In this edition of the Listener Mailbag, we've got emails about our Darth Plagueis Roundtable, thoughts on side episodes of The Clone Wars, and a suggested Star Wars saga viewing order for young children!
Comments On The February 24, 2012 Show
Hi there guys,
There were comments made on your February 24th podcast concerning Anakin being "the chosen one" who was to bring balance to the Force, and how that seems to be contradictory to the idea of a Sith Lord creating Anakin by manipulating midi-chlorians. I have some thoughts in regard to this:
1) I think Jimmy's theory as to Anakin being the result of the midi-chlorians sort of trying to fight the manipulation of the Dark Side is an extremely thoughtful idea, and I wish I had thought of it. This would definitely be a more direct link to Anakin being "the chosen one."
My theory is Anakin does bring balance to the Force but not in the obvious way of defeating the Sith as the movies show. After all, if he defeats the Sith, it shows that the Light Side overcame the Dark Side. How does that bring balance to the Force? My theory takes both the movies and the EU into the equation to prove Anakin brings balance to the Force. My theory is:
1) Anakin is created and because Anakin is created he gets Padme pregnant with twins Luke and Leia. Here is an obvious display of balance in both the fact that his progeny are twins, and the fact that
they are male and female.
2) Including the EU stories in the theory, at least the way that I interpreted the story, Luke turned to the dark side in "The Dark Empire" story. He does this to save his sister, Leia. Luke eventually learns about the dark side and finds a way to free himself of its grasp. However, the experience has shown Luke that there is some sort of a balance where it is not so much the power of the Force that determines whether it is light side or dark side, but rather the wielder's intention and use of the power. Therefore, one could use
all of the Force as long as one's use of the Force is for the betterment of the galaxy as opposed to the detriment of the galaxy, you could avoid falling to the dark side. By learning this, Luke, in essence, has learned to use both sides of the Force and thus keeping a "balance" in the Force. So Luke is actually the "balance in the Force" that Anakin was supposed to bring about.
My theory gains a little more credibility as one reads more EU. One thing about Luke in the EU is he is constantly searching and finding that "gray area" between the light and dark side of the Force.
Of course this all my own opinion, and while I consider myself a Star Wars super geek, I do admit there are those with more knowledge than I. This is simply my own interpretation of the movies and the EU
works that I have read.
Thanks for the great show, guys. I appreciate the work you do and look forward to every podcast. My only problem with the ForceCast is that it only occurs once a week. I could listen to you guys every day.
Have a good one.
Thoughts on Palpatine, Vader, and the Darth Plagueis Roundtable
I am a big fan of you guys, and I think you are awesome! I listened to your Plagueis Roundtable, and I developed a bit of a theory around the movies. What if Palpatine was secretly Anakin's father, via use of the midi-chlorians. Then, what if Vader somehow found out. This would drive Vader's desire to destroy Palpatine, as he expressed in Empire Strikes Back. It could also be that he revealed that he was Luke's father, so that Luke does not have to go through such pain as Vader.
The Mystery of Anakin’s Force Birth – Solved
Sorry this letter ended up getting very long and deep, so get some lunch before reading.
I am currently listening to the Feb. 24th podcast, and I also listened to the Darth Plagueis Roundtable in its entirety a week or two ago.
This is probably one of the few times I can remember taking the time to listen to the podcast for quite a number of years (used to listen a lot more when the prequels were still in development).
I just wanted to say, the gentleman with the take on Anakin's birth as being a reaction from the midi-chlorians as a "defense" from the Dark Side manipulations of Sith Lords Plagueis and Sidious is dead on. That is exactly the way I read it too, with one exception. It is not the midi-chlorians putting up the "defense", it is the "Living Force.” See explanation below.
I think that when you guys discussed the point on both the Plagueis Roundtable and the most recent podcast, you kept looking at the Plagueis/Sidious meditation & spirit disembarking scene where the tipping of the Force to the Dark Side occurs as a separate event from the manipulation of the midi-chlorians by Plagueis when he was trying to create life (which yielded no response at all from the Force – everything went silent).
My take on this when reading BOTH scenes together in context from the novel is the Sith had tipped the force to the Dark Side, and they expected the Living Force (not the midi-chlorians, which were just acting as the mediators, interface, or gatekeepers) to strike back in response – boil their blood, etc. That didn't happen. The Living Force is itself a conscious entity (much like "God"), it is Star Wars universe's concept
of God. Afterward, Plagueis once again attempted to "control" the Living Force through the channeling or manipulation of the "gatekeepers" to try and create life (as Palpatine specifically states in Episode III). But nothing happens that Plagueis is able to detect.
What Sidious and Plagueis were concerned about in the earlier "tipping" scene actually occurs, but in a different, subtler way. After Plagueis tries to push and control the Living Force too much, the Living Force (NOT the midi-chlorians, but the Force acting through the midi-chlorians) responds to the manipulation by ironically giving the Sith Lord what he wants, the creation of life. But instead the
Living Force creates life (by telling the midi-chlorians to conceive a pure Force being) to fix the damage the Sith have done, to bring the balance back to the Living Force (per the prophecy). So basically this makes the Sith's ultimate downfall, completely their own fault – due to their own hubris, pursuit of power, etc. Actually Luke's line to the Emperor in Episode VI says it best: "your over confidence is your
weakness". I don't believe Palpatine or Hugo Demask are the fathers of Anakin, whether physical, biological, or midi-chlorial. :) I believe the father of Anakin is plainly what Qui-Gon says in Episode I. He was "conceived" by the midi-chlorians, but it was THROUGH the will of the Living Force. This concept also works well within the Plagueis novel, because he is not certain that he in fact HASN'T created life, through his actions. He and Palpatine also consider that Anakin may have been a creation of their own design, a hallmark of Sith power and conquest of the Living Force. In short, they think that Anakin is an agent of the Dark Side, of the Sith, due to their great power in bringing him into being. When in reality, he is a "sleeper agent" of a sort for the Living Force, to finally put an end to the Sith.
The father of Anakin for all intents and purposes is the Living Force, which chose to "birth" a son. Yes it may be as a response to Darth Plagueis and Sidious actions earlier with the "tipping" and the later
push by Plagueis to "create life", but that doesn't mean that EITHER of the Sith Lords is the father. It is clearly the Living Force that wills Anakin into existence. Anakin is effectively the "Son of God" which fits in as well with Lucas' use of the Christian themes of the Virgin Birth. And much like in Christian themes, the "Son" is needed to combat the Evil One (the Devil), which is of course represented clearly by the Sith (I think Lucas even refers to Anakin's deal with the Devil as an almost literal translation, Palpatine is evil
incarnate, the Devil of the Star Wars universe). So ultimately the Living Force creates a son, to destroy the evil that has waged a war of control and manipulation against the Living Force. The Son is destined to sacrifice himself to bring that evil to an end, again fitting with the same Christian themes.
Basically I think everyone is looking for Sith connections to the fatherhood of Anakin, much like the Empire Strikes Back parallels, but I think in this case the evidence points to a much more obvious interpretation. The Force Struck Back at the Sith due to their attempts to control the Living Force and bend it to their will, not its own will. The Jedi follow the Will of the Living Force, the Sith try to control the Living Force to their wills. The Sith went too far, and were getting too powerful, so the Living Force responded. They were becoming too much like "God" and so action was taken (think of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel).
Some "grasping at straws" thoughts:
This maybe also ties well into why the Living Force picks "Shmi" as the chosen mother. If Palpatine and Plagueis have their fingers all over Gardulla and manipulation of things on Tatooine, then it would make
sense that "Shmi" would be chosen, so the Sith would ultimately still continue toward their undoing by being able to find and manipulate the scenarios on Tatooine (Anakin and Shmi).
Or if that is too far a stretch, a more likely explanation is that Qui-Gon is the key, since he is arguably more in tune with the Living Force than even Yoda. He is then drawn or led through the Living Force to ultimately end up at Tatooine and discover Anakin.
Well, okay, the last two thoughts may be grasping at straws, but ultimately it is fate, or the Living Force, manipulating things behind the scenes just as much as the Sith in the Darth Plagueis novel. Ultimately though, the Sith are their own undoing through their pursuit of control and power. Anakin is an example of this on a miniature scale, as he fulfills his own prophetic vision of Padme's death in Episode III: while trying to control the fates and prevent her death, he actually causes her death. Seems like a running theme in Sith failure. The Emperor also does this in trying to pit Luke against Vader to get himself a newer, younger, more viable apprentice, to keep from being overthrown as the Master
per the Sith dictate of the Rule of Two. You’d think Palpatine would have learned from his own
experiences with Darth Plagueis. No matter how idealistic one is in believing that the Rule of Two might cease once Darth Sidious had conquered the galaxy, when there are only two – one who has power and
another who craves it – eventually, in a quest for greater power, the one with less is always going to seek to do away with the one who has more. And the one with power will always be afraid to lose it. Hence why Sidious as the ultimate Sith Master keeps trying to figure out ways to stave off death and to stay one step ahead of his apprentice rubbing him out. :)
As a side note to your recent statement that Yoda sensed that Palpatine was "fishy" at the start of Episode II, I think the moment with him "finishing" Amidala's sentence is easily explained more by Palpatine's astute political manipulative skills (as shown in Darth Plagueis) than his Sith Master Dark Side skills. Palpatine has been Amidala’s longtime friend and confidant, as well as Anakin’s. It has been 10
years. They share a home planet and a history together in the political landscape. She is one of his Loyalist as well. I would think Palpatine would know how Padme thinks just from his great political savvy. I think Yoda was mistrustful of Palpatine for the same reason Obi-Wan and Mace Windu are, he is a politician, and even though the Dark Side clouds everything as Yoda says, they realize the cloud of Darkness over the entire Senate. I don't think they knew specifically though that he was a Sith Lord.
Although this brings up a more interesting question: wouldn't Yoda at least, if not Mace and some of the other Jedi Masters very strong with the Force (even Qui-Gon perhaps), have felt the "tipping" of the Force to the Dark Side back in the Darth Plagueis novel?? When Mace says that it is time to tell the Senate that their ability to use the Force is diminished, Yoda says that the Dark Side clouds everything and the future is impossible to see. All of that has been effectively occurring since the "tipping" point in Darth Plagueis, at least that is how I read it. Did the Jedi just not sense or see it for what it really was until the Sith revealed themselves in Episode I? Clearly Yoda and Mace know something is up with the Dark Side and the Sith by Episode II, so they probably have at least been suspecting of the Sith involvement in the Dark Sides growing influence by end of Episode I. And Yoda may already suspect more than just that, since he starts sensing Qui-Gon's spirit by Episode II (as seen when Anakin slaughters the Sand People).
But all in all, I still don't think Yoda suspected that Palpatine was the Sith Lord, I thought Yoda, Mace, and the Jedi Council as a whole, just saw the Dark Side having a great influence of many politicians at
the Senate as a whole during the Clone Wars period, they were suspicious of almost the entire Senate to some degree as having been manipulated by the Dark Side. Certainly by end of Episode II, this is all but confirmed by the last bits of dialogue in the movie between Mace, Yoda, and Obi-Wan. Yoda and Mace again probably suspecting something by end of Episode I, but still I don't think either thought Palpatine was the Sith Lord they were searching for, but perhaps thought he might be a pawn (whether unwilling or not) in the Sith Lords political manipulations.
But regarding Palpatine finish Padme's sentence, no, I think that was simply because he is good friends with her ad knows how she would think. Also, this probably makes for more interesting movie dialogue transitions. :)
Side Episodes in TCW
I love the Weekly ForceCasts and the Roundtables, though I'm a little behind and am in the middle of your "Friends and Enemies" episode. You guys are talking about whether or not the TV series should show us
stories not directly contributing to the main storyline, and I wanted to put in my opinion. I think it's important that we encourage these "side episodes", simply because you never know what Star Wars gems might end up emerging from them. Some might consider many of the pirate episodes like "Bounty Hunters" to stray too far from the actual Clone Wars, but we got Embo out of that. And don't forget that
although Boba Fett was introduced in the main storyline, nobody could have predicted what a phenomenon he would become. I don't want to hinder anything "Star Wars" that comes from George or Dave. It's a huge galaxy, and I want to see more of it.
Thanks for all your work, guys. May the Force be With You,
Star Wars Viewing Order for Young Children
Hey Jason and Jimmy,
I wanted to give you my plan for showing my kids the Star Wars movies. I have 2 girls, Mattie (8) and Mackenzie (5 1/2). I took them to see Episode I in 3D during opening weekend. They have never seen any of the movies and only know minor things about the characters from being around their peers. They LOVED it! As soon as the movie credits rolled, my oldest daughter yelled out, "That was the best movie ever!!" I of course was very proud. When I asked them what they liked best about the movie, their
answers were the exact opposite of what prequel haters always say they dislike most about the movie. "I loved Jar Jar, he's sooo funny"..."I really liked Anakin when he flew the ship in the end and saved everyone." Safe to say that younger kids love all that the haters hate!
My dilemma is how to continue showing the movies to the girls at their age. Episode I was just fine for them. My youngest was a little scared at times but with me holding her hand she was fine. I think Episode II next year will again be fine when they are 9 and 6 1/2. Episode III worries me, however, with how dark it is, and the killing of the younglings even upsets me when I watch and think about it. Anakin's turn to Darth Vader is really going to be a shock and upsetting for them after seeing what a hero he is in the first two movies. I'm hoping that by the time they are 10 and 7 1/2 the younger one will be ready for those scenes. I am going to soften the blow by showing them the movies out of order. Let me know what you think about this...
1. Episode I - This year in the theaters, girls 8 and 5 1/2
2. Episode II - 2013 in theaters, girls 9 and 6 1/2
3. Episode IV - Watch at home
4. Episode V - Watch at home
5. Episode III - 2014 in theaters, girls 10 and 7 1/2
6. Episode VI - Watch at home
This way they get to enjoy seeing Anakin being the hero in Episodes I and II when they are younger. They then skip to see Darth Vader being a bad guy and hear that Vader kills Anakin from old Ben only to get the big surprise with "I am your father". They then have that thought in their head that Anakin may be bad or maybe Vader is lying. Either way they are more prepared for the acts that Anakin does in Episode 3. After they see how horrible Anakin really is, they then get to see the redemption and conclusion of the series in Episode VI. Of course, we'll then watch Episodes IV, V, and VI in the theaters when they are in 3D and watch The Clone Wars on DVD leading up to Episode 3 in the theaters.
Hopefully I will craft this in such a way that they will be huge Star Wars fans for life like me and have an amazing experience similar to ours (I was 9 in 1977) -- growing up with Star Wars and getting to see all the movies in the theaters. What do you guys think? Jason, perhaps this strategy could work out for you introducing your daughter to the movies as well. Feel free to discuss this on the show.
Thanks for all you do,
A.k.a. daflobber in Denver
Thanks to all of this week's mailbag contributors! Keep your emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Listener Mailbag: January 20, 2012