Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Life in Fandom: Uncle George on The Force (Why "Star Wars" Is Superversive)

I came upon this last night while digging around for other stuff on other topics. This is from a 2010 meeting during the production of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but somehow got thrown into the Blu-Ray for The Empire Strikes Back What you see below is, to my knowledge, the only time Lucas ever says "Light Side" on camera. It also confirms that the canonical view of the Force IS the Jedi view (and also that the Jedi routinely fuck this up). This meeting occurred in the production of the Mortis arc of the aforementioned series. (See it.)

Now, let's take what Uncle George said and apply it to what we see in the films.

Every character who gets possessive, and doesn't check that error, ends up consorting with evil sooner or later. It's an error grounded in a materialistic perspective on life, failing to appreciate what mortality is (Tolkien's "Gift of Death"), and failing to comprehend what immortality is (and where it lies). Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda all eventually comprehend this truth- and the truth does set them free.

In addition to Anakin being used as an example of this, go look at Kylo Ren. He's attached to his grandfather's memory, and thus to the trappings of it; this is why he wanted Luke's--Anakin's--lightsaber, and why he got right pissed when Rey took it. He sees that as theft of what is rightfully his. His sense of possession got violated, throwing him off his game, and eventually allowing the opening to his defeat by Rey Sue.

It didn't get into the films, but we do see this happen with young Boba Fett in The Clone Wars in the episodes he features in- to the point where, as an adolescent, he becomes a respected team leader in the bounty hunter community (and does not suck) as he tries to get back some measure of his father into his life. The pattern repeats with all of the anti-heroes and other lesser villainous figures; to some degree or another, they're all on this path.

Look at the heroes. They have a selflessness to them, even if they are compromised like Han Solo or Lando Calrissian to some degree, and when push comes to sholve that core comes through. Sure, that often gets used against them, but not always successfully so. The most effective heroes are those who have some awareness of that need to keep it balanced and do their best to do so; I'd argue that Mace Windu was one of those folks, even if he didn't take it to the level of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, or Yoda. The many Rebel pilots that died in battle, every Rebel that went down to Scarif's surface to fight on or over the ground, most of the clones and Jedi- all (to varying degrees) acted on that selflessness and thereby achieved great things in the process, even if it killed them, because death is not the worst fate, and comes to all in time.

Now, Lucas isn't the first to hit on this fact or to put it to good use in storytelling, but he does deserve credit--praise, even--for embracing it and making it the core to his entire creative work. This is what makes Star Wars truly superversive in addition to being the caretaker of the Pulp Tradition during this long dark age in popular culture

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