The Real Chosen One: Other Theories and Final Conclusions

Here we are, the final chapter in the Chosen One saga.Obviously, my focus through the previous blogs was on the dilemma of the Chosen One. My three candidates are obvious: Qui-Gon, Anakin and Luke. The official take on things is that it’s Anakin, Luke is something of a fan-favorite choice and Qui-Gon stems from what could be called my unique perspective on things.

I’m living evidence that you don’t need to be in college, drunk or near weed to spend time to analyze small details. I’d hope, actually, that everyone’s figured out that my love for Star Wars is legitimate and more than just a nostalgic joyride. There’s no ironic act here; it’s simply that I see it through these eyes.

But instead of approaching the smattering of left-over tidbits like why Obi-Wan doesn’t qualify, why I don’t focus on Leia, and what music I use as my writing inspiration with the rigid format of the previous, I’m just going to go with an FAQ approach. Hopefully it encourages some of you to build on it in the comments section.

Why Doesn’t Obi-Wan Qualify?

Simply, because there’s nothing special about him.

This is not to say he’s not a pivotal character. Of course he is. He is instrumental in screwing up Anakin’s training and beginning Luke’s. But there’s nothing to Obi-Wan that says someone else couldn’t have been there in his place. Would it have changed the variables? Affected the outcome? Of course.

But changing the type of car I drive doesn’t mean I changed my destination.

Why Don’t I Consider Leia to be the Chosen One?

[For the people who like to be outraged and take screenshots out of context for their social media pogroms:JOKE FORTHCOMING.]Because women ruin everything. [It’s a joke.] The Chosen One is supposed to save it.[THAT WAS A JOKE.]

I kid, I kid. I don’t consider Leia to be a candidate for the Chosen One for two simple facts.

She’s not strong in the Force. Luke’s out there flying, able to skim Beggar’s Canyon thanks to some seriously innate Force skills. Vader can torture Leia at point-blank range and not even sense a disturbance (but does the Emperor?).

Second, so that I can drain some of the fun out of this for The Boy Wonder, Leia wasn’t Luke’s sister until story conferences for The Empire Strikes Back. The concept of twins was in the original script, but Lucas didn’t write Star Wars with the brother-sister thing fleshed out. This doesn’t bother me the way it bothers other people who were fine with it until the 1990s, but I do consider it sort of a DQ here.

What is Meant by “Balance of the Force”?

This is one that can’t be completely clear to anyone, I think. You have the immeasurably metaphorical balance of light and dark. In the TPM era, there’s too much light. In the original-trilogy era, there’s too much dark. Luke is the Superman, a blended balance of light and dark personified, and Leia will be the virtual well-spring of future Jedi.

There are two Jedi and two Sith (film character-wise) from the end of Revenge of the Sith to the end of Return of the Jedi, when the meaning of Jedi and Sith are rendered irrelevant. Technically the Jedi remain, but in a drastically different way.

Do I think that there were only two Jedi and two Sith in play until Luke came into his own? Frankly, yes.

This doesn’t mean there weren’t other Force users. Vader and Palpatine were described by Lucas as a dysfunctional couple always looking for something better, but they never found it until Luke offered the real potential. So yes, Balance was also for a time the strict 2-2 count between Jedi and Sith.

But ultimately I take “Balance” to mean, the eradication of the old order and the birth of the new (hope). Basically, the old system was broken beyond repair and had to be scrapped completely. This was the destiny. How that happened was determined by the actions of the major players.

One Final Note

The last theory I entertain is that the Prophecy wasn’t misread. It was read properly. But it was bungled by the Jedi (and specifically, Anakin) and so the Force intervened to put pieces in place that would ensure its fulfillment. It’s that whole “Free Will but within a Framework of Destiny” argument.

To wit: Anakin should have been left on Tatooine. Qui-Gon seriously screwed up by taking him away from his loving parent and putting him into the very system that would lead to his corruption. At the moment Qui-Gon works to influence Destiny (the chance cube with Watto), he sets off a chain reaction of events where The Force/midichlorians have to bat clean up. Then, as punishment for being a colossal douchebag, the Force keeps Anakin alive when he should be dead.

So..and here’s where I get weird…Anakin was the Chosen One until Qui-Gon dies/the Jedi reverse their decision about his training/he kills the Tuskens. The exact flashpoint doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Jedi initially recognized they shouldn’t train him. They even say he may be the Chosen One, but his training carries grave danger. In other words, let the Force have its day.

Instead, they act out of self-preservation to make the Chosen One influence the galaxy the way they see fit. Qui-Gon influences the die roll out of hubris and the desire to be “right.” So the midichlorians create the twins (Anakin and Padme as the conduit) as Plan B. One of those children then becomes the Chosen One; or they are the Force’s way of splitting the prophecy in two to make sure not all the power is concentrated in one vessel.

Like I said, it’s a little weird. But I kinda dig it.

Fin

Well, there you go. What say you?

The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Luke Skywalker

Sorry for the delay: child injured, stitches, horror, it’ll probably take me longer to recover from the experience than her. Jar Jar Hater’s heart is completely hardened to my pain, but seriously, the fact that I had to hold down my own child, screaming at a pitch and volume that I’ve never heard come from another human, as they turned her chin into a knitting project is just one of those horrific moments of complete helplessness that will haunt me for years to come.

Speaking of children, let’s get to who I consider to be our final legitimate candidate for Chosen One in the Star Wars galaxy.

I’m speaking, of course, about Luke Skywalker. He was mentioned in the comments when this series first started, and I think for a lot of the same reasons I’ll list here (plus a few others that I’ve collected after obsessively musing the question for the better part of the last 13 years).

But given all the other speculation, what compelling arguments exist that Luke is the one who was prophesied?

As it turns out, a fair number. But it’s not so straightforward in my mind as others might take it, and let me tell you why…

Building the Case for Luke Skywalker

The prophecy is specifically about one who will “bring balance to the Force.” The tip to the Jedi that it might be Anakin and that the prophecy may be coming true is that Anakin is apparently a directly-conceived child of the Force. Divine conception is a big tip that someone is a wee bit special, traditionally.

But the full text of the prophecy is never stated in the films and honestly, I don’t think it’s ever been spelled out anywhere. Even looking at a source that takes into account the expanded material never has specific text listed. And as with most of my examinations of the text of the films, the EU is discounted from these discussions. It is worth noting, however, that it would provide a fascinating supportive argument for Luke being The Chosen One by the mere existence of light/dark conflict beyond the six films.

And the collective editors of the wikis seem incapable even of acknowledging that the line that tips off the Council about the prophecy is the “conceived by the midichlorians” bit Qui-Gon sneaks in there. And I refuse to get into those discussions, because I gave up on the post-Jedi “Expanded Universe,” or allowing Lucas to be sole arbiter of interpretation for these works, a long time ago. In fact, I dislike it when a filmmaker tries to tell me “what I’m supposed to see” in the story, because that takes all the fun out of it.

But I digress.

Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter talk on Tatooine in the original Star Wars directed by George Lucas
“My dialogue from this scene reads like an Ayn Rand treatise…I’m going to get cut, aren’t I?”

Luke is the Expression of Balance

Plainly, Luke is the expression of balance. He personifies it. He has passion and he has love, but he does not let them rule him. He is part machine, but it does not define him. He wears black but is a hero and spiritual leader.

Like Anakin, the entire fate of the galaxy hinges on his personal decisions. His decision to leave Tatooine to become a Jedi leads to the destruction of the Death Star. His decision to leave his friends after Hoth leads to the death of the Empire.

While it may seem minor, Yoda’s life seems preserved by the Force for the sake of training him. However, couple that with the fact that Obi-Wan is able to commune with him directly after death; if you note, his physical presence as a spirit also becomes more pronounced as Luke grows stronger until he’s sitting next to the young Jedi on a log. The two Sith are moving to master him and by extension replace the other.

Beyond all that he makes the right choices, and with less opportunity, than Anakin. He has the opportunity for vengeance and instead exercises mercy. He does not have a lifetime of training to provide a clear definition of right and wrong, just being raised by loving, murdered “parents” unexpectedly.

He is Batman to Vader’s Bane. (Yeah, I made that connection. Geeksplosion!)

But most importantly, it is important to note that while Vader may be the hammer that smashes the Sith, it’s Luke’s willing self-sacrifice that is the force driving him. Vader, a monster in shape and action, is moved to destroy himself and the master of evil because of it.

In other words, the forgiveness he extends to the fallen redeems the world. Sure sounds like restoring balance to me.

What do you think?

Are these arguments more compelling than the ones for other characters? Less so?

Next Blog: The Real Chosen One: Other Theories and Final Conclusions

Just to give a tease on the last installment, I’ll address why Obi-Wan never enters the discussions, why I don’t focus on Leia, and what music I use as my writing inspiration for these blogs.

It’s Not Arrogance

Sitting down to dinner recently with Korean Cigarette Smoking Moriarty Man (KCSMM), he leveled a rather harsh claim against me that he’s leveled before when we’ve had disagreements. He called me “arrogant.”

To put it in context, KCSMM leveled this claim because, after enlisting a complete stranger at another table to try to get me “admit” I am “wrong” about a matter of opinion, and my basic refusal to change my mind so as to agree with him completely, he called me “arrogant.”

This pejorative was leveled at me recently when I declared a growing appreciation of beer as well, both by everyone’s favorite misanthrope and by Agent Bun herself. This is a hurtful and untrue accusation.

I’m going to take that basic argument, and address it very completely and hopefully put the matter to rest. The basic gist of it all will be “No, Dear Readers, I Am Not Arrogant At All.”

Misuse of a Term

First and foremost is a global misuse of the term “arrogant.” In order for one to be arrogant, one must be “disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner.” This is according to the definition at the Merriam Webster dictionary site; similar and consistent definitions, accounting for necessary variance in verbiage, are avaiable via dictionary sites across the entire Interwebs.

However, the dictionary definition of a term does not limit its misuse. People have seemingly, as a general rule, taken to using the term to mean anyone who is sure of themselves. Confidence, it seems, is now generically frowned upon.

This is consistent, however, with our culture in general. “We” don’t like being told that someone disagrees with us. We’ve been conditioned to believe that no one has the right to tell us what we don’t want to hear. Both Jar Jar Hater and KCSMM have taken to this very blog to claim that no one has any right to tell anyone else that what they’re doing might be a bad idea (though Jar Jar Hater later directly contradicted herself.).

Sticks and Stones

Further, the issue is that it reduces the argument to name–calling and defensiveness. Resisting the urge to take the “just because someone is arrogant doesn’t invalidate their argument” route, I’ll instead hammer at the last refuge of the person who must concede they’ve run out of argument.

The reason that KCSMM has leveled the charge against me in this instance, and before, is because he ran out of arguments to make. Obviously I didn’t change his mind (otherwise he would have gracefully admitted that his arguments had been defeated), but instead of simply being able to say that he refused to change his mind—an important point in this context I’ll be returning to shortly—he hurled the word “arrogant” at me and changed the argument.

So instead of either declaring a draw or saying he had no intention of listening to my arguments in turn, he just kept repeating that I was arrogant since I didn’t change my mind to agree with him. The worst it could be is obstinate, but that would denote I don’t listen or respond to his arguments, which is untrue.

Additionally

I openly discuss a willingness to change and appreciate things in a different light, if not expanding my horizons altogether. This belies the notion that I’m arrogant, as it’s used here, and it disproves the additional theory that I’m stubborn. Arrogant and stubborn people are less likely to open their minds to new possibilities.

Ironically, in the context of his own argument that a refusal to change my mind to agree with his opinion is arrogant, he is arrogant himself. Two plus two is four, regardless of who’s doing the math.

So if the baseline of someone’s argument is that if someone does not change their opinion, they are arrogant. If everyone is arrogant, the word loses meaning. Therefore, KCSMM believes that no one is arrogant.

Even though I generally subscribe to the idea that all people have the capacity for unlimited good at their core, I think that’s a little overly optimistic.

Final Note

I know that KCSMM doesn’t really think I’m arrogant. He’s just frustrated by the fact that I’m likely not to change my opinion about a specific set of films we’ve both seen. I don’t know why that would bother him, but it does.

I know also that it has to be very frustrating to try to argue Star Wars with me. The main reason is that I really have spent a large amount of brain juice considering all of the angles. I’ve read literal libraries full of reference material on the films. It’s pretty hard to find an argument I have not considered.

This is not because I’m arrogant, just that on this specific topic I’m disappointingly well–read. It would be like arguing economic theory with Milton Friedman. You might not like his conclusions, and you might never agree with his data. But the guy knows the topic on which he’s speaking, because he’s spent a great deal of time thinking it through and refining his positions through argument.

Besides, I love the prequels. There are people who do not. It’s a matter of artistic opinion.

It shouldn’t matter whether everyone agrees with me, or no one does. I enjoy offering alternative interpretations of things that people may not have considered, hence the blog. Further, since 1999, I’ve found prequel haters are the ones far less likely to listen to conclusions challenging their own presumptions.

So maybe just by virtue of disagreeing with me, Korean Cigarette Smoking Man (and by implication, Jar Jar Hater) is the one who’s arrogant.

I Am Batman

Settle Down, I’m Just Making a Point

This is a blog inspired by yet another conversation I had with fellow Convocation member Jar Jar Hater (an endless fount of countervailance). Without going into details, because those are usually just starting points for discussions that leave people dumbfounded by my opinions (not always in a good way), let’s just say that the eventual statement was made, “I’m Batman.”

Before you run with that one and think that I have some sort of a hero complex (I don’t, it’s a martyr complex) I was speaking metaphorically. I don’t actually put on a costume and beat up criminals. (I turn on the porch light and glower at the young’uns what been wakin’ up the kids.)

But there is a reason I identify with the character so strongly.

Philosophies

Like Batman, I view people as flawed creatures who still make the right choices when they take the time to think about them. When they rush to decide, or they use their emotions and immediate desires as the basis of their decisions, they screw up.

Sometimes, you need to remind them to stop, breathe and think.

So without going into specifics, Jar Jar Hater and I were walking and talking among a loose group of people. Inspired by the surrounding group, we discussed a hypothetical situation that could occur, and in light of that hypothetical I commented that if necessary I’d tackle someone at the knees to stop such a hypothetical from becoming a practical example.

Jar Jar Hater, and another member of the conversation, asked why I’d feel compelled to do that.

It was at that point that I said, with just a hint of ironic self–deprecation, “I’m Batman.”

What That Means

I was asked to clarify. What I laid out at the time, and what I lay out here is: Batman is about prevention.

The response was, as seems to be the increasing case in our relativistic culture, to ask what “business” it would be of me to stop certain things from happening.

I suppose I don’t have a terrific answer for that. Too many of us, myself included, have become too adept at semantics to argue coherently on the subject of self–determination. After all, I suppose it depends on what your definition of the word ‘is’ is.

But the simple fact is, if people are going to “do something bad” then my momentary intrusion on things won’t stop a good decision, or put an end to something people are determined to do, will it?

I ask this sincerely: What’s so wrong about seeing a situation where some thought might make things better, and trying to make people reconsider things for a moment?

Don’t We All Have Moments?

Don’t we all have moments where we look back and think, “If only someone had made me stop and think that one through?”

I cannot possibly be the only one.

I suppose I look out into people’s actions and think about what a positive it can be when someone – anyone – steps up and says, “you need some help with this?” Isn’t that one of the reasons why they ask, during marriage ceremonies, if anyone has something to say that might impact the life–altering decision they’re about to undertake?

I know we view it as a formality now. Maybe that’s a symptom of the problem. Maybe someone should tackle the groom at the knees, hit him in the head and shout, “Dude, really? What the Hell?”

Start with Friendship, Work Backward

We’re all asleep at the wheel with this, and thus we keep sliding toward a more libertine environment. And even speaking as someone who’s a “moderate libertarian“®™, that’s not a good thing.

To tie it in with a discussion I had with Agent Bun a very long time ago, when a friend of hers was making some bad choices, I pontificated that the whole point of a friendship is to stand in the breach and be that voice of reason that simply asks, “Are you sure you want to do this?” You don’t stop being their friend if they make a bad choice, but at least you gave them a reason to stop and think.

So again, it’s not trying to live their life for them. Hawk can tell you without hesitation that one of the cornerstones of our friendship all these years is the simple fact that we can gently call bulls*** on each other. More than he, I’ve pushed on and made some terrible decisions – but he was always sure to say under his breath, “You sure about this?”

I Have to Go There

And to tie it in to Star Wars (because I can) this is a caveat for any argument that Qui–Gon would have made Anakin a better Jedi (more to come on that soon enough).

One of Qui–Gon’s key points of advice was, “feel, don’t think.” What the Hell kind of advice is that outside of a Podrace?

For an even more delicious irony, Obi–Wan specifically tells Anakin to think and stop relying on emotion to make his decisions in Episode III. So in that sense, he’s being a good friend.

After all, if I listened solely to my feelings on things, I’d likely have beaten someone to death by this point in my life.

That’s not an exaggeration.

Logic!

To borrow some wisdom from Spock, logic is the beginning of wisdom; you may not make a purely logical choice (emotion, intuition and logic are the big three important factors) but make sure you know you’re making a thoughtful choice.

And to be thoughtful, you need logic.

And in the end, isn’t Batman a physical manifestation of that logic?

Not really. But it’s part of what he is.

He’s the balance of those big three: emotion, intuition and logic. And the more I think about it, that makes Batman even more super awesome because emotion, intuition and logic are expressed in Bones, Kirk and Spock and they’re super awesome just on their own.

In Conclusion

Batman is more than just a crime fighter, and his motivation is more than just revenge.

Batman is about prevention. He is about holding the line, taking the shots and showing that we can be better than we are; though flawed himself, he never stops trying to be better. Discipline and dedication shape his world, and he learns from each mistake to become better.

And he shares that example with people as best he can. Not in a prideful way, but because he knows that it’s our responsibility to be better. It’s our responsibility to get stronger and find the way to the right choices, and to help others be better when they feel they might falter.

And where he’s divergent with Superman is that he’s about showing each individual how to be better. Instead of a collective reliance on someone else, if you show the example to enough people, eventually it’s going to stick with someone and from there, it can grow and spread from person to person and get better.

So yeah, I’m Batman. Kind of.

AT-ATs of Endor

Recently, Craig baited me into an argument about AT-ATs on Endor, and then felt the need to enlist Jar Jar Hater to his losing arguments.

So here I am, once again setting to rest some things that should not even be questions. I question at times whether I’m the only one who actually pays attention to these films. Can’t wait to see regular commenters fall all over themselves trying to manipulate that last sentence into an opportunity to mock me.

A Different Approach

For this blogument (blog + argument = annoying new psuedo-word!), I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to call out actual arguments and respond to them point by point.

One reason is that it will save me time, another is that it will save you time and the last is that it’s been one heck of a week. I only have so much energy to give.

Argument One: Mileage or Safety Rating?

…whoever decided that the AT-ST was the best transport on the forest moon of Endor was an idiot. Why didn’t they just send down some AT-AT’s and have them fire lasers and ewoks and rebels alike. Especially since it was proven that the AT-ST had armor that couldn’t withstand a tree and the AT-AT has armor that can withstand lasers.

My counter-argument is that an AT-AT Walker is a heavy vehicle. While it can indeed cut through a forest by blasting and crushing its way through the trees, this worked directly against the idea of luring the rebels into a trap.

Think of it this way: the rebels are supposed to think they are catching the Empire off-guard. Palpatine, or whomever is in charge of the military strategy (it’s Palpatine), purposely presents a tempting target to the rebels. “Oh, look at me! I’m a defenseless shield generator! Why doesn’t your small strike team (they fit on one shuttle, after all) come on over and get the fleet over here to attack this lil’ ol’ “unarmed” Death Star?” (Implied: Suckas!)

If all of the area around the back door is recently-scorched ground with a bunch of AT-AT Walkers in a big circle around the target, the rebels will probably call it off or alter their plans.

Also, the Emperor knows that Luke will be lured to this trap as well, and wants to trick him too.

If you want to turn your head around it even more, Solo was planning a straight-forward infiltration with the commando team (he even begins discussing it before 3PO interrupts). The Ewoks were the ones who told them about the back door. So they did, in fact, still catch the Imperials unaware—which is why they got as far as they did in the first place before being captured.

And being a small commando team, they still failed at their primary mission. The ewoks provided the diversion, and indeed the old veteran Chewbacca was the one who actually turned the tide of the battle when he jacked an AT–ST.

Argument Two: Not Really an Argument

[Kessel] had this convoluted theory that maybe if the trees could pierce the armor because it is not made to withstand a slow piercing object. Yes he argued that a tree could pierce the armor of an AT-AT.

I bring this up to correct it. I did not argue that. I said that the AT-STs presumably had similar armor (able to withstand energy weapons to an extent) but that they were lighter vehicles susceptible to force-of-impact destruction.

Here’s an analogy: the AT-AT is an M1-Abrams and the AT-ST is a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Argument Three: There WERE AT-ATs There.

One of them is used to transport Luke to Vader.

It’s always been there. You can easily extrapolate that there is more than one on the planet.

Go get your VHS copy. It’s there in all its stop-motion and then full-sized not-quite-accurate forced-perspective glory behind Luke and Vader glory.

See the screen caps, with helpful guide:

ATAT drops off Luke
Well, here’s one shot with an AT-AT.

 

Now, to expand upon the point from above, imagine these big, lumbering vehicles.

They would take time to get to the battle, a battle which the Imperial military thought it could handle easily.

If you watch closely the Empire does whip on rebel ass until Chewbacca turns the tide and the rebels trick the Imperials into letting them into the structure to destroy it.

AT AT Comes to Rest on the Forest Moon Called Endor While Dropping Off Luke Skywalker
Stop Motion. Matte Paintings. Back lighting.

I mean, the Empire is wailing on Ewoks until Chewie has his hands on the controls of a chicken walker and starts blasting other walkers apart.

So why doesn’t the Empire send the AT-ATs after the fact to exact vengeance?

Simple answer: through the chicanery of Han Solo, the first hint the Imperials had about their precious base going up in flames…was their base going up in flames. Also, the film was nearing the two hour mark, which in Star Wars land means there will be opportunities for you to make it up in your head.

Like I did!

Argument Four: I Know My Star Wars, Thank You

AT AT Set Piece on the Forest Moon Called Endor in Return of the Jedi When Luke Skywalker Talks to Darth Vader
This is an argument for “Special Editioning” a background.

I bring this up because of something Jar Jar Hater said in her turn arguing:

Remember that strategic command on Endor is directly overseen by the Emperor, who even hides this from Vader

No, he doesn’t. He orders Vader around. Vader was obviously given command of the fleet in Empire, bungled his second chance at Sith succession, and so the Emperor spanked him and took direct control. This is the classic blunder of many an evil leader in history, yes. They’re too intolerant of short-term failure because they fear weakness.

But he didn’t hide it from Vader at all.

Argument Five: Secrecy Kills, Not Lack of AT-ATs

The base was supposed to be a secret. Now, building a Death Star in secret on the Forest Moon Called Endor will require stationing, supplies, quartermasters, etc. Therefore, the Empire couldn’t station a whole bunch of resources there prior to bringing the fleet there for the trap.

So you could make the argument that possibly, building the Death Star in secret was the first mistake. I question that, above all else.

Conclusion

After all, you’re an Imperial Machine run by bureaucrats and brute force that hands out mandates on the whim of insane leaders, like North Korea or New York. Why bother hiding it? Why not just announce to everyone, “Hi there! We’re building another, Mother-F***ers, and we’re putting a shield generator around the shield generator of the shield generator’s shield generator, and building it near a highly-populated planet with a large civilian population that we’ll torture and kill if you try to stop it.”

It lacks subtlety, but I’ve always liked to dream big.

What are your thoughts?