I have a theory, one I’ve been pondering over for a long time… a LONG time. Even before the announcement of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. See I tend to think of story ideas based on themes and character arcs. I love the Star wars movies not just because there are space battles and laser swords, but because of themes like father/son relationships or man’s search for meaning.
I’ve always wondered how an Episode 7 could exist. The story of Anakin’s fall and redemption have already been told. Regardless of the quality of some of the films. Anakin did in fact bring ‘balance’ to the force. Stopping the evil that started an empire and freeing a galaxy of tyranny. Doing so fulfilled a prophecy mentioned several times in the prequels about the force being balanced by a chosen one.
In Episode three Yoda remarks on the possible misinterpretation of the said prophecy. How Anakin, who was thought to be the one to bring balance, might actually not be. Episode 6 eventually reveals he is that chosen one. Through the sacrifice of himself to save his son Anakin’s character arc comes full circle. Revealing that the ability to react and find meaning in one’s life is more important than the ability to control and mold a vision of it. A hero being someone who gives all they have for the better of someone else and not someone who takes all they can with the same goal.
Yet with all that in mind Episode 7 would exist. I was conflicted, I love me some Star Wars but not at the cost of one of my favorite stories…
So how do you justify a new movie? I think there is a way and it roots as far back as the beginnings of the Jedi and Sith, it intertwines with the prequels and resolves on one idea…that balance doesn’t just mean a galaxy without Sith, but no Jedi as well. No dark side and no light.
Let’s look at the usage of the force. The Sith tend to use it for greed and control. To bring absolutes to their respective goals. They are selfish, care only for themselves and will do just about anything to get what they want. They are a fantasy version of the phrase absolute power corrupts absolutely. Their inward thinking tends to be their undoing and, like any good villain, they tend to fall to their doom.
The Jedi however, maintain that they use the force only for the benefit of others. They stress that to use the force with any selfish intention will only lead to the dark side. This includes using the force to justify an action driven by emotion. It is why they stress to decide dispassionately and also why they forbid Jedi to feel love. However their ideas, no matter their intention, are flawed. There is no decision in life, no matter how noble, that can be made without any amount of emotion. In fact it could be argued that to live a life with no passion or emotion is to not live at all.
So what is the purest idea of the force, what is best example of what life with the force should in fact be? I believe you just have to go to a swampy planet named Dagobah to find out. Spending decades in solitude Yoda only lives with the force and nature. He meditates, eats and just lives. Yoda doesn’t use the force for personal gain during this time and never uses the force at the cost of others. With this in mind… How does this all relate to Episode 7?
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we are back to where we started off. Despite all the conflict and resolutions we are introduced to evil force led by a mysterious shrouded figure named Snoke. We meet a conflicted man who was once good but now revels in the dark side named Kylo Ren, later revealed as former Jedi Ben Solo. Oddly familiar isn’t it? Episodes 7’s biggest criticism is how similar it is to Episode 1 and 4. Old character types and plot elements brought back and revised. They even remark the new enemy base as “Another Death Star”. I always laugh at one of my friends hate for Episode 4 and love for Episode 7…but that’s another story.
What Episode 7 does differently than 4 and 1 is its ending. 4 celebrates a great victory won on the cusp of defeat while 7 ends with the audience’s reunion with legendary hero Luke Skywalker. Luke however, is not the same man we last saw at the end of Return of the Jedi. Luke is dishevelled, his eyes tell stories of pain and sadness, and we see a man in search for meaning. A man who once found peace and seems to have lost it. Instead of watching over Rey like Obi-Wan once did for Luke, he goes into exile, found at an ancient Jedi temple, the first of its kind in fact.
We are left with many unanswered questions. Why is he there? Why did he leave everyone behind? What is his goal?
Luke is the connective tissue of all three trilogies, he transcends even Yoda due to his drastically different experiences. He is equipped with the Knowledge of the old Jedi Order through Obi-Wan and Yoda. He has experienced the Empire at its worst and he has spearheaded a New Jedi order. Using what he has learned as a template for what the future should be. Yet despite this he fails. One of his students is corrupted and the cycle starts anew. Luke is found at the first Jedi temple where he presumably is trying to find an answer to this endless riddle. I believe Luke learns that the endless battle of Jedi and Sith of light side and dark will never end…so long as both exist.
This is why I feel Star Wars Episode 7 is so similar to both 1 and 4. The conflict was never really resolved, the prophecy never fulfilled. The purest use of the force is simply for it to exist. Never to be used with any intention, no matter how pure that intention is. I believe Luke learns this. His intention is to rid the galaxy of all the knowledge of the force. To avoid the same mistakes from being repeated.
I believe that by Star Wars: Episode 9 all that will remain of the force will be Rey, who will simply live a life alongside it. Leaving it in balance, to simply exist without instruction, tamper or intention.
SIDE NOTE: Episode 3 is titled Revenge of the Sith. Episode 6…Return of the Jedi. How rad would it be for Episode 9 to be called Balance of the Force.