Retrozap Piece On Anakin

The latest installment in Retrozap’s “Power To The Prequels” series focuses on Anakin Skywalker:

The Chosen One concept is an idea older than The Bible and has made its way into plenty of stories ever since. You can see the idea dutifully repeated in plenty of superhero films, fantasy and sci-fi action epics, and even in the original trilogy. But the emphatic calling out of the literal Chosen One in the prequels ought to clue us in that Lucas is playing around behind the scenes against our expectations. As Yoda says in Revenge of the Sith, the Chosen One of the prequel era is “a prophecy that misread, could have been.”

The irony is that being The Chosen One doesn’t mean that Anakin will become “the most powerful Jedi ever” as he vows on the Lars homestead in Ep. II. His enviable midichlorian count doesn’t mean he could “rival Master Yoda as a swordsman,” a fact which becomes painfully obvious when the little green guy has to save him and Obi-Wan from Count Dooku. He may be potentially strong in the Force, but Anakin never truly lives up to that potential. Even as Darth Vader, he’s broken goods.

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6 Responses to “Retrozap Piece On Anakin”

  1. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    His enviable midichlorian count doesn’t mean he could “rival Master Yoda as a swordsman,” a fact which becomes painfully obvious when the little green guy has to save him and Obi-Wan from Count Dooku. He may be potentially strong in the Force, but Anakin never truly lives up to that potential. Even as Darth Vader, he’s broken goods.

    Something about this passage just annoys me. How can anyone judge Anakin’s proficiency as a swordsman against Yoda, when the pair has never fought each other? And the reason Anakin never lived up to the potential of being very strong with the Force was due to the events in “Revenge of the Sith”. None of us know whether or not how powerful Anakin would have become if he had not been seriously injured on Mustafar.

    • Michael Says:

      Well, clearly when he says he already rivals Yoda in AOTC, he’s doing that teenager thing of puffing himself up even though deep down he knows he’s not good enough. If we needed any further proof that this is the case in AOTC, the scene with Padme after the Tusken massacre where he exposes his self-doubt and the finale of the film where he can’t defeat Dooku and Yoda has to save him (and Obi) illuminate the point.

      But ultimately, it’s less important whether or not Anakin could have lived up to his potential. The fact is, he doesn’t. And the reason he doesn’t is because Lucas intentionally doesn’t let him. The point I was trying to make is that The Chosen One, as it turns out, doesn’t have to be the most powerful being in the universe with the greatest lightsaber skills and the dopest Force mastery; being The Chosen One is ultimately about two far less militaristic traits: love and sacrifice.

      • Hoggle Says:

        What the prophecy was, & Anakin’s role to it, still has alot of open endedness about it for the realms of speculation, fan fiction & whatnot. For me, in terms of the prophecy he did fulfill his initial purpose in it but he was only able to handle doing so by destruction of his self & everything else which is not what his role in it was meant to be.

        Lightsaber skills & combat – ‘Always in motion the force is’.
        I agree that it is not the be all & end all of Jedi hood. Both Anakin & Obi improve a heap after their respective defeats by Dooky, but can’t really say that Obi’s defeat of Anakin is due to Anakin not being an awesome fighting force.

  2. lisse Says:

    The idea of a Chosen One trope being subverted is something I like about the prequels. And, that subversion IMO has nothing to do with how strong he could have become or his lightsaber skills had it not been for injuries. Anakin’s person and the damage he endures from the minute he was born into slavery and how he’s never able to overcome it, not really, until his dying moments, is the subversion of the trope IMO. His physical ruin as DV is just a manifestation of how this kid was emotionally damaged long before Mustafar happened. He wasn’t going to become what the Jedi wanted. That was written from his days as a child slave onwards and enforced by the Jedi as a stagnating organization, while Palps lurked in the background, whispering poison.

    So, I liked where the first paragraph was going, or where I thought it was going, but ehh on the physical/power tack taken as the subversion of the Chosen One trope.

    • lisse Says:

      *I read the entire article, though, and I liked it. Good thoughts on Anakin and how he’s not wish fulfillment (and the author’s reasons for why Anakin is his favorite echo mine as well).

    • Michael Says:

      Thanks for the comment Lisse. I don’t know that we’re necessarily at odds here. I completely agree with you. Maybe just different sides of the same coin? What I was trying to get at was that being The Chosen One isn’t just a power contest. It’s not that simple.

      I believe Anakin (and the Jedi for that matter) were too focused on that aspect when they should have been paying attention to Anakin as a teenager with emotional needs and self-doubt and longings that should have been confronted and discussed rather than buried beneath shame and secrecy.

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