I am a Jedi, like my Father before me

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M: “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” But Luke is also like his father in many other ways…

K: …and boy does it freak Obi-Wan out.

M: Poor dear never stops stressing. Even after death.

K: He and Yoda both spend a large part of ESB and RotJ just panicking that they are going to lose Luke to the Dark Side the same way they lost Anakin. Which is understandable considering the parallels between the two Skywalkers.

M: Let’s start with the basics. Both Anakin and Luke grew up on Tatooine–which obviously messes a person up, all that sand–and both enter Jedi-hood late in life, after some serious trauma.

K: The Jedi Council thought Babykin was too old, imagine Mace’s face if he got a look at 22-year-old Luke asking to be trained as a Jedi.

M: And he’s certainly not the Jedi Council’s idea of an ideal student. He’s whiny and stubborn and has some sort of revenge/heroism dream when it comes to fighting the Empire. He is so incredibly normal, I can’t stress that enough. Just a stereotypical 19-year-old kid who isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his life… he just knows he wants it to be *different.*

K: And off of Tatooine.

M: His initial Jedi crash-course is frighteningly similar to Anakin’s. He’s helping some random Jedi Master get off Tatooine and then said Jedi dies before he really gets to train.

K: Ooh good parallel. It’s not quite as bad as Anakin with Qui-Gon, because Luke wasn’t promised a Master and training at the Jedi Temple only to have it seemingly taken away, but the loss of Ben is a big turning point in Luke’s life.

M: Given that his aunt and uncle have just died, he transfers his need for guidance onto Old Ben.

K: And then he’s just left adrift with this vague knowledge of the Force, a lightsaber that apparently belonged to his father, and a disembodied voice that occasionally appears in his head (and for all he knows, that might just be him going crazy).

M: Luke is incredibly unprepared for being “The New Hope.” He’s got all sorts of attachments, and has a huge amount of power with very little idea of how to control it or even what it is exactly. The whole situation is so similar to Anakin’s that it’s no wonder Yoda immediately tries to say he is too “like his father” for training.

K: Despite that, I think it’s important to note that Luke has made a lot of progress by the time ESB starts. He’s a commander in the Rebel Alliance, leading a fighter squadron. He’s more mature, and he’s clearly been trying to practice with his lightsaber and the Force. He just needs some guidance. Which Yoda is wildly reluctant to give him.

M: Post-Anakin-Stress-Disorder.

K: Hahaha. Compared to the way he taught Jedi during the days of the Republic, Yoda takes a very different approach with Luke. Very little combat training, that we see anyway. Lots of open talk about the dangers of the Dark Side and practicing with the Force and meditation. He’s trying to learn from his (and Obi-Wan’s) mistakes.

M: Of which there were plenty. Luke’s training with Yoda is basically “Difficult, being a Jedi is, deal with it you must.” Yoda immediately teaches Luke not to give in to fear or despair, and does not give him violence as an outlet– no practice lightsaber duels or special missions. Luke’s outlet is… Yoda Backpack Obstacle Course.

K: “I can be a backpack while you run.” He even replaces “hate” with “aggression” on the list of emotions for Jedi to avoid. He does not want a repeat of Anakin. But let’s back up for a second and talk about that scene in Yoda’s hut when Obi-Wan intervenes to get Yoda to train Luke.

M: Oh yes, go ahead.

K: Up to now, Luke’s whole experience with Yoda has been a test of Luke’s patience, literally. Then Yoda asks him “Why wish you become Jedi?” and Luke says “Mostly because of my father, I guess.” Which, ow, my heart. But right after that, Yoda says he can’t teach him because he has no patience. And then the clincher, “Much anger in him, hmm. Like his father.” But what I love is Obi-Wan’s response: “Was I any different when you taught me?” I mean, we’ve all seen Obi-Padawan–he’s got some repressed anger for sure.

M: “Why do I sense that we’ve picked up another pathetic lifeform?” Obi-Padawan is no paragon of humility or acceptance. But back to Luke– Yoda straight up trolls Luke. He makes Luke eat his weird soup while chirping “patience” like 5 times, and then as soon as Luke gets frustrated Yoda gets hella serious… but this time, it’s Obi-Wan who comes to the young Skywalker’s defense. Which I love. Because Obi-Padawan was NOT on board with training Anakin… but this time, given Obi-Wan’s hard-earned wisdom, I think he knows that Luke’s natural emotions don’t mean he’s going to go slaughter younglings as soon as he’s unsupervised. It just means he needs some good-old-fashioned Jedi Master guidance in controlling his emotions.

K: But, the fact remains, Luke’s training begins like his father’s–with a lot of doubt about whether he can pull this Jedi thing off. (Also with a claim about not being afraid, which Yoda sees through both times.)

M: Luke is so focused on the future, which Yoda is quick to point out to Obi-Wan. “All his life as he looked away to the future, to the horizon, never his mind on where he was. What he was doing. Hm. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.” Meanwhile, Luke just wants to get going on this Jedi training so he can save his friends and fight the Empire.  

K: And get going he does, in the ESB scene that probably most closely parallels Luke and Anakin. Luke has a vision of his friends in danger–and his immediate reaction is to run to the rescue.

M: Ugh, this scene kills me. I’m just sitting here like a Force ghost: “No, Luke, no!” (Though of course we know this ends much better than Anakin going to his mother.)

K: (Or trying to save Padme.) Before we really get into Yoda and Obi-Wan’s freak out about this situation, I have to make a quick aside about Vader. Embarrassingly, it took me the LONGEST time to figure out why he tortures Han on Cloud City. Because, as Han himself says, “they never even asked me any questions.” But getting information was never Vader’s goal–he wants Luke. And as the son of Anakin Skywalker, it is more than likely that Luke has an affinity for terribly upsetting Force premonitions. Vader just needs to create the scenario of danger and pain that will bring Luke to him.

M: And Vader also knows from experience that loved ones– and wanting power to save them– will likely be a terrible temptation to the Dark Side.

K: It’s so smart and so creepy. I love it. But the Jedi do not. Because they are worried, justifiably, that Luke is going to make all of Anakin’s  mistakes if he attempts to save Han and Leia.

M: Cue the freak out. Yoda takes a “go big or go home” approach to his warning: “If you leave now, help them you could… but you will destroy all for which they have fought.” Harsh.

K: But it could be true. And it’s a risk Yoda is not willing to take with someone as important as Luke.

M: I love how for once Obi-Wan just comes straight out and explains why they’re worried: “This is a dangerous time… You’ll be tempted by the Dark Side… I don’t want to lose you to the Emperor the same way I lost Vader.” (cue tears)

K: Gah, we don’t want you to lose Luke the way you lost Anakin either, Obi-Wan!

M: But back to the action–this is the Star Wars, and limb loss is imminent. A mistake on Vader’s part. One I’m sure he regrets later bahahaha.

K: Yeah, nothing gets a person on your side like cutting off their hand. Immediately after this obviously painful moment, when he’s been utterly beaten, Luke faces the same offer that Anakin gets from Palpatine: “Join me.” He’s offered a chance to overthrow the Emperor and have unimaginable power at Vader’s side.

M: But darling Luke rejects the Dark Side, despite that tempting power.

K: And parallels his other parent by refusing to join Vader in evil.

M: So, Luke refuses the offer for power, but after losing his hand and having a traumatic encounter with a parent… has some angst. Similar to Anakin’s situation at the end of AotC.

K: It’s not an exact parallel of course–Obi-Wan is the one Dooku offers a partnership to in AotC, and Anakin’s mother is dead not a supervillain, but the trauma and the clothing choices these separate experiences lead to are undoubtedly similar.

M: And that brings us to the beginning of RotJ when Luke arrives at Jabba’s palace. Which, admittedly, is my *favorite* Luke entrance EVER. Boy knows drama, like his father before him.

K: And fashion, like his mother before him.

M: 10 points to Hufflepuff for Jedi threads.

K: That scene where Luke comes to Jabba’s palace sets the mood for the rest of Luke’s journey in RotJ. Yes he’s our hero, but he’s a little…ambiguous.

M: He’s wearing all black, very Vader, hood up in a way that would make my suburban mother call him a drug dealer, and he freaking Force-chokes some Gamorreans.

K: It’s understandable if the audience is a little worried about Luke going forward. He’s in more danger from the Dark Side than he’s ever been before this point. Which is important from a plot standpoint–if we didn’t believe there was a chance Luke could fall, we wouldn’t be so afraid of him facing the Emperor.

M: I also want to point out that RotJ was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi. Obviously, George eventually changed his mind about that, but I think that title makes it even more clear that this isn’t the same innocent Luke who wanted to go to the Tosche station and pick up some power converters.

K: In the novelization of RotJ, there’s a ton of commentary throughout the Tatooine section about Luke struggling not to *enjoy* killing all of Jabba’s minions and blowing up the sailbarge. He knows that’s the wrong way to approach it, but he can’t deny that revenge is sweet. He’s rescuing his friend and getting rid of an awful criminal, which are good things, but he’s still feeling that pull to the Dark Side.

M: I can understand Luke’s struggle not to enjoy it, because I sure enjoy watching it. The skiff scene is the best. But he does keep his promise and go back to Yoda. And I love Yoda’s subsequent warning: Luke is in danger of suffering the same fate as his father.

K: Yoda’s right–Luke very nearly does suffer the same fate (presumably minus the horrific injuries though).

M: Backing up though, I want to briefly mention Obi-Wan’s conversation with Luke prior to the Endor sequence.

K: Oh yes, please. Especially because Luke’s angry at him–very Anakin.

M: And Obi-Wan responds in his typical roundabout way as well. But also, Obi-Wan (probably unintentionally) piles on Luke the same pressures Anakin faced. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he is their only hope, that he has an important destiny, and that if he doesn’t face that destiny then the Emperor wins.

K: Yes, Luke is facing a lot of pressure in that scene with Obi-Wan, and he’s feeling more alone than ever after watching Yoda die. Like, jeez, poor kid.

M: And so he goes to face his father.

K: His first tactic? Trying to talk Vader out of being evil. Gotta love Luke. He really is determined not to turn to the Dark Side. And he does a good job initially, even when they get to the throne room and the Emperor is there egging him on.

M: But, like Anakin does and Yoda warns against, he underestimates the Emperor, as his focus is on Vader. (Luckily, Vader finally doesn’t underestimate the Emperor.)

K: The fact that Luke tries SO HARD to do the right thing over and over (“I will not fight you, father”), and that he finally does tap into the Dark Side out of desperation to save someone he loves–can we say “Anakin in RotS”?

M: Again, like Anakin it looks like his fear is what will weaken him.

K: But instead, his compassion for his father coupled with his realization (thanks, robot hand) that he’s in real danger of becoming the very thing he hates saves him.

M: Meanwhile, Vader watches the Emperor hurt Luke, in a way that reminds me of the scene where Mace Windu confronts Palpatine…the very night that Anakin turned to the Dark Side himself. And just like on that night, he has a decision to make.

K: Only this time Anakin gets it right! He stops the Emperor! And I get super emotional about it!

M: And Luke does what Anakin wanted to do all along– save a loved one from a terrible fate.

K: Well, and Anakin gets to save a loved one too. Win-win.

M: And the Force ghosts can finally stop worrying. Until Kylo shows up… *grumble*

K: But that’s a topic for a whole different post.

 

Meme Monday: Oldie-Wan Text Posts

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If you haven’t caught on already, I LOVE Obi-Wan. And not just beautiful-faced, sass-mouthed, sad-eyed, prequels-era Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan. I also ADORE weary-eyed, cranky-grandpa, dad-bod, 500% done Alec Guinness OT Obi-Wan. And maybe it’s just Guiness suffering through his annoyance with Star Wars to earn a few bucks, but I think OT Obi-Wan has got such a “WHY ME?!” way about him.

That, combined with my penchant for macabre humor, brings us today’s meme selection. These text-posts totally punch you in the feels and cause that delicious guilty-laughter and then SADNESS that is quite unique to the Star Wars, and Obi-Wan in particular. Seriously, someone give Obi-Wan a cup of tea and sympathy. *weeps*

–M

 

Skywalker Family AU: Padawan Edition

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K: Few things have the power to reduce me to mush the way fanart and/or headcanons featuring the Skywalkers all living happily as a family sans Anakin’s Fall does.

M: Seriously. I’m not one for AUs, generally speaking, but despite the fact that I love the prequels and their place in the Star Wars story, it sometimes seems… unfair that the prequel folks don’t get their happy ending, while OT folks do (ignoring you, TFA).

K: Exactly! And it’s not like I’m saying I wish this is how things actually worked out. No matter how much I cry and wail about the Star Wars, I love the emotional resonance amid all of the tragedy. And you can’t get the powerful resolution of RotJ without the equally powerful devastation of RotS. But it sure is nice to dream sometimes!

M: Especially where it concerns little Leia and Luke getting to interact with their awesome parents & parents’ friends!

K: *squeals about the cuteness* Obviously, given both of their affinity for the Force, they would be training as Jedi in this AU. (Also in this AU, the Jedi are totally cool that Anakin and Padme are married and had kids in the first place, because why dream if you don’t dream big). Which means we get to think about who would train them!

M: Little Luke and Leia, tripping over their robes, calling out to Master… Who?

K: A lot of people who share our enjoyment of this AU have Anakin training them. And in many ways, that would be the cutest thing.

M: Seriously, especially because we know how much Anakin loves to teach (see: Ahsoka), despite his unconventional ways.

K: And despite how much he initially protests. We also know he likes kids (see: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege pages 108-110, aka my cause of death). Dadakin would have been a glorious sight to behold.

M: But the thing is, in this AU, Anakin has also had extensive therapy, and knows that being his children’s Jedi master probably isn’t the wisest thing, despite his need for control. He’d rather just be dad.

K: That would be more than enough of a satisfying challenge, I’m sure. Also, him trying to train Leia would just end in disaster, can you imagine the ARGUMENTS?

M: OH DEAR I CAN.

K: Padme would laugh. And then tell Anakin to let someone else do it.

M: So, who else? I mean, if this is sans Fall we have the whole of the Jedi Order to choose from… but obviously we have our favorites.

K: Yeah, we’re not letting someone like Luminara Unduli get her hands on Luke and Leia. (Although, that could be entertaining in a terrible, train wreck way).

M: I feel like Leia would end up pranking her in some horrible way, or desperately trying to break rules just because Luminara is such a stickler, which would continue to escalate until Yoda had to intervene and split them up…

K: And Luke would just be so scared of getting something wrong and so miserable from trying to do something ridiculous like memorize every junction in 200 meters of convoluted tunnels that he’d never learn anything.

M: Plus, Luminara doesn’t have a great track record with padawans. (See: Barriss Offee) (I’m a terrible human, forgive me.)

K: (She had it coming.) So, there’s one option eliminated, not that she was ever really a choice in the first place. There’s a much more obvious choice though, of course. Our other favorite Space Dad.

M: OBI-DAD! Or, in this case, Obi-Uncle? Uncle-Wan.

K: Too cute! Of course they would both love him so much anyway, since he would be over at their house CONSTANTLY and they probably get into fights about who gets to be his padawan while they’re still younglings.

M: GAH the cute. I mean, we see how easily Luke gets attached to Obi-Wan after knowing Crazy Ben for approximately 3 days. And who can blame him? He’s cuddly! And behind his innate Jedi-ness there’s a twinkle in his eye and a heart of gold.

K: But sadly, as we learned when Qui-Gon first offered to take Anakin as his apprentice in TPM, no Master can serve two padawans. So a decision must be made.

M: I feel like the obvious decision is Luke, just because they actually do train together, albeit briefly.

K: Yes, and I think that Obi-Wan would be so relieved to have a padawan like Luke for a change. Like yeah, Luke’s had his fair share of bad choices and reckless moves, but he APOLOGIZES for them. He’s really humble when he makes mistakes. And he says where he’s going before he flies away in his X-wing to do dangerous things.

M: Luke is a darling soul.

K: In the now non-canon EU his favorite drink is hot chocolate for pity’s sake.

M: GAH ADORABLE. I mean really, let us not get caught up by his (brief) whining in ANH. Really, he’s game to do anything, cares deeply about his friends, and is fairly soft-spoken.

K: I can just picture him and Obi-Wan finishing a lightsaber sparring session and then just hanging out sipping tea and discussing whatever weird theory about healing crystals has been discovered in the past few weeks. Because let’s face it, they’re both nerds.

M: They’d read books about Jedi history together and Obi-Wan would teach him about animals. It all sounds very relaxing haha.

K: Indeed. Which, who ever heard of a Master/Padawan relationship being *relaxing*? Maybe this isn’t the best scenario after all.

M: So, Obi-Wan trains Leia? First thoughts… UM, ADORABLE. Why had I not thought of this sooner?!

K: The sheer number of times Obi-Wan would put his head in his hands and say “You are JUST like your father, may the Force give me strength.” But secretly he’d love it.

M: I mean, we’re talking all the benefits of the Skywalker/Kenobi partnership without all the trauma and competition. This is an older, wiser, softer Obi-Wan who has the patience to handle a feisty Skywalker and the life experience needed to bite back sarcasm.

K: Not that Leia needs him to cut back on the sarcasm as much as Anakin did. She can dish it right back, girl’s got her mother in her too.

M: I think Leia would make Obi-Wan LAUGH.

K: Which he NEEDS.

M: DESPERATELY! Imagine Leia trying to use a Jedi mind trick on him as a round-faced 8 year old. That might be enough to get him to full on belly laugh. And I think Leia would adore him right back. He’d be game to chuckle while she uses him as a verbal punching bag, rather than correct her right away.

K: He’d challenge her to solve problems on her own and come up with solutions to tricky things. There’d be absolutely NO patronizing. Which is the kind of mentoring she needs.

M: Yes, he’d see that innate talent and pull it out, and then not buckle underneath her sharp tongue and stubbornness.

K: I feel like they’d settle into a rhythm so fast. And then they’d be unstoppable. Also they’d gang up on Anakin ALL THE TIME.

M: “Leia, let’s put sand in your father’s robe pockets.”

K: “Way ahead of you, Master Kenobi.” Also can you imagine down the road when Han inevitably enters the picture and not only does he have to face Anakin, but there’s Obi-Wan, deceptively inviting him in for tea and then just scaring the crap out of him.

M: Bahahaha, I mean Han and Obi-Wan already know how to irritate each other so perfectly, but Han would have to hold it all in because Leia would be fiercely loyal.

K: For sure. Han would have to pass the Obi-Test before she gave him a chance.

M: A nerve-wracking thing indeed from a man known for his deceptive maneuvers. UM YES, I’m sold on this partnership. And it would also be a second chance for Obi-Wan to be a master, this time fully prepared and not under the pressure of fulfilling the dying wish of his master.

K: And no matter how exceptional Leia is, she’s not “The Chosen One” which is another relief for poor Obi-Wan’s sense of responsibility. With the experience of training Anakin, and more years of wisdom under his belt, I bet he’d be very good at helping Leia control that Skywalker rage she’s got lurking in her veins. With a lot of humor, and a lot of patience of course, but also with an open and serious warning if things got bad. I think he’d try really hard not to dance around her–and she’s too direct to take it anyway.

M: She’d dig the straight answer out of him, anyway.

K: Which is another reason she’d be good for him.

M: Yes, I think Leia would teach Obi-Wan a ton. “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is,” after all. But that leaves Luke without a master!

K: And we can’t do that to Luke! So…who gets to train the one Hufflepuff to come from the Skywalker-Amidala bloodlines? (Wait, I tell a lie, Shmi.)

M: Well, there are wealth of Jedi masters who we love and got to know in Clone Wars and EU novels. Plo Koon, primarily. Another stellar Space-Dad.

K: I do love Plo, and he would adopt the twins whether he got to train them or not. He can’t help himself.

M: Adoptive Plo’s Bros! But none of them have as much of a connection with the Skywalkers, or would be up to taking on the offspring of The Chosen One.

K: Not to mention his wife, the former Queen of Naboo (and probably Chancellor of the Republic in this AU if we’re being honest, she’s got the nerves of steel required). But yes, a daunting task.

M: I know a person not properly daunted by daunting tasks! Ahsoka KRIFFING Tano.

K: AW YEAH. (Because Ahsoka also gets to stay with the Jedi in this AU!!) But really, Ahsoka is the best. And she would be a GREAT Master.

M: Especially with Luke! Ahsoka is feisty and a touch reckless, like Anakin, but she also has this intense maternal side. She’d push Luke out of his comfort zone, but not scare him off.

K: She’d see the toughness inside him, because it does exist. He’s a ray of sunshine, but sunshine can give you sunburns if you’re not careful. She’d show him how to make the best use of his not-inconsiderable talents. Plus they would just have a lot of fun. They’d do a lot of flying together and sparring and stuff. I can see them going on lots of training field trips and coming back covered in mud and grinning. She would DEFINITELY call him Skyguy Junior.

M: OMG that’s adorable. I think what they have in common, which is what would make their relationship work, is their sheer enthusiasm.

K: They’re also both really hopeful people. They have a pretty good handle on their emotions (Obi-Wan has control of his emotions but only because he brutally represses them). And they enjoy a good display of acrobatic daring-do (see: Luke does a flip off the end of an execution plank).

M: (also see: Ahsoka always) Yes, I think together they’d be intensely energetic. And then, on the flip-side, I think they both have the same style of seriousness. RotJ, Clad-in-Black Luke reminds me of Ahsoka’s more serious, grown-up side. They’re both very thoughtful people, underneath the goofiness and flipping.

K: Oh for sure. I imagine their partnership as one that leans toward teasing more than arguing. And they’d take the time to really listen to each other’s concerns. It’d be one of those pairings where they head into battle with only a quick look at each other to determine their plan. They would know each other really well.

M: In terms of their differences, I think Luke would balance out Ahsoka’s wildness. By the time she’s older she has a really great hold on her temper, but Luke’s sensitivity would help her continue to fine-tune that.

K: Anakin would be so proud of them both, gosh. Also of Leia, of course.

M: And after a long day of training they’d all get together for family dinner.

K: I can see it now: Padme’s had a long day in the Senate, so Obi-Wan insists on cooking. Or trying to. Ahsoka and Luke take over when things start burning, (letting Obi-Wan retreat to observe quietly in the corner with a cup of tea,) even though Luke is hardly tall enough to reach anything and has to Force-float ingredients into the pot. Leia tells her mom all about the latest stunt she pulled on her twin while they were supposed to be meditating, with lots of hand gestures and getting up to demonstrate exactly what happened. Anakin just sits on the couch with his arm around his wife, smiling. Or maybe giving her a foot rub.

M: It’s the life Anakin always wanted with his mother, and the life he wanted to create for Padme and his children.

K: Ok, quick, let’s leave them there before I start crying. And-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after-the-end.

The Actual Queen of RotS

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M: Padme, my queen! And today: why she’s a severely underrated character, specifically in RotS.

K: Few things make me more angry than hearing people say things like “Ugh, all Padme does in RotS is cry, she’s such a stereotypical pregnant lady, George Lucas totally ruined her character.” NONE of those things are true.

M: This, like we often say, is a result of people only thinking about the prequels in terms of memes or their skewed memories from when they saw the films 10 years ago. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like a choke pun about Padme the same as the next Star Wars nerd. But the fact is, Padme is incredibly valuable through the entire prequels trilogy, especially in RotS.

K: Let’s take stock: when, exactly, does Padme cry in RotS? When do tears actually fall? I can think of…three times. Number 1: She’s watching the Jedi Temple burn from her apartment in Coruscant. It’s the middle of the night. Her husband is supposed to be in that Temple. She has no way to get news. Number 2 is on Mustafar, where she WATCHES HER HUSBAND TURN TO THE DARK SIDE, an event that practically makes Obi-Wan, king of repressed emotions, start sobbing. And Padme is PREGNANT.

M: (king of repressed emotions) She cries when she’s giving birth. You try to give birth without crying!!!

K: Yes, that’s number three. And if she DIDN’T cry then, it would be dumb.

M: So, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED that Padme crying is a completely justified reaction to the situations she finds herself in. But I have to back up– when is crying a negative thing to begin with?!

K: TRUE!

M: The implications behind saying “crying is bad and stereotypically female” is that it is bad to have feminine qualities. That statement is in and of itself incredibly sexist. Female qualities are not inherently weak or lesser.

K: Yes. And, the thing is, George Lucas knows this. The men in RotS have their fair share of weeping. It’s a HUMAN thing, not a “female” thing, and it’s not a sign of weakness.

M: SO, Padme can cry. Stop being crybabies about someone being human. Now, let’s also take into account that Padme is plenty busy in RotS. It’s not like she’s just waiting around for Anakin to come back.

K: She’s still a freaking Senator, people. And an INVOLVED senator. She’s pushing back against Palpatine, a little hesitantly it’s true, but she is. And she’s hesitant because she thought she knew Palpatine. They were both from Naboo and he was her mentor. Going against him at all takes a lot of guts. Something Padme is never short of.

M: Yes, I’d like to emphasize just how gutsy it is to speak up against Palpatine’s acquisition of power. The people, and the Senate, LOVE Palpatine. They think he’s the best thing to happen to the Republic. He has everyone wrapped around his finger. Speaking against Palpatine, at this point, is basically treason, given that emotions and politics are so hyped up due to the war.

K: And let us not forget that Padme’s husband is one of Palpatine’s strongest supporters.

M: This is when I really wish that the deleted scenes from RotS made it into the film. Granted, I completely understand why George Lucas decided to cut them– after all, the film is primarily about Anakin. But there was a whole subplot he wrote for Padme that shows 1) how much George cared about the character and respected her in terms of the universe, and 2) how much Padme was doing, independent from Anakin. This side plot basically has her (along with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma) CREATING the rebel alliance within the midst of the republic. Padme consistently stands for principle, throughout the entirety of the films.

K: It’s what drives her enemies crazy! It’s what makes her so hard to control, because she won’t compromise on things she feels are important. It’s why the Trade Federation wants her gone badly enough to hire bounty hunters and then just straight up send her into a death arena. Honestly, Obi-Wan and Anakin are just a bonus in AotC.

M: OMG,  good point! The entirety of AotC is incited due to Padme’s political, principle-filled stance. The whole story is the consequence of her refusal to back down from something she believes in, even when it puts her life in danger. If that’s not brave, admirable, and downright BADASS I don’t know what is.

K: I know this was supposed to be about RotS, but let’s talk AotC for a minute. Here’s Padme– she’s only what, 25? 24? And she’s already been Queen of Naboo for two terms. She’s served in the Senate for about 3 years and has established herself as a powerful enough threat that enemies are BLOWING UP SHIPS to try and stop her from attending a vote.

M: Padme is far more powerful than Anakin and Obi-Wan are, if we’re being honest. She has more of a direct influence on the world than most of the other characters do.

K: Especially in AotC, because there’s no war on yet and the Jedi haven’t become leaders of the Grand Army of the Republic. I honestly love that there are people trying to kill Padme in AotC, and that none of them are like “oh it’s so dishonorable to try and kill a girl, and she’s so young and pretty too!” Nah, she’s just a threat.

M: Her gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. Which is one of the best things about Star Wars and its treatment of women in general– they aren’t treated according to their gender, but according to who they are and what their abilities are.

K: Exactly! Which is why you have the Trade Federation creeps in the arena being like “Wait, no, she’s supposed to be DEAD not picking locks, climbing poles, and kicking some Nexu ass!”

M: One of my favorite parts of the arena scene is when she climbs the pole and Obi-Wan’s like “She seems to be on top of things” cause PUN from Obi-Wan and also she’s so much more savvy than both of them it’s amazing.

K: Also, when Anakin is expressing his concern for Padme in that scene it doesn’t seem to be because of her gender. They’re all disarmed, and while Jedi have the Force at all times, that would still leave Padme unprotected. So he asks “What about Padme?” not to say “She’s helpless and useless”–because he SAW her taking down droids in the battle on Naboo, he knows she’s a capable fighter–but because she doesn’t have a blaster and can’t protect herself with the Force. It’s strategic thinking, figuring out a plan. He just doesn’t know she’s sneakier than both of them and carries lock-picking equipment at all times.

M: I agree! Because she’s flipping amazing and can handle herself. But, let’s get back to RotS.

K: Let’s talk about pregnancy for a moment. As much as people claim they want strong females of all kinds in their media, pregnant women seem shockingly underrepresented. Like, statistically speaking, if the human race in these fictional universes is going to continue, someone’s got to get pregnant.

M: True! Females are strong as hell– and giving birth certainly proves that. Let’s validate that part of womanhood with representation of it in stories. Like with Padme!

K: Yes. So I LOVE that Padme is pregnant. And that she is happy to be pregnant (well, when she’s not freaking out that this child is going to get Anakin kicked out of the Jedi Order and cost her her position as Senator). And yes, it does mean she’s not going to swing around on a chain and fight a Nexu in RotS–pregnancy IS a very physically and emotionally involved process. But that’s not a bad thing (although I’m sure it’s not always pleasant). And it does NOT mean Padme’s any less important or strong than she is in the rest of the prequel trilogy.

M: YESSSS. She’s not any less important or strong for doing something intrinsically female. What it really comes down to, for me, is that Padme is a very nuanced and interesting character. She’s soft-spoken, yes, and wears GORGEOUS clothing and looks attractive– which, yes, are typically feminine qualities but not bad ones for a character to have. She’s strong in the best way– in principle, intelligence, and determination. She fights for her beliefs more than most Jedi do at this point. And it’s an absolute tragedy that people only remember her for saying “Anakin, you’re breaking my heart” and dying while giving birth. I mean, dying while giving birth does NOT make you “weak.” Like, are you really saying that the millions of women who have died in order to continue the human race are weak and not worthy of your respect? If so, shame on you. But also, there is so much else going on in that scene!

K: Seriously! People get so hung up on the droid saying “there’s nothing wrong with her.” And, I just had this thought now, it’s a freaking DROID saying that. Droids understand numbers, data. Not humans. Not really. So yeah, maybe her vitals are all fine, but that doesn’t mean she’s doing well.

M: It’s not like Obi-Wan, Yoda, or Bail Organa know how to deliver children or understand how to help a dying woman.

K: She’s just been Force-choked by the person she loves most in the world for pity’s sake. And Padme’s at least a little Force sensitive (see: she and Anakin stare across Coruscant in a moment of heightened melodrama) and her unborn children are much more than a little Force-sensitive so I’m sure all of the Dark Side energy exploding around Anakin wasn’t helping. There’s *something* wrong with her. It’s just not quantifiable.

M: Also, I take issue with comparing saving Vader’s life with saving Padme’s. Yes, Palpatine and his medical droids “save” Anakin by turning him into Vader when he is a burnt crisp with no limbs, and Padme does die. But the editing in that sequence juxtaposes the two for a reason. We see the dark room where Anakin is writhing on a table, droids hacking away at him, compared to the serene and calm place where Obi-Wan is trying to comfort Padme. I really feel that the reason these two are compared the way they are is to make it clear that Anakin’s treatment isn’t ethical or kind in the least. He’s being tortured back into a half-life, one that is likely worse than death. I think it’s clear that it was the humane thing to let Padme die (even though this gets into all sorts of medical ethics I’m not equipped to discuss).

K: Ooh, I like that. I mean, no I don’t like it, Padme dying is awful, but it’s true that, all things considered, that was almost best. (Gosh what a horrible thing to say). What if she’d lived? She’d be hunted? At the very least, they’d try to take her babies away from her. And if she went into hiding, she probably wouldn’t get to keep both of her children with her, and how do you choose which baby to stay with without dying of guilt? Not a pleasant fate, any way you look at it.

M: Exactly! And putting her death against Anakin’s horrific writhing as he’s being kept alive even though his life from now on will be terribly miserable, not to mention painful (bacta tank and meditation egg, anyone?)… It’s a great contrast, one used to illustrate that they are letting her go because it’s her time. Just like the Jedi say.

K: It’s what Anakin couldn’t do.

M: OUCH my heart, you wounded me.

K: But in the end, Padme’s final words, her undying belief that there is still good in Anakin, are what the Star Wars saga is all about. It’s a foreshadowing of her son, of her husband’s eventual redemption. And through that, the restoration of democracy and balance to the galaxy.

M: Padme literally gives herself up in order to provide hope for the future. Without her, there likely wouldn’t have been a Rebel Alliance, and there certainly wouldn’t have been the hope of Luke and Leia. She’s the hope that the rebellion is built on.

K: A moment of silence for all of the poor misguided souls who are missing out on Actual Queen Padme Amidala.

 

May the 4th Be With You

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It’s Star Wars Day! To celebrate, we have each made lists of moments that make us happy from each of the Star Wars movies. May the 4th be with you!

K

TPM: I love Obi-Wan’s face at the end because everyone else is smiling and triumphant while Obi-Wan is finishing the movie the way he started it—with a bad feeling about this.

AotC: I love the scene in the droid foundry when Anakin’s arm is stuck and there are blades chopping all around him because it seems like he’s going to lose his hand a la Luke in ESB, but that doesn’t actually happen until later.

RotS: I love the way the music goes away and it’s completely silent right as the mask goes over Anakin’s terrified face and then…the first Vader breath. Chills.

RO: I love the sight and sound of Vader’s lightsaber igniting in the black hallway. I think I stopped breathing in the theater.

ANH: I love Leia saying “Somebody’s got to save our skins,” because she’s supposedly the one being rescued and then she rescues her rescue party. Anyone who says Leia is a damsel in distress is just so, so wrong.

ESB: I love the tiny moment when Lando has to physically drag Leia away from shooting stormtroopers during the escape from Cloud City. She is going to make the Empire pay for taking her boyfriend, so help her Force.

RotJ: I love when Luke does a flip off the execution plank, catches his lightsaber, and just kriffing wrecks Jabba’s henchmen. It’s his biggest Jedi moment in the original trilogy and I cheer through the whole thing.

TFA: I love the way the Force theme swells when the lightsaber goes shooting into Rey’s hand. I about stood up and clapped the first time I saw this scene.

 

M

TPM: Padme: “The Queen will not approve.” Qui-Gon: “The Queen doesn’t need to know.” Padme: “Well I don’t approve.” He’s a troll, she’s a queen, it’s a great moment. Bonus points: the knowing look Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan share just after Padme reveals her identity.

AotC: Obi-Wan getting a drink after the chase on Coruscant. Never fails. I laugh every time.

RotS: So many feels in this movie, almost chose “You were my brother Anakin, I loved you.”  but we’re celebrating so I’m going to go with the moment when Obi-Wan wakes up to find he’s hanging from Anakin in an elevator shaft. I just love how big his eyes get and how he bear hugs Anakin.

RO: UH WHAT ELSE I love Vader igniting his lightsaber in the dark hallway. But, since K already chose that… I’ll have to go with just a few seconds later when Vader force slams the rebel soldier into the ceiling. It’s the most Anakin we’ve seen Vader and it’s beautiful.

ANH: Luke standing beneath the twin suns, the force theme playing… just the most Star Wars Star Wars moment, and a kriffing beautiful shot to boot. It’s where it all began.

ESB: YODA. YODA. YODA. More specifically, Yoda’s Theme is my favorite piece of Star Wars music.

RotJ: This film has the best dolly-in in cinema history. It happens when the Emperor is electrocuting Luke– he’s obviously going to lose or die if something doesn’t happen soon– and it cuts to Vader– and there’s this little dolly in. It’s this perfect moment that, because of the camera movement, projects so much emotion onto Vader’s mask. It’s the moment he returns to the light. The moment he decides to become Anakin again, and do the right thing– save his son! The whole series leads up to this moment, and it’s served, perfectly, by a dolly in.

TFA: Rey adding “and you will drop your weapon!” when she first does a Jedi Mind Trick.

 

And Friends You Must Remain…

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M: Bonus points for noir lighting.

M: Let’s set the scene. We’re in Clone Wars Season 6 (The Lost Missions), episode…

K: 6?

M: 6. This is during the second arc that deals with King of Creeps Rush Clovis. About halfway through the arc, Obi-Wan “confronts” (as much as someone like Obi-Wan can confront anyone) Anakin about the whole ordeal. (For those of you following along at home, this particular conversation happens about 7 minutes into “The Rise of Clovis.”)

K: It’s after Padme has agreed to work with Clovis at the request of the chancellor. She and Anakin have a little bit of a fight over it…

M: Anakin’s jealous, Padme wants to be her own person and doesn’t need Anakin’s permission, etc. Additionally, Anakin’s at odds with the council again, but this time he has reason to be. Clovis is a creep.

K: A creep with no understanding of consent. And, in Anakin’s defense, last time, he DID get Padme poisoned. So, Anakin is a *little* upset.

M: Just a bit. And who comes to try and fix things? Obi-Dad Kenobi himself, space-dad original. This is the first time we’re seeing Obi-Wan this arc, which is interesting, as he’s usually not so MIA during Anakin’s relationship issues in Clone Wars.

K: He’s usually watching, with an appropriately raised eyebrow. So, when Obi-Wan strides in and calculatedly leans against the wall like an L.L. Bean model, Anakin’s messing around fixing droids (or something…)

M: *Yoda voice* Technically minded, we are not.

K: …which painfully calls back to the scene in AotC when Padme comes in while he’s fixing things after watching his mother die and killing all the sand people. Clearly emotions are running high.

M: “Running High,” a phrase which here means “should be approached with the help of a psychological professional.” Obi-Wan, being “Obfuscation Kenobi” as per usual (look it up, Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, prepare to cry), dances around the subject at hand.

K: Yeah, the whole “I sense anger in you when I say his name” instead of “Why do you hate this guy so much, are you jealous or something?”

M: “BRUH, simmer down, your crush is showing.” Actually, I think what he’s trying to do is leave Anakin an opening to bring the topic up himself.

K: A good strategy, as Anakin is so sensitive.

M: Definitely, “sensitive,” let’s call it that. Then, there’s the body language here. Anakin pulls away and in doing so the distance between them grows, literally, as they talk. I also love that at this point Anakin reaches for the model ship– a remnant of childhood and a symbol for a simpler time.

K: As well as a symbol of the one place he actually feels in control–the cockpit. But let’s go back for a second and talk about Anakin’s guilt/responsibility complex. He says, speaking of Padme’s previous encounter with Clovis, that “he [Clovis] almost got Senator Amidala killed, and I would have been responsible.” He literally says Clovis is the one who would have gotten Padme killed and STILL takes the blame for the hypothetical death. As is obvious if you’ve seen any part of the prequel trilogy, Anakin has a talent for blaming himself when *anything* bad happens. It’s always because he didn’t stop it, or he wasn’t strong enough. Which is heartbreaking, and also the way Palpatine gets to him in the end.

M: GAH, Anakin feels. This gives sooo much context to Anakin and his fall. Being a Jedi is about letting go– his abandonment/abandoning issues prevent that from happening. Someone give this boy a hug! (and professional help).

K: *throws therapist at space for Anakin Skywalker*

M: SO, Anakin is enshrouded in guilt and fear and jealousy when Obi-Wan comes in. Then, Obi-Wan eventually gets around to saying that Anakin needs to let his attachment to Padme rest, just a bit.

K: And then, he brings up Satine. A former flame of “Obi’s” who, at this point, is dead, partly as a result of her attachment to Obi-Wan. It’s a guilt party all around!

M: Again, I love the body language here. Obi-Wan sits down– he takes a more submissive role, and he turns his back toward Anakin. He feels guilty that he is not a perfect example for his Padawan, and he obviously is still upset about Satine dying in his arms after being stabbed by he-who-does-not-exist-post-TPM. Understandably.

K: Quite. Also, he doesn’t want to be threatening. He’s trying to get Anakin to open up, he doesn’t want him to be defensive. Which is another reason to bring up Satine–he’s trying to remind Anakin that maybe this is something Obi-Wan can understand “to a degree,” as he so wisely puts it.

M: Yes, I love that he says “to a degree” and so doesn’t push the “I know how you feel” button, a common mistake of well-intentioned people trying to be sympathetic. He knows he doesn’t, and he knows his relationship with Satine wasn’t at all like what Anakin and Padme have. Instead, he’s demonstrating that he’s sympathetic to Anakin’s relationship… again giving Anakin an opening.  

K: But Anakin is so entrenched in slightly hysterical fear and, consequently, this NEED to keep his marriage a secret that there’s no way he’ll take that opening. Also, Obi-Wan can’t help but give the Council’s line (“You can’t have attachments”), even if what he means is “You can’t let your attachment to Padme turn into possessiveness.” Obi-Wan, lifelong Jedi that he is, thinks and talks that way naturally. Plus, he’s a subtle guy. Anakin is not. Which causes more than a few communication problems that we don’t need to go into here.

M: It’s a line that brings Obi-Wan comfort and a language Obi-Wan understands. But it’s neither of those things for Anakin, so it doesn’t have the effect Obi-Wan intends. And then, a few seconds later, when he says that Anakin needs to do the right thing “for the order,” that’s when Anakin closes himself off and gets defensive (and also slams his model ship down like a toddler throwing a tantrum). From Anakin’s point of view, what has the order done for him? EXCEPT, back up, we skipped my favorite line of this whole conversation. Anakin insists that he and Padme are “just friends” and Obi-Wan responds: “And friends you must remain.”

K: Oh yeah! I love that line too, it’s so…double edged. It almost sounds like he means “in public,” like he’s warning Anakin that he’s in danger of exposing his relationship. Because, as Clovis says to Padme later on in the episode, “friends don’t argue the way I saw you two arguing.” Obi-Wan’s calling Anakin out for doing a bad job backing up his constant assertions that he and Padme are no more than friends.

M: Yes, that! Obi-Wan knows Anakin is more expressive in his anger and his fights with Padme could attract attention… but also I think it’s some sly relationship advice. He knows how much Anakin and Padme mean to each other, and he feels it’s important to keep their relationship intact, no matter what happens.

K: Oh dang, I really like that. Like “hey, bro, quit fighting with your wife, she’s a keeper.” Obi-Wan recognizes that Padme is not interested in Clovis (and honestly, who would be?). Anakin also knows that, deep down, but he has such a low opinion of himself. He sees Clovis as all these things he isn’t, and then there’s the fact that he had a relationship with Padme before Anakin himself, etc.

M: It’s back to the letting go. Anakin thinks letting go means ending his relationship or allowing Padme to be harmed by Clovis. Obi-Wan thinks it means trusting Padme to take care of herself, even with a creeper like Clovis creeping around.

K: It’s really Clovis that Anakin doesn’t trust, not Padme, but it just feeds into this jealous/possessive worry that comes off as him not trusting Padme. Which is why Padme is mad at him, and he’s pouting in his room in the first place.

M: Ok, we’re down to the last part of the conversation, where Anakin asserts that Clovis and Padme have no current relationship. Obi-Wan pointedly says “Then we should have no problems, should we?” and leaves. I feel like there’s a shift here in Obi-Wan… he came in very sympathetic and is leaving a little snarky, exasperated with Anakin, and maybe even a tad defensive himself.

K: He’s kind of moved from subtle advice giving to what could, for Obi-Wan, almost be an outright warning. Complete with ubiquitous raised eyebrows. And that brings us to one of my favorite parts in this conversation, which is that when Obi-Wan leaves, Anakin *almost* calls out/goes after him. He lifts his hand and everything, and he just looks distressed as Obi-Wan exits and I die every time.

M: SOMEONE FIX THESE EMOTIONALLY CHALLENGED BABIES. It’s like we’ve discussed before– Obi-Wan’s sarcasm is the worst thing for Anakin, though Obi-Wan certainly doesn’t mean it that way. That “should we” hurts Anakin to the core.

K: Yes! Because then Anakin feels guilty for not being able to control his feelings about the situation, and for not telling Obi-Wan in the first place, and for everything. As usual. Gosh.

M: Galaxy-sized guilt, which Obi-Wan is probably feeling a share of as well. The moral of every story, as my sister says, is either “People are awkward and should never speak to each other” or “People should just talk to each other.” The moral of this story is both.

K: But if Obi-Wan and Anakin did manage to say everything they needed to say without it being an utter disaster, we couldn’t cry ourselves silly over the ending of Revenge of the Sith. And then cry ourselves silly again over the ending of Return of the Jedi.

M: “And friends you must remain.” Take that to heart, you bozos.