Postulate

Nathan Willis at 2017-05-17T09:12:15Z

:: The Star Wars series has trained its audience to think that a character's parentage completely determines his or her importance and future.

Note that I have not watched a Star Wars movie since Episode II, which sucked so much that I stopped caring completely. But the Internet won't shut up about it.

Charles Stanhope likes this.

Oh yeah, absolutely. I enjoy the films (well, some of them), but it's a totally black and white moral universe, not to mention one where where it's okay to kill sapient robots or human clones, and loads of other problems. Fun creature designs though, and I'm a sucker for fun creature designs.

If you did want to dip your toe back in the water, Rogue One is a pretty good movie that stands on its own fwiw, and is refreshingly the last binary as in terms of right/wrong of all the Star Wars movies. (I won't say the same thing about The Force Awakens, which was pretty much a rehash of A New Hope with new characters.)

Christopher Allan Webber at 2017-05-17T12:43:04Z

Charles Stanhope likes this.

I disagree with your premise that the series has "trained its audience to think that a character's parentage completely determines...importance." These movies have a special appeal to a teenage audience, since they explore the question of whether or not a child can escape the perception that their parentage determines their fate. Many teenagers grapple with this question as they develop, and this question has certainly been explored by more than a few writers in the history of our species. Greek tragedies, upon which Star Wars is based, definitely explored this question - both from the perspective of the Greek Gods and from the perspective of Greek mortals. But even Dostoyevski explored this question, in "The Brothers Karamazov," where parentage is a central issue throughout the stories of the brothers and the father.


I would argue that "Star Wars" is a science fiction exploration of this question. Does lineage determine fate? For instance, are the Skywalkers all doomed to be so strong with the force that they face a stark choice? (the implication throughout the series is that there is more to the Skywalker lineage than what we see). The series also explores themes of the ambiguity of parentage. For instance, Anakin Skywalker's father is unknown, and implied to be a miraculous birth. But in "Revenge of the Sith," we learn a Sith legend of a Sith Lord so powerful he could create life, leaving open the possibility that this Sith is partly responsible for Anakin. So Anakin's allegience to good or evil is morally ambiguous, and in fact while he eventually chooses to follow a path of power his corruption is not totally complete, and he dies to kill his own master and prevent the death of his own son.


In the series "Rebels," the story of Ezra Bridger is one of moral ambiguity. Ezra comes to the force through a cynical Jedi, but he dabbles in the dark side via a Sith library (a "holocron"). He explores the power of the force and dances with its darker side. Other characters in the series warn of the black-and-white false dichotomy that the Jedi and the Sith represent. The character Bendu is strong with the force, but neither Jedi nor Sith ("I am the one in the middle," he says of himself). So even in that series, the writers are exploring the possibility that this whole "Jedi vs. Sith" and "Good vs. Evil" thing is a false dichotomy so long held in place by these warring factions of the Force that people have wrongly come to believe there is a choice to be made.


OK, so clearly I am part of the problem on the internet. :-)


I hated the second trilogy, but there was a person on the internet who edited all the cheesy crap out and left the core story and those versions are very good, trying to explore Anakin as a complex and ambiguous character torn between two sides of a false dichotomy and driven to power by it. I still don't really love those movies, but there are things in it (especially the scene where the Chancellor tells the story of his old Sith master to Anakin, where we glimpse the possibility of Anakin's own birth) that are little gems that even Lucas managed to write.


I'd say give "Rebels" a shot. It's a good animated TV series with a reasonably well-thought-out story arc, and it connects into Rogue One. Rebels are not always good, Imperials are not always evil, and a central character melds the ambiguity of these two things. "Rogue One" is good in the same way - characters are not clear, with a few exceptions (but they are also mostly lingering shadows of the Republic, which embodied false dichotomy). "Clone Wars" humanized the clones, which was its strength. Even the clones hated that everyone thought they were disposable.


So I think you gave up at just the wrong time. :-)

Stephen Sekula at 2017-05-17T13:00:44Z