Monday, January 29, 2007

A splinter in the Gen-X mind, driving it mad.

It is a measure of just how deeply George Lucas wounded the psyches of his Generation X fanbase with Star Wars episodes I through III that Star Wars fans are still trying to diagnose what went wrong (hat tip: Galley Slaves).

Of course one can endlessly debate the different ways of removing this pointless storyline or that miscast actor from any one of these three films. The root problem is actually much simpler than this. As everyone who has watched episodes I through III knows, the catastrophic mistake underlying all of the problems of the trilogy was Lucas's decision to give Anakin Skywalker an Oedipus complex to explain his transformation into Darth Vader.

For example, to give Anakin his core of mother-related emotional trauma, they have to get him away from his mother and planet Tattooine. The only function of the much reviled Jedi "midichloriants" in episode I is to give Master Qui Gon Jin a presumably good reason for carting baby Anakin off of Tattooine to planet Coruscant ("We're not taking your son away. See, his midichloriants are off the chart..."). Otherwise even most 19th century American plantation owners would have felt more unease about taking Anakin away from his enslaved mother than our Jedi warriors display.

Personally, given the onscreen chemistry between Leem Neeson (Jedi Master Qui Gon Jin) and Pernillia August (Anakin's mother Shmi Skywalker) -- by onscreen chemistry I mean that both characters seemed to have been heavily addicted to the same painkilling drugs while on Tattooine -- it would have made more sense for Qui Gon to marry Shmi and raise Anakin himself on Tattooine. Anakin wouldn't be likely to develop his deep-seated yet Oprah-pleasing neurotic habits that way, but it's a big galaxy and Qui Gon was pretty much dispensable in any case.

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