Were the Jedi Vegetarians?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. In the gaps between important thoughts that impact the family, as usual I start to wonder about Star Wars questions no one asked.

The Jedi could sense suffering and death. All living things were a part of The Force.

Therefore, I wondered if it would necessarily follow they were vegetarians.

We have on-screen evidence that the Jedi can sense the large scale suffering of beings. However, we don’t know that it has to be sentient life.

When Alderaan explodes, Obi-Wan gets heartburn. To extend this specific speculation, he merely says “millions of voices cried out” (which seems kind of low for a planetary population, but whatevs); maybe he was also sensing the forest creatures and house pets that the Alderaanians had.

Adding to that is the on-screen evidence of a link Jedi have for animals. In Attack of the Clones, Anakin can “connect” to the Reek so that he rides it. This implies some sort of affinity with creatures regardless of species.

Further pursuing the thought of heightened sensitivity, perhaps they were vegans. Living in a galactic culture where just about everything can be synthetically produced, it seems to follow that they’d have become vegans. If you feel the death of an animal through The Force, I imagine it dissuades you from consuming or killing it.

In an existence full of hyperspace and city planets, they’d have access to all the resources necessary to eschew animal-based products of any sort.

However

The strongest counterpoint is that the Jedi do seem to have their sensitivities tuned to the sentient. Luke kills the Rancor without so much as a light headache. Obi-Wan slices and dices the Acklay piece by piece. Mace Windu kills the Reek without a pause. For goodness’ sake, other Jedi drop like flies on Geonosis and the ones left standing are doing fine.

If they were that sensitive, then the Rancor eating the Gamorrean should have made Luke curl into a little ball and cry like an abandoned child.

In short, the animals of Star Wars can go screw. The Jedi obviously had barbecues.

Can Droids See Force Ghosts?

Netflix recently unleashed the entire run of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, including the sixth and final never-before-seen season, which dominated my weekend watching habits and has doubly reinvigorated my mental pursuit of esoteric Star Wars questions on top of the recent exchanges on Words With Nerds.

Often I promise these sorts of blogs will be brief musings, but then I start writing and I can never predict their final length. I like to think as I write on these things instead of coming into it fully-formed. Let’s see where we go this time!

What I’m Wondering This Time

One topic I’m not sure has ever been explored fully, is whether ‘droids see Force Ghosts. For those who don‘t immediately understand that phrase (really?), I mean things like the ghostly blue apparition–figures that appear after certain Jedi deaths.

Obi–Wan is of course the first we ever saw as an audience. Yoda followed by the end of Return of the Jedi, along with Anakin. The prequels later teased out the fact that this was a rare occurrence. I think that as an audience most presumed all Jedi could come back in this form. After all, our sample size of Jedi was fairly small, and they had a 100% return rate.

So anyway, I was wondering while watching one of the season 6 Clone Wars, could R2 see Obi–Wan on Dagobah? Yoda was talking to Luke as he boarded his X–Wing and he was joined by Blue Ben® trying to impel the youth from rushing off to face Vader at Cloud City.

Luke spoke to both, and Ben’s voice is heard very clearly by Luke and the audience. But if Obi–Wan is using some ancient art to communicate with another Force User via his connection from the Cosmic Force to the Living Force, could a ‘droid even hope to hear or see him?

As Obi–Wan explained to Luke, the (Cosmic) Force is generated by all living things. The living things are loosely explained in the prequels to be the Living Force, emphasizing the theme of duality Lucas was exploring in The Phantom Menace.

The key function of all this is, of course, the fact that the physical aspect of the Force is living.

As endearing as the ‘droids are, as key as they are to the motion of the story, they are not alive. There is no “living circuitry” to them. They may have intelligence artificially engineered into them, but they are in no way organic. Therefore, they are not alive.

If you want to play semantics, they are less alive than fire, which eats, breathes and grows. (Thank you, Backdraft!)

No Ghosts For R2!

So to my mind, R2 would be ruled out from seeing Obi–Wan in either The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. He does not possess the correct antenna to see him, which is a connection to the living Force.

R2 can feel the effects of the Force when he is lifted in the air. He has personally witnessed the tremendous abilities of the Jedi. So he is aware of the Force, and has seen evidence of its existence, but cannot ever hope to participate with it on an intimate level.

This has to be troubling to a sentient machine. R2 would even see Luke conducting conversations with the dead while seeing nothing except a living person talking to thin air. That has to be maddening, even possibly causing logic conflicts that a mere ‘droid cannot resolve!

That opens other possibilities as well with ‘droids that would develop a deep resentment of living creatures in general and Force Users in specific. So perhaps, though I’ve spoken about the unfair treatment of ‘droids in the past, there was a practical reason for the bartender (Wuher) in A New Hope to have a “no ‘droids” policy.

After all, people couldn‘t know whether seeing someone doing one more thing they couldn’t would cause automata to snap finally. Imagine how messy it could get if a bunch of machines wigged out and started killing patrons. Very bad for business.

Loopholes

The one loophole I see in this would be that possibly a ‘droid could see the Force Ghost but not hear it. Then, at the very least, it would be able to reconcile why otherwise–sensible beings occasionally sat down on logs and talked into space.

Or perhaps there is a threshold of impact for Force Ghosts at first, but the more they exert their influence on the physical realm the more non-Force Users can interact with them. But then they become full–on poltergeists and then we have to speculate that possibly there is some Star Wars version of the Ghostbusters out there, whose actions inadvertently cause them to be evil since they’re interfering with the “light side” interacting with the living.

See? I never know where I’m going with these things either.

Vader Should Have Surrendered to Obi-Wan

I’ve come to an idea about how Vader should have dealt with the situation on Mustafar.

He should have surrendered!

Let me take you through the reasoning why this not only makes sense, but would have resulted in Anakin becoming an even greater Sith Lord than Palpatine. Hell, he would have been the greatest Sith Lord since the legendary Bane.

Surrender to Victory

The situation as we all know it is that Obi-Wan showed up to bring Anakin to justice, and depending on your point of view (see what I did there?) that’s what he did. However, it left Anakin a broken shell (some could argue a zombie of sorts) to be reconstructed by Palpatine and to continually ponder his existence in terms of what could have been.

Had he surrendered, though, it would have been a master stroke that would have won the galaxy as his. It would have left the Jedi decimated still, and it would have been a stroke of genius to get the galaxy to back the Sith as the leaders of a thousand thousand worlds.

Surrender would have allowed Anakin to continue destroying from within, without having to bloody his hands further.

So How Would That Work, kesseljunkie?

Let me explain.

Palpatine had engineered the senators to surrender their peoples’ freedoms in exchange for power. He reorganized the Republic into a Galactic Empire to “thunderous applause.” This monstrous being had sold those not on the bureaucratic take on the idea that the Jedi had gone rogue, become extremists and threatened to overthrow the government.

Very obviously, the Sith had the intelligence and wisdom to turn a beneficent system against itself by working from within. They worked in shadow to get to a point of primacy that gave them complete control. When Palpatine addresses the Senate in Revenge of the Sith, the need to hide is erased. His true face is known now and the system has been reshaped to support him.

Anakin surrendering corners Obi-Wan into coming back to Coruscant, to present him to a system he knows is rigged against him. The Jedi have been destroyed by that point and Yoda cannot offer public assistance. Political allies will cow in fear rather than be portrayed as supporting traitors.

Palpatine would have likely given Obi-Wan diplomatic leniency in public and then jailed him “for his own protection.” And when the show trial that only goes further to portray the Jedi as ignoble renegades, Obi-Wan can then either stand trial for the Order’s “crimes” or be “killed while attempting escape.” Heck, Palpatine could have kept him alive as bait to draw out other Jedi who wanted to rescue him, or lure sympathizers into the open so that his enemies make it easier for him to eliminate them.

To be honest, I’d started writing this half-heartedly and am pretty sure I’ve convinced myself now.

Hiccups in the Plan

Sure, there could have been inquiries about the timing of certain events. People may have been curious as to how or why Anakin was sent in secret to assassinate the entire Separatist leadership while the Jedi were supposedly turning against the Republic they’d sworn to defend.

They would have been distracted by propaganda though. Their curiosity would have been deflected by the portrait of a hero who remained loyal to Palpatine, and the Republic by default, since Palpatine’s cult of personality was the new order of government.

Who would have had the courage to bring him to trial though? Even if Bail Organa stood tall and insisted on it, Palpatine had control. At a key moment in the movie, Mace Windu flatly declares that Palpatine “controls the Senate and the courts” before he attempts to assassinate him. So a trial would have been actual good PR for the new Empire since it would have been a terrific chance for Anakin to declare his loyalty, evidence could show he had single-handedly gone to finish off the Separatist threat after a long war and he would have been exonerated.

At that point he becomes Palpatine’s face. Handsome and young, he is more able to persuade by coercion than fear. He would have been a supreme leader instead of a mysterious monster prowling the lanes of space and forcing Palpatine to continue personal interactions. After all, a withered and evil face is still more compelling than an implacable mask.

Anakin surrendering would have been the ultimate move to ensure Sith power for many lifetimes to come.

In Conclusion

At the end of it all, this is all conjecture based on a fan’s frenzied fantasy. Star Wars isn’t structured for this sort of courtroom drama, but I can’t help but wonder.

Have I stumbled accidentally onto a “better fate” for Anakin? Or am I just tilting at windmills?

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.