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.

The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Anakin Skywalker

The most obvious choice for Chosen One in Star Wars has been, since 1999 at least, Anakin Skywalker. He was conceived by the midichlorians, was the most powerful Jedi in all six films, and the Jedi viewed him specifically through the prophecy of the “Chosen One.”

Sure, you could argue he wasn’t truly “most powerful” until he turned to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith, but at that point you’re really going to lose yourself in the “when does he truly become Vader” debate.

It's Darth Vader, not Anakin with Yellow Eyes.
It’s Darth Vader, not “Anakin with Yellow Eyes.”

We’ve examined at length the unorthodox idea that Qui-Gon actually is The Chosen One – and the comments are well worth looking for further fleshing out and argument of that idea.

I reiterate, though, that the beauty of the discussion is that there is no wrong answer…depending on how you look at it. If people in the real world can tell me that morals are to be viewed on a sliding scale, then surely something as trivial as this can be too.

Building the Case for Anakin

The primary trouble with building a compelling case for Anakin as the Chosen One, is that in many ways it feels like a pointless debate, since it’s easy to accept.

He is the tying thread in galactic events through all six episodes of the saga and has a hand in laying the Jedi low, and then destroying the Sith (killing the true Sith convert, Dooku, and eventually the Sith Lord of All Sith Lords, Sidious).

He is conceived by the Force itself, via the midichlorians, which was supposed to be a sign from the prophecy. Remember that it is Qui-Gon’s statement on Anakin’s supposedly divine birth that stuns Windu into referencing the prophecy in the first place.

Further, the statement that I used to jump off with this series which showed the prophecy may have been misread, is one that simply can mean, “Well, we thought balance was all awesome and everything, but darned if we didn’t do the math right and figure out that we were the ones throwing things out of balance and the Force wants to clean house.”

So What Would Make It Inescapable?

Frankly, Anakin is the sensible choice for this debate for all the reasons listed above. So I try to latch on to something that makes it an unexpectedly persuasive argument in his favor.

The tiny little detail that kind of seals it is more subtle than you might suspect. Hidden in plain sight, so to speak.

It’s that the entire fate of the galaxy hinges on his personal decisions. The moment when Anakin chooses to ally himself with the Sith—and he is forced to choose, even after all the evil he has done, as opposed to passively accept—is the moment when the Dark Side specifically gains the irrevocable upper hand to take control of the galaxy again.

It’s not Windu’s death that Yoda feels in the Force. He reacts after Anakin kneels and pledges himself to Sidious. One man’s pledge has sent dynamic ripples through the very fabric of existence and changed the fate of every last man, woman, child, clone, Ewok and robot.

I believe that’s the most clear indication that Destiny and Free Will interact—at least in the Star Wars universe—the way that they interact in Frank Herbert’s Dune. There are many paths but they all pass through the same key points.

In other words, The Force was going to get back into balance one way or another and Anakin’s choices determined how. If he hadn’t saved Palpatine, would he have gone down a similar path? Would he have found a way to leave the Order and show the Jedi a new way to be?

What do you think?

Next Blog: The Real Chosen One: Building the Case for Luke Skywalker

Luke n’ Carbonite

Recently, regular blog commenter and occasional influencer Tom (who really deserves a proxy vote at any meeting of the Convocation) asked the question, “Why does Luke need to be frozen in Carbonite?”

The stock answer is, so the lil’ scamp won’t cause problems on his way to the Emperor. You have to imagine that a Force-talented individual, who happens to be either the Son of the Chosen One or the Chosen One himself, depending on how you read the prophecy, and who doesn’t want to be delivered to the Emperor might cause some serious headaches.

But alas! I thought about it for a minute and there are more intriguing motivations. Taking hints from the text, there are  other possibilities at play, which I think can add real layers to the film. None of these stand alone as “reasons” but rather what my old acting teachers would have called “objectives in service of the super-objective.”

The Super-Objective

The Super-Objective for Vader, of course, is to fulfill his “Destiny” and become the Chosen One, the ruler of the galaxy, the final arbiter and executor of the Force’s will in the galaxy. Sure, his interpretation of it while he’s the Man in the Suit is skewed toward a darker interpretation of the prophecy, but were he to take his place as the true Lord of the Sith, he’d fulfill it “from a certain point of view.”

  1. It’s part of Vader’s mandatory Sith power play against the Emperor;
  2. It’s insurance against the Emperor betraying Vader (ties into #1);
  3. It prevents easy rescue attempts (obvious);
  4. Vader can exert some sort of mental influence on Luke while frozen in carbonite (I’ll get to where I got that whacky idea later);
  5. Vader could hide Luke and claim he was dead (ties into #1).

Tying Them Together

Luke, trapped in the carbonite, is no longer able to use the Force as he’s in a state of suspended animation. This keeps him unable to thwart Vader’s plans to (ostensibly) deliver him to the Emperor. All well and good, but why not just knock his punk ass out and put him in some of those awesome energy binders that incapacitated Obi-Wan in Episode II?

There’s likely another motivation Vader has. Yes, he says in front of a bunch of people that he’s taking Luke to the Emperor. But there is such a thing as subtext. I know that for me, if there’s no possibility of another reading of the text, there’s no need to come back to the book/film/show. And I like to think I return primarily to entertainment that offers something additional when I revisit.

Additional Points

Vader had other motivations. Going back to some of the thoughts I’ve postulated before, and of which I’ll likely post a further examination at the implicit behest of The Clone, Vader was ready for his “big moment” on the Death Star before a couple of torpedoes thwarted his ambitions.

It’s not like he no longer wanted what he wanted by the time Episode V rolls around. If anything, he wants it more.

So, he’s figured out he has a son. He’s smart enough to know that he’s got an even better shot at dicing up Old Man Palpatine with his son by his side. After all, Luke is the direct offspring of The Chosen One (or, again, possibly The Chosen One himself). The kid’s got power and skills.

He’s also smart enough to know Palpatine would love nothing more than to toss his crispy behind out and start fresh with an undamaged Skywalker. Return of the Jedi proves that point as Sidious is ready to toss Vader onto the trash heap when Luke drops him like a punk.

About Carbonite

We know that carbon-freeze is used to put things in suspended animation. Cloud City’s facilities are geared for industrial output, leading to the concerns that the “crude” facility would kill Luke. So they test on Han and then get everything set to drop Luke into the pit. We know Luke will live, and be unable to escape.

However, as was established in the novelizations and various adaptations based on the original script, Luke would still have been aware of things. Han characterizes his time in carbonite as a personal hell in a scene cut from the final film, the infamous “sandstorm scene” on Tatooine (and I believe the dialogue was in at least one official adaptation):

“No, I’m thinking a lot about it. That carbon freeze was the closest thing to dead there is. And it wasn’t just sleepin’. It was a big wide awake nothing!”

Luke, in stasis, can’t be found. He can be spirited away and hidden, where Vader can train him and turn him to the ways of the Sith. Think of it: Vader can have a telepathic “conversation” with Luke while he’s in a sort of living Hell. What better offer could Vader make, when Luke is ready to break, than to offer him release from this prison if only he would turn?

That’s where I came up with Number 4 in the list above. It’s an interesting possibility, at the very least, and far more thematically consistent with the the series than some of the horse-poop other “fans” put out there.

Hidden from Sidious

At a bare minimum, Vader can hide Luke in the literal sense. If Luke is in stasis, his “signal” in the Force becomes subdued. He’s harder to detect. For goodness’ sake, the Emperor and Vader didn’t even sense his coming when he was out and living free on Tatooine, while Vader was in orbit (this ties into another topic I’ll be touching on soon enough).

Conclusion & Conjecture

So upon this closer look, given that there are other ways for Vader to deliver Luke to the Emperor, freezing Luke in Carbonite is actually a step from Vader to put the balance of his relationship with Sidious back in his favor.

He failed to parlay the Death Star into a final advantage, but figures Luke gives him an insurmountable one. His plans for Luke in Empire therefore take on a greatly layered quality in this examination.

Is it authoritative? Not at all. It’s a guy on the Internet playing “English Major” with a story point in a film.

But you have to admit that it’s a more interesting way to look at it. More interesting than face value, that’s for sure.

Flashback Blog: Why I Love Grievous

It’s pretty self-explanatory. However, it’s also fun to look back and see how “prophetic” I was about the greatly expanded role Grievous would enjoy in the not-yet-airing Clone Wars series that’s now de rigueur viewing for any serious fan, and even reclaiming fans who’d turned their back on the franchise.

In a nutshell, I love Grievous for one basic reason…but then it’d be more fun to have you read my thoughts as I laid them out little more than five years ago.

Fun side note. Apparently I posted this for the first time on the one-year anniversary of the release of Revenge of the Sith, also the sixth for The Phantom Menace. Neat coincidence!

Enjoy!


Flashback Blog: Why I Love Grievous

Originally posted May 19, 2006 at the original kessel korner.

General Grievous – a character that could have gone oh, so wrong and completely wrecked a terrific film. A completely CG main character, but not a good guy this time – a major villain. Considering that the villains had to be the ones to make Sith shine, this was an incredibly risky move. I’ll share with you here why I think he worked so well.

First and foremost, he was not cookie-cutter. He was not yet another calm, completely-in-control bad guy. We had that with Dooku. We had that with Palpatine. In Episodes IV and V, we had it with Vader. No, Sith needed a different ingredient – a villain that harkened back to the Snidley Whiplash-type, moustache-twirling villain who always got away just when it seemed they were about to be smashed by the heroes.

Grievous was a lot of fun. There is a sense of whimsy about him – a machine that has all the trappings of a failing human body. A cheesy, 1930s vampire accent. A cough that was explained to the die-hards, and left completely open to interpretation to the casual viewer. In short, he had a real character about him; he was more than the sum of his lines.

He gave Obi-Wan a chance to shine on his own. The fight with Grievous on Utapau established, without a doubt, that Obi-Wan was one bad mammajamma. Few people have the wherewithal not only to face an 8-foot cyborg, but remain calm about it.

And finally, because of the fight itself. I had a friend nitpick my review of King Kong, accusing me of showing fan favoritism; I had picked on Kong because of its ridiculous over-the-top action – he’s fighting a dinosaur! No, two! No, wait, three!

“Well,” my friend reasoned, “it’s no different with Grievous and the four sabers.”

“That’s not true, it is different,” I protested.

“Just because you’re a fan,” he retorted. My friend thought this was witty. I realized that he fell back on an argument everyone loves to use when I defend a piece of one of these films. The “He-Lost-Perspective-Because-He’s-A-Fanboy” argument.

At that time, dinner was served and we had to table the discussion. I had no chance to prove him wrong at that moment as he so richly deserved- my wife listens to enough Star Wars jabber that when she called us to the table, I chose to drop the discussion.

Well, here is my formal reply. (Since I am sending a link to this out to him, I’d like him to know that no matter how wrong he was that night, I forgive him.)

The Obi-Wan versus Grievous fight starts out with Grievous’ arms splitting into four, wielding lightsabers like a “windmill of doom.” Had it worked where the fight started with one saber versus one, then escalated to two, three and finally four, I would agree with my friend.

But it does not. The fight takes the opposite approach, with Obi-Wan calmly disarming Grievous (a pun!) of two of those sabers and the fight eventually boiling all the way down to a hand-to-hand match. A straight-up, honest-to-goodness fight, with two opponents simply doing everything they can to stop the other’s heart. Like a real fight to the death would be.

No rules, no flashy steps, no twirling like a gymnast. Just two opponents throwing down with anything and everything they can use, or that’s within arm’s reach. The fight is actually a move in restraint, because instead of starting small and building up to craziness, Lucas got the craziness out of the way and then boiled it down to mano a mano. A seeming lesson to other filmmakers that you can practice restraint, and wisely.

On top of that. the hands-on fight was filmed…with one actor and a CG character. That’s just frickin’ cool. Find me one other film that has ever had such smooth hands-on interaction between a CG character and a live person. There is none!

Sure, it’s unfortunate that Grievous only appeared in one of the films. But you know what? Cameo excepted, Tarkin was a character who had a part of consequence in one film only, and it’s okay to like him.

So Grievous has quickly and decidedly rocketed up my list of favorite Star Wars characters, and is likely to stay entrenched there for some time. I even bought one of his action figures to add to my “pantheon of evil” (I collect only cool bad guys and Jedi) and placed him next to Tarkin.

Here’s hoping we’ll get more Grievous in the TV show that takes place during the Clone Wars era – I suspect we will.