Why it's appropriate that Anakin's story be told after Luke's

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth_Pazuzu, Nov 17, 2005.

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  1. Darth_Pazuzu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2005
    star 4
    A thought just occurred to me.
    I think it's appropriate that George Lucas decided to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker (Episodes I-III) after the story of Luke Skywalker (Episodes IV-VI).

    The earlier Star Wars movies were written and directed by George Lucas when he was a much younger man. In a sense, Luke Skywalker is a kind of idealized version of Lucas himself. He's a young man struggling against authority and the limitations that he feels imposed upon him, just as Lucas was when he began his struggle in the film business.
    The story of the Classic Trilogy is, in many ways, a relatively straightforward heroic adventure narrative where the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are very clearly distinguished from each other. It's certainly true that the moral and ethical issues start to become much more complicated in ESB, and we start to become aware of the danger Luke faces in terms of falling toward the Dark Side. Ultimately, however, Luke remains "The Hero," and his heroism is never ever seriously called into question.

    Even though the backstory that became Episodes I-III always existed in Lucas' mind, the Prequel Trilogy is still the work of a much older, wiser man than the youthful creator of the Classic Trilogy. There's a much greater sense of sophistication and depth to the story.
    Even though we knew that Vader was Luke's father coming out of ESB, the fall of Anakin Skywalker was never ever dealt with in any way except as a kind of symbolic failure of the older generation, being very much in keeping with the rebellious late '60s mindset that Lucas himself came of age with. But by making Anakin the hero of the Prequel Trilogy, and certainly by making him a "Fallen Hero," Lucas directly confronts those specters of failure that always existed in the background of the Classic Trilogy.
    In many ways, the "consumption" of Anakin by Darth Vader and the "reorganization" of the Old Republic into the Galactic Empire is very much a story of the troubles we face in our own age, and hits very close to home. It certainly feels less "escapist" than the Classic Trilogy did.
    But that's certainly no knock on the Classic Trilogy. In fact, the prequels help to recontextualize the original classics, and lends far more depth to them than many people may have picked up on the first time around.

    Thoughts? Comments?
  2. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4
    I so much agree. OT purists will possibly flame me now, but
    I've started to perceive the Prequels as being the "better", more mature stories, as compared to the OT. What's striking about the Prequels is the absence of clear black and white categories in the personal as well as the political story. The supposedly "good guys" turn out to be falliable and are shown to make serious mistakes, even turn from their own ideals, in the personal as well as the political sphere.

    Maybe for some people that's a reason why they can't really relate to the new films - they're lacking a clear hero. All of the great Jedi, be it Yoda, Mace, or Obi-Wan are showing annoying traits and demeanors at time. And that's the way it is - no-one is without flaws. It's a much more mature portrayal, and it really shows that the reasons of Anakin's fall as well as the fall of the Republic can traced back to inherent flaws within the Jedi Order (as well as personal predispositions due to his childhood on the part of Anakin) as well as flaws in the Republic's political systems. It's not just a story of "evil taking over the innocent good guys". It's more in line with one of my favourite Babylon5 quotes: "No-one takes power. They are given power by the rest of us, because we are stupid, or afraid, or both."

    And that's really a better story to learn something from, when it comes to me. An evil person taking over by simply being overwhelming or by chance is not interesting, to me, because it implies that there can't be done anything against it and it can happen any time again. Evil being able to take over by means of exploiting weaknesses and flaws is much more interesting, because it encourages you to investigate what circumstances and what weaknesses allowed it to take power, and what could be done to prevent something like that.

    And yes, I also agree on your point that a 30 year old Lucas raised in the 1960s spirit probably couldn't have written such a story. The political world seemed much less complicated and convoluted than today, and educational psychology as well as reflection on spiritual teachings also wasn't in the state it is today. In doing the Prequels, he's drawn on so many recent developments and incorporated them into the story, I find it amazing. And as you said, it lends so much more undercurrent meaning to what happens in the OT.
  3. Darth_Pazuzu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2005
    star 4
    Those are all really good points, mandragora. In fact, so much of what you've said reminds me of an earlier thread of mine, Vader and "his" Emperor. Click and read all about it...

    As you'll notice, a certain Darth-Seldon took issue with some of my points, but I still think I was making some really valid arguments.
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