Attack Of The Clones: Shades Of Morality

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“Clear your mind must be, if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.” – Yoda

Earlier this month we discussed the political nature of the Jedi and the origins of the Grand Army of the Republic – those genetically modified soldiers better known as the Clone Army, who were created to “protect” the republic until Order 66 had them turning their weapons on their Jedi Generals, effectively setting the stage for a Sith-ruled galactic empire. We delved into great detail discussing the creation of the army and the motivation behind it, both for the Jedi and the Sith, but that was only half the story for these expendable clone warriors and our “beloved” Jedi knights.

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Despite the metaphorical elephant in the room, the Star Wars films never openly discuss the questionable morality of our heroes using living beings as disposable fodder for war while the supposed bad-guys make use of engineered mechanical droids. Tabling the question of whether droids do in fact have life, because that’s a whole other post in it’s own, the fact of the matter is that our kind and compassionate, peacekeeping Jedi heroes – who won’t even send a force beyond two men to stave off the annihilation of the peoples of Naboo – suddenly have no words of wisdom against or qualms about being given millions of lives to fight a war that in all honestly they have no right to even be in.

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Although trained in combat since their youth, the Jedi Order are renowned peacekeepers, only fighting when absolutely necessary. But yet, by the end of AOTC they are not only fighting in, but leading, an army of genetically engineered, living and breathing men, in a political war. But why? Their allegiance is to the people of the galaxy…not the government. Right? And you can say they’re fighting to keep the Empire and all it’s evil from rising but if that’s the case then they failed utterly, and moreover, there is no conceivable way that Yoda sat two feet from Palpatine and didn’t realize the level of darkness emanating from the master of the Sith himself.

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In the end, whether or not the government is a Republic, an Empire, or something else entirely, the Jedi are not supposed to takes sides – because if that’s not the case then why is there still mass corruption and slavery on planets like Tattooine? If the Jedi have enough stake in the political arena to go to war over planets leaving the Republic and are willing to risk millions of clone lives to enforce that decision, then why do they not have enough stake or motivation to confront star systems that allow people like Shmi and Anakin to endure slavery, degradation, and the constant threat of death?

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The Jedi Masters are more than willing to allow the Senate to decide when and how to deal – or not deal – with these injustices in the galaxy, but why allow such darkness to flourish if their purpose is to preserve and fight for the light? Why not fight for the enslaved mothers and fathers and children of Tattooine? Why not fight to liberate the people of the Naboo when its peaceful citizens were being tortured and mutilated? Amidala begged and fought and risked her own life to ask for help and unmoved, the Jedi still refused to send more than two men to help.

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“Now that they’re extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified. But if you strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure. Hypocrisy, hubris.” – Luke Skywalker

By their inaction, their refusal to risk their lives to help those truly in need, the Jedi Order failed Padme Amidala, they failed Shmi Skywalker, and they failed even their own proclaimed Chosen One: Anakin Skywalker. Their lives were more important than others and they did not feel compelled to risk so much, but given an army of non-Force users, they are surprisingly quick to lead an army into a war that they have no place in. Ultimately, surrounded by replaceable troops of clone men, Jedi lives are in very little danger and they are suddenly comfortable with sending men to die for a cause that they wouldn’t send more than two of their own to defend before. And we proclaim them as our heroes. They are who we strive to be.

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It’s little wonder the Force itself sent Anakin to redress the issue.

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Attack Of The Clones: An Unholy Alliance

“What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of a dark lord of the Sith?”  — Count Dooku
“No, that’s not possible. The Jedi would sense it.”  — Obi-Wan Kenobi
“The dark side has clouded their vision. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith lord called Darth Sidious.”  — Count Dooku

After re-watching The Attack of the Clones for this month, I noticed something strange that I’ve never fully paid attention to before and it stuck with me throughout the entire film and that’s just how often Yoda and Mace Windu are in the same room with or in close proximity to Chancellor Palpatine aka Darth Sidious and the future tyrannical Emperor of the galaxy himself. I’m not sure how I missed it before, though it probably had something to do with me being preoccupied with the Ani/Padme affair or the Ani/Obi-Wan drama, but this time, right from the beginning I noticed that our two best known and loved Jedi Masters were definitely in the room with arguably the greatest evil in the galaxy…and they didn’t seem to register or notice anything odd…which when you think about it, is odd in-and-of itself.

As a politician, Palpatine is presumably used to keeping himself tightly under-wraps at all times, and as a Sith even doubly so, but Yoda and Windu are the best the Jedi Order have to offer and they’re sitting two feet from the metaphorical-font of all darkness and villainy and death, and they don’t notice anything? Not even a flicker of the Force saying that something is not right?! And this pairing doesn’t happen just once, but multiple times throughout the film – to the point we even see the Masters in the Senate itself during the vote that allows Palpatine to have emergency executive powers which he then uses to “create” the of the Republic army (i.e the clonetroopers)! They are in the epicenter of Palpatine’s powerbase itself, present for the moment he is given almost unlimited political power and still it comes as a surprise to them in the ROTS that he is the Sith lord they’ve been “searching” for? I’m sorry but I don’t buy it.

The Jedi are tapped into the essence of the Force itself, feeling it’s pull and sway and searching out it’s truth and defending the good in the galaxy and yet we’re to believe that it’s two best representatives and most learned, experienced, and wise Masters are blind to what’s right in front of them, because Sidious is that powerful? That may have been more likely had they not so often been in close proximity but again, we see them in the same room at the same time, several times throughout the film. The Force is something that is felt in and around all things but most especially it’s active users, we see this time and again in the movies. Luke even teaches Rey how to access and interprets it in The Last Jedi where within just moments she understands and feels enough to know that Luke has shut himself off from the Force and that there is a lack of something around him and it’s noticeable. So even if Palpatine was shutting the Force off when in the presence of the Jedi Masters, it should still have registered for them that this lack of connection was highly unusual considering the Force is in all things.

“And this is the lesson: That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi dies, the light dies is vanity. Can you feel that?!”  — Luke Skywalker

“But I didn’t see you… Nothing from you. You’ve closed yourself off from the Force.” — Rey

Yoda notices Anakin’s pain from across the Galaxy when Shmi died, he feels the loss of each Jedi when Order 66 occurs, and yet he doesn’t notice what’s sitting across from him staring him in the face? Unlikely. And why were Yoda and Windu in the Senate that day anyway, do the Jedi have representation on the Senatorial floor, and if so, are they the Jedi Senators? Because considering how much overall disgust, distrust, and you-can’t-trust-politicians-because-they’re-power-hungry-monsters speeches are thrown around and repeatedly hinted at during AOTC and ROTS then that’s saying something about the Jedi Masters. Even if they are not elected officials, they are the only Jedi we see on the senatorial floor – if not the only non-political people we see in the Senate that I can remember – and that makes them the Jedi senatorial representatives to the audience if nothing else.

“And don’t forget: she a politician, and they’re not to be trusted.”  — Obi-Wan Kenobi

So again, if they supposedly harbor no real suspicion of Palpatine, why are the Jedi Masters present in the Senate…on the very day the creation of the Republic Army becomes legal. An army that was created by a Jedi Master (Sifo-Dyas) and recruited for by a Sith (Tyranus aka Dooku) ten years previous…just about the time that Anakin Skywalker was brought before the Jedi Council and acknowledged as the Chosen One… from the prophecy that foretold the destruction of both the Jedi and the Sith.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and nothing brings together warring fractions like the idea that they will both be destroyed by a third power now on the rise. For all the talk of good vs. evil, light vs. dark, we are shown our “heroes” and our “villains” together again and again and again and now an army that they both had a hand in making comes into play, just as Anakin becomes old enough to become disillusioned and noticeably dissatisfaction and angry. I mean talk about a coincidence of galactic proportions… but then “all is as the Force wills it” – there are no coincidences in Star Wars.

The greatest Masters of the Jedi Order knew their time was running out, their reckoning had come in the form of a child who had endured slavery and poverty and still faced the world with love and acceptance, and short of killing him outright and proving themselves to be the villains of the galaxy, they had no way of stopping him. So, they united with the only other people who had a stake in the game and were equally threatened: the dark lords of the Sith themselves. Together these two factions created an army that consisted of a cloned Mandalorian Bounty Hunter, i.e. one of the most dangerous sorts of fighters in the galaxy, all to keep themselves safe from a child created by the Force itself with one purpose: to restore balance to the force. In the end, the Jedi Masters made a deal with the devil to stay alive but didn’t pay attention to the fine print – Palpatine would help them, but he had a contingency plan of his own…

 

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Attack Of The Clones: Master and Padawan


“Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Don’t say that, master. You’re the closest thing I have to a father.”  — Anakin Skywalker

Hearing this exchange for the first time as a soon-to-be thirteen-year-old, I was dramatically shook. I mean the irony nearly bowled me over – I remember thinking, “No Obi, you don’t understand, HE IS GOING TO KILL YOU!” It’s one of those great little moments in the films where Star Wars itself goes a bit meta and speaks directly to the fans.

The relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker is something that drives the entire saga. In A New Hope we first hear Obi-Wan’s admittedly skewed version of events before we see them meet as enemies, duel, and watch in horror as we lose our first big SW hero when Darth Vader strikes down a willing Obi-Wan. This is in effect one of our true first moments of seeing how far Vader will go as a villain, Tarkin was the one that ordered the destruction of Alderaan, but Vader killed our beloved mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And even after this point their lives were entwined as Obi-Wan returned as a Force Ghost to help Yoda train Luke as a Jedi, preparing him to face and kill Darth Vader, Luke’s own father. It’s only after Luke calls him on his falsehoods, that Obi-Wan admits the full truth, but defends his previous story in true Jedi manipulative fashion, saying he told the truth, “from a certain point of view.”

So, after all the events and drama of the original trilogy and the very limited time they shared in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones was the first time we truly got to see this epic pair together before Anakin became Vader and Obi-Wan’s story gets a bit fuzzy. And it’s truly so Shakespearian. We ALL KNOW Anakin is going to kill Obi-Wan someday, we’ve already seen it happen, but here they are onscreen with a relationship that although complicated, is full to the brim with love and affection. It makes it so much more difficult to see them as friends knowing how their story ends, but that’s really what makes the saga itself so effective. If they had hated each other from the get-go then we wouldn’t really care that Vader killed Obi-Wan, but that’s not the case at all, and so when the inevitable happens, we suffer along with the characters.

At the end of TPM Obi-Wan fulfills Qui-Gon’s dying wish to train Anakin, even going so far as to threaten the Council with disobedience, but we’re left with the knowledge that Anakin was not Obi’s choice. Would he resent his new responsibility to train a boy he didn’t know and had no real connection to, is that what would drive them apart and lead them to the deathly events of A New Hope? But then we see them together at last in the elevator in Attack of the Clones and immediately, the sense of warmth and familiarity sweeps over us. Obi-Wan may not have chosen Anakin and may never have on his own, but he truly loves Ani, and Ani loves him in return.

In this movie especially we see their relationship as Master and Padawan, or rather Father and Son. From the get-go we see Obi-Wan trying to instill wisdom and the Jedi mentality and Anakin bristling under the constant scrutiny. They bicker and push at each other constantly, but beneath it all is the truth that Anakin so easily admitted.

“You’re the closest thing I have to a father.”  — Anakin Skywalker


Watching AOTC again as an adult, I see not only the aggravation that Anakin feels at being judged, commented on, and critiqued constantly, but the absolute fear that Obi-Wan feels about Anakin. Obi-Wan knows the members of the Council rejected Anakin, he knows they don’t want him in their ranks and yet they’re forced to accept his presence. He understands that unlike any-other Jedi before him, Anakin has no true allies amongst the Jedi other than himself, and that without him Ani would truly be alone and at the mercy of the Jedi Masters. He respects the Council of Masters as his peers and comrades in the Force, but he truly loves Anakin, and in that love, resides great fear of what will happen to Anakin when he’s no longer protected with Padawan-status.

I think that fear leads him to push Anakin, to constantly keep at him and press his own mentality and character onto his student because that’s the only way he knows to keep Anakin safe. If he could make Ani enough like himself then the Council wouldn’t feel so threatened, they like Obi-Wan, so therefore they would like an Obi-Wan-esque Anakin. But that’s not possible. Anakin’s personality is too set to be changed, and his destiny wouldn’t allow for it anyway. He is who he is and although he respects and love Obi-Wan he doesn’t like the constant strain of always being wrong or being labeled as second-best. He wants to shine, but Obi-Wan is terrified of what will happen if he does. Again, it’s so Shakespearian, Obi-Wan tries to protect Anakin but it only leads to resentment and in effect, drives a wedge between Master and Padawan.

In the end, I think we see a great foundation formed in Attack of the Clones. Anakin and Obi-Wan are almost nothing like we’d expect them to be after seeing the Original Trilogy, they aren’t enemies but rather a small family unit with tangible real-world problems. There’s such an abundance of love between them and it makes the story so much more relatable and heartbreaking knowing that their fates are already set in stone. Obi-Wan will die. Vader will kill him. But for now, they are family, they protect each other and face the same issues all families do – just on a galactic level. But more than anything, there is Obi-Wan’s fear for his Padawan, fear for his son, that one day he will not be there to protect Anakin when he needs to be. And Anakin interprets this fear as any teenager would: as judgement and understandably bristles as being so undervalued. And even here, right at the beginning we see the cracks that are forming around them, setting the Force’s plan into motion. One day Anakin will fall, and not even Obi-Wan’s love will be enough to save him.

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Attack Of The Clones: The Last Rays of Light

With one month down and The Phantom Menace now behind us, I settled in to re-watch Star Wars Attack of the Clones yesterday afternoon. It had been a little while since I had seen this one and in some ways it felt like I was watching it again for the first time.

When it first premiered in May of 2002 I was in the soaring upswing of my complete and utter adoration/fascination/obsession of all things wildly romantic – I was about to be 13 and dramatic flair was my middle name. All these years later I’ve never really come down off that high of loving impossible romances. Yes, they’re unrealistic ideallic fantasy-dreams that don’t exist in the real world, but there’s still something about them that sucks me in. And at 13 everything seems possible – and plausible – so the more dramatic and impossible the love story, the more I adored it. Needless to say, when episode II hit theaters, I was MESMORIZED.

Attack of the Clones was everything I needed Star Wars to be at that time of my life, it was lush and beautiful, with sweeping scenes of waterfall picnics and sunshine-drenched lake houses. Padme’s clothes were to-die-for and the addition of a purple lightsaber just was sheer perfection. Add to that, Anakin was suddenly attractive – something I didn’t even know to expect – and he was in love with Padme and it was a forbidden love, which just made it all the better! My young heart beat to the tune of the Anidala theme my friends, and I never looked back. I was a shipper before I knew knew what shipping was and for me this installment was a love story plain and simple, and love stories were my bread and butter.

But watching it now almost twenty years later, what really struck me this time first and foremost wasn’t the actual love story –although it is still epic – but rather Anakin’s attitude during the first half of the film. When I think of Ani now, having seen the entire saga, I often picture the Jedi Knight in episode III, the closed-off, near-drowning man who can’t find the light to save himself. Or maybe the happy little boy winning the big pod-race and believing that all his dreams will come true. But this Anakin, this teenaged AOTC Anakin, struck me this time around as such a forgotten gem of a person. He comes across as sullen and argumentative and is therefore automatically panned as being a classic teenage whiner but that’s only when he’s in the company of Jedi. He’s spent the last ten years being told to contain his nature, to submit to the Jedi’s way of life and for someone who is so emotionally mature and expressive, it’s no wonder he chafes at such restrictive and harmful instruction. But the moment Padme enters his life again, all that meaningless chatter and chastisement visibly melt away and he is again that boy from the desert who can’t help but speak the truth.

“Ani? My goodness, you’ve grown.” — Padme Amidala
“So have you, grown more beautiful…” — Anakin Skywalker

Anakin has always been portrayed as highly emotive, especially in the previous film, what he thinks and feels he says, and he has no qualms about expressing to someone that they’re important to him. His honesty and openness are originally commendable but now set against the restrictive nature of the Jedi code – with their aversion to attachment and expression of emotions – is suddenly portrayed as wrong as we see it that way as well. He is chided and ridiculed by Obi-Wan for his display of obvious feelings, but it’s not in Anakin to lie. Not yet. There is still too much of his mother in him, too much of her teachings and love and wisdom to be beaten down completely by dogmatic rhetoric.

That’s why very time Anakin is with Padme he finds himself speaking his most inner absolute truths – things that most people would blush at or feel too embarrassed to speak aloud. Because she is not Jedi, and because he knows that somehow she understand him and he needs her to know the truth while he can still say it. He explains his love for her, his admiration and respect for Obi-Wan as well as the crippling frustrations with his Jedi training. It’s like he cannot help himself. Every time he speaks to her, the truth overwhelms him. After ten years of being encouraged to lock his old self away, and not give in to emotion or his own instincts, the real Anakin is dying to be recognized, to be understood. Even at his darkest, he hides nothing.  It’s incredibly beautiful to watch, but painful at the same time. Painful because honesty is actually frightening for most people and because it’s as if Anakin’s spirit is trying to purge itself of the last ten years of repressed emotion. He’s unconsciously attempting to shake off the shackles of Jedi mentality, but it’s too late, he’s completely surrounded, his fate is already sealed, and this is the last time we truly get to see Anakin as he was before. His time as Anakin Skywalker is fading fast, and it’s almost like some part of him knows it.

“From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought of you. And now that I’m with you again… I’m in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you — I can’t breathe.” –Anakin Skywalker

So after watching AOTC again for what is probably the hundredth time, what I see now is a boy who hasn’t yet been broken. What is often read as awkward and argumentative behavior, is in reality just Ani desperately pushing back against the Jedi’s restrictive nature and seeing Padme again immediately reverts him to his old self. He speaks the truth to her with no shame hampering him and for a short time becomes the person he wants most to be — someone capable of great deeds, and great emotions. Ultimately, he is still the Anakin we met on Tattooine, he is still Shmi’s son – but now time is running out, and the Anakin we know and love is coming nearer and nearer his final fatal destiny.

 

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The Phantom Menace: The True Phantom Menace


For over forty years we’ve celebrated the Jedi as heroes, the ultimate victors in the galactic conquest that spanned time and space itself, and when we had nothing but the Original trilogy to go by, that might have been true. But if the prequal trilogy has taught us anything, it’s that the truth is never what you think it is and things are never as simple as they originally appear. For example, Darth Vader is more than a suit-encased villain…he’s a little boy who builds droids to help his mother and who risks his life to help complete strangers. And the Emperor is more than a threatening hooded-figure holding Vader’s leash on the Death Star, he’s a suave, well-liked politician who comes from one of the most peaceful planets we visit in the entire series. Even Obi-Wan was once a student with a flair of a temper who questioned his teacher. Time and again we are shown that our first impressions of these characters and themes are wrong, or incomplete because we didn’t know the whole story. So with all that in mind, are we to believe that the entirety of the Jedi order just conveniently misunderstood the word balance and nobody bothered to correct them?

“You refer to the prophecy of The One who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it’s this boy?” – Mace Windu

I know prophecies can be interpreted in a thousand different ways and none of the interpretations be correct, but balance has a straightforward definition as words go. Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Pretty easy stuff. And yet a roomful of highly intelligent and supposedly wise, leaders of the galactic police-force all misinterpreted it? Even Master YODA?! He’s been around for over 900 years at this point and has presumably spent a great chunk of that time meditating and seeking wisdom, so either he’s really bad at it, and by default, the rest of the Jedi are as well (which I find difficult to believe) … or our more likely, our heroes knew exactly what balance meant — and actively fought against it, because it makes no sense that such a diverse group of enlightened individuals all came to the wrong conclusion about the meaning of such a simple word.


There’s a line Padme speaks in Revenge of the Sith that catches my attention every time I revisit the saga: “What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?”

Ergo: What if our heroes are not heroes at all…what if they’re the villains?

Let’s be honest, the Jedi Council knew exactly what the prophecy of The One meant because if they didn’t then their lack of intelligence is unbelievably staggering. So when Anakin finally appeared before them, they immediately shunned him– and by proxy, the will of the Force itself – because they knew balance does not mean wiping out the Sith to leave the Jedi unchecked. Balance means a clean slate. It means equality. It means an end to their powerbase and their perceived right to judge the galaxy by their views and opinions.

That’s right. When a little boy newly freed from slavery stood in front of a roomful of heroes and asked to join them in their quest to help bring peace to the galaxy, they responded with a harsh and resounding: NO. He is too old, they crooned, too full of fear. And because they’re our heroes of old, we and the rest of the galaxy listened, and in their excuses heard wisdom. But is anyone too old to learn to be a better member of society. Is anyone too old to try to do the right thing? I personally wasn’t aware that there was an age-limit on becoming a good person. A child who has been a slave all of his life and who suddenly has the autonomy to choose his own course in life, decides to give himself over to selflessness and the good of the galaxy and you belittle him and tell him no…because he’s nine…and has the emotional maturity to handle all the things life has thrown at him without becoming bitter or violent… and you’re the heroes in this story?

I don’t think so.

The plain truth is the Jedi Council recognized Anakin for what he was the moment he first stood before them: he was their reckoning, their downfall from power. And in their own palpable fear, they rejected him. They purposefully rejected the will of the Force and because we hailed them as heroes, we didn’t see it. Anakin was the physical manifestation of the Force itself coming to wipe the slate clean and put an end to the warring extremist ideals, which would in turn leave the notion of the Jedi in the antiquated past where it belonged, and as a collective voice the Jedi Council said no – we wield the Force, the Force does not wield us.

So no, I do not see heroes here. I see an inflated sense of self-importance, a belief in their own divine right to rule and judge both the Force itself and the morality of the galaxy at large. I see narcissism, and fear, and the refusal to compromise. You can preach and speak peace and love and harmony, but your actions better reflect all those things or everything you claim to stand for is meaningless. If your hallmark is compassion, then you damn well better show it.

“See through you we can.” – Yoda

In the end, the prequel trilogy sets us up to discover all the hidden truths in the Star Wars saga that we ultimately missed the first time around, and it all begins in The Phantom Menace. We learn that Vader was more than a monster, and that the story we thought we knew is only partially true. But perhaps most important to the tale as a whole, and yet sadly overlooked due to our emotional attachment to the original story, we’re given a harsh truth about those we’ve come to love, emulate, and admire above all others. We just have to be brave enough to see it. Because again, the truth is there in the simple meaning of the words: The Phantom Menace. It’s not referring to the darkness we all plainly see coming, it’s hinting at those who hide in plain sight, those whose darkness is masked by faces of those we trust most. The true phantom menace.

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The Phantom Menace: Judgement and Consequence

When I originally planned this post a few weeks ago I had the idea to do a running commentary of my thoughts and reactions to watching The Phantom Menace. That being said, about thirty minutes into the movie I realized two rather crucial things. First: I can’t concentrate on taking notes and watching a movie at the same time, it’s just not in me. I don’t know what I was thinking really, I’m one of those nutters that nearly drowns while drinking things because I sometimes forget to stop breathing for a second and I end up inhaling a lungful of sweet tea or something. Seriously, it’s sad, I have to give one thing my full attention and it quickly became a nightmare trying to watch and write. Second – and perhaps more important – my “revelations” and inner-thoughts were boring as hell. I mean I have my own Star Wars theories and ideas and a crap ton to talk about, but I couldn’t make a compelling list of thoughts to cover an entire two-hour movie where some things just aren’t worth talking about. It just wasn’t happening and I was losing my own interest lol.

So, I had a dilemma… what to do for this post since I have all my other ones already planned out for the month and set in the order I want them in? I couldn’t think of anything at first, I just kept swirling back to a quote in the movie that nearly smacked me across the face this time. And then it hit me. There are so many exceptional quotes from The Phantom Menace that just set up the basis for not only this singular movie, but the entire saga, yet there was something so relevant about this one in particular, something that wouldn’t let my mind rest. I had to discuss it! The quote is simple enough, it’s Qui-Gon’s defense of Anakin after Obi-Wan insists that he and the entire council can see that Anakin is dangerous.

“His fate is uncertain. He’s not dangerous.”

And it’s true, Anakin wasn’t dangerous, not at this point. Ani was a relatively happy little boy who was expressive, emotive, and unerringly kind, who had been raised to think intelligently for himself and problem-solve along the way. But the things that made him a good person in normal circumstances were the very things that turned the Jedi order against him. The Jedi would need to take everything that was Ani away and instill their own doctrines, beliefs, and ways of seeing the galaxy to make him one of them, but at advanced his age, Anakin’s personality was likely setting into place. They wouldn’t be able to fully overcome his own instincts and opinions – he wasn’t a baby or a toddler who they could teach or force to think how they chose – therefore he was dangerous, he was other, and they immediately treated him as such.

Instead of welcoming him with acceptance and understanding or even compassion, the council immediately set themselves apart from Anakin and make it clear – to a child who had just escaped enslavement and had helped two of their own order – that he was not welcome in their company because he was going down the darkside path simply because he admitted to feeling fear. Yeah… let that sink in for a moment because I’m getting mad just typing this. In an entirely new place with strangers who are testing him left, right, and center, far away from the only source of love and security he’s ever know, it’s no wonder Ani is afraid. The Jedi use a little boy’s love of his mother to make him unworthy of their time and consideration, they twist love into a weakness and call themselves the better for it.

Needless to say, I have A LOT MORE to write regarding the council and that’s already planned for later, so I’ll stop myself here. But I will say this: Qui-Gon was right. Anakin wasn’t dangerous until the Jedi made him so. The Jedi created their own destruction and it eventually cost them everything. I think this is a theme that often goes overlooked because it’s the “good-guys” doing the wrong things and we like to turn a blind eye to that sort of thing, but it bears noting that the same thing happens again in the sequel trilogy. Lessons are not being learned here. Ben Solo struggled with the darkness inside himself all his life, but it was Luke –a Jedi – who sealed his fate and the galaxy’s by deciding for everyone that his nephew was dangerous and needed to be dealt with. Another great evil is born because of the judgement of the peace-keeping righteous. And it’s just as Rey says, Luke created Kylo Ren, the same way the council created Darth Vader, and it began here in The Phantom Menace.

Today’s post ended up being a little darker and heavier than I wanted to start out with but hey, that’s Star Wars for ya! There is always darkness at the heart of fairy-tales and if you don’t see it then you’re missing the entire point of the story itself. But what about you guys, what quotes stand out to you when you watch The Phantom Menace? Are there any moments that you just can’t let go of? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you guys next time!

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