How Powerful is Too Powerful?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by RKMeibalane, Dec 3, 2004.

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  1. RKMeibalane

    RKMeibalane Jedi Youngling star 2

    Sep 20, 2002
    I would imagine that this idea has been discussed before, though I wasn't able to locate a thread for it, so I'm going to ask the question again: how powerful is too powerful?

    What I mean by that is fairly simple. We have seen several Star Wars characters accomplish amazing feats by drawing on the power of the Force. However, one of the issues that I have always struggled with is exactly how much power I can provide a character with during a given story. Even though the story is mine and I am free to take it whatever direction I choose, it is important that the story unfolds in a believable way, and this includes the instances when characters use the Force.

    Consider the following example: Anakin Skywalker confronts Count Dooku in an abandoned warehouse during the Clone Wars. Upon first seeing the Count, Anakin ignites his lightsaber and charges the older, more experienced swordsman. Dooku avoids the rush, bringing his own weapon up to block Anakin's initial move. The two begin a fierce duel that lasts several minutes, and through most of the duel, Dooku appears to have a slight advantage.

    The momentum shifts, however, when Anakin is able to focus his thoughts and draw upon the Force. What he does next is simply amazing, even by his standards. Skywalker snatches Dooku's blade away from him, leaps into the air to catch it before it sails away from him, continues his jump in order to reach a nearby catwalk, while still managing to fling the blade behind him so that it pierces Dooku's chest. Anakin then lands on the catwalk without so much as a scratch.

    And now, the quesiton: can this be done? We have seen Anakin Skywalker do many amazing things during his storied life. Possessing the highest midiclorian count in history, there's no doubt that he is extremely powerful. However, it is really possible for him to have accomplished what I described above? I don't know. I am within my rights to include such a sequence within a story, but is it really something that could have happened?

    Other ideas that I've toyed with include an enraged Darth Vader dwelving so deeply into the Dark Side that he caused the core of the small moon he was on to destabilize, resulting in an earthquake? Again, is he capable of doing this? Is anyone?
  2. Uldir_Fenn

    Uldir_Fenn Jedi Youngling star 2

    Apr 11, 2004
    I don't reckon Anakin could yank a lightsaber away from a Master. But maybe he could pull on it and make Dooku stumple? that's just an idea.

    Darth Vader, now. lets see. Maybe he could destablise a world. If, for example, he triggered a massive earthquake by slightly moving the totinic plates or he could trigger a massive volcano eruption that spews lava from the core of the planet.

    Anyway, those are just my ideas
  3. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 10

    Sep 27, 2000
    I really don't like it when *anyone* is portrayed as too powerful. I think one of the themes in Star Wars is that power has its limits. We see some extremely powerful stuff from people, but none of them is invincible or the perfect fighter. I like it when authors are willing to give their characters obvious limits. It calls for more creative solutions to problems, too.

    [hl=darkgreen]-sj loves kevin spacey[/hl]
  4. Mjsullivan

    Mjsullivan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Dec 8, 2003
    I always think that, as far as power goes, you are only limited by your ability to write it credibly. I know what is and is not credible is a subjective thing, but it's the author's responsibility to make sure that his/her idea of credible becomes the audience's idea of credible, if that makes sense. If you can make readers believe that what is happening could happen, then it should be fine.

    Personally, I've always liked the idea of the Force being more a literary device than a physical force in a story. In that sense, your example of Vader being so angry that he causes an earthquake is a very good use of the force in fanfic - it creates pathetic fallacy, in that Vader is angry and his surroundings reflect the way he is feeling. But I think, as a general rule, if you can make your audience believe it, then your only limit is creativity.
  5. _JM_

    _JM_ Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 26, 2001
    One thing to bear in mind with Vader is that he is "more machine than man" and George Lucas stated on the ESB DVD Commentary that this has significantly diminished his power in the force.

    On the other hand though unless he is stupid, which he isn't, his bionics would be very strong so he would need to use the force less for enhancing physical strength and could use his diminished force-strength for other things.

    And of course saying that Darth Vader is not as powerful in the force as Anakin Skywalker was is like saying that a Battleship with one turret destroyed has less firepower than it did before...true, but not much consolation to the opponents when most Jedi are "Cruisers". :p
  6. Darth_Suzi

    Darth_Suzi Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 23, 2004
    I believe the real test of how much power you can give someone is if they have limits. A classic bad example, if you'll excuse my drawing on other fandoms, is in Harry Potter--authors tend to invent any spell they want, and, of course, Harry can do all of them, but Voldemort doesn't have the knowledge. Because of this, Harry can destroy Voldemort in two seconds. The SW equivalent might be the idea that Obi-Wan discovers some special new Force ability and teaches it to Anakin, who then meets Palpatine and destroys him with the Force in two seconds. (I'm not fond of Anakin killing Palpatine with the Force at all, really. It was really lucky that he managed in RotJ at all.) Keep in mind who has more raw power and training. It is possible for the underdog to win, but not in a battle of brute force.

    As for your example, Anakin probably could do it if he was at the height of his abilities--that is, an AU Anakin who made it to Jedi Master. However, in a battle with Dooku, I'm inclined to think he'd be distracted, angry, and probably not trained enough. Yoda could, maybe. A Clone Wars Anakin's just not at that level yet.

    Just my two cents. :)
  7. Jedi_BMK

    Jedi_BMK Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 10, 2004
    As someone who's been warned for showing even a flash of something like this, I'd say err on the side of caution. If you think it may be too much, it probably is. Or at least someone will think that. And the situation and feel of the fight should be a factor. Pressure situations elicit different reactions based on the character. Pressure makes Anakin do stupid things like attack Sith Lords and get zapped, for example. High power is ok if it fits the character and doesn't get out of hand.

    Those are just my thoughts. Take it or leave it.
  8. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 10

    Sep 27, 2000
    I think people need to keep in mind what we see as far as powers in the films, too. For example, something I noticed in both TPM and AOTC is that when Obi-Wan has difficulty calling his lightsabre (or Qui-Gon's) to him with the Force. It's the same difficulty Luke has while under duress and completely untrained in ESB in the Wampa cave.

    And sure, Obi-Wan was quite tired and/or injured at these points in the battles, but it still seems to me to indicate that perhaps moving things with the Force isn't one of his strong suits. With that in mind, it seems pretty unreasonable to me to see him in a story just moving things around like it's nothing.

    There are simular kinds of restrictions on a lot of characters, that's just one I've noticed.

    [hl=darkgreen]-sj loves kevin spacey[/hl]
  9. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    I don't think Obi has difficulty with that particualr thing, it's just that grasping the Force isn't quite as easy when you're injured. Fighting against the pain takes a lot of concentration and doesn't leave a lot left for using the Force.
  10. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 18, 2002
    And sure, Obi-Wan was quite tired and/or injured at these points in the battles, but it still seems to me to indicate that perhaps moving things with the Force isn't one of his strong suits. With that in mind, it seems pretty unreasonable to me to see him in a story just moving things around like it's nothing.

    But wasn't the original idea to have him and Maul throwing things at each other in TPM while they fought? [face_thinking] Power is a hard thing to decide upon - don't give them too much, but don't give them too little, either. Palpatine excluded, I think well-trained Jedi would generally know if someone was dangerous and/or a threat to them personally, for example.
  11. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 10

    Sep 27, 2000
    Yes, but if they changed the original idea, it was probably because they felt that made Obi-Wan too powerful for a padawan. Anakin having more power is understandable, although obviously it's rather raw and unbridled.

    And yeah it's definitely hard when you're injured and warn out, as Obi-Wan especially is in AotC. But in TPM, it just seems like it takes him a little more concentration. He definitely seems to have the whole jumping thing down, though ;) But like Anakin in AotC is being taxed by the droid foundry, but he's still able to move stuff around with the Force like it's nothing.

    [hl=darkgreen]-sj loves kevin spacey[/hl]
  12. Alethia

    Alethia Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 13, 2005
    Oh, what a lovely discussion. In my opinion, if you can make it plausible, then go for it. Vader does, of course, have certain limits, being more machine than man, but who's to say what those limits are? We know that he's less powerful than the Emperor, but since we don't know how powerful the Emperor is, then how can we put a limit to Vader's power?

    With Anakin, it is also the same thing, in my opinion. Anakin is the Chosen One. With that in mind, you really can stretch the limits, because there really isn't one. Of course, you should have an explanation for why- don't have Anakin suddenly able to perform amazing feats when the day before he couldn't do them (things do have to be practiced and learned), but really, use your best júdgement and common sense.

    With Obi-Wan and his telekinesis-I, at least, am of the opinion that different Jedi have different strengths. Anakin, for instance, is more a swordsman than someone who meditates, wouldn't you say? So look at it that way- each Jedi has their own strengths and weaknesses and use that in your fics.
  13. Lord_Zeron

    Lord_Zeron Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 19, 2005
    I think a major factor in decided a characters abilities during a situation, such as a battle, is how strongly the Force is with them at that moment. On some days, perhaps Obi-wan could even beat his master, and on others he couldn't beat an eight-year-old. I think it depends on whether or not the Force is with him and whether or not the Force wants him to win.

    I also think it would be entirely possible for Anakin to beat Dooku, if that's what the Force wanted him to do. If the Force wanted a youngling to beat Yoda, then in my opinion, it would happen, and there would be nothing the master could do to stop it. So I don't think power has that many limitations, since those with a conection to the Force can sometimes do miraculous things, and have powers and ablities that they shouldn't have.

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