be so suddenly "addicted" to the Dark Side? Of course not, it cannot really work like that. (and as a matter of fact: when did Luke express any wishes to have more power or to avenge anyone? they randomly talk about saving his friends, but why are his friends in danger and how is the dark side going to save them?)

    I don't see any contradiction between the two trilogies. Luke and Anakin's temptations aren't entirelly paralel, but the essence is the same: if you use fear, anger and agression you will use the Dark Side and gradually become addicted to it. On top of that (and not in spite of that), Episode III introduces a faustian pact with the Devil: a specific and emotional moment in which Anakin accepts the dark side... but the "turn" to the Dark Side doesn't suddenly happen in one scene.
  14. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

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    Well as you mention, Luke as indeed motives to give in to anger and agression that you say. But the key issue here is consciously joining Vader or the Emperor, and becoming their apprentice. For that he has no reasons (unless Vader or the Emperor are really able to twist his mind and convince him the Empire is good and the Alliance bad....Pretty hard to do).

    Completely agree with the rest.

    I tend to think, although I could be wrong, that Lucas came up with that Faustian arc, that fear of loss flaw, also because it was in the end the only way to make him join Palpy, and allow the attendance to "swallow "he turn. To me the real dilemna here is not necessarily giving in to the dark side, but to join an evil ruler.

    That's why the whole problem, in the end, stems more from the fact that Palpatine was written as the great puppetmaster purely evil from the beginning. Had it been different, that faustian arc and the absolute power would have been far less necessary.

    Pretty much the same for me. I always see the OT exactly the same way I used to watch it in the 80's. The PT hasn't changed nothing and is basically a backstory with different issues, themes and tone.

    Agree. That's probably why he had to come up wih that pact with the Devil theme, and find a personal emotional reason for Anakin to make the turn "acceptable", as far as it can get.

    The whole issue to me comes down to joining Palpatine, a man Anakin clearly knows is evil after he reveals himself as the Sith Lord.

    As Darth_Nub mentions above, it seems Lucas had only envisioned the whole turn issue, back in the OT days, as a vague and fascinating concept.

    In the end, the real problem and contradiction, from my point of view, really stems from the fact that Palpatine was written as the evil puppetmaster from the beginning.
    Last edited by Ord-Mantell70, Jul 19, 2013
  15. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    You're completely right, of course. That's always confused me a bit since the OT days - I was always under the impression that if he turned to the Dark Side, Palps would have some sort of power over Luke, like a spell - Vader's dialogue with Luke hints at it - "You don't know the power of the Dark Side. I must obey my master."
    Which isn't entirely convincing. The Faustian bargain was a method of making it credible.

    This actually points towards inconsistencies between the films of the OT, as well - in ESB, Darth Vader serves the Emperor, but he talks to Luke about overthrowing him, and there's suggestions from Gary Kurtz that when it was written, he was genuine about it. It's also implied that he's lying to Palps in their holo conversation.
    In ROTJ, however, he's more like a slave, and the decision to kill him comes completely out of the blue (as if the spell is broken).

    Interestingly enough, though, the previous approach to Vader is in the rough draft of ROTJ, in which he expresses concern (to himself) about Luke being in danger from the Emperor, and is not quite as close to Palpatine, being held off on several occasions by a far slimier, more aggressive incarnation of Jerjerrod.
    This concept actually did manage to find its way somewhat through to the shooting stage, in the deleted scene where Jerjerrod tries to prevent Vader from seeing the Emperor. However, all that made the final cut was Palps being clearly irritated that Vader came to see him - "I told you to wait on the command ship". There's no indication that Vader was being restricted in any real way.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Jul 20, 2013
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  16. oierem Jedi Grand Master

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    Yes, and in a way, the PT adresses both versions: you see a bit of the Darth Vader from Empire, when Anakin talks to Padme about overthrowing the Emperor, and you see a bit of the "spell" of the dark side which makes Anakin totally submissive to the emperor at the end.

    Once again, we see that the PT has to manage to make its way thorugh the contradictions that were already in the OT, in a quite succesful way IMO (as you say, the Vader from TESB and from ROTJ are contradictory)
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  17. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    Some very interesting posts. @Ord-Mantell70 you really got to the grain of the different ideas of the darkside of the Force between trilogies, imo. In terms of what Luke was supposed to do after cutting down Vader...I thought that he would attack the Emperor... and be made aware of his shortcomings in terms of power. The danger of the darkside was the taste of power, of it becoming an end unto itself - the power of the darkside; like a beast tasting blood and learning that it likes it (there are hints of that within Anakin's turn in ROTS).

    The thing is, as I see it, whatever would have followed had Luke killed Vader in anger is irreleveant; not just because that isn't what occurred but because his choice to not do so, and Vader's consequent redemption are personal. The battles are irrelevant to each other. With the 'Anakin as Chosen One' theme alters the end, because now the two are intertwined. The actual battle against the Empire is won by the rebels. they did not need an 'ubermensch' to save themselves. I expected that that, also, may have been an issue addressed in the PT; where the Jedi are the upholders of peace and justice in the galaxy; in other words that the people of the galaxy have ceded their responsibility for the safety and justice of the galaxy into the hands of these 'ubermensch' and the Senate - to their 'betters'.

    As I have said this isn't necessarily a PT vs OT thing. I agree that the Vader character is altered between TESB and ROTJ and that is down, I think, to the choice of Vader as father. I have never been a fan of this conceit. While I like Obi-Wan's words about the truth from a certain point of view, they do not work within the context they are spoken; by which I mean, what he said is (has become) an out and out lie. There was no young Jedi named Darth Vader, either a pupil of his until he turned evil or not. That is the first major incoherence, and its a biggie. Again this comes down to Lucas' obsession with building mythology (as an aside it is generally this aspect that puts me off of most 'fantasy' - the idea of genealogical 'greatness', rightful rule and all that cack; those mythologies came about in order to bolster and establish rule on the basis of 'specialness', hardly - imo - an appropriate model for a meritocratic/democratic 'modern mythology')

    In terms of how I thought Anakin's turn (how a good man becomes evil) might have been shown in the PT; I expected to be shown a man who becomes obsessed with power as an end in itself, who comes to believe in what he does for the Emperor because he comes to believe that power is the 'right' way. That would be coherent with the OT Vader (ANH and TESB particularly). I know that, as @PiettsHat suggested, there are hints about that aspect of his turn, the problem being that was not the reasoning for his turn, and it is that that makes his continued behaviour for twenty or so years incoherent.

    It is the Faustian pact that undermines the coherence. The reason he gives himself to the darkside is to save Padmé; all the rest of it is irrelevant to him. That is quite explicit within ROTS. On that basis he gets nothing from the bargain. It would work much better, for me, if his turn was predicated on his lust for power such that he begins to see Padmé, Obi-Wan etc. as being in opposition to what he has come to believe in; and that what he has come to believe in is, ultimately, power as an end unto itself. I expected his turn to be consequent to his losing belief in compassion and love. I would rather have seen his fall be established with the seeds of doubt about Padmé (as there are hints of in ROTS); so that he causes pain and suffering to those around him without ever wondering at it.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, Jul 20, 2013
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  18. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Yes. This. Definitely.

    Absolutely - what's strange is that there were elements of this in ROTS when it was shot, except that the scenes were deleted or re-shot. There's the deleted scenes in which Palpatine hints that Padme is having an affair with Obi-Wan, and the original version of the Jedi coming to arrest Palpatine (it was shot, then re-written & re-shot), had Anakin already present when they arrived. My own belief is that GL became so attached to Anakin as a character that he tried to backtrack and change the monster of Darth Vader into someone even more human, hence the even later addition of the notorious (and ridiculous) "NOOOOOOO" on the Blu-Ray of ROTJ.

    The sad thing is, I always felt sorry for Vader anyway, to a certain extent, ever since the OT wound up with ROTJ. He'd been a good and decent man at one time, something caused him to turn bad and do things he regretted, then he couldn't find a way back to what he once was. I always identified a fair bit with that, as I imagine many could.
    There simply wasn't any need to justify what he did with the Faustian bargain. Far more effective to emphasise basic human weaknesses.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Jul 20, 2013
  19. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    The Jedi see Anakin, as he is ( a nine year old boy who misses his mother) as a threat? No, what they see is danger in his being trained as a Jedi. This is what I mean though; in order to comprehend this scene in the arc I have to consider that the Jedi cold-shoulder a young, frightened child because they think him a threat? And that's not against the grain?

    It gets worse. Later in AOTC, even though you claim here they train him "with doubts" the first mission they send him on is accompanying Padmé - ignoring his teacher's (Obi-Wan) concern that he has attachment concerns regarding Padmé..... and presumably ignoring his nightmares about his mother.

    And...the thing is you say that the Jedi are dogmatic and don't take into account what Anakin's up-bringing has entailed but... they are right in what they say. His fear and attachment are what lead to his fall. Their initial concerns are not dogmatic, they're bang on the button. They have seen to the very heart of the damage his upbringing has done.

    So, to surmise. far from being dogmatic the Jedi comprehend perfectly well what dangers can be foreseen in Anakin's training; at the time they interview him he is a child and not a threat (only his training as a Jedi is dangerous - and that is what they are there to decide), and, despite their doubts about his training they ignore his clear on-going attachment issues (his dreams of his mother) and send him on his first solo mission with a young woman who he shows attachment issues with - ignoring his teacher and mentor who warns them of this. That's just downright dumb; that makes the Jedi look stupid.
  20. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    ^^^
    Sorry to say it, but I don't think the Jedi were meant to look that stupid. I think it was GL struggling with plot vs theme, and by creating the whole 'Chosen One' concept, he wrote himself into a corner. If all that Chosen One and "he's got fifty bazillion midichlorians!" nonsense had never existed, the story still would have proceeded as it was intended to do so, and no one would have had a problem with it.
    It didn't really matter if Anakin was just a Jedi with slightly above-average powers or one with abilities a thousand times beyond a normal Jedi Knight, the real point was that he used his powers for evil, and as far as the PT was concerned, the Jedi were so complacent and dogmatic that they couldn't prevent their downfall at the hands of the Sith.
    It could have been far more more effective if Anakin wasn't particularly special, just that his upbringing wasn't exactly what the Jedi were accustomed to - emphasising their own complacency, and the inevitability of their extinction.
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  21. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2012
    star 3
    I don't think the Jedi were supposed to look that stupid, but that's the way it plays out. Not just because of the chosen one either, but because of the notion of falling because of Padmé as well. We see the Jedi cold-shoulder a young, fearful child - which to me runs against the grain - because they see him as a threat; no they see his training as a Jedi as dangerous. Despite their misgivings (and despite their knowledge and insight into his attachment issues) they then send him on his first solo mission with Padmé despite the warnings of his teacher... just not coherent at all.

    As you say he sort of backs himself into a corner in terms of the writing because of how he has decided to convey Anakin's fall. Again, as you said earlier, this may have to do with Lucas' attachment to then character of Anakin (and also the notion of destiny) so that he unfurls responsibility and passes it on so that; the Jedi made him feel isolated; he wasn't allowed to save his mom; he really loved Padmé etc. etc. Anakin never actually makes the choice to follow power above compassion and love.

    And that story (contrived though it is) would be fine, would be a tragedy had Anakin died at the end of ROTS knowing that what he did those things for were lost to him anyway. But, instead we find him, twenty or so years later, relishing his role as Darth Vader in supporting the Empire and its dominion over the galaxy. That is what I find incoherent.
    Last edited by only one kenobi, Jul 20, 2013
  22. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    How was the battle against the Empire won by the Rebels? They destroyed the second Death Star, sure, but note that destroying the first one in no way eliminated the Empire. If anything, the Empire struck back even harder in ESB. If anything, ROTJ seems to indicate that the reason the battle is so significant is because the Emperor will be aboard. But the Emperor's death is not the result of the Rebels' actions -- it is the result of Luke and Anakin's. Because there's a very good chance that had the Emperor not been thrown down the shaft to his death, he would have escaped. We see that Luke has enough time to drag his father's body out (and have a nice chat with him), so why what guarantee do we have that the Emperor would have died had he managed to kill Luke? He would have just evacuated (as we see dozens of Imperials do).

    That's not to say I necessarily agree with this portrayal, but it is one thing that I rather lament about the OT -- the Rebellion vs. Empire plot really takes a backseat to Luke's quest following ANH. ROTJ, especially, would have been better served by not repeating the Death Star plotline.

    See, here's what I don't understand -- if Anakin had (as you preferred) turned solely for power in and of itself, why (at the end of ROTJ) would he be willing to throw all of that away to save his son? Because I think then the story becomes incoherent. We see in ROTJ that there is certainly an aspect of sadness and regret to Anakin who believes it's too late for him and is later conflicted. And this must stem from something.

    In terms of ANH, I've never quite understood what the issue here is. Anakin has lost everyone he ever cared about and thus devotes himself entirely to building the Empire and destroying those who would challenge it. I think it's a perfectly reasonable and logical response to be honest. In ESB, that's where things get interesting because it is Anakin's obsession with his son that fuels the entire movie. Not to mention how beautifully some of the PT themes flow into ESB -- most prominently, the fact that Anakin tortures Han and Leia to draw Luke out. Because here, he knows that his son will come for them and this becomes a way for the viewer to see that Anakin remembers that pain and knows that his son is weak against it as well -- that he will sense their suffering and go to rescue them, as Anakin himself once did with his mother. Most notably, with the background of the PT, Anakin's rebellion against the Emperor is understandable once he finds his son as he now has the means and an even stronger motive to challenge his master.

    Importantly, I think that the PT also helps to bridge the gap between ESB and ROTJ in terms of why Anakin abandoned his plan to overthrow Palpatine -- his son's rejection parallels that of Padmé's and Anakin despairs that he will not be able to defeat Palpatine. The transition of the character between the two films is more smooth when the PT's background of Anakin is taken into account.

    I don't think the rest is irrelevant (besides Padmé) and I've given evidence to the fact -- quotes by Anakin (in both AOTC and ROTS), as well as Anakin's actions (such as choking Padmé). You say it is "explicit," but you provide no examples or evidence. The threat to Padmé's life is certainly the emotional tipping point, but it is not the only factor. And, the fact of the matter is, in the end, he does see Obi-Wan and even Padmé as the opposition when they won't fall in line and do as they are told. Anakin's turn manifested itself as an expression of his deep-seated need for control -- to control death, to control those he loved, to control the galaxy, to control his life. Because the Vader of the OT is nothing if not that -- he intends to bring order to the galaxy by any means necessary.

    They don't see Anakin as a threat right then and there at nine years old, but they certainly do view him as a potential threat. Otherwise, they would not see him as dangerous. Obi-Wan himself says that the boy is dangerous and all the Council can see it. It is Qui-Gon who points out that Anakin is not dangerous (he's just a nine year old kid after all) but his future is uncertain. The Jedi are not used to being in doubt -- when the clone army is revealed, they express the fact that they must be blind not to have seen it.

    And, in terms of AOTC, the situation is made more complicated by the fact that Anakin and Obi-Wan were assigned at the Chancellor's request and, additionally, this is again reflective of the fact that the Jedi don't understand the depth of Anakin's attachments -- when Anakin talks of his mother, Obi-Wan says that dreams pass in time.

    Nor are they right in what they say. It is normal for a nine year old child to be attached to his mother and fear for her. The problem is, Anakin's attachments become pathological to the point where, emotionally, he can't handle the fact that Padmé might die in ROTS. And that's not normal. Anakin's desire to control death and the lengths to which he is willing to go are not normal. Love and compassion are natural, but being willing to completely ignore what Padmé wants in order to save her is not. And an important overarching theme of the PT is that there exists a lack of trust between the Jedi and Anakin (note the number of times this word is mentioned in ROTS) and that Anakin will go to Palpatine with things he would never tell the Jedi. Palpatine should never have been able to inhabit this portion of Anakin's life -- as trusted confidant -- but he does and it leads to disaster.
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  23. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I don't know if I "expected" that at the time the PT came out (I think I was just excited for Star Wars at the time) but it's (retroactively?) what I've come to think would have been good. I was going to write something longer but I guess I don't really need to.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jul 20, 2013
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  24. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2009
    star 3
    Couldn't agree more with both of you on those points.

    Had basically the same expectations and hopes regarding Anakin Skywalker's path and final turn : progressive lust for power and control, siding with Palpatine in the end in order to replace the Republic by a "strong" regime, therefore opposition to the Jedi and Padme, all this basically to put an end to the War, to stop the killings, to eradicate corruption and endless debates etc....

    As you both mention relevantly, there are little hints of this in AOTC (when Anakin expresses his taste for a Dictatorship of the Wises to Padme), in ROTS ("It can only mean less deliberating and more action, is that bad ?...It will make it easier for us to end this war"). Even in ESB ! ("With our combined strenght, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the Galaxy").
    But in the end, it plays almost no role in the decision to side with Palpy and embrace the Dark Side. Rendering all this pretty artificial, unconvincing and contrived.

    Anyway, I really think that making Palpatine the evil Sith Lord that contemplated the War, the destruction of the Republic, and the destruction of the Jedi order from the beginning, couldn't help but create a fundamental contradiction when it comes to Anakin siding with him (Anakin is basically good, and a Jedi Knight...). It was too much. Unless Palpy was able to conceal all of what he's done to Anakin, how can the later consciously join him and side with him ?

    Therefore probably the need for a fatal flaw instilled from the onset (TPM), and that Faustian arc that seem pretty out of tone with the OT, although Lucas said that he chose to emphasize this in ROTS because he found this "poetic".

    Don't forget it's Luke Skywalker, a Jedi apprentice strong with the Force, who blew up the Death Star and save the Alliance's skin in ANH (with a little help from Han Solo)...;)
    Last edited by Ord-Mantell70, Jul 20, 2013
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  25. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    There's way too much civility, mutual respect and agreement going on in this thread. I may have to lock it.
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