Why the events of Return of the Jedi are pointless.
Disclaimer: I will have TWO portions to this, one citing the original Trilogy…and yes unfortunately one citing the…prequels.
What’s in a Name?
It’s all in the title, “Star Wars”- these “wars” among the “Stars”- have been going for a LONG time. The plot of “A New Hope” isn’t exactly “looking for Luke (Jesus Christ) Skywalker” to fulfill some vague prophecy about bringing peace to the universe, the ACTUAL plot is:
A SMALL band of rebels has discovered the plans for the Empire’s newest weapon, the Death Star. Princess Leia hides said plans in a droid and the droid is sent on his merry way to hopefully find some dude who could help…possibly, named Obi Wan Kenobi. EVERYTHING else that happens is merely coincidence/done for the sake of good-excellent hero’s journey epic storytelling.
Luke has lived in a Galactic Empire controlled Tattooine for his ENTIRE life. Storm Troopers aren’t really anything out of place so much as the local Gestapo finally taking an interest in this relatively empty desert planet. (which when you see the amount of organized crime going down on Tattooine/Mos Eisely you’d think they’d have a permanent precinct, but that’s besides the point…)
Darth Vader is not anyone overly important to the Empire. He’s “important” to the Emperor, sure, but in the grand scheme of the “Family”, he’s not Sonny Corleone, hell he’s not even Tom Hagen…he’s Luca Brasi.
The head honcho of the first movie is actually Grand Moff Tarkin (the Officer ranked above Admiral running the Death Star/entire assault on the rebels). He ordered the attack on Leia’s ship in the opening and she’s more scared of him than she is of Vader when captured. She even shows him begrudging respect, while regarding Vader as nothing but a lackey. Tarkin is the one who blows up Alderan/gives the order, NOT Vader.
It’s not just the good guys that don’t give the slightest fuck about Vader, it’s also his own men, who regularly mock him and his “Ancient Religion”. Whoever the Jedi were, they aren’t shit now, not the kind anyone lives in constant fear and awe of anyway.
The Opening Crawl for "A New Hope" is as follows:
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's
sinister agents, Princess
Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the
stolen plans that can save her
people and restore
freedom to the galaxy....
Leia is pursued by “sinister agents”, ie the muscle, ie Vader etc etc etc…stolen plans yadda yadda. That last line is just completely unfounded wishful thinking and the only way it could have come to pass was if the Rebels CAPTURED the Death Star and used it against the Galactic Emprie …instead:
Farmboy Luke watches his mentor, an old hermit not regarded as threatening or important by literally ANYONE besides “Luke” in the entire film, get cut in half/become one with the Force.
Vader decides to fly the Death Star Assault Defense cause he used to be a kickass pilot/he wants to kill Luke cause…reasons. Vader’s bodyguards are blown up and he is incapacitated hurtling through space for an unknown amount of time. (likely two weeks) The Death Star was blown up… sucks for the Empire…I guess…except, they now know EXACTLY where the Rebels are, who the Rebels are, and oh yea…they’ve already started building ANOTHER DEATH STAR!
Flash forward to one of the greatest movies of all time:
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Rebellion. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the
Rebel forces from their hidden
base and pursued them across
Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Luke Skywalker
has established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
The evil lord Darth Vader,
obsessed with finding young
Skywalker, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space....
The rebels are out in the open and now being hunted down. Here is the [actual plot as it pertains to the “Star Wars”] summation of Empire:
The rebels lose, the rebels lose some more, the rebels lose a shitload, Vader makes it personal. The Emperor makes an appearance.
Nothing with Luke, Vader, Leia, Obi Wan, Yoda, or even the Emperor actually matters in the grand scheme of the Galactic Empire waging war/continuing to hold the galaxy by the balls.
Then we have the [until the prequels were made] most insulting entry into the Star Wars mythos, Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi: and why none of this mattered
his home planet of Tatooine in
an attempt to rescue his
friend Han Solo from the
clutches of the vile gangster
Jabba the Hutt.
Little does Luke know that the
GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
begun construction on a new
armored space station even
more powerful than the first
dreaded Death Star.
When completed, this ultimate
weapon will spell certain doom
for the small band of rebels
struggling to restore freedom
to the galaxy...
After dicking around with muppets and rescuing Han/the most undeserving sendoff to one of the BEST characters of all time [R.I.P Boba Fett- yes I know he comes back in the EU, so did Bucky and it didn’t make his death any less sad/impactful….it’s still real to me dammit!] we suddenly join a rebel briefing about… dicking around with more muppets on Endor where… Han and Lando are now Generals…ok sure, why not? They have a brief conversation about some kind of scrape they got in with the Falcon/how they got promoted (that im sure exists in some EU content somewhere) and then it’s:
The Shield Generator for the Death Star is on this moon. Bring it down and we can blow up the Death Star…ok great? Then what?
Here is what happened when Julius Caesar, the Emperor of all Emperors was whacked:
All out war.
Here is what happened when Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated:
WORLD WAR ONE
You’re already in the middle of a galactic Civil War and blowing up the Emperor/his super secret moon base death ray is going to…magically end the war? How?
Here is what happened when North Korean dictator Kim Kong Il died:
His son Kim Jong Un immediately became the North Korean dictator and has been as much as a bastard as his father if not more…ever since.
You’d think something like this would have happened in Star Wars…
oh…it did… IMMEDIATELY following Jedi in the EU which is either now canon or not…who can keep up?
If there was no direct heir, every possible ruling faction of the Empire/admiral feeling randy would wage their own internal battle to step up, likely while piloting one of the million other Death Stars the Empire probably already had built.
What about the significance of Luke being a Jedi and all that?
I’ll open with this. Luke “claims” that he is a Jedi Master when he arrives at Jabba’s Palace. He’s super calm cause he totes has this plan locked and loaded with a ridiculous Oceans 11 level of inside men, women and droids, and he doesn’t see himself losing to a Rancor. There’s no guarantee anywhere that Luke is in fact actually a Jedi Master. This was likely a bluff to scare Jabba’s guards/outlandish claim as there’s actually a shitload of evidence to the contrary.
Luke’s Jedi training consists of:
Getting stun shot by a space ball in the Falcon – A New Hope
Dicking around with Yoda, doing backflips, and bitching- Empire
-it’s important to note that Luke does NOT rise to the occasion to run off and save his friends. Yoda cautions him about leaving especially before being ready. Luke is unable to pull his X-wing from the swamp having utterly failed at learning how to MASTER the Force, and Yoda does it for him again saying “go, don’t go, fuck really I don’t give a”
The only reason Luke is NOT killed/frozen in carbonite while battling Vader is their connection/that there is humanity left in Anakin and he simply didn’t WANT to kill his son. He wanted to turn him and have them crush the Emperor/rule the Galaxy together (which as this article already proves, would have meant a Michael Coreleone amount of killing to get to that actual top spot –granted we’re down 4 admirals and a Grand Moff by the time this scene happens, but still)
Yet in the opening of Jedi, Luke is all of a sudden a self-proclaimed “Jedi Master”. He’s so powerful that he gets fucking manhandled by both Vader and Palpatine- Palpatine either being a Sith Lord (evil equivalent of Master) and Anakin a JEDI KNIGHT… that’s right. In all the times we hear about Anakin/Vader in the original trilogy, he’s referred to as “[Anakin] was a Jedi Knight. He was killed by Darth Vader.” Vader meets Obi Wan, proclaiming himself better, the first and only time he's a "master."
Luke probably wasn’t even qualified to call himself a “Jedi Knight” in Empire, as he was only ever an Apprentice- one Yoda said in private to Obi Wan “was too old/couldn’t be properly trained/is likely to die.”
The Prophecy: Who IS the Chosen One?
PART TWO: THE PREQUELS
What about the prophecy? Ok ok, it’s time to tackle the prequels. For argument’s sake/the fact that they were indeed terrible, we can pretty much skip the opening crawls unless they’re relevant. – we can also go back and use citations from the prequels to prove claims in part one covering the Original Trilogy.
The actual prophecy that Samuel L Jackson, Yoda, and the Extras speak of in Phantom Menace, (and it’s again possibly mumbled as reference in Clones is that
The Chosen One will stop the Empire…wrong- there was no Empire.
The Chosen One will kill all the Sith and lead the Jedi to greatness…close, but sorry incorrect.
The Chosen one will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force. Wait really?
Yes…and by the simplest of paths and the most contrived plot twists/looooooong walk for a short drink of water in a galaxy far far away “he” does exactly this.
I present to you the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Defense from the classic Buffy v Angel- Second Season Conflict.
Not being able to blow their masterful/incredible/best season of television ever written load on Buffy vs Angel too early, Whedon and co created a mid season conflict/boss fight in the form of an amazing character called The Judge, complete with, you guessed it-a how to prophecy on how to destroy him. See, the Judge- a twelfth century baddie- was supposedly not able to be killed by any weapon forged of man. The good guys quickly realized the date on that prophecy and that in the time since then, man has forged some pretty heavy duty RPGs which promptly blow the Judge to oblivion. So, back to that Anakin/Chosen One thing, let’s really dive in shall we?
“In the time of greatest despair, a child shall be born who will destroy the Sith and bring Balance to the Force.”
-While the “timing” and the “child being born” thing could easily cover Luke, it’s a direct catch-all for Anakin. I can’t think of a greater time of despair in the history of anything not Crystal Skull than the Star Wars prequels…but, even in the context of that universe/history, you’re talking about a free Republic that has been around for a REALLY long time, willfully surrendering- worse having Jar-Jar do it for them, to elect a Galactic Emperor who immediately enslaves them, and hunts down their grandchildren…yikes. It’s also a few short years before The Jedi (the guys who wrote said prophecy) are gunned down in cold blood, 99.9% of which not by the hand of Anakin/Vader. Doesn’t sound like the “best of times” to me. Considering the prophecy was written before he was born, and he’s like six in the first movie/a forgettable slave kid displaying…ugh…midochlorians that are off the charts/have never been seen before, it’s more than possible Anakin could be the Super Jesus…virused kid.
What about that whole “who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force” line? Like the Judge prophecy, perhaps literally this one should be taken.
We really don’t need to concern ourselves further with the prequels thankfully except to point out that Obi Wan himself yells to Anakin “You were the Chosen One!” Is this wishful thinking? Or as the kid’s Master did he perhaps have some factual/proven insight into the matter?
As we learn in this very flick (Revenge of the …ugh Sith- what were they revenging exactly? Stupid titles…another article, sorry, back on track) Jedi Masters and Sith Lords…and… Anakin when the plot needs him to- can see the future. We don’t know how much of it/how far into the future, but being as he was the only one who survived/he got Obi Wan out of dodge, it’s likely Yoda used this ability to not get Tommy’d (that’s a Goodfellas reference) during Order 66. He also likely used this power to predict the future of Luke and his friends/Luke is displaying the same power when he has the awful premonition…much like his father before him.
In A New Hope/Empire, the Force is “unbalanced” 3-2 as the Light Side consists of: Obi Wan, Yoda, and Luke. (Leia does not yet count/possibly never does in terms of the original trilogy. She is “force sensitive” and has one telepathic convo with Luke…nothing more)
And the Dark Side: consists of Vader and Palpatine.
Vader kills Obi Wan and Yoda dies of old age/sadness. This leaves Light Side: Luke, Dark Side: Vader and Palpatine- The Force still being “unbalanced” 1-2
Now, before I cover the absolute genius of this next part, let’s first really quickly talk about the Sith. I’m ONLY using the movies and not the video games, comics, books, TV Shows, EU, etc etc.
In the Star Wars movies, that’s Phantom- Jedi the word “Sith” is said a shitload of times, but the only people ever actually CALLED “Sith” are:
Darth Maul- deceased
Darth Tyrannus (that was Dooku’s other stupid name) – deceased
When it comes to Anakin/Darth Vader, the only dialogue ever used is that he has allied with the Sith/will become a powerful Sith Lord, much like a prospect pledge, it is never stated that he IS now classified as a Sith. Who knows maybe they have a “no Robocop” policy?
Despite the word Sith barely being said in the Original Trilogy period, in all the opening crawls and references to Vader, he’s merely “The Dark Lord Vader” not “of the Sith”.
Therefore the ONLY actual Sith alive in Return of the Jedi/possibly the entire universe is Palpatine, the frog-faced monster Sith Lord. So when the prophecy says “He will destroy the Sith”, it literally meant “THE”, as he picked up the last Sith in the universe and threw him down a reactor core. We now have one Light side guy and one Dark side guy. BOOM, balance to the Force
Saying that blowing up the Shield Generator on Endor or the unfinished Death Star stopped the war in “Star Wars” is like saying that Private Pruit deciding to box and not getting Frank Sinatra killed in From Here to Eternity would have somehow prevented Pearl Harbor/World War Two
Bogie as “Rick”, says it best in Casablanca:
So, are we excited for Episode VII? Have 20-30 years of Peace and Prosperity really somehow ridiculously come to pass? Or will we be adding another three movies into the pile of prequels we never speak of again?