Lit SOB: Save Our Ben, Ben Skywalker

Discussion in 'Literature' started by THE EVIL CLIFFIE, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    So I've seen a lot of discussion lately about how Ben's character arc is somewhat dull, and his traits are rather generic. I agree, so let's try to hypothesize as to how we'd fix Ben Skywalker.

    Idea One: Continue Ben's rejection of the Force from DN, but with his reasons and justifications becoming more sophisticated as he grows older. Have him step away from the Jedi, find his own way, let him develop a moral code without the Force, conflict with his parents, and try to become a force for good in the Galaxy without falling back on the Family Business.

    It'd make him a way more interesting character, IMO.
  2. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
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    Theron Shan is basically the Ben Skywalker that continued to not use the Force.

    He's the Son of the Jedi Grandmaster but he doesn't have the Force!
    He's a Secret Agent!
    He was raised by Jedi but doesn't really believe in the Force!

    Yet, unfortunately, I think ill of him. Theron Shan as Luke's descendant would come off as a bit disrespectful and I think part of the problem is that he wouldn't be able to make his own mark without disrespecting Luke.

    Look at the Second Generation:

    Sith Lord
    Empress of the (reformed) Space Fascists
    Dead

    It's not exactly saying much for Ben to say he's not going to follow in his father's footsteps when the entire family has gone in ways which would horrify their parents. Leia is a better person than me to accept her daughter's decision to marry into an authoritarian dictatorship she spent her younger life opposing.

    I mean, of the kids, WHO RESPECTS THE LEGACY OF THEIR PARENTS?

    Who would be HONORED to continue their legacy?

    Because Luke made his shadow by HONORING ANOTHER.

    Let's all say it together.

    [IMG]

    "I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father."

    I wouldn't mind Ben Skywalker, Secret Agent, if there was a single Skywalker-Solo interested in being like their parents. Because, really, their parents are pretty awesome.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Oct 4, 2013
  3. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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  4. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    It's kind of ironic.

    Maybe you mods should change my title to something like, "I have broken the spine of the galaxy" or "Charlemagne19's Kickass Thread."

    :D

    jk.

    OR AM I?
  5. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Jul 11, 2008
    star 2
    I haven't read Annihilation yet, so I don't know that much about Theron, but I wouldn't see a problem with Ben following in, say, Han's footsteps: no Force, but still doing good.

    Ben's a flat character. I want more from him.

    I want the seeds of Cade; I want Ben to rage against his destiny, I want him to reject the (honestly really messed-up) idea that he has to take up the sword in the fight against darkness merely because his parents did; I want him to fight with Luke and Mara, to have conflict in a way that isn't just 'I hate my parents, so I'm gonna become a space-Gestapo member!'; I want him to be wracked with self-doubt and crushing guilt that he's rejecting his power.

    Then I want to see him pick up a blaster and take a stand against darkness anyway, because he's still Luke and Mara's son, because that's who he is, but i want him to do it on his own terms, not just be Snarky Jedi no.1138.

    I want him to venture into the dark corners of the galaxy, into those hives of scum and villainy, rooting out injustice as a smuggler or a bounty-hunter or a space-FBI agent or a spy or whatever; I want him to meet Vestara, to go through that arc without the baggage of being a Jedi Skywalker, to question whether he can continue on this path; I want him to fall in love and fight and struggle, but in his own unique arc.

    And eventually, when he gets his own trilogy with a set of fleshed-out characters who aren't related to the current cast, in the face of a looming threat that he can't overcome, I want him to struggle with himself. I want him to soul-search, and think, and fight futilely without the Force, until he accepts his legacy and takes up a lightsaber (ideally Anakin Solo's) and shows the galaxy who Jedi Ben Skywalker is.

    But I want him to do it on his own terms, in his own arc, not merely because all his family are Jedi.
  6. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Last edited by THE EVIL CLIFFIE, Oct 4, 2013
  7. Ulicus Lit'ari

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    Should have been SOS: SAVE OUR SKYWALKER, BEN SKYWALKER
    Or maybe SAVE OUR SKYCRAWLER [face_thinking]
    Last edited by Ulicus, Oct 4, 2013
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  8. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Feel free to change it if you like :p

    EDIT: or call it SOB #justsayin
    Last edited by THE EVIL CLIFFIE, Oct 4, 2013
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  9. Ulicus Lit'ari

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    Nah. I'm making a cup mug of tea and then going to bed.
  10. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Tea is the perfect companion to bed. But as a student, I instead have Vanilla Coke and a 2 litre bottle of squash.
  11. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    For me, I'd prefer Ben Skywalker to actually walk the path of the Jedi but earn his bootstraps. I'd love to have a third "Jedi Apprentice" series (or fourth, depending on how you see the adventures of Ferus Olin) with Ben Skywalker as the lead role. I'd love to tackle the problems of being Luke Skywalker's son head on. Because, for all intents and purposes, it's a cross between being the son of Jesus and King Arthur.

    Cade Skywalker rebellion doesn't strike me as the way to write it because there's no indication that Luke Skywalker wouldn't be anything but supportive to Ben Skywalker should he want to be a Disc Jockey or something similar. I'd like, instead, him to frustratingly TRY to live up to the mantle expected of him.

    Which is so very-very hard.

    I'd love to also have him be Force-Sensitive but barely. Like Zayne Carrick. Even if he was normal Force-Sensitivity, everyone would have an inflated idea of what he could accomplish and do because they have the image of Luke in their heads.

    Him failing would impact everyone.
    Especially him.

    It'd be an interesting book series, too, if it examined Ben's social issues. Imagining people trying to get to know you because your family is famous and having unrealistically high expectations of you because of your bloodline. Also, having people judging you irregardless of your actual personality. The pressure and the questions of self-worth could be great.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Oct 4, 2013
  12. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Oh, I definitely think Luke would be supportive - but direct confrontation isn't the only kind of conflict. Even without a fight, Ben would still have to deal with the spectre (real or imagined) of his father's disappointment.

    And I don't see Mara being blindly supportive of a rejection of the Force. Even if it's only because he's neglecting a way of keeping himself safe.
  13. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    The only problem I really see with "rejecting the Force" Ben is that the Force is portrayed as such a good thing, it'd be hard to get the metaphor.

    "I have a gift for music equivalent to Mozart but want to do anything BUT be a musician."
    "I have powers like Spiderman but I intend to never use them irregardless of my great power, I have no responsibility to use them."

    The moral of such a story might get a little wonky.

    I disliked that Cade was forced into being a galactic hero but his temperament was completely unsuited to being a Jedi too. It would take a lot of circumstances to make Ben Skywalker's choice not to be a Jedi to be one that worked for me.

    Especially given no other relative wants to follow Luke's path.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Oct 4, 2013
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  14. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    I don't necessarily think so - it depends how you frame it. Say you have Mozart for a father and Clara Schumann for a mother and everyone expects you to follow in their footsteps, regardless of what you want. Sure, you might have a tremendous talent for it, but going off and being a plumber out of pique/rebellion/a desire to make your own way rather than just follow your parents isn't inconceivable.

    And the crux of this is that Ben is still fighting darkness; he's just doing so because he's considered it and come to the conclusion that it's the right thing to do, rather than 'You're a Skywalker and Skywalkers fight evil'. To me, doing that while still sticking to his principles makes him a far more interesting and, yes, flawed character. At present, Ben doesn't have any major character flaws, which is to be expected given his background, but doesn't exactly make for interesting reading.

    I also wouldn't be surprised to see a little of the Vader-angst that got Anakin Solo transferring to Ben, especially if we kept Abeloth and her effect on him.
    Charlemagne19 likes this.
  15. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    There's a lot of ways to go with Ben. I only hope they avoid the obvious ones.

    I, for one, would be entirely happy if Ben Skywalker grows up to be a Jedi Master and....that's it.

    He Qui Gons around the universe, rejecting a seat on the Jedi Council and just tools around the universe helping random people.

    It's Kol Skywalker that's the ambitious one.

    Then again, an Adult Ben Skywalker series with the brothers Kol and Nat could be fun.

    Nat being the guy who says, "You know, being a Jedi isn't something I like."

    Kol is ALL ABOUT the Grandmastership.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Oct 4, 2013
  16. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Ah, I was talking about rewriting his character from DN onwards. I think your way could be a fun way to continue him from here.

    I think the main thing that annoys me about Ben is that he doesn't have any obvious flaws or weaknesses - it's the same problem I have with Luke post-NJO - he has nothing internal to create problems for him so all his adversity is external. There's development in LOTF and FOTJ, but it doesn't feel like Ben's really overcoming any flaws, because they're not really there, so he just comes off as somewhat generic.

    Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy Ben's character, but I'd be far more interested if he was a snarky, investigative bounty-hunter FOR JUSTICE with his own motives and fears rather than only really working when counterpointed with someone else.

    That's why I like Traviss' take on Ben; he really felt like he was struggling with anger and closure in Revelation, which made his story interesting. Compare Omen, where he pretty just sits around and sasses Luke (yeah, he learns flow-walking (iirc) but that doesn't really go anywhere in terms of his character).
  17. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 4, 2012
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    He is the Gohan to Luke's Goku. Tons of potential but never really lives up to it.
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  18. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    Jun 3, 2013
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    I made a Ben thread about a week ago...just sayin'. ;)

    Nah, I'm always up for discussing Ben, but I agree this should be an SOS thread.
  19. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
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    I agree, SOS this sucker.

    But yes, boiled down to its simplest, Ben Skywalker needs a chance to earn his spurs.

    He didn't, really, because everyone expected him to be the Anakin replacement.

    Or Young Luke.
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  20. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

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    Jul 12, 2010
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    I wouldn't mind Ben Skywalker, Actual Character. That so much of Ben's development has seen him in series like LOTF and FOTJ and not, say, his own series of young Jedi Knight books, is a big problem. He's one of the blandest things in the whole EU. Ever.

    That's not to say that there's nothing good to be found. He can be written well in reaction to his father, the plot with Shevu was slowly giving him something unique, and he managed to redeem Tahiri while Jaina wordlessly maims her brother. But the issue is that we know so little about Ben. As a person, as a Jedi, as anything. Who are his friends? What are his hobbies? What makes him unique?

    For instance, Ben has no friends. We barely see him interact with peers in a meaningful way. Yet, come the time of the NJO, the Solo kids had their own satellite ensemble. What's Ben's? Tahiri? I'm sorry but redemption or not, Denning ruined that. Seha Dorvald? Maybe but she's pretty generic. The Horn children? Oh. You mean Corran's kids that we know equally nothing about?

    The biggest thing Ben has, in terms of his own ensemble is Vestara and Crucible did one hell of a number on her.

    What does that leave us with? It leaves us with a character that has nothing special about him, who is characterized vaguely as playful and staunchly a good person, which is very basic. And he has no real stories about himself. About his generation. About his friends. And no real adventures of his own.

    He has potential but no one has seized upon that. Ever.
    THE EVIL CLIFFIE likes this.
  21. Gorefiend Chosen One

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    Last edited by Gorefiend, Oct 4, 2013
  22. Nobody145 Force Ghost

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    Feb 9, 2007
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    How about we change the title of the thread "What color is Ben's hair anyway?". Since not sure they've ever figured it out. Half the pictures we have of Ben are in a bad light (or are all in one color, such as FotJ's awful covers, to match the awful writing inside) and the few color pictures we do have of Ben, most of them are based on a fanart or something like that.

    Not that there's much to Ben, aside from probably jumping to Jedi Knighthood really fast, one of the faster ones I've seen since Luke's training or Luke's early class. I don't think much of Ben's character either. For most of LotF he was mostly angst, anger towards his parents, trust in Jacen, then anger towards Jacen for killing his mother, and guilt over getting his mother killed in that way, then for most of FotJ he's mostly just snarky or having something that might pass for teenage romance with two eyes closed.

    A young adult book series for Ben would probably help with his characterization (although Ben might be wiped out by Episode VII in another few years), but that would probably be too much (and most young adult/readers stuff is focused on movie characters or the OT era anyway). At least give Ben a few more people his age. Seha Dorvald might be in his age range, Vestara has probably been cemented as lifelong enemy, and FotJ only introduced people below the age of 20 so they could go crazy and have to be knocked unconscious or killed.
  23. THE EVIL CLIFFIE Force Ghost

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    The novels are pretty clear he's red-headed like Mara (although I've always pictured his hair a shade or two lighter).

    @AlyxDinas's point is the one I was trying to make. My solution might be a bit drastic (and impossible at this stage unless the ST leaves the door open), but it would at least give Ben an arc, character growth and, presumably, friends and colleagues. He's an enjoyable character, but I think it's telling that the authors only write him paired with another character. The whole Ziost arc in... was it Exile? in LOTF was a nice change to that and we saw him struggle with the Skywalkers' innate darkness (which I maintain they have).

    I want more stuff like that. I want Ben to dislike what the galaxy expects him to be. I want him to try and carve his own path.

    Then, after all that, I want him to become a Jedi, but on his own terms. I want him to have a 'like my father before me' moment where he takes up the lightsaber and becomes a Jedi, not just do it because he's Luke's son and was raised in the Temple.
  24. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    Of course he is in dad's shadows he is a prime example of nepotism. Yeah it is sad he has absolutely zero friends his own age that really is embarrassing shows poor development from the writers.
  25. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Not really. It's not like Ben comments that he has no friends. It's just an assumption we make because he doesn't have a supporting cast.
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