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.

Media Via:

imdb.com

tenor.com

gfycat.com

tenor.com

pinterest.com

starwars.com

starwars.com

giphy.com

fanpop.com

giphy.com

lost-in-science-fiction.tumblr.com

Advertisements

Attack Of The Clones: Stolen Moments and A Splintered Soul

No man has ever outrun his fate, and no protagonist either. Anakin Skywalker is young, charming, hopelessly in love, dedicated to his commitment to protect the galaxy and its inhabitants, and is an earnest, loving son. He’s gifted with a lightsaber, vivacious and sweet, with a kind heart not often found in such a harsh galaxy. But he is also Chosen.

No matter who he may want to be, what life he may choose for himself, Anakin’s fate is inescapable. It’s wound around his neck like a noose, choking the light, the love, and the happiness out of him as each second passes. With blood and betrayal and death, he will one day bring balance to the Force and thereby bring to an end the warring, unbending factions of the Sith and the Jedi, with their holier-than-thou dogma and uncompromising restrictions. The Force is neither light nor dark, good nor evil — it is the balance of all things and it demands balance in return, and the cost will be nothing less than Anakin Skywalker’s heart and soul.

It all sounds dramatic as hell, but this is a soap opera in space – if the stakes weren’t truly monumental then why would we even care. And we do care, because despite what he becomes later on, we all can relate to Anakin as he is now – young and in love, full of naïve hope that life can truly be all that he wants it to. It’s heartbreaking watching someone strive to do the right thing and make a difference in their environment knowing that no matter what they choose to do, one choice will never be theirs to alter.

AOTC opens with an attack on Senator Padme Amidala’s life, an act that brings a nervous and frantically excited Anakin Skywalker, now a Jedi Padawan-learner, back into her life. He’s older, more mature and handsome, and she’s as beautiful and defiant as ever. Immediately we all know where the story is going, but there’s a catch: one day, however far in the future, Anakin will become Vader… He will fall to the dark side and although we don’t yet know how or why or what the scope of that actually looks like yet (back in 2002), we know eventually he ends up alone, deep in space, scarred and mutilated, and encased in machinery. So, we’re left wondering… what happens to Padme? What happens to this love we see blooming? How can it all go so wrong?


“I’ve thought about her every day since we’ve parted…” — Anakin Skywalker

It’s hypnotic and disturbing to fall in love with a couple knowing that their future cannot possibly be bright. Their days in the sun are numbered and they don’t even know it yet. Every look, every thought, every gentle touch is one less that they had a moment ago – but we can’t help but to fall for them, just as they fell for each other. In the cool and isolated lake country of Naboo, Padme and Ani are given a handful of beautiful moments and memories before the twisting of the knife begins anew and Anakin is drawn further down the path of fate, this time unleashing his hate and destruction upon a limited populace in retribution for his mother’s stolen life. It’s only a taste of what’s to come but it’s a stark contrast to the waterfall picnics and candlelit dinners of just moments ago. It’s a heartbreaking scene, and it’s there to remind us – and Anakin – that his life is not his own. No matter what we may want for him, Anakin is not ours to save, and he is not his own to govern.

“You’re not all powerful, Ani.” — Padme Amidala
“Well I should be. Someday I will be. I will be the most powerful Jedi ever — I promise you. I will even learn to stop people from dying!” — Anakin Skywalker

The truth is Anakin was born a slave, and although he escaped physical bondage on Tattooine after the events of The Phantom Menace, he remained a slave to the will and desire of the Force until the day he died. And no Star Wars film better encapsulates the inevitability and inescapable nature of Anakin’s destructive fate than Attack of the Clones because in the end, the entire film is a love-letter to a life that could have been, to a love that could have lasted. It’s a collection of beautiful, haunting memories of a life that never truly got the chance to choose and a love that was doomed before it even began.

 

Media via:

imdb.com

gifer.com

starwars.com

starwars.com

fanpop.com

fanpop.com

onscreenkisses.tumblr.com

 

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.

 

Media Via:

imdb.com

fanpop.com

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

fanpop.com

starwars.com

starwars.com

starwars.fandom.com

End Of The Month Review: The Phantom Menace

I can’t believe the first month of our year-long countdown to Star Wars Episode IX has come and gone my fellow SW fans and we’re already gearing up for round two! We’ve happily spent the past few weeks together exploring the fandom and breaking down the themes, characters, and meaning behind the first film in the Skywalker saga: The Phantom Menace – and I don’t know about you, but I feel like we covered some hella fun topics along the way!

Before we jump headlong into Attack of the Clones and all its epic Anidala glory, I figured it’s only fitting to tie up our experience with TPM with a little end of the month review! So, if you’ve missed any of January’s posts or are new to Whimsical Mutterings in general, now’s the perfect time to explore the site and get all caught up before Episode II begins! Thanks for coming on this Star Wars journey with me – thank you for every view, like, comment, and share. You guys are amazing, and you make SW and the fandom amazing too!

May the Force be with you ❤

January’s TPM Posts:

The Journey Begins: The Phantom Menace

TPM: Judgement and Consequence

TPM: The Emergence and Importance of Fate

TPM: A Light in the Darkness

TPM: Enter The Gray Jedi

TPM: Shadows In The Force

TPM: The Reign Of A Queen

TPM: A Queen’s Victory

TPM: A Mother’s Love And Legacy

TPM: The True Phantom Menace

Bonus Posts:

Star Wars Episode IX: The Beginning of the End

Epic Fun In The Fandom: #ReyloNight

 

Media Via:

en.wikipedia.org

giphy.com

giphy.com

The Phantom Menace: A Mother’s Love and Legacy

One of the great tragedies of the Star Wars saga is that it is so epic and sprawling and continuously moving forward that sometimes great characters or ideas are lost in the unceasing momentum. True, this is occasionally rectified by tie-in novels, comics, or other mediums, but other times the audience is left with simply no other information or background but what their own imaginations can create. This is especially true for the Mother of the Skywalker line: Shmi Skywalker. Who is this amazing woman, what was her story? What was her life like before Anakin? Did she have any inkling of how his future would turn out? Would she have changed anything if she did? We simply just don’t know. But what we do know about this powerhouse of a woman is that she was kind, gracious, brave, and that she taught Anakin to be the best version of himself while he was in her care.


Shmi’s backstory is one I’ve wanted to hear since she arrived onscreen for the first time back in 1999. I mean, the mother of Darth Vader…it doesn’t get much more compelling than that. I still have hope that sometime in the future the full story of her life might come to light in one form or another, but just because she isn’t onscreen or visibly present for much of the saga doesn’t mean that she doesn’t play a key role in the entire future of her family line and the galaxy at large. Shmi’s interactions with both Padme and Anakin fundamentally change them and sets them on a path that brings fulfillment to not only their fated-destinies, but to their personal lives as well. Although she was just a slave on a backwater gangster-ridden desert planet, Shmi Skywalker’s influence is felt in every corner of the galaxy and continues to be present even in the time of the sequel trilogy.

“There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can’t explain what happened.” — Shmi Skywalker

As I’ve noted before, from what we can see, Shmi is given a life most would have cracked beneath. A female slave who bore a fatherless child into a world where they’re bought and sold, won and lost on the whims of villains and cutthroats… she very easily (and understandably) could have been portrayed as bitter and vindictive. A harsh presence that we as the audience would have wanted Ani taken away from and who would have made most of us go: yep, that’s why he turned out so bad. But that’s not what we’re given at all. Instead we’re presented with a strong, kind, and incredibly warm mother who only wants the best for her son and for the galaxy at large. Instead of letting the darkness in her life hold sway, she seeks out the light, seeks out the hope and the kindness and the best in people and that’s what she instills in her son. She teaches him that although the galaxy is harsh, people are still worth helping and that it is their duty to reach out a hand to their fellow people.

That is one reason why The Phantom Menace is such an integral part of the Star Wars saga, it the only time we get to see what Anakin is like without Jedi-interference. Yes, he meets Qui-Gon and sets his feet on the path the Force has designed for him, but we also see that he is just a little boy who loves his mother and who genuinely and unselfishly wants to help people because that’s the type of person he was raised to be. This Anakin is the one most people forget about, the one that was told he wasn’t good enough by a council of grown-ass men because he understood his own emotions and wasn’t afraid to admit to his fear. This is the Anakin that Shmi raised, that she instilled her core beliefs in, and it is this Anakin that we mourn we he finally loses himself to Darth Vader. Without seeing Shmi’s Anakin, Shmi’s son, Vader is just a villain without a greater purpose. It is Shmi and her influence that ultimately humanizes the man we all thought to be the greatest monster in the galaxy. And it is the callous disregarding of her influence that shows us who the actual villains really are.

Even in the face of crushing sorrow, Shmi displays nothing but quiet strength and unending love, teaching Anakin to do the same. When Qui-Gon presents him with a seemingly better life without her, she doesn’t falter, doesn’t give into jealousy or act selfishly. She lets her son go and gives him the courage to leave her without looking back. And because of her example and her belief in him, Anakin can let go. It is only later, when the Jedi have instructed him to forfeit the teachings of his mother and suppress his feelings, that Anakin panics and latches on to the things he fears to lose. Even later, after facing abduction, torture, pain, and absolute primal fear, Shmi leaves the world – and Anakin – with words and expressions of love. She doesn’t rail against fate, or demand retribution or vengeance, she shows absolute joy and tells her son (with a mother’s affection) that he’s grown…and that she loves him. She leaves Anakin with one last example of how to face the greatest darkness in the world, and although it takes longer for this lesson to come to visual fruition, Anakin ultimately does the same for his son.

“Will I ever see you again?” — Anakin Skywalker
“What does your heart tell you?” — Shmi Skywalker
“I hope so. Yes… I guess.” –Anakin
“Then we will see each other again.” — Shmi
. . .
“Now, be brave, and don’t look back. Don’t look back.” — Shmi

Likewise, her influence on Padme is equally notable and equally long-lasting. Before arriving on Tattooine, Padme Amidala was a Queen in title, but as a person she was uncertain about her voice and how to use the great responsibility and power she had been given. Although intelligent and eager, she is untested and doesn’t know how to harness her power. In the larger scope of things, she is incredibly unknowledgeable about the actual lives and conditions of people outside her own world. She has no concept that the Senate might be powerless in certain places and doesn’t realize that the horrors and atrocities she thinks are things of the past in her privileged world, are alive and rampant on others.

“The Republic doesn’t exist out here. We must survive on our own.” — Shmi Skywalker

It is only after she meets Shmi and Anakin and experiences – even if for only a short time – the desolate, seemingly impossible, and hopeless nature of their lives, that she starts to truly assert herself. She finds her voice and uses it to win back her planet’s freedom and unite its broken populace. She goes on in the next two films to become one of the loudest voices in the Senate, demanding change and is even targeted with death-threats because she refuses to back down and remain unheard. Shmi gave Padme an honest view into a life she never could have known on her own world, and Padme spends the rest of her life being a voice for people like Shmi who otherwise wouldn’t have one to be heard.

Shmi’s example of kindness and resilience echo on through the galaxy through her son and his wife and later by their children. And as we saw in the closing moments of The Last Jedi, Luke and Leia have far-reaching influences of their own, and that influence of hope and kindness just further spreads their grandmother’s teaching across the vastness of space. From across the galaxy, spanning time and death itself, one slave’s influence and light reaches another slave and brings with it hope.

That is Shmi’s legacy. That is her gift to the galaxy and to the Star Wars saga itself: the knowledge that that even in darkness, there is light — even in hate, there is love. You decide how you see the world, you can choose to be a victim or to be a light for others in the darkness.

 

Media Via:

en.wikipedia.com

starwars.com

pinterest.com

gifer.com

starwars.fandom.com

starwars.fandom.com

starwars.com

starwars.com

starwars.fandom.com

starwars.com

The Phantom Menace: The Emergence and Importance of Fate


When I think about The Phantom Menace, I am overwhelmingly struck by the quintessential fairy-tale nature of the entire film. The scope, the dreamy colors, the adventure, and dangers, and daring! It’s all there and so are the familiar characters we as an audience know by heart: the age-old damsel in distress (who valiantly saves herself IMHO), the Arthurian-esque knights of morality who color our perception of good and evil for better or worse, the archetypal lost prince with an uncertain destiny, and larger than life villains who seek to overthrow goodness and humanity, etc. etc. In essence, TPM truly is the “Once Upon a Time…” segment of the Star Wars saga and without it the entire series is immediately unmoored and unbalanced.

The trials and tribulations of the future don’t mean as much or pack as much of an emotional punch when you don’t know that before Vader was Vader, he was Anakin, a young slave who dreamed of setting his people free and who opened his heart and his home to people in need and risked his life to help them when no one else would. And it’s hard to care about the momentarily-mentioned broken bond between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in A New Hope (when so much else is happening onscreen with Luke and Leia and Han) unless you’ve witnessed the two meeting for the first time and felt the ripples of fate move across the surface of the galaxy. And it’s difficult to feel pity for a man who makes ALL THE WRONG DECISIONS when it comes to his family unless you know that that entire future of that family began with a little boy innocently asking a beautiful young girl if she was an angel.

And that’s what I love so much about The Phantom Menace. More than any other prequel film, it shows the working hands of fate – or the force – and all that was required for the story that we know and love to come into existence. Padme’s world had to be invaded so she would leave it, her ship had to be damaged so it would need repairs, and Ani had to be a slave so he would be in the shop when Padme walked in looking for help. Because how else would a Queen from a lush, green planet meet a slave boy from a harsh, desert world?

In short, this movie had to happen, these events had to take place for the rest of the story to mean anything. Without TPM the story of Darth Vader is still there, but the emotional impact is stunted, and the characters only partially fleshed out. After all, a villain is only a villain at a certain time in his life, and a hero is only a hero when the story is told a certain way.

 

Media Via:

en.wikipedia.org

starwars.wikia.com

beseh.tumblr.com

starwars.fandom.com

rebloggy.com

Blood and Ivory (A Padme Poem)

 

I was a Queen once,
In a game of chess.
Pale, milky-white ivory
Shaped and rounded
In the mold of my foremothers,
Unchanged after a millennia.

Demure, silent, cold, reserved,
I was hidden behind pawns,
Protected by knights,
And sacrificed by a King,
A King who should have loved me.
Why didn’t he love me?

I was a Queen once,
With blood on my ivory hands.
Dark as rubies, red as wine,
It dripped from my throat,
And splashed on the marbled stones.
Why couldn’t he love me?

 

I wrote this poem several years ago and recently rediscovered it while playing around on my computer. It originally had nothing to do with Star Wars, it was just a story that needed telling, but as I reread it this time, Padme’s face came to mind. I couldn’t help but think of her bravery, her fiery determination, her ability to love wholeheartedly, and ultimately the tragedy of her short life and the lasting impact it had on the entirety of that galaxy far, far away.

Picture via Pinterest