Epilogue: Always in Motion Is the Future

Anakin Skywalker in Episode III “The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see, the future is.”

— Master Yoda,
Attack of the Clones

It's easy to anticipate a great deal of what's going to take place in Episode III, since it's the final link that joins together the old trilogy with the new. Certain things inevitably have to happen. The Republic will fall. Palpatine will declare himself Emperor. The Jedi Order will be eradicated. Anakin will fight Obi-Wan and become Darth Vader. Padmé will give birth to the twins, and they will be entrusted to the Larses and the Organas. Obi-Wan and Yoda will go into hiding. And we all know what happens after that.

But there's another thing you can definitely count on: George Lucas is always full of surprises. In his every follow-up to A New Hope, the master has managed to foil expectations and come up with amazing stuff no one else had thought of. Often his twists and turns have been cheered and applauded, and it goes without saying that other times they have found a less welcome reception... but they've always been unpredictable. I know Lucas isn't going to let himself get painted into a corner for the final episode, with all us wiseguys thinking we already know how everything's going to turn out. He's definitely got a few tricks up his flannelled sleeve, and loads of prevalent fan assumptions about Episode III are going to turn out to be incomplete or dead wrong. That applies as equally to the ambitious speculative analysis laid out in this dissertation as to puerile fantasies of Jar Jar Binks being disemboweled in slow motion by General Grievous. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Still, I can't resist closing with a last bit of carefully qualified prognostication. Attack of the Clones makes it clear that the Jedi are headed down the wrong path, helping Chancellor Palpatine institute his Empire. At some turning point in Episode III, I believe the Jedi will realize the error of their ways and turn against Palpatine. But Anakin won't be prepared to join them. Becoming a decorated hero in the Clone Wars, and perhaps serving as Palpatine's personal Jedi liaison or bodyguard, Anakin will remain fiercely loyal to his Chancellor and view his fellow Jedi as traitors. When the issue of his marriage to Padmé and/or their children is added to the mix, Anakin's departure from the Jedi Order will be a logical consequence.

Padmé and Anakin in Episode III As the last surviving adherents, Yoda and Obi-Wan will admit that the ways of the Jedi were deeply flawed and inadequate, contributing to their own downfall and that of the Republic. Faced with the proposition of protecting and raising the Skywalker twins, I believe they will choose not to repeat their mistakes. After all, they could have trained Luke and Leia from infancy to be the next generation of Jedi, but instead they place the children with normal foster families. The conventional reasoning has been that Vader and the Emperor would have sensed Luke and Leia creating a disturbance in the Force had they been trained in their early years, so they were raised as ordinary children for their own safety. That may be, but it also seems to be an intentional repudiation of Jedi tradition. Yoda may decide that the time has come for a new kind of Jedi Knight, one grounded in emotional impulses rather than shielded from them, forming a raw connection to the Force that remains unfiltered by the accumulated codes and customs of ancient millennia. Only a Jedi with the same unconventional developmental background as Anakin Skywalker will have the strength to defeat him. Users of the Force may be superior to normal people in many respects, but if the beings of the galaxy are going to live together in harmony, they are all going to have to reach a new level of sophistication and maturity. The Force-users and normal people must cease to base their interactions on fear, submission and the notion of which group might rule the other. They have to live together for mutual benefit, secured by a new Jedi Order that maintains a healthy equilibrium between rationality and intuition, between intellect and emotion. That is the meaning of bringing balance to the Force.

Then again, I could be wrong. I'm damn well ready for Lucas to give us the real score and show me where I've been full of crap. Much to learn, I still have.

And now I think I've finally said every last thing I have to say about Attack of the Clones. Maybe the next time you watch the movie, you'll find new meanings that you never noticed before, above and beyond what I've outlined here. I pledge to do this thing one more time for Episode III, even if takes me till 2007 or 2008 to get it done. As a matter of fact, I think maybe I should write a book about the whole completed Star Wars saga. Let me know if you'd be interested in paying good money to read something like that one day.

May the Force be with you.

Sources and Acknowledgements

The Shroud of the Dark Side
Cinema