Happy Ending Override

Happy Ending Override

Warning: Spoilers for the recent novel Bloodline and The Force Awakens

“But when we think of those people who perished in the conflict, let us remember that they died for justice. For liberty. For the extraordinary peace we now enjoy. This is what we fought for.”
–Senator Tai-Lin Garr

Futility

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Destruction of the Hosnian System: TFA

I just finished Claudia Gray’s Bloodline last night. In my opinion, it is the best novel in the new canon. Not surprising considering how much I loved her previous entry Lost Stars.

As awesome as the book was, my first thought upon finishing it was just how bleak this new post-VI timeline is. In fact, one of the more common criticisms I see leveled against The Force Awakens is how the film renders the Rebellion’s victory completely meaningless. I mean, who cares if the Empire fell if the New Republic is just as useless and corrupt as the Old? (Thanks Mon Mothma!)

Same goes for the Big Three of the Original Trilogy. Han and Leia’s marriage went sour, their son turned to the dark side, and Luke is a traumatized hermit in hiding after his failure to restore the Jedi Order. Kind of seems like these guys fought for nothing.

Oh, and to top all of that off, remember how I wrote about Vader’s dark legacy a few weeks ago? As of Bloodline, the secret of the Skywalker twins’ parentage is public knowledge. Leia’s political adversaries use this to discredit her in the Senate and strip her of any power there. Leia suffers the most for this revelation but the novel briefly touches on Luke’s trustworthiness being questioned and the potential for abuse of his Force powers.  

Two heroes with bad publicity; what a difference from their Legends personas. I suppose we’ll have to wait until Episode VIII to fully see how the public views Luke.

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Han and Leia: TFA

Necessary Evil

Here’s the thing. Any time a sequel to a completed story arc is announced, you know that something bad has to happen to further the story. The Peaceful Retirement Adventures of Han and Leia sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? You can’t have a good story without conflict and it’s no different in a galaxy far, far away.

Not So Different 

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Star Wars: The New Jedi Order

I frequent a lot of Star Wars-related social media and I’ve seen some Legends fans criticize the new timeline for its darker overtones and lack of happy endings for the Power Trio. I think it’s just nostalgia talking because the old Legends EU was just as rife with conflict and heartbreak as the current canon. Let’s take a brief look back at a few of the ways Legends made life difficult for our heroes, shall we?

1. Palpatine returned

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Star Wars: Dark Empire

Yep. Not much to say here. Probably my least favorite aspect of Legends. Zahn wasn’t a fan either.

2. The galaxy was invaded by extra-galactic, technology-hating alien fanatics

3. Chewbacca had a moon dropped on him. 

4. The Solos suffered one tragedy after another.

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Jaina vs Darth Caedus

Think they have it bad in current canon? The Legends Solo family lost their youngest son, Anakin, to war and their eldest son, Jacen, turned Sith and was killed by his twin sister, Jaina.

Yeah.

5. Luke lost his wife to Jacen/Caedus and his New Jedi Order was eventually destroyed by Darth Krayt’s One Sith nearly 100 years after Endor. 

 

Going Forward-A Ray of Hope

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Rey: The Force Awakens

“Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.” –Lor San Tekka

(Ah, name puns… How I love thee.)

With all the downer and bittersweet endings we seem to be getting lately, it’s important to remember that Star Wars is a story about hope and good triumphing over evil. Despite decades of darkness, the light side isn’t out of the fight yet. With Leia leading her Resistance and Luke and Rey representing the last bit of Jedi light, it’s apparent that Snoke and the First Order still have much to fear from our protagonists. 

None of our heroes’ past struggles were for naught. How does the old adage go? “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

(Sorry, Han!)

Thanks for reading!

 

Note: I forgot to note another criticism of the nucanon New Republic–its short reign. It was actually around for longer than the Empire and the galaxy got almost three decades of peace. Nothing to sneeze at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Family Legacy: Forgiveness and Consequences

Spoilers ahead. Read at your own peril

  

Luke: “No, you’re coming with me. I’ll not leave you here, I’ve got to save you!”                           Anakin: “You already… have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister… you were right.” 

Hello again. Today I’d like to discuss a topic that resonates very strongly with me–redemption. In this case a very specific individual’s path back to the light: Anakin Skywalker. I’ve often heard it said that Vader’s redemption at the end of VI felt forced or cheap when you consider all of the atrocities he had committed as a Sith Lord. 

This is obviously a very controversial topic (can a villain ever truly atone for their sins?) without a clear answer. To start, I’d like to dive right into Anakin’s actions as Darth Vader. 

  
“You were selfish. You abandoned me! You failed me! Do you know… what I’ve become?”

-Vision of Anakin to Ahsoka

I won’t spend too much time discussing Anakin’s fall this time. His personal failures and the actions of the Council/manipulations of Palpatine are a topic all on their own. As I mentioned above, we’ll take a look at Vader’s more obvious crimes.

  

“I killed them. I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children too.”

Let’s be clear here. It would be really hard to sympathize with any group that kidnapped and tortured your mother. I couldn’t even fault someone for wanting revenge against said individuals. However, what Anakin did to that village goes way beyond wanting justice. He wanted that Tusken clan to suffer and he murdered all of them in cold blood. One of his first clear steps toward darkness. 

His slaughter of the Jedi (including children) after his Sith christening was just another step on his path toward the dark side. Here, he believed he was bringing justice and peace to the galaxy. That said, after being slighted by the Jedi so many times (especially in TCW series), I really can’t blame him too much for his hatred of the Order. 

Even after his transformation into the sinister cyborg we all know and love, Vader was still racking up the kill count. His own minions were fair game for a killing if they displeased him enough. In Marvel’s Star Wars 2015- comic, Vader telekinetically used his own stormtroopers as human shields to fend off sniper fire. Later, he snapped the neck of a hapless underling who just happened to see his scarred face. 

While he did not directly command the moon-like superweapon to fire (that was Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin), Vader was still complicit in the Death Star’s destruction of Alderaan. (Two billion deaths is nothing to sneeze at.) 

Finally, we have the torture and scheduled execution of his (then-unknown) daughter and the maiming of his son in a lightsaber duel. 

We get the point now. Anakin turned into a very evil person. So much so that Obi-wan Kenobi (even after discovering Vader survived) considered Anakin to have been killed after their duel on Mustafar. With all of that wrongdoing, was it even possible to redeem someone that wicked? Luke and Anakin’s former padawan, Ahsoka, certainly believed it was. 

  

“I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.” –Luke Skywalker                                                   

“There’s still a way.” –Ahsoka Tano

While I don’t know yet how Ahsoka will fare against her former master later this season (Rebels), we all know the story of Return of the Jedi. Luke’s love and compassion for his father ultimately led to a resurgence of Anakin’s old personality. He sacrificed himself to save his son and destroyed the Sith Rule of Two. A truly noble action. But is one act of nobility truly enough to redeem someone awash in the blood of so many innocents? 

This is where I need to explain the difference between redemption and atonement. Redemption, as defined by the dictionary is defined as: “the action of being saved from sin, error, or evil.”  What Anakin did for his son falls into redemptive territory by the sheer fact that it pulled him away from his dark and selfish tendencies. To give your life for someone is the ultimate sacrifice. For a Jedi, this is the ultimate expression of the light side of the Force (it also proved that the Jedi Order was wrong about healthy attachments like family.) 

So we’ve established that Anakin redeemed himself (at least where his son and the Force were concerned), but the real question is did he atone for his actions as Vader? Let’s delve further, shall we?

The definition of the word atonement is “reparation for a wrong.” So other than choosing his son over Sidious, did Anakin atone for anything else? I would have to say, no. Not by a long shot. For that to happen, Anakin would have had to make reparations to every single individual he had wronged (most were dead already and they numbered in the billions if planetary annihilation is taken into account.) 

True, he ascended into a Force spirit alongside his old mentors, but I’m inclined to think that even as a ghost, Anakin would still have to live with the knowledge of all the atrocities he had committed. It’s probably for the better that Sidious fried Anakin’s life-support systems and he died. Otherwise, I’d imagine there’d have been a trial and execution for war crimes. Redemption equals death indeed. 

Interestingly (as seen below,) unused concept art for Anakin’s spirit in The Force Awakens depicted his spectral form as shifting between his human and Vader forms–perhaps hinting at some kind of punishment or dark, unforgotten legacy. Non-canon, but still food for thought. 

   

Speaking of dark legacy, Anakin’s actions would continue to haunt the Skywalker clan for decades after his death. That leads us to…

  
“Show me again the power of the darkness. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.”

–Kylo Ren 

Kylo Ren, born Ben Solo, was seduced by the dark side and his grandfather’s legacy as Darth Vader. He went on to murder Luke’s fledgling new Jedi Order (sound familiar?). I can only imagine Anakin’s anguish as he watched his grandson make the same mistakes he did. 

One hope spot for Anakin here. If Rey is indeed a Skywalker, seeing the family lightsaber pass to someone as incredible as her would be heartwarming to witness. (Assuming Force spirits never move on like they did in the old EU.)

  
Vader’s legacy impacted one more individual– his daughter. Since we don’t have much material to work with between RotJ and TFA, I can’t say whether or not Leia ever forgave her father like she eventually did in Legends. There’s only one comment in the new film where it’s mentioned that Han and Leia’s son has “too much Vader in him.” It’s brief, but telling. Leia is far less of an idealist than her brother and it’s likely that she either never forgave or forgot what her father did in the name of the Empire. Not fully, anyway. 

As pictured above, a new novel by Claudia Gray (yessssss! I adored Lost Stars) called Bloodline will shed light on her time in the New Republic Senate and the shadow Vader has cast over her family name. I cannot wait to read it. 

That’s it for today. I’ll probably cover more of Anakin’s fall to the dark side in another post. 

Thanks for reading!

Post-TFA

Warning: Spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead. You have been warned. 

 

“Hope is not lost today… It is found.” -Maz Kanata 

I got to see the new Star Wars film while on vacation with my wife in NC. It was a good trip and now that I’m home and I’ve gotten some time to mull over the finer details of the movie, I’m ready to talk about it.

So what did I think of the newest chapter in the saga? I adored it. It was a return to form for the franchise and the critics and (most) fans seem to agree with this sentiment (94% Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad).

This post won’t be going into too much detail on specific points. Instead, I’d like to quickly go over the aspects I really enjoyed or that I thought were important.

Practical Effects

 

I didn’t realize how much I missed the aliens of the Original Trilogy until I saw this film. In fact, this entire gorgeous film just has a tangibility to it that was sorely lacking in the PT.

That’s not to say there wasn’t CGI (it’s a 2015 film, no way they wouldn’t have used some), but when computer animation was used, it complemented the look of the film instead of dominating it.

Bittersweet Tone

There’s no getting around it, The Force Awakens personifies the trope Happy Ending Override more than Legends ever could. Sure, the Empire finally fell at Endor followed by Jakku, and a New Republic was established to bring democracy to the galaxy, but the film portrays anything but a post-VI happy ending. Let’s count the ways the film tramples on our hearts.

1. A fanatical offshoot of the Empire (First Order) remains a credible threat despite being dismissed by the New Republic. The FO proceeds to cause the…

2. Destruction of the (current) New Republic capital world Hosnian Prime. Nice job dismissing Leia’s warnings, NR senate.

(Remember what I said about spoilers? I’m warning you again, because this one is a doozy)

3. Han and Leia’s son, Ben, is seduced to the dark side by Snoke and the legacy of Ben’s grandfather, Vader.  Their marriage goes sour. They reunite briefly only for Ben (now called Kylo Ren) to skewer his father through the chest. If you didn’t feel Chewie and Rey’s anguish in that moment, perhaps you need a heart check.

4. Luke Skywalker. I’ve never been shy about the fact that Luke is my favorite character and a fictional hero of mine. Although his appearance was brief and wordless, his face spoke volumes about the heartbreak and failure he had experienced.

I think I came to realize that I had held on to fragments of his post-ROTJ Legends counterpart. In my pre-TFA mind, Luke successfully reestablished the Jedi Order in order to combat the First Order’s Knights of Ren and the new dark side threat.

Well, I was half right. Luke did start a Jedi Academy, but I never predicted that he would be betrayed by his nephew and that he would see his apprentices slaughtered. Having another Jedi purge just decades after Order 66 is horrific.

That being said, tragedy often makes for good storytelling. My naive, idealistic desire to see a New Jedi Order in the film is fanfic material. What I actually got lends itself well to character development. As much as I hate to admit it, a downtrodden Luke is more believable than the one who essentially became a human god in Legends. (Please note that I guarantee Luke is still absurdly powerful, but the film only gives us a brief glimpse of his physical and emotional state and not his Force prowess).

Rey

 

I’m sure this comes as a surprise to no one, but of all the characters I was most excited to see in The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Rey was number one. Boy, was I not disappointed. This girl is clearly the star of the show, and the movie shines all the more for it.

Rey averts the tired damsel in distress trope in a huge way. She is a self-sufficient, intelligent, and likable. As Luke was the hero I wanted to be as a kid, she will be to a new generation of female Star Wars fans.

I strongly disagree with the Mary Sue criticisms, by the way. If any male character (like Luke) showed aptitude for any of the things she does, he’d merely be seen as a standard superhero. She’s been shown to be incredibly Force-sensitive and perhaps has some (suppressed) former training. Plus, if the most obvious parentage theory is correct, she’s got the Chosen One’s blood in her veins. (Why else would the Skywalker family lightsaber call out to her?)

Kylo Ren

 

You’d think that after all the atrocities this character has committed both on-screen and off, I’d hate this character. Truth is, I really like this character a lot. He’s genuinely angsty and brooding in a way Hayden’s Anakin failed to be on every level.

Ben’s conflict between light and dark lends itself well to his character’s persona and his psychotic fits of rage show just how undisciplined he is. Plus, the guy takes a bowcaster bolt and is still able to fight. That says a lot about him.

Lightsaber Duel

I’ve seen the final duel between Finn/Rey and Kylo Ren criticized as “boring” and “unflashy.” I disagree. None of these characters were masters with the lightsaber and their incessant hammering on each other carried far more emotional weight than the sterile, overly-choreographed fights of the prequels. Watching Rey smash through Kylo’s defenses was extremely cathartic considering who he had just murdered minutes before.

Oh! And I really liked how lightsabers now cast a glow on their wielders and surroundings like they should. It makes for a really cool effect.

That’s about it. I’ll save some content for next time. It wasn’t a perfect film by any means and it did borrow quite a few things from a New Hope (like a plot coupon hidden in a droid) and yet another (sort of) Death Star. But all in all, Abrams and Kasdan nailed it. It is a Star Wars film through and through. I can’t wait to see more of Luke and Rey in VIII and the inevitable clash between light and dark.



“That’s not how the Force works!”

 

Prelude to Awakening

Warning: spoilers for nearly every canon post-RotJ story ahead. 

“Be patient. Be strong. Fight back where you can. The Imperial war machine falls apart one gear, one gun, one stormtrooper at a time. The New Republic is coming. And we want your help to finish the fight.” –Leia Organa

Less than one week before Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts in theaters. Can you believe it? This year has certainly gone by quickly.

The purpose of this post is to get others up to speed on galactic events after Return of the Jedi. Remember, even though the old Legends expanded universe covered this time period, we are operating on a blank slate with the April 2014 canon reset.

The following segments are meant to offer a quick glimpse of what happened after Sidious and Vader perished during the Battle of Endor.

 

No Rest for the Rebellion

“Today is a day of celebration. We have triumphed over villainy and oppression and have given our Alliance—and the galaxy beyond it—a chance to breathe and cheer for the progress in reclaiming our freedom from an Empire that robbed us of it. We have reports from Commander Skywalker that Emperor Palpatine is dead, and his enforcer, Darth Vader, with him.

But though we may celebrate, we should not consider this our time to rest. We struck a major blow against the Empire, and now will be the time to seize on the opening we have created. The Empire’s weapon may be destroyed, but the Empire itself lives on. Its oppressive hand closes around the throats of good, free-thinking people across the galaxy, from the Coruscant Core to the farthest systems in the Outer Rim. We must remember that our fight continues. Our rebellion is over. But the war… the war is just beginning.”

–Admiral Gial Ackbar

While Lucas originally intended the ending of Return of the Jedi to depict everyone living happily ever after, the truth is the Galactic Empire did not fall immediately after the loss of the second Death Star. The Empire still controlled countless systems and maintained its iron grip on the galaxy.

Heck, even the victory celebrations seen at the end of VI suffer from a happy ending override. On planets like Coruscant, Imperial police were quick to put down any signs of protest (including firing upon its own citizens in Monument Plaza).

Following the destruction of the Death Star II, the remaining Imperials quickly tried to stop the spread of news relating to the death of the Emperor; they labeled it Rebel propaganda. To counter this, Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar recorded their own victory speeches and distributed them throughout the galaxy.

In the Anoat system, Governor Adelhard locked down the entire sector and began to use lethal force against those who would dare claim the Empire had fallen. Also, on the remote planet of Akiva, several of the remaining Moffs and Imperial officers held a secret meeting to discuss the future of the Empire after their defeat on Endor.

 

Rise of the New Republic

This is democracy. […] We will not always get it right. We will never have it perfect. But we will listen. To the countless voices crying out across the galaxy, we have opened our ears, and we will always listen. That is how democracy survives. That is how it thrives. […] That is democracy. That is the New Republic. And if you’ll excuse me, we have a great deal of work to do.

–Olia Choko, public relations representative

 

Once the Alliance to Restore the Republic (Rebellion) had liberated Mon Mothma’s home planet of Chandrila, they quickly reformed themselves into the New Republic (a nice nod to the old Legends continuity.) Mothma was made the Chancellor and inherited many of the emergency powers that Palpatine had been granted during the Clone Wars.

The NR senate was also established. However, unlike its predecessor the Old Republic, senators were selected democratically, instead of via delegation. This new senate’s first meeting had over one hundred senators from various liberated and Imperial-controlled planets alike.

Even though the war between the New Republic and the Empire’s remnant was still technically active, Mon Mothma desired the demilitarization of the Republic as soon as possible. She quickly stripped herself of many of the authorities she deemed unnecessary, and stated her intent to remove approximately 90% of the New Republic’s military forces.

While her advisor objected to her demilitarization strategy, her intent was to bolster planetary defenses and recruit peacekeepers that would be trained in Chandrila’s academy.

 

Empire’s final days

 

As the New Republic began to establish itself, the Empire continued to lose battle after battle. Moffs fought amongst themselves and constantly attempted to declare a new Emperor; each occurrence failing. In addition, the Empire continued to lose its members to defection and those who did turn themselves over often handed over their Star Destroyers and other technological treasures.

Palpatine’s death triggered a posthumous command to raze several planets in an act of revenge. Naboo was the most prominent example of this attempted destruction. It was narrowly averted by key Republic figures such as Leia and Shara Bey (mother of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron in TFA)


Luke Skywalker had his own mission during this time. In one of my absolute favorite displays of his power and skill, Luke (accompanied by Shara) infiltrates an Imperial installation to retrieve the last fragments of the Force-sensitive tree that grew in the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant (as seen on the recent animated Clone Wars series.)

Luke gives the extra sprout to Shara and her husband Kes Dameron on Yavin IV (red herring? Foreshadowing for Poe?) and they plant it at their homestead. What about Luke’s sprout? Personally I believe he’ll plant it wherever he reestablishes the Jedi Order (bets on the old temple on Devaron for me; as seen in The Weapon of a Jedi.)

 

The end of a regime

 

“We’re headed toward a large standoff with the rebels. We’re committing a fair portion of the fleet, and if the damned Rebellion wants to stand a chance of keeping that sector, they’ll have to do the same. This promises to be the largest battle since Endor.” –Grand Moff Randd

With its power and numbers dwindling, the Empire tried one last offensive over the desert planet of Jakku. Grand Moff Randd thought that one last show of strength against the New Republic would convince the galaxy that the Empire was still a force to be reckoned with. He was wrong.


The Battle of Jakku was the final death of the Empire. The Empire was in such bad shape that its forces were comprised of barely trained cadets and the sick and injured who could barely fight. Captain Ciena Ree (deuteragonist of Lost Stars) chooses to smash her Star Destroyer Inflictor into the sands of Jakku rather than allow her ship to be taken by a New Republic strike team. Its ruins can be seen in one of the teasers for the new film.

 

End of an era

The Empire never recovered from their second major defeat. After their loss at Jakku, the Galactic Civil War was brought to a final, decisive end. The Imperial remnants signed a peace treaty with the New Republic and the galaxy saw true peace for a time.

The leaders of the NR were not fools, however. They kept their fleets on standby in the event of another Imperial attack. Leia became a general to lead the military forces alongside Ackbar. Han and Chewbacca (as per Aftermath) took on a non-authorized mission to liberate Kashyyyk’s Wookiees from remaining Imperial forces.

As for Luke? I imagine he went on to attempt to recreate the Jedi Order, but Lucasfilm has wisely kept silent on his whereabouts after Shattered Empire.

 

Resurgence of the dark side


In Aftermath, we are introduced to a group called the Acolytes of the Beyond who are collecting dark side artifacts like Vader’s lightsaber. In addition, we are introduced to Tashu, a former advisor to Palpatine who claims that the remaining Imperial forces should seek out a dark side source on the edges of the galaxy.

Are these individuals linked to The Force Awakens’ Knights of Ren? And I wonder if this dark side wellspring is linked to Starkiller Base–a planetary superweapon (capable of destroying entire star systems) under the control of the new villains of TFA. 

What we do know is that a fanatical remnant of the Empire called the First Order hid away in a nebula and they are eager to avenge their predecessors.

That’s it for now! Probably my last entry before The Force Awakens releases. I can’t wait to see it! I’ll share my thoughts on the film later this month.

Happy holidays to everyone and may the Force be with you!

 

 

“Hope is not lost today. It is found.”

Enigmatic Energy Field

Caution: Minor spoilers for TCW, Aftermath, and The Force Awakens. 

“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” –Obi-wan Kenobi

The Force is one of the most iconic parts of the Star Wars franchise. It’s the driving force (heh heh) behind nearly all of the major events in the galaxy. The films give us a small taste of its true nature, but in order to understand this mysterious power, you have to delve deeper into other supporting media.

Most people know there’s a dark and a light side and that it allows its users to perform extraordinary feats like telekinesis, but the Force is a bit more multifaceted than that. So without further delay, let’s explore its nature and the various concepts associated with it.

I’ll start with the obvious aspects.

The Light Side:

“Do not hate him, Father. It is his nature.”  –Daughter

The light side is the part of the Force usually associated with the Jedi Order. It is associated with life, compassion, self-sacrifice, honesty, etc. Those who adhere to its principles are highly altruistic and will only fight in self-defense or in defense of the innocent.

In the Mortis arc of TCW we met a woman who was essentially an anthropomorphic personification (see above: green haired humanoid/gryphon) of the light side. She and her brother (I’ll touch on him below) lived with their father in isolation until Obi-wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka were lured to their “planet” as part of a test.

True to her nature, she sacrificed her own life to prevent the death of another, much like a certain Chosen One would do for his son decades later.

Interestingly, she told her father not to be angry toward her brother, despite the dark-sider’s role in her death.

The Dark Side: 

 

“Sith? Yes. And no.” –Son

The dark side is another facet we are all familiar with. It is associated with selfishness, deceit, death, and aggression. It is most attributed to the Sith, but there are other practitioners like the Nightsister witches of Dathomir or Imperial Inquisitors under Vader.

As mentioned above, TCW introduced us to a family of powerful Force-wielders. The Son was the physical embodiment of the dark side. Like his sister, he had a humanoid and animal form (batlike creature.)

Enamored by Anakin’s status as the Chosen One, the Son attempted to lure him to his side in order to escape his imprisonment and overthrow the Sith, promising Anakin there would be peace in the galaxy afterward. Here’s a short video of the vision the Son shared with Anakin. Note the brief musical note from Revenge of the Sith in the beginning. (Still gives me chills!)

Anakin’s Vision of the Future

Of course, status quo is God, and Anakin had his memory of this vision erased. Still, it’s interesting to wonder what would have happened if he had turned to the dark side this way in order to prevent his true future.

Despite being selfish by nature, the Son did express genuine grief over his sister’s death, stating she was the only one he ever truly loved. Might seem like an unimportant story detail, but I think I don’t think it was an arbitrary statement. I believe that light and dark share a more dynamic relationship than most people assume. This leads to my next point.

Balance:

 

“You have a very simple view of the Universe. I am neither Sith nor Jedi. I am much more, and so are you.” –Father 

This aspect of the Force is a lot harder to flesh out because it’s been left slightly ambiguous as to what Balance actually entails.

Here’s what we know: light and dark are both aspects of the Force. No matter how hard the Jedi or Sith try to destroy their opposing alignment, they will always continue to exist. The light side survived the destruction of the Jedi Order to continue through Luke. Similarly, the dark side survived the fall of the Sith via cults like the Acolytes of the Beyond and the Knights of Ren.

The Force was severely imbalanced toward darkness during the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War because of the actions of Palpatine and his corrupt rule.

On Mortis, we met the personification of Balance – Father. He wanted to verify Anakin’s status as Chosen One; an individual who could bring both of his children into a state of submission.

Father set up a test in which Son and Daughter would kill his master and apprentice unless he brought both of them under his control simultaneously. Anakin passed his first test of balance and would later go on to do the same by wiping out the Jedi and eventually the Sith.

Although he didn’t elaborate on it, Father also stated that the light side growing too strong would be just as disastrous. I’d love to see future clarification on this.

Now that we’ve covered the dichotomy of the Force’s aspects, let’s take a look at its “building blocks,” if you will.

The Cosmic, Living Force and its Messengers

“All energy from the Living Force, from all things that have ever lived, feeds into the Cosmic Force, binding everything and communicating to us through the midi-chlorians. Because of this, I can speak to you now.” – Qui-gon Jinn (spirit) 

What’s that sound? Oh it’s just all of my readers leaving.

…still here? Okay. Let’s cover the most controversial aspect first.

I get why people hate the idea of midi-chlorians. These microscopic life forms have the potential to seriously demystify the Force and reduce it to boring biology. However, you need to remember two things: first, I sort of see what Lucas was going for with his theme of symbiosis and second, despite what I have heard multiple times, these organisms are not the Force itself. They merely give living beings the ability to touch the Force.

Subsequent media has attempted to give the Force a more mystical angle, likely in response to the backlash. Even the Force priestesses Yoda visits to learn of immortality make an offhand comment something along the lines of “what your science calls midi-chlorians,” leading me to believe that not even Jedi scientists fully know what they’re dealing with.

The Force, as ever, is still very much unknowable to non-Force-sensitives and Force-users alike.

On to the next related topic: the Living Force. This is the aspect most influenced by life in the galaxy. As detailed in Qui-gon’s quote above, everything that has ever lived or died feeds its energy into the Force. This energy in turn sustains the more unifying aspect – the Cosmic Force which is responsible for binding everything together.

So basically the Living Force allows life to exist and the Cosmic Force connects the universe and is responsible for the more metaphysical aspects like Force visions.

(If this all seems a bit vague, I apologize. I don’t have a lot of canon material to work with other than the final story of The Clone Wars. I would love to get more information soon.)

Awakening:

“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The dark side and the light.” –Supreme Leader Snoke

With today’s topic being the Force, I wanted to briefly touch on the new film that’s so (excruciatingly) close to release.

I don’t think they chose the title The Force Awakens without a good reason. I’m theorizing here, but I get the feeling that after finally going into a state of balance, the Force has gone into a dormant state. This could also be attributed to a lack of serious Force-users (sans Luke) in the galaxy.

I believe that with a resurgence of dark-siders (refreshingly, non-Sith if Abrams is to be believed) and perhaps a new generation of young Force-sensitives ready to train as Jedi, the Force is truly coming out of its “sleep.”

We’ll have to wait until December 18th to see if my theories are even remotely correct.

Thanks for reading!


“The Force will be with you. Always.”