Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Speaking of Star Wars...

I was gratified (and somewhat) amused to see my interpretation of the Jedi corroborated almost point for point by Dave Filoni (supervising director for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and definitely a position of some authority with regards to this particular question.)  This was from an interview he gave recently to celebrate the DVD release of the fifth (and final, as it turns out) season of the show.  I still question how much of this was intentional on George Lucas' part--certainly plenty of comments from him over the years (and even quite recently) seem to indicate that it was not, but the failings in the Jedi order, the failings even in such iconic characters as Obiwan Kenobi and Yoda themselves, who are, even at the very end, still blind to their inconsistency and hypocracy and failures, are obvious enough for anyone looking at them.  Dave Filoni certainly gets it.  I quote a section from the intervew:

I’ve always thought Ahsoka’s existence is tied to two things: A) if we can come up with a story that’s good enough that George said, “Okay, she can keep going,” and B) if fans likes the character enough that we can all say, “Okay, she can keep going.” Those are two pretty important things.

Her ultimate point is that the Jedi are aware of Anakin’s shortcomings. They’re not naive to it. Yoda, in particular, talks to Obi-Wan and they give him this Padawan, saying, “Knowing Anakin as we do, he will not want this girl to be around. He’ll resist it. But if and when she wins him over, he will bond with her like everything else he does. Like R2-D2, like Obi-Wan, like Padmé. But this girl will be different, because he’ll basically raise her. She’ll be trained by him, and he will see in the long run that she overcomes her fears and she becomes a Jedi, and she does not need him. But she respects him and they become equals, and Anakin needs to learn this so he can let go.” And Yoda knows this is critical for Anakin. If you look at her episodes, as early as when she rescues Plo Koon from the Malevolence, and she’s learning from Anakin how to disobey orders but still be creative within following orders. And then she has a big failing when she goes to Ryloth and all these pilots die, in a way, because of her error, and she has to overcome her fear that she’s going to let them down again. She’s learning. Then we see a big, critical episode arc where Anakin and Luminara kind of compare Padawans, Barriss and Ahsoka. And that arc, I think, really set an interesting tone for ourselves and for the fans. We were trying to illustrate the difference between the way Anakin is raising his Padawan, and how much he cares about her, and the way Luminara raises her Padawan. Not that Luminara is indifferent, but that Luminara is detached. It’s not that she doesn’t care, but she’s not attached to her emotionally.

And at the end of the day, one of the questions that I guess I pose is, is that really a good thing? Is Anakin’s way of being so compassionate wrong? Because on a certain level, you have to accept that the Jedi lose the Clone War. So there is something that they’re doing that’s wrong. There’s something they’re doing that doesn’t work and that the dark side is exploiting. If anything, it’s Luke’s overwhelming compassion and love for his father that in the end overthrows the Emperor because it’s something that he doesn’t understand. So as far back as Anakin, there is a seed of an idea of love and compassion, which admittedly in Attack of the Clones, the Jedi say they’re lacking because they’ve become arrogant and very sure of themselves. As Ahsoka gets older, her first big challenge comes when she’s abducted by Trandoshans and put an island [to be hunted for sport]. Anakin is put in a position where he can’t help her, and he obsesses over trying to find her, and there’s nothing he can do. But she survives anyway, and at the end of that she says, “I was only able to do this because of your teachings. Because the other Padawans I was with, boy, they were completely messed up. They were cracking.” So again we see this comparison of where Ahsoka is at because of Anakin, and where these other Padawans, which represent the other Jedi, are at. When you get to the finale [of that arc], once you see her pretty much taking on the role of a mentor and teaching these younglings to survive, you see Ahsoka doing more things on her own and you notice Anakin’s not around.

Then at the beginning of the last arc [of Season Five], she basically saves Anakin the way Anakin would’ve always saved her in the past. And Anakin’s unconscious, he’s like, “What happened?” She says, “I saved your life, don’t worry about it.” It’s fun and he laughs about it then, and he’s not embarrassed by it. They’re a team. So we get them to that moment and then we put a ton of pressure on it. And through the whole trial, Anakin is the only one that stays 100 percent in her court. I think Plo Koon stays 75-80 percent of the way in her court because he says, “I don’t believe she could’ve fallen so low.” In Obi-Wan we really see the Jedi because he is compromised. Obi-Wan doesn’t believe Ahsoka is guilty of these crimes, but he has a very hard time arguing politically that the Jedi Council shouldn’t do what they do to her. He trusts in the Force, which is what they love to say when they don’t know what they’re doing, and they expel her. He can’t argue the logic. He doesn’t like Tarkin’s logic [but he can't argue] that they can’t try her within the Jedi because the public, which we show in this episode arc, who are losing faith in the Jedi, would cry foul ball. “How can you put her on trial? Of course you’ll find her innocent. She’s a Jedi and you’re a Jedi.” So they expose themselves, and we see how they’re exposed. All of these things that are wrapped up in Ahsoka’s story, which ultimately make her realize what the audience realizes. “I love the Jedi Order. They’re very important to me, I’ve always respected them. But there’s something wrong here, and I need to walk away from it to assess it.” It all feeds into Revenge of the Sith when the chancellor says, “The Jedi have just made an attempt on my life.” When you see these four episodes, I think you have a better understanding of how he gets away with all of that, because you see how compromised the Jedi Council is. And these episodes aren’t just meant to get Ahsoka on her way, but they’re meant to explain in more detail the scene [in Revenge of the Sith] where Yoda, Mace, and Ki-Adi-Mundi are discussing arresting the chancellor, and what a gamble that’s going to be for them. Because you see that to the average Coruscant citizen who’s not impressed with this war or the Jedi anymore, they’ll see it as treason. It’s probably the arc that connects to the movies the most and has the most impact. I think that’s why it works on so many levels for me and is one of my favorite arcs, because it’s such a companion piece to the films.

No comments: