Luke, Mara, the Force, and Zahn

Discussion in 'Literature' started by JediStryker, Oct 25, 2001.

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  1. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    I have seen it a lot lately; someone talking about how upset they are with Luke or how much they dislike Zahn and his creation Mara because they changed Luke and the way he used the Force. Well, I want to find out exaclty how many people thought this change was a bad idea, and why.

    Here is my two cents.

    I have always enjoyed Zahn?s work in the EU. His original Thrawn Trilogy is what first turned me on to the EU, and so I sort of held him in high regard. I liked the way he wrote the characters; I thought he was spot-on with most of their personalities. Luke especially. He really managed to merge that farm-boy innocence with the Jedi hero, and to me, that?s really what Luke was.

    And so Zahn left me with an appetite for more. And I got it, although not the way I was expecting. The next few books that I read were a blur, mostly because they didn?t stand out in my mind. The the Academy Trilogy came out. I remember it specifically because it was what I had been wanting to see; Luke training other Jedi. I was all prepped up for a really good story; and all I got was a mediocre plot that got worse as the story went on.

    The next story that sticks out in my mind was Darksaber. It was in this novel that I first noticed that the Jedi were becoming awfully powerful. Ripping trees out of the ground and smashing them into Imperial Walkers. And these were supposed to be trainees?? Never saw anything like that in Star Wars. This is when I feel the Jedi were being made out to be too powerful.

    From a story stand-point, I don?t think the Jedi were ever meant to be that powerful. If so, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan should have been able to wave their hands and destroy all the droids on the Trade Federation ship in the beginning, and rip out those blast doors with their minds. But they didn?t, because they couldn?t. Even a couple of Destroyers were too much for them to handle at that moment.

    From a writer?s stand-point, it?s even worse. Because once the Jedi have grown that powerful, where do you go from there? Who can stop them if they can get together and fling Star Destroyers around like toys? The NJO?s answer was the Yuuzhan Vong, but even that doesn?t work, because if one Jedi can rip a tree out of the ground and smoosh a bunch of warriors, the Vong don?t really stand a chance.

    Zahn tried to fix this problem, not only for Vision of the Future, but for the EU as a whole. How could the EU Jedi be more powerful than their movie counterparts? Because they (Luke, although he really symbolized the Jedi as a whole) were unconsciously using the Dark Side. Luke had to cool his use of the Force the way he did, because he was smashing stuff around so easily that it was ridiculous. I admit, when I first read this, I was mad. I didn?t like the idea of Luke using the Dark Side in the first place (which is why I despise Dark Empire?well, that?s one reason), but when I thought about, it made sense to me.

    Now, in the NJO, when Luke does stuff, it tires him out a little more, and for some reason this angers people. When he reverses a black hole and it tires him out, people get mad. That?s a lot for someone to do. It probably would have made Vader pass out, too. Think about it: A BLACK HOLE!!! And when Luke runs through a Yuuzhan Vong camp, wielding two lightsabers and taking out a bunch of enemies whom he cannot sense in the Force, it tires him. He?s not young anymore, and considering that one Vong is a lot for most Jedi, Luke is still kicking ass. So he?s not as powerful as he used to be. He can still do some major ****.

    Anyway, that?s my take. I hope this rambling didn?t drive anyone nuts, and I hope I made sense. :D
  2. Sturm Antilles Former Manager

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2000
    star 6
    You know, I didn't realize until now, how really dumb and overpowerful certain books made the Jedi. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

    Although I didn't care for the plot, or the execution of said plot, the Hand of Thrawn duology did wrap up a ton of issues with the Bantam novels. Nearly every single thread that was left dangling got tied up. So, on that note, kudos to Zahn.

    And yes, the original Thrawn trilogy is what turned me on to the EU, and I think those plots are solid and still are nearly perfect in my mind.
  3. darth-skycrawler Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2001
    star 2
    I feel that Zahn did his best to try and answer the problem to the jedi's immense power. However I don't like the fact that if you use a lot of the force it is a darkside power.
    The PT will show us how powerful jedi are and we will be amazed by the things they will do. Yoda lifting the X-wing will be nothing compared to what we will see in the prequels. Having a jedi who can blow up a star system with the blink of an eye is highly stupid. Having a jedi that can fight a few warriors without passing out is not.
  4. Sturm Antilles Former Manager

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2000
    star 6
    I don't think Zahn necessarily said that it was the dark side...but that if Luke keeps using his powers in both big and small ways...for every little thing, he will use it too much almost without thinking. He doesn't want to feel like a god. And if someone abuses, or over-uses any kind of power...I think that Luke felt that that action itself, can be of the dark side.

    Over in PSA, we have the description of the new AotC trailer, including some of Anakin's dialogue. Oh man...it's sweet. You won't believe how arrogant this boy becomes in the next movie...
  5. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    ?Having a jedi that can fight a few warriors without passing out is not.?

    But, Darth, you?re exaggerating Luke?s condition. He never passed out from fighting a few warriors. He was tired, certainly; any Jedi would be, especially since the Vong were still relatively new and Luke couldn?t sense their actions in the Force. The only time (that I know of, I could be mistaken) that Luke has passed out from Force usage was when he reversed the black hole (I cannot remember which book and I am at work so I cannot look.) which is a gargantuan thing to accomplish.

    Anyway, not trying to argue, I just want to drive my point home.
  6. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I agree with most points, but just to enter a possible suggestion/solution: The old Jedi were not only on a diplomatic mission, they were also trained very differently. They were trained as peacekeepers, negotiators, to fall back on the force when necessary. The new Jedi, like Luke, were essentially trained as weapons. Their training wasn't teaching them a mindset, like the old Jedi, but to use the Force to the max. It's not that they necessarily had more power, but that they were less inclined to hold back. Recall also that using massive amounts of power inside a spaceship is not necessarily a good idea, and that at the end of TPM, the Jedi weren't there to fight, only to protect the queen.
  7. Mandalore74 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2001
    star 3
    Also, in TPM Qui-Gon os noticably physically tired on board the Queen's sship after battleing Maul on Tatooine. Think about it, its not that he was exhausted from using the Force, it was probably very hot out there, and he was exerting himself very much pysically, plus he is 60 years old. I don't know too many 60 yers olds who could do that and not be tired. The same can be said of Luke when he rescued Jacen from the camp. He was phsically tired from rumming and killing, not from using the Force.

    Man, that is some horrible spelling. That's what happens when I try to type fast.
  8. darth-skycrawler Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2001
    star 2
    Ok I understand about Luke being tired now. I still have a problem with the fact that the vong can't be hurt with the force. Why don't the jedi just fling things at their heads or make a force push. If force lightning can hurt them then surely a force push should as well.
  9. Vong_Killer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2001
    star 3
    I got 2 theories:

    1: Maybe the Jedi in Ep1 don't seem as powerfull because of the Council's placemnet of Jedi. As we know, Yoda and Windu are supposed to be the 2 most powerfull Jedi during Ep 1. So why arn't they out in the feild, kicking a$$? Because they know that they will abuse there powers if given the opertunity. In that sence, we see two mediocre Jedi (Qui Gonn and Ob1) in the feild. They don't seem as powerfull as the New Jedi because they arn't.
    Without a coulncil to regulate the New Jedi Order's actions they can destroy whatever they feel the need to.

    2: If you've read the recent Jedi vs Sith DH series you'll understand this more. Darth Bane describes the Dark Side as being spread to thin between to many Dark Lords. Maybe because there are so many Jedi in Ep 1 the Light Side is spread to thin for any one Jedi to become to powerfull(and I'm sure the Council would want it that way). When the New Jedi Order is first established there is an ubundence of Force to go around. So when Daala attacks the academy in DS the Jedi can kick major @$$. By the time the Vong enter the galaxy there are so many Jedi that each is less powerfull.

    Hope either of these make any sence.
  10. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    from how Lucas talks of Jedi, I feel Zahn is wussifying their powers, while KJA is keeping roughly what hed want.

    Side question, Did I once hear Lucas helped on the force powers for some old RPG or something?
  11. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    According to the Dark Empire text section, Yoda and the other more powerful Jedi were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted, but they held back so as not to . . . something. I forget exactly because I don't have the TPB with me at here, but it's all explained.
  12. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    "Side question, Did I once hear Lucas helped on the force powers for some old RPG or something?"

    Well, I think what you're thinking of is when Lucas was trying to come up with a reason as to why Vader didn't toss Obi-Wan around like a rag doll in ANH. His explanation was that you can quantify a Jedi's Force-ability in levels. So in ANH, Obi-Wan was a level 6, Vader a level 4, and Luke a level 2 at the time. Of course, his recent movies sort of moot that, and I don't know if that's what you're thinking of.

    The problem is, I think, that Lucas really hasn't come out and explained exactly what a Jedi can and cannot do. Like I said in my post, if the Jedi can do the ridiculous things that they have sometimes done, then they should be invincible. But I don't know. It's tough to debate when the only guy who can say for sure ain't talking.
  13. Quiwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 4
    The whole idea of using the Force too much leads to the Dark Side sickens me and I hate that authors were so unimaginative that this is the only thing they could think of to challenge Jedi.

    No, Luke didn't pass out when he rescued Jacen. But he was pretty close and would have fallen over if Jacen hadn't held him up. And I'm pretty sure it was pointed out that this happened because of using the Force.

    As for it being because of his age, as someone older than Luke I'm offended... well, not really. Anyway, I doubt Luke is your typical 40 year old. He's probably in really good shape and could have gone a lot longer if he hadn't had a writer who was affraid to go against what the almighty Zahn wrote (much sarcasim). I want to know where we saw this type of behavior in the movies.

    Some point out Qui-gon after fighting Maul. First off, he didn't seem all that tired to me, and he recovered in a matter of seconds. But beyond that, let's take a look at what he'd done that day. He rode back and forth across the desert twice. Not exactly an easy task.

    As for ripping out trees and flinging them at people or things. Why is this hard to believe? Jedi draw Lightsabers to themselves and we accept that. They flew threw the air pretty quickly. Why couldn't trees do the same? Because they are bigger? Yoda effortlessly picked up a X-Wing. Do trees outweigh X-Wings? Maybe, but even if they do, I always thought size matters not.

  14. TauntaunBelly Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2001
    I definitely think it was a good idea to tone down the force powers. Was it the Black Fleet Crisis where Luke is rebuilding Vader's fortress with a few stray thoughts? Things were getting out of hand.
    But the question I have about force powers is if they can make you faster (like when Luke battles the android in SoE and when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan flee the droids in TPM), why is it so hard for the Jedi to beat the Vong? If the Vong are just that fast, how can non-Jedi (like rebel commandos and pilots) still beat them?
    Oh yeah, sorry this is unrelated, does anyone else think the noghri are getting the shaft in the NJO? I want to see them take down a vong and not get their throats ripped out.
  15. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    I wouldnt say anything in Darksaber is overly powerful
  16. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    The old Jedi were not only on a diplomatic mission, they were also trained very differently. They were trained as peacekeepers, negotiators, to fall back on the force when necessary. The new Jedi, like Luke, were essentially trained as weapons. Their training wasn't teaching them a mindset, like the old Jedi, but to use the Force to the max.


    That makes sense, Mastadge. But, once the war with the Empire is over, the Jedi need to move gradually back into something similar to the old method, using the Force only when necessary.
  17. Quiwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 4
    ?But the question I have about force powers is if they can make you faster (like when Luke battles the android in SoE and when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan flee the droids in TPM), why is it so hard for the Jedi to beat the Vong? If the Vong are just that fast, how can non-Jedi (like rebel commandos and pilots) still beat them??
    That would involve the Jedi using their powers like we see in the movies, and we all know that if that happens in the NJO it must be of the dark side even though it wasn?t in the movies.

    ?But, once the war with the Empire is over, the Jedi need to move gradually back into something similar to the old method, using the Force only when necessary. ?
    Yeah, because following the Jedi Code worked so well for them before. I think it?s time for the New Jedi to find a New Code that is more in line with what a Jedi needs to be.
  18. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    They don't need to keep the whole code, but parts of it should be restored. While the Jedi cannot function as they did in the Old Republic, the warrior-training that they used in the OT is also flawed.

    The whole idea of using the Force too much leads to the Dark Side sickens me and I hate that authors were so unimaginative that this is the only thing they could think of to challenge Jedi.


    So... what would you suggest?

    from how Lucas talks of Jedi, I feel Zahn is wussifying their powers, while KJA is keeping roughly what hed want.


    I disagree... none of us can really guess at what Lucas' intent was. However, he has expressed ideas that are close to what Zahn introduced in VotF (Yes, I know that I overuse this quote):

    Lucas felt that at one point during the training Ben should explain to Luke that he should use his powers with moderation. If he uses too much of the Force, it will start using him. For example, to lift objects Luke has to use the bad side of the Force, so if he overuses this power, the dark side will start taking him over as it did with Vader.

    -The Annotated Screenplays
  19. Quiwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 4
    "So... what would you suggest?"

    A while back in a RPG campaign some of my Jedi characters were getting a little too powerful. I put together a group of Soldiers who knew about cortosis ore and ysalamari. They had fibers of cortosis ore woven into their armor and had some engineers build support frames for ysalamari. They turned into a Jedi hit squad that I had to tone down after taking out my second PC.

    There, I just took out a Jedi's two main weapons and forced them to think outside their normal realm without turning them into Dark Jedi. I guess I have more of an imagination that Zahn... not that I'm surprised.

    As for the quote from the screenplays, I notice that it is not Lucas' words but someone saying what they thought Lucas felt. And, Ben never did say that in the movie so even if Lucas thought of it at one time, he decided in the end that it shouldn't be that way.

  20. ForceAlly Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2001
    star 2
    "I guess I have more of an imagination that Zahn..."

    Hmmm... It occurs to me that Zahn happened to created ysalamari, too.
  21. Quiwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 4
    Yes, he did. But then he didn't use them like I said. So his imagination is limited.
  22. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    He used them to cut back Jedi invincibility repeatedly, though in slightly different ways. His use of ysalamiri and cortosis is no less valid than your own. However, you can't have every fight conveniently take place on a ysalamir-filled world, and not ever enemy has the resources to get cortosis armor. VotF provided a long-term solution.

    As for the quote from the screenplays, I notice that it is not Lucas' words but someone saying what they thought Lucas felt. And, Ben never did say that in the movie so even if Lucas thought of it at one time, he decided in the end that it shouldn't be that way.


    While it's impossible to prove what Lucas really thinks, the quote can be taken as a sign that he recognized the need to have the Jedi use more mental Force powers and fewer physical ones. If nothing else, take it as a warning against trying to guess what GL really wants.
  23. Sturm Antilles Former Manager

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2000
    star 6
    Uh, he had stormtroopers with ysalamiri backpacks on Berchest in TLC.

    His imagination is limited?
  24. Master_Shier Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2001
    I would like to clear some misconceptions and answer some points and then make some of my own.
    First, Zahn did not suddenly introduce this idea of Force over-usage to limit the Jedi. It was merely the realization that as a Jedi uses their power, they get used to the power. They use more and more and will eventually turn to the Dark Side. Remember, easy is not for a Jedi. If they go down that path, like some Jedi have (Kyp, Luke, Vader) they become dark. Only by realizing that they must limit their power will they stay away from the Dark Side. The Jedi will convince themselves that they are more effective, better even, if they use their power all the time. Then, like Luke realized, they lose hold of the quiet part of the Force, the living Force. They lose the ability to be Jedi.
    Second, Luke passed out after controlling the black hole not because he was week but because he chose not to revitalized himself with the Force. If you read some of the recent NJO books, Luke really doesn't like to use the Force like that and gets by without it. If he wanted to, he has enough depth in the Force to do just about anything but using that much power will take him to the Dark Side. There was also Mara's tutoring of Anakin on Dantooine, telling him not to use the Force for such trivial tasks as moving boxes when he could just carry them like a normal human. By trivializing the Force a Jedi loses respect for it and can fall prey to its power.
    Third, Quiwan, you must realize that the Jedi Code worked before and will work once Luke can reinstate the Order. You give no alternate to the code just say you want one. That is not an argument. Give me something I can respond to. Also, Quiwan, Jedi do tire. Like I said before, they don't have to refresh them selves with the Force all the time. Even Yoda was tired when he lifted Luke's X-Wing out of the Dagobah swamp. That doesn't meen they can't refresh, just that they don't when they don't need to. Your RPG senario is also a little too conveinent. What are the chances that a group of highly skilled warriors will know about both Ysalamairi and cortosis ore, be able to spin ore and know engineers to make frames for the Ysalmiri, and then be able to track and kill Jedi. Sounds pretty far fetched to me which is probably why there are still Jedi in the galaxy. The story of Force usage is on going. We may never know what the ultimate philosophy is.
    What I think it all comes down to is the line between selfless and selfish acts. When a Jedi undertakes an action because it is the easiest, they are being selfish and such actions will lead to the Dark Side. Such is the nature of the Force.
  25. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    Master_Shier said what I was gonna say, just a lot more eloquently. :)
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