Archive for March, 2014

More Meta: The Star Wars Afterlife

March 31, 2014

Since not everyone has seen every Clone Wars episode yet, I’m going to put this under a cut and warn of heavy spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the entire Yoda arc yet.

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My Controversial, Contrarian View Of Anakin/Padmé

March 29, 2014

Watching the Clovis arc from Clone Wars Season 6 then listening to both Bryan Young and Dave Filoni discuss Anakin and Padmé’s marriage on various podcasts got my meta gears spinning. It seems to me one reason why there are those who have trouble with this relationship is because they tend to feel it was wrong for them to fall in love and be together. Adding to that belief are the secrecy and deceit they use to maintain their relationship. Deceit is considered morally-wrong after all. Filoni had more or less referred to them as selfish on a recent podcast. If only they had stuffed it all in a drawer and forgotten about each other, everything would have been fine!

It is a little hard to blame people for feeling that way because the movies sort of guide that opinion along, where it seems duty is supposed to come before everything else in life. Personally, I understand why the no attachment rule exists among the Jedi. Who wants Jerry Springer-esque fights among jealous people with superpowers? Love can make even regular mortals do crazy stuff. The other thing is, everyone who knows everything about Star Wars walking into this already knows Anakin will become Darth Vader. They can’t empathize with the love affair of someone destined to be evil; this is also a reason why Padmé gets so much crap from people. They don’t think a good woman should fall in love with an evil man. Anakin turns to the Dark Side and destroys the Jedi because of his love for Padmé, then overwhelmed by the Dark Side, brings about her death: surely their love was tainted, toxic, and horrible.

My perspective though is a little different. I don’t think their love was wrong and I believe, Anakin’s issues aside, it was genuine. Take away his post-Vader actions and Anakin is actually quite honorable with Padmé. He never pushed himself on her and always respected her wishes. All of this “creepy stalker” stuff I keep hearing is just projection by those who have the foreknowledge that Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Until ROTS, I thought he was a lot nicer to Padmé than Han was to Leia for half of the original trilogy. If you ask me, I think the Force brought them together. There would be no Luke or Leia without their love after all.

The real problem is that both Anakin and Padmé are locked into social roles they are unwilling or unable to change. When Padmé initially rejects Anakin’s declaration of affection for her, what does she talk about? Their roles: “you’re studying to be a Jedi and I’m a Senator.” Anakin didn’t have to be a Jedi. I actually think he had no business being one. I understand Qui-Gon’s reasons for wanting to train him, especially with Sith running loose, but it just wasn’t in Anakin’s psychological makeup. He had too much baggage that was never addressed and keeping him from his mother for 10 years was a terrible mistake. Maybe all he was meant to do as the Chosen One was run over Palpatine in a freak podracing accident. And Padmé? Her persistent need to serve others and the expectation she’d do so if asked were her problems. She didn’t have to be a Senator, but she couldn’t refuse the Queen when she was asked to go to Coruscant. She could’ve quit any time she wanted and it seemed like in ROTS with impending motherhood, she started to show some inclination to do so. However, it was clear she didn’t want Anakin to leave the Jedi and apparently was prepared to raise Luke and Leia in secret on Naboo. Certainly it was selfless from a certain point of view for Padmé to recognize the Republic needed Anakin, and for her husband’s sake, he had that need to use his abilities in some productive, meaningful way. In his own way he was as idealistic as she was. But Anakin was getting weary of the secrecy of their marriage and how long did Padmé realistically expect to keep a family secret, even far from Coruscant? The aforementioned movie talk of duty is the social pressure both felt to remain in those roles. I don’t think the Jedi would have taken Anakin leaving them lightly. Padmé risked scandal and letting down her homeworld for leaving her role. In their time and place, there was no room at all left for them to do what they really wanted. They put pressure on themselves and pressure was put on them to think only of duty, duty, duty.

By comparison, no such pressure is put on the original trilogy characters. It’s never clear why Leia resisted Han initially, aside from his being a bit of a jerk on occasion. But note she never says, “I can’t be with you. You are a smuggler and I am a princess and a leader. We will both be shamed and destroyed if we are more than friends.” Nobody tells Leia she cannot love anyone and still serve as a leader in the Alliance. Nobody tells Han he’ll be kicked out of the Alliance if he loves Leia or any other woman. They don’t have to hide their relationship and nobody seems to have a problem with it. Nobody accuses Luke or Leia of “greed” because they drop everything, including duty, to go rescue Han.

Anakin and Padmé were never afforded an opportunity to balance their relationship with their social roles. They either had to choose the personal at great cost, or choose their social roles over the personal at great cost. I think they should have told everyone, “Yes, we’re in love. Go ahead and kick us out, see how you do without us.” But neither one of them were wired to make that kind of stand, given they were expected to serve some grand purpose at a young age. Being somewhat young probably made them even more reluctant to try and buck the system.

I hope that in the post-ROTJ era, no one has to be trapped in this kind of dilemma.

Ask SWPAS 3/29

March 29, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these things and I’ve been saving a couple of questions. Here goes.

From Kevin:

What are your top 20 favorite Star Wars podcasts to listen to?

I wish I had time to listen to even listen to one podcast on a consistent basis. Most podcasts are over two hours long and I don’t have that kind of time to spare. Occasionally, if I hear there’s something really good on a particular podcast, I might listen to it while working. But it’s not something I can do all of the time. The ones I have listened to at one point or another are Rebel Force Radio, Full Of Sith, Now This Is Podcasting, and Coffee With Kenobi. There are a lot out there.

From Daniel:

A question I have is–there has been some speculation that Anakin was not only the chosen one, but also the Sith’Ari as well.

No. If anyone is the Sith’ari, it’s probably Sidious though I’ve heard some fans say they think it was Bane. I’m saying Sidious because he is the culmination of what the Sith wanted to accomplish: destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy.

On the topic of Anakin, do you think the backlash against Anakin outside the A/P group and diehard Saga fans is because no one wants to be reminded of their flaws? I saw the same thing with Betty and Skylar on Mad Men and Breaking Bad—they are too flawed and no one wants to be reminded of them so they are hated.

Those who have a problem with A/P either don’t like the execution or they can’t empathize with a romance that involves a man who becomes evil.

Also what do you make of Korriban’s name change? Is it an indication that the EU and the G/T-Canon is forever separated, or can the pre-ROTJ EU retcon this around?

I don’t care at all about this issue. Clone Wars and the films can borrow from the expanded universe but IMO were never bound by it. By the way, Dave Filoni said on the Rebel Force Radio podcast recently that as far as he’s concerned, Korriban is an old name for Moriband. Places change names all of the time.

Keep those questions coming! SWPASadmin@gmail.com or comment here!

Great Take On Geonosis Arena Scene

March 28, 2014

Adam wrote a terrific take on the Geonosis arena scene from AOTC, particularly concerning the beasts that attack the characters. Go check it out!

Book Report: “Star Wars: Darth Maul: Lockdown”

March 28, 2014

Horror novelist Joe Schreiber sure loves his gory Star Wars prison tales: his zombie story “Death Troopers” and its follow-up “Red Harvest” were set in prisons, as is this book starring Darth Maul. Taking place prior to TPM, Maul is sent to a prison under deep cover by Darth Sidious. He’s trying to track down an elusive arms dealer. Little does he know that Darth Plagueis is also at work with his own agenda.

As you might have expected, this space-bound prison is a lawless, violent cesspool of blood, guts, and other bodily fluids. The warden makes money off of illegal bets placed on to-the-death conflicts between prisoners. Nobody can be trusted and almost every character you encounter is not only doomed, but doomed to die in the most horrible, disgusting way possible. There are gangs that will actually tear victims to pieces and steal their bones to craft more weapons. There’s a giant psychic worm that conveniently pops up to eat characters. I’m not sure how I was able to read any of it while eating lunch, to be honest. Hardly anyone could remotely be called “good” and strangely enough, Darth Maul and two other prisoners (it’s not exactly clear how they got in there) are almost the only guys you can cheer for.

Since this is a book about the dark underbelly of the galaxy and perhaps the broader corruption plaguing the Republic, it might strike an almost nihilistic tone. But then again, I never got that impression from “Darth Plagueis” and it was completely about the Sith side of the story in PT era.

The book was interesting enough to keep me going along. The mystery as to the identity of the arms dealer is compelling, as is the mystery as to what Sidious or Plagueis want with the guy. Schreiber’s Maul is a cold killer when he needs to be and a clever predator after his quarry. In fact one of Maul’s advantages in the book is that compared to many of the people in the can with him, he’s far more intelligent. Not to say he’s an utter Gary Stu. He’s being manipulated, caught between two Sith Masters. He desperately wants to please Darth Sidious, who kind of snarls at him most of the time whenever they chat. Moreover, Maul is very, very occasionally capable of (gasp) mercy.

But if you’re the kind of person who reacts strongly to vivid descriptions of gore, this book is definitely not for you. Sometimes I think it was a bit unnecessary and over-the-top. I thought one character calling another a “whore” might be okay for fan fiction, but not so much in an official Star Wars book. If there’s anything else to fault, it’s the use of “Earth”-isms, for example characters drinking “coffee.”

Whatever you might think of “Lockdown,” in a post-Disney Star Wars universe, you won’t see anything like this again with an official imprint. Just a hunch.

Throwback Thursday: Ewan McGregor In “Emma”

March 27, 2014

“Emma” (1996) was the first movie I saw with Ewan McGregor and I had no idea who the hell he was. Made when Jane Austen flicks were the rage, it co-starred Gwyneth Paltrow as the title character and Toni Collette.

In this scene, Gwynnie and Ewan break into song. I know for sure that’s Ewan actually singing…I’ve seen “Moulin Rouge” more than a couple of times, heh heh.

Clone Wars #1 On Netflix

March 27, 2014

Clone Wars is the #1 television series on Netflix over the past week and fourth in overall programming (t.v. and movies).

Not bad for a show that got abruptly axed.

In Case You Missed It…

March 27, 2014

IGN has a long interview with Dave Filoni about Clone Wars, best read if you’ve seen all of Season Six because there are many big spoilers. It does leave things open to a return to the series sometime in the far-flung future.

And if that wasn’t enough, Rebel Force Radio spoke to Filoni on a recent podcast. Scoot to about an hour into the show to hear everything he had to say about Season Six and beyond.

Coffee With Kenobi Podcast

March 26, 2014

Paul McDonald recommended listening to Coffee With Kenobi #15, which features a lengthy discussion with Bryan Young about the prequels. Young is one of the best spokesmen about the topic around today, and Anakin/Padmé fans will LOVE what he has to say about our OTP. Go check it out!

Clone Wars Debriefing: The Yoda Arc

March 26, 2014

Cut for spoilers:

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