A Fascinating Look At the Clone Wars Mortis Trilogy

Coffee With Kenobi had a three part analysis of the Clone Wars’s Mortis Trilogy that’s well worth reading.

Check out Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

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12 Responses to “A Fascinating Look At the Clone Wars Mortis Trilogy”

  1. Liz Says:

    These are very thoughtful analyses, though I was a bit unprepared for the way they actually spent more time discussing the Yoda arc after skimming over parts of the Mortis arc. I loved all the world mythology brought into play here, though admittedly the writing style was a bit ponderous and academic to wade through.

    Now, this may just be a sentimental fangirl talking here, but while I agree that part of the Chosen One’s destiny is clearly to create a renaissance within the Jedi Order to cleanse them of their dogmatic approach to the Light Side, a renaissance ultimately accomplished by Luke, I cannot accept the fatalistic argument that that was always intended to occur by horrific genocide or that Anakin had no choice but to become a monster. I can’t help but believe that there must have been some alternate possible future in which a gentler fulfillment of prophecy was brought about through the love shared between Anakin and Padme. I stand by my belief that the events of Revenge of the Sith are meant to be seen as tragedy, and the definition of tragedy is that it is horror and sorrow on either a grand or personal scale (or in the case of RotS, for many of these characters, BOTH) that is, at its root, preventable. The miscommunications and misunderstandings between Anakin and the Jedi Council that led to their mutual mistrust have been debated and beaten to death by the fans, so I don’t feel the need to reiterate them here, but I think most people agree that the mass slaughter of the Jedi was not an inevitability.

    I also do not agree with the sentiment that Lucas was making himself a slave to various mythologies such that he’d write a world where a prophecy of cleansing and balance had to occur with this “death and rebirth” symbolism – implying that the Jedi and Padme were both fated to die. If anything, Luke’s actions in RotJ solidify the point-of-view that in the GFFA, there is always a better, brighter, more hopeful and most of all less violent way to fulfill one’s destiny.

    Finally, about the point made when discussing the Yoda arc that Vader was intended to happen because the dark lord was seen in the vision on Mortis – if we are advised not to trust the Priestesses, what in the galaxy is telling us that the Son, of all people, ought to be taken at his word? Because out of all the three, the writing of the Mortis trilogy makes it clear that the Son is least to be trusted. While it’s made ambiguous the sources of the appearances of Qui-Gon Jinn’s ghost and future!Ahsoka, it’s shown that the Son was at least impersonating Shmi Skywalker in order to manipulate Anakin emotionally, and I believe he showed Anakin one particular future out of many in order to achieve the same thing. Unlike the trickster Priestesses, the Son has no grand cosmic goal – instead, he is a selfish trickster, eager to escape and work his will upon the galaxy at first hand. The Father himself even chastises Anakin for following the Son by taking the vision at face value, echoing Yoda’s classic “always in motion, the future is,” and asserting that “nothing is set in stone.”

  2. Tony Ferris Says:

    The article takes perhaps too deterministic an approach to the prophecy.

    Here’s Lucas discussing that idea back in ’76…

    “I’m taking the existential view and putting a slight determinist slant on it. I believe in a certain amount of determinism, from an ecological point of view. It’s that things essentially reach their own equilibrium. If you don’t live a certain way, ecologically speaking, you will be forced into a position that will level it. What I would call an ‘unpoetic state’ will eventually become a ‘poetic state,’ because an unpoetic state will not last. It can’t. It’s like economics. It’s like life, it’s like animals, it’s like everything. You can set up an artificial reality, but eventually it will equalize itself, and become real.” – George Lucas

    He’s speaking more about the circumstances that contribute to Luke leaving Tatooine with Obi-Wan, but the principal applies to Anakin’s journey as well, along with the prophecy.

    It would seem clear that the purpose of the ‘Chosen One’ was to tear down both the Jedi Order and that of the Sith.

    Anakin determined the shape of the prophecy through his actions. He was always destined to cleanse the galaxy of the Jedi’s dogma, and the Sith’s greed, but it was not required that he debase himself to do so. His arrested development though, which gave rise to emotional greed, entitlement, and a lust for power and control, eventually makes his fall, an inevitability.

    The Jedi so, weren’t fated to die, nor Padme, nor anyone else necessarily, outside of the natural course of things. It’s arguable that the Priestesses prophesied only that inevitability, given the point on his timeline at which they encounter Yoda, but it need not have been the case.

    Had Anakin been able to mature fully, perhaps under the tutelage of the rebellious Qui-Gon Jinn, he might well have arrived at an understanding regarding his purpose that didn’t result in so much violence, murder, and pain. He might have come to know himself sooner, and discover an equilibrium within that he could have transferred to the galaxy at large, but that was not to be. He would only be able to know himself by facing his dark side, but he was not equal to the task. He was not mature enough to take control of it, to hold it in balance, and so it consumed him, and the galaxy for many years. Once he learned to balance his darkness though, through compassion and self-sacrifice, he was able to fulfill the prophecy, and restore equilibrium to the galaxy at large, bearing out Lucas’ notion that an ‘unpoetic state’ will eventually become a ‘poetic state’. It cannot fail to do otherwise.

    Anakin’s story though, remains a tragedy because he could have been so much better than that which he allowed himself to become. In the end, fulfilling the prophecy became about ending the horror that he’d caused. That need not have been the case, even if it became inevitable after a certain point. Thanks to Luke though, he finally saw the light again.

    “Children teach you compassion. They teach you to love unconditionally. Anakin can’t be redeemed for all the pain and suffering he’s caused. He doesn’t right the wrongs, but he stops the horror. The end of the saga is simply Anakin saying, ‘I care about this person, regardless of what it means to me. I will throw away everything that I have, everything that I’ve grown to love – primarily the Emperor – and throw away my life, to save this person. And I’m doing this because he has faith in me; he loves me despite all the horrible things I’ve done. I broke his mother’s heart, but he still cares about me, and I can’t let that die.’ Anakin was the chosen one, and he does bring balance to the force. He takes the ounce of good still left in him and destroys the Emperor out of compassion for his son.” – George Lucas

  3. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    So Anakin, as the chosen one, was meant to start a new Jedi order to replace the old one…

    So did the Jedi realize that their teachings were flawed when they see the chosen one has arrived? That they were so ineffective that Anakin had to be created to come and disassemble it all? I didn’t think they were that bad.

    I guess we can assume then, that the new Jedi order in the sequels will be quite different to the one in the old Republic.

    I guess Anakin was supposed to be a Christ-like figure and start a new church based on the old one. It makes you wonder what Jesus would have turned out to be had he been raised in a position of power and tempted by those who ruled then.

    Was the Chosen One intended to be Christ-like, an Anti-Christ, or someone who could choose to be either one? Is there an Anti-Chosen One (Anti-Christ) still to come? There’s a scary thought.

  4. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    I can’t find any quotes from Lucas talking about the chosen one bringing balance to the force by ending the Jedi’s dogma…but still an interesting theory.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      You won’t find any quotes to that effect either, not that I’m aware of. Lucas has only really stated that destroying the Sith is the role of the Chosen one.

      Given the yin/yang structure of the saga though, the notion of balancing light and dark which is confirmed by the Mortis trilogy, it’s seems clear that the Jedi’s blind, dogmatic adherence to tradition which left them closed off to further discovery as to the broader nature of the Force, was as much detrimental to galactic harmony as the machinations of the Sith.

      In effect, the Jedi’s narrow, dogmatic approach as much as invited degradation.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I don’t know if the Jedi Order’s blindness contributed to anything other than to be surprised way too late. The Dark Side’s influence was powerful and getting stronger but there’s no evidence the Jedi had anything to do with that.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      No, but I think the idea though, is that the Jedi aren’t in balance either.

      It’s not that they’re contributing to the darkside growing stronger per se, but rather that their narrow point of view is limiting, and ultimately disharmonious.

      In effect they are denying their own darkness, rather than knowing it, accepting it, and learning to balance it.

      This of course extends to the notion of attachment. It’s not that the Jedi are wrong about the dangers of attachment, but simply denying them avoids the issue, when it should be confronted. Confronting it, recognising it’s dangers, and learning how to deal with them, in effect how to let go, is what’s required.

      At least, that’s my thinking…

      • buick runner Says:

        I wonder if anything from TCW can be compared to the story of the films? The series is clearly a different take on the Star Wars story. Commonly when a movie is made into a TV series, many story points are altered and adapted to better fit the TV format. Stargate SG1, is a prime example of this and it contradicts the original film.

        The pt, films present the Jedi dogma not as something as equally detrimental as the Sith, but as lazy padawan, described. Allowing the Sith to operate under the Jedi noses and surprise them. That destroying the Sith is what will restore balance. Killing the bulk of the Jedi order plunged the galaxy into darkness not a step toward rebalance.

        However, TCW often goes off and does its on thing, which is likely the case here. This is why I view the films as apples and TCW as oranges.

  5. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    [“If anything, Luke’s actions in RotJ solidify the point-of-view that in the GFFA, there is always a better, brighter, more hopeful and most of all less violent way to fulfill one’s destiny.”]

    Maybe there is. But it always doesn’t happen that way. And how could Anakin happily get rid of both the old Jedi Order and the Sith? I’m not one of those who believes that only the presence of the Sith upset the Force’s balance. To me, both orders resorted to extreme methods in interpreting the Force. And both were willing to use Anakin as a weapon to “balance the Force” their way.

    • Liz Says:

      “But it doesn’t always happen that way.” True. But the fact that the natural world and the combined actions of all who live in it don’t always result in the best or happiest solution does not equate to something being inevitable. True, that in this case Anakin ended up fulfilling his destiny in a rather unpleasant way. My point is that, assuming that Anakin was fated at birth to bring balance to the Force one way or another (having no choice in the matter), it did not necessarily have to happen this way. To say otherwise is to negate the presence of free will in the Star Wars universe and make every choice Anakin makes meaningless and every cathartic moment in Star Wars equally meaningless. If the Jedi’s extreme method of interpreting the Force is “irredeemable” and merits the ultimate form of correction (namely genocide), and it was the Chosen One’s inevitable destiny to bring that about, in no way can we point to any of the choices made by Anakin in Revenge of the Sith and claim that they were evil – they simply become neutral, an impartial power’s way of balancing itself and the universe through Anakin and his destiny. And if, as the article writer seems to suggest, Vader still has yet to complete the fulfillment of his destiny by destroying the Sith as well, that also makes every bit of goodness in Luke meaningless – Luke had to believe in his father in order for his father to be convinced to kill the Emperor, and we’re left with a character interpretation of Anakin as a cosmic plaything whose emotions and relationships were a meaningless farce. I suppose that’s a valid interpretation of the story in that it makes logical sense, but it seems rather cold to me.

      I understand that the old Jedi Order also had it wrong in a number of ways, but I also don’t think that we can assume that we know for sure that bringing balance to the Force meant the wholesale slaughter of the old Jedi Order. And no, I think that if Anakin knew that he was “fated” to destroy both the Sith AND his Jedi family (and I don’t buy that he didn’t care about any Jedi who weren’t Obi-Wan) he could do it “happily.” I MEANT that bringing balance to the Force didn’t necessarily mean the slaughter of the Jedi. No, I don’t think they’d just calmly change. But I think if Anakin had made the choice to resist the Dark Side, eventually, not without conflict but eventually, and with less mass death on the side. Furthermore, I don’t think the old Order’s point-of-view merited their eradication. The Jedi Order might be seen as self-absorbed and dogmatic, but the fact remained that, however far up on their high horse they might be, they were still trying to help people in the galaxy by bringing the world to peace. The Sith literally just want as much power and pleasure as they can bring themselves without any thought to anyone else. The Jedi are just closed-minded about HOW Force-sensitives ought to live and do that helping-others thing, which is a huge difference in my mind. I do think that by the time of Revenge of the Sith, they were edging toward extremism (offering to take over the Senate after deposing Palpatine???), but I think it was their time to change, not to die.

      Basically, my interpretation of the role of the Force in Star Wars lines up with my interpretation of most fantasy stories in which destiny and higher powers are involved. The Force has a hand in the “births and placements”: people with certain personalities are born in certain places with certain powers or talents for a reason (usually people who would have the hearts to try to change the world even if they didn’t have the power). It puts the person with the right powers and the right personality to deal with the situation in the right place at the right time to bring peace or balance to the world/galaxy, but then that person’s course is still determined by their own individual choices. Again, this is my personal opinion, and it certainly won’t resonate well with someone who believes neither the light or dark sides of the Force is preferable to the other. I do believe that the “right” choice that these characters can make given what they are given by the Force is aligned with the light side, but I also don’t think that the light side is exactly what the Jedi define it as – not the absence of emotion, but the presence of love.

      • buick runner Says:

        I don’t view Anakin was destined to fulfill balancing the force one way or the other. I believe he always had a choice to fulfill it or not. As Shimi, said: this path has been placed in front of you. It is up to you alone to choose to follow it, nobody can decide for you. When Anakin, turned he choose to step off the choose path and doomed the force into darkness. He only completed his destiny because he choose to do so, when he turned back to the light side and resumed his path. Fate and freewill coexist in the Star Wars film universe.

  6. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I remember reading one of Lard Biscuits’ SW articles for AOTC. He claimed in one of them that Palpatine had cast a “darkness” over the Force, blinding the Jedi from what was really going on.

    I have to say that I found this theory hard to accept. That’s like saying that Palpatine had cast some kind of spell. I don’t think so. I think the “darkness” that blinded the Jedi came in the form of their own flaws.

    Also . . . I don’t like the labels “dark side” and “light side”. I don’t like the idea that anything “dark” or “black” should be associated with evil or negative or that “light” or “white” should be associated with goodness or positive. It reeks of a kind of absolutism that I tend to dislike.

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