Archive for conspiracy theory

The Star Wars Heretic

Posted in Fun, Opinion, Spotlight with tags , , , , , , on 1 January 2018 by Megan

“Heresy” has a very strong meme life but I’d best start with a categorical definition so we all start on the right page: “Any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs.”

My favorite Christmas story ever is by J. Edgar Park and it’s called “The Christmas Heretic.” It’s about a man who believes human beings should be kind, generous, and good 363 days a year and self-centered and mean only two days a year. This makes him a “Christmas heretic” because the rest of humanity of course lives the opposite way–self-centered and mean all year except for on two or so holidays a year. The ironic twist is that he is, of course, correct.

In this vein, I discover myself more and more to be a Star Wars heretic. Quite simply, I believe things no other Star Wars fan does. And, like Mr. Jones in Mr. Park’s story, I am . . . correct (ironic smirk face).

These aren’t the same as my conspiracy theories, which are things I think are possible, however unlikely, based on circumstantial evidence within the films. I don’t actually believe they happened, but this post is about things I truly believe, that I take for granted as basic facts in the Star Wars universe.

Because I take Star Wars as actual events, a history of things that truly happened in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, I apply a methodology to the story that’s consistent with how I take Earth’s history. The foundation of this is my belief that Star Wars canon will necessarily grow out of itself and affirm itself; if something has the Star Wars logo but is inconsistent with what I know Star Wars is, I find it obviously isn’t canonical. I have no problem accepting that the humans who tell these stories about another galaxy will make mistakes. After all, our own historical texts have mistakes; it’s just a matter of gathering as much information as possible and then deciding what is the most logical version of events.

The most obvious point where I’m at variance with Star Wars fans is how I treat the timeline. Yet I’m only going to briefly mention these two points here because they deserve their own detailed posts: one, that I created my own dating system that especially impacts the films (they cover a period of 42 years from E1 to E6). Two, the timeline of known events ends at Timothy Zahn’s Vision of the Future. Infinite events may have taken place up to that point, but after that point, we on Earth can know nothing of what happened.

Now! Done with telling you what I’m not going to talk about. On to the juicy stuff–eight things I believe about Star Wars that most fans would never have even thought to question.

  • The Rule of Two does not exist

Think about it. The first time we heard of the “Rule of Two,” it was a from an 860-year-old Jedi Master speaking “a millennia” after the Sith were supposedly wiped out. Even in the Bane Trilogy, where the Sith who conceived of the Rule of Two was shown putting it into effect, the whole point of the plan was that the Jedi would never know the Sith weren’t extinct. For a Jedi to learn about the Rule of Two is the Rule’s most ultimate failure. It’s also unlikely that this very tight master-apprentice-master-apprentice-master-apprentice chain could have survived for 1,000 years unbroken. Again, in the very first duel of the Rule of Two, both Sith nearly wipe each other out, and it’s a fact of life that no one remains as dedicated to a concept as the first person on that concept. It’s also illogical for Sidious to have spent twenty-odd years training Maul only to lose him and replace him within three years with the quite elderly Dooku. It makes more sense that Tyranus and Maul were simultaneously Sidious’ apprentices–and for Tyranus to have planted the abandoned “Rule of Two” concept among the Jedi as a diversionary tidbit.

  • Palpatine killed his master decades before Episode III

Speaking of supposed proponents of the Rule of Two, Darth Plagueis is clearly described by the films as having been dead for a very long time when Sidious first tells Anakin the “Sith legend.” Luceno, late to the party with his 2012 book on the subject, makes a mess of the film continuity and contradicts the “Rule of Two” that everyone but me believes in. Maul is about 25 in Episode I; Sidious trained him from very early childhood; if Sidious and Plagueis are supposed to canonically adhere to the “Rule of Two,” then Plagueis must’ve been dead before Sidious started in on Maul., twenty-odd years before Episode I. “But Rebel,” you might say, “That only helps your point about the Rule of Two being a red herring. Why deny Plagueis was still alive until the morning Sidious became Supreme Chancellor?” Because the structure of the films takes for granted that Sidious has been the Master Sith from before Episode I. Obviously Sidious takes dramatic license when he tells Anakin the story of Plagueis is “a Sith legend,” but it’s just as obvious his master has been dead for decades by that point. If Plagueis was responsible for Anakin’s conception, as the films hint, the very latest date for his death is 10 years before Episode I, which still helps prove that the Rule of Two doesn’t exist, since Sidious was training Maul 20 years before Episode I.

  • Dooku did not train Qui-Gon Jinn

Speaking of people getting trained by people and the very elderly Count Dooku . . . from the day I first saw Attack of the Clones on May 16, 2002, at the 4:30 PM showing (first showing of the day) at Bellefontaine’s Chaker’s 8 Cinema . . . I never once believed that this was Qui-Gon’s master. Qui-Gon has always fascinated me, been my favorite character in the prequels and 2nd favorite character in the saga, so I would naturally be ecstatic to learn who trained him and who he shared his youth and adolescence with. But it never occurred to me that he was being truthful when he said, “I was once Qui-Gon’s master.” I may have scoffed out loud in the theater the first time; I don’t remember. I do remember that I came home and did the math on whether that was even physically possible. One of the main factors preventing it? There was simply no opportunity where Qui-Gon would have been hanging around with Dooku, after apprenticing Obi-Wan, where Obi-Wan would not have had a chance to meet the man. It never made sense; Obi-Wan seems to treat the assertion with some skepticism; and I always took for granted that Tyranus was telling the first of many lies.

  • Qui-Gon did not return from “the netherworld of the Force” or teach anybody to do anything with being a blue ghost

Lucas, bless his heart, is not good at pacing. A New Hope even suffers from uneven pacing, and Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith would be better if events were smoothed out between them. I’ve even advocated that it should have been a prequel trilogy with The Phantom Menace as a standalone–I think E1 is an essential film and I love it, but Lucas wanted E3 to do more than it could reasonably do, even if given 4 hours. And one of the most painful bits is the ridiculous tacked-on “an old friend has returned from the netherworld of the Force” comment, which Yoda doesn’t even say in his own messed up dialect. Let me stop you right there. The Force does not have a netherworld. Blue ghosts are standard issue for powerful Force-users who have unfinished business. The idea that Qui-Gon is responsible for Obi-Wan’s “if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine” comment is so hastily crammed in there, I remember facepalming the first time I heard it. Yes, Qui-Gon may apparite from time to time. No, he did not communicate with Yoda. Yoda did not have training for Obi-Wan on Tatooine. The body-vanishing trick was new among Jedi, but it did not come from Qui-Gon. Move along.

  • Anakin didn’t kill younglings in the temple

I had no idea how emotionally attached people were to this “bit of evil” until I started casually saying, “I don’t think that happened.” On three separate occasions, more than three people at a time came down on me like a bag of hammers for daring to think that. To be honest, I’m more shocked at how desperate people are to believe Anakin killed the annoying younglings than I am that people do believe it. I understand that’s what the film wants to depict and I understand a PG-13 American film by George Lucas is not going to show a child getting lightsabered in half. But the fact is, there are more overt ways to get it across if that’s what happened. All we see is Anakin showing his lightsaber to some kids. Obi-Wan lies about seeing that on a security holo; there’s no holo-camera in the freaking council chamber. Some young Padawans are shown dead, but Padawans aren’t younglings. I have no spiritual problem with the newly-minted Lord Vader chopping down some seven-year-olds–I just see no evidence for it happening and find a more logical alternative is available. The child with the irritating voice says, “Master Skywalker, what do we do?” And Anakin ignites his saber. After the scene fades to black, he says, “Come with me. I’ll save you from the Jedi.” And he takes them to Palpatine where they are trained to be Dark Side Inquisitors. We know the Force-sensitive Dark Side Inquisitors exist. Where did they come from, and for what reason would Anakin destroy a dozen malleable Force-sensitives when the new regime would need their skills? In fact I believe Inquisitor Loam Redge in the book The Ruins of Dantooine was one of those kids, if not the kid.

  • Mara was Palpatine’s only Hand

This from Episode VII, the Thrawn Trilogy. Mara Jade, of course, was a Force-sensitive child Palpatine picked up and trained, not as an apprentice but as a Force-sensitive errand girl. He gave her the title “Emperor’s Hand,” reminiscent of the “Emperor’s Wrath” designation of millennia before. Vader is his right hand, the obvious agent of his will, but she is the left–the one in secret and silence. At least this is what she believes until Thrawn tells her she was merely “one of the hands.” To be honest, I never once took this seriously. I think people should be cautious what they take for granted as truth in a bad guy’s speeches, and Thrawn had every reason to want her off balance–which is exactly what telling her she was “one of many” accomplishes. So I automatically dismiss any suggestion that Palpatine had other agents in a Mara-like role. She was the only one.

  • Wedge Antilles ends up with Qwi Xux

I didn’t know this was a heresy until recently, because of course, I don’t read past Vision of the Future and the last book I read with Qwi Xux in it had her solidly set up with Wedge. So I spent close to 20 years rereading those books and getting warm fuzzies about their relationship. Wedge, of course, is the hot hotshot pilot and good friend of Luke Skywalker’s, the eventual commander of Rogue Squadron and the only man with two Death Stars tallied on his X-wing. Qwi Xux first appears in The Jedi Academy Trilogy (Episode VIII); she was kidnapped into Imperial service as a child and put to work on the Death Star project due to her technological brilliance. As an isolated but extremely intelligent individual, she is very naive when first freed from her cage. Wedge becomes her protector and the two form a deep bond over the course of several books. However, Qwi is not human, and apparently that was too much for Aaron Allston, who wrote a shabby one-off breakup scene in the first chapter of The Starfighters of Adummar to get the scummy nonhuman out of the way so he could pair Wedge up with a human who was already freakin’ married. (Yes, Iella was a widow at that point, but she obviously wasn’t over her husband by I, Jedi and she and Wedge had no chemistry apart from matching human genetics.) The relationship with Iella is so pointless, so abrupt, and so human-centric that I don’t consider those chapters canon. Wedge and Qwi forever. End of story.

  • There are only 3 lightsaber colors

Finally, briefly . . . this isn’t that important, but I was arguing with someone about it the other day so I’ll throw it in. In 2002, George Lucas stated that there are only 3 lightsaber colors because there are only 2 kinds of crystals: natural and synthetic. Natural crystals give off blue or green light; synthetic crystals are red. Because Samuel L. Jackson is a special needs pile of specialness, Lucas let him have a stupid purple lightsaber, but that’s due to circuitry modifications in the hilt and not the crystals. Corran Horn is able to make a white saber using diamonds. But you will never get me to believe that traditional Jedi sabers exist in any other colors because George Lucas said it. It is his universe and he should know. You could say George Lucas said other things in my list that I object to, but no–those are outcomes based on interpretations of the films. This was something the Maker said himself about the films. There’s no arguing with that. Yeah, I have a rainbow of lightsabers in video games, but video games aren’t canon, honey. There are only three colors. Accept it. (Oh, and I don’t believe lightsabers are plasma weapons, either. Yeah, go have a panic attack about that. Whatever.)

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Facts in Fiction: Conspiracy Theories for Star Wars

Posted in Announcements with tags , , , , on 9 July 2014 by Megan

Did you miss it? I had a guest blog on Star Wars Anonymous today, so be sure and check it out!

Star Wars Anonymous

Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? I do. With my site (www.rebelibrarian.com) focused on canon, I don’t often get to indulge myself with theorizing, so this chance to write about some delicious conspiracies is super exciting. Here are three conspiracy theories drawn from and proven by events from the films only. Please enjoy!

  • Jocasta Nu erased Kamino from the Archive for Count Dooku.

jedi_archives06This discarded subplot drives me insane — it’s the most interesting thing in Episode II, but it’s never mentioned again. Obi-Wan asks who could have deleted Kamino from the archives: he considers it so impossible, it didn’t even occur to him that it could have been done on purpose. Yoda calls the puzzle “dangerous and disturbing,” but never does anything about it. But the answer is obvious.

In a deleted scene, Jocasta Nu finds Obi-Wan ruminating on a bust of Count Dooku. After…

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Who Do You Ship?

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , on 9 May 2013 by Megan

I know this question is not in the original lineup, but I couldn’t answer questions on least favorite romances, unbearable shipping, least favorite couples, without showing you that I can appreciate romance, and without demonstrating that there is one couple in the Star Wars franchise that I ship with all my heart, to the point of inventing not-strictly-canonical conspiracy theories to make it possible. Sometimes I do believe in romance, true love, and soulmates.

Oh, girl, you KNOW I had to be talking Shmi-Gon!!

Oh, girl, you KNOW I had to be talking Shmi-Gon!!

Qui-Gon on Tatooine

45 minutes into the film, he says his name for the first time — to her

He’s a Jedi Master with a long, wearying career behind him: he’s trained three apprentices with varying degrees of success, fought creatures and monsters, gotten disrespect from his peers, seen and heard horrible things, suffered deaths, betrayals, and tortures. On a routine negotiation mission, he and his apprentice are cast into an overwhelming and disturbing chain of events, and he moves from negotiator to bodyguard to the Queen of Naboo. He winds up on Tatooine due to engine trouble, and heads into the hostile alien town in search of parts.

Shmi Skywalker

Her name is never even spoken in Episode I

She’s a simple woman invested in the survival, first, of her son, and then of herself. While Anakin’s origin — and what was done to her to result in that — remains mysterious, she fell into slavery as an adolescent, kidnapped by pirates when the rest of her family was killed. She is used to a hard life, has learned to be cynical of a Republic that can’t afford to enforce its laws on the Outer Rim, and she takes the unwanted, uninvited presence of her son into stride. Although a Tatooine resident for only six years, she knows there’s no hope for stranded Republicans here.

They meet when her nine-year-old son Anakin brings in this cluster of strangers right off the street. They could be a man and his daughter (or even, given Tatooine’s culture, a man with his young wife), nonhuman manager, and an astromech droid. Although the girl is smooth-faced and her flowing locks betray unfamiliarity with the desert, and they are obviously outlanders trying not to raise attention, Shmi doesn’t feel the need to distrust them and welcomes them to wait the storm out in their humble hovel. Qui-Gon greets her courteously, explains their presence as Anakin is too distracted to, and offers food to help pay their way at the modest table.

While Padmé and Anakin “play” — he shows off all his boring crap — Qui-Gon and Jar Jar help with dinner. There’s no way of knowing what they talk about, though Qui-Gon does step aside to answer a comm call from Obi-Wan and you can see Shmi there in the background. Dinner conversation is mostly neutral and polite, with the exception of Padmé’s bringing up the slavery issue (you’d think a future senator would show more tact). Anakin brings up his obsession with podracing, and for a moment, anyway, Qui-Gon is distracted by the glimmer of a way out of this mess. And yet, is it Anakin’s mewling, “Mom, you say the biggest problem in this universe is no one helps each other” that convinces her to let her son do this enormously dangerous thing? Or is it Padmé’s gentle reference to Qui-Gon, and the Jedi’s kind eyes as he asks after some friendly person who might help them?

shmiagain

Sparks fly when our worlds collide, and I am falling at your feet

However it was, Qui-Gon tries to resist his feelings for her at the same time the draw of the Force surrounding her son makes it impossible. (On the other hand, they say show kindness to the child and you will attract the mother.) And note how cool he tries to play it as he’s all, “Soooo . . . who was his father?” It’s so easy for Qui-Gon’s dismissive attitude at the end of the Tatooine segment to distract from his feelings for her — first he puts her son in danger, brushes off her concerns, and makes a wager for her son to get free and not her. But, come on, what would Shmi do with freedom if Anakin didn’t have it? Use your gray matter!

Anakin of course wins the Podrace — the Force could hardly allow anything otherwise to happen. Anakin gets his freedom. Qui-Gon knows he can take the boy — whom he consistently refers to as “the boy” — to Coruscant and get him enrolled in Jedi training. Remember he has no intention of training him himself until the Council crosses him! As he sends Anakin off to collect his things and get ready to leave, Qui-Gon steps to Shmi and asks if she’ll be all right. He puts his hand on her shoulder.

The tender farewell

The tender farewell

Lucas didn’t script this, and, naturally, tried to cut it, but Liam held his ground. It’s a good thing, too, because in many respects Lucas’ Qui-Gon is almost inhumanly callous throughout the last half of the movie. You can attribute it to general incompetence from the director, sure, but I also think — and Liam Neeson must’ve felt it because he put that tender gesture in — that Qui-Gon’s distracted in more ways than one. He’s a man in love.

While the camera is pandering to Anakin’s farewell-droid speech, what is Qui-Gon telling Shmi? “I’ll watch out for him, you have my word,” he says just before the camera cuts, as she opens her mouth as if to speak. What else does Qui-Gon tell her? Does he promise to come back? His harsh, “I didn’t come here to free slaves” from a day or so earlier (Lucas’ timelining, again unclear) was a weak attempt to break his feelings for her. Instead, he has decided he’d rather break his vows.

He flies in the face of the Council more then usual. Is it because he’s so invested in Anakin’s identity as the Chosen One? Or is it because he has no plan B for how to get the mother if the Jedi won’t take her kid?

Qui-Gon has been fighting the Jedi Council for closing in on half a century by now, probably. He’s worn out. If you believe that he loved the Jedi Knight Tahl, then he has a background of one love lost due to the Council’s madness and insane celibacy requirements. (Fun side note — Ki-Adi-Mundi, due to underpopulatino of his homeworld, was granted permission to marry not one, but five women. Celibacy is clearly not demanded by the Force.) He and Obi-Wan are bickering the entire way to Naboo, but is it just because Obi-Wan and the Council are at odds with Qui-Gon about Anakin’s potential? Or is it because his master confided in him that he was taking a giant step and leaving the Order? Obi-Wan has been his apprentice, as close as a son, for 12 years, and is more than ready to take the trials, as they both know. With the Council refusing to take on responsibility for Anakin, Qui-Gon needs his apprentice to step into the gap — and knows Obi-Wan is more than capable. Somehow in the battle for Naboo, he means to fake his death and dodge the Council.

How do I explain Qui-Gon’s actual death scene? Well, let’s be frank. What kills him? He’s clearly caught off guard by a saber in the gut, but would this kill him? Why do people typically die of abdominal wounds? Because the bleeding is so difficult to stop — but that’s a non-issue with a saber because it instantly cauterizes the wound. Peritonitis, inflammation of the tissues lining and surrounding abdominal organs, also causes death in cases of gut injury. Again, not an issue with a lightsaber wound. If Qui-Gon actually dies, I say he suffocates due to a ruptured diaphragm; it’s the only thing that makes sense. What makes more sense is that Obi-Wan knows he isn’t dying. Qui-Gon asks for his promise to train Anakin again because of Obi-Wan’s reluctance, but Obi-Wan, knowing his master will never return to the Jedi, agrees, and knows he must give his master up.

Qui-Gon slips into a healing Force trance, and Obi-Wan cries not over his death but over his separation, knowing he cannot contact him again. He helps Qui-Gon escapes, provides a decoy or Force-illusion body for the funeral (why it’s appropriate to give a non-Nubian a Nubian funeral, I don’t know), and takes on the responsibility for Anakin. Qui-Gon, meantime, buys a ship with his 20,000 Republic dataries, returns to Tatooine, and sells the ship; with local currency, he enlists the support of a widowed trader, Cliegg Lars, and his son Owen. He gives them the money to buy a moisture farm — as Cliegg wants out of the spacelanes — if they agree to buy Shmi, free her, and circulate the story that he married her. The Larses are glad to accommodate, and Shmi finds herself reunited with Qui-Gon, who can court her properly.

Home, home on the Jundland Wastes, where the Jawas and Bantha cubs play . . .

I have such a mental image of Qui-Gon in a Tatooine style ranch home, out in the Jundland Wastes, living in peace at last with Shmi and their kids. Qui-Gon’s immense respect for all life forms quickly win over the local Sand People, who regard him almost as one of themselves, and they are frequently around the homestead and help him and his family survive in the harsh environment. In Episode II, Anakin’s inexplicable nightmares — possibly fueled by Palpatine’s influence — drives him back to Tatooine. Word gets around that Anakin’s trying to find his mother, so Cliegg and Owen quickly cook up a story about her death by Sand People. Cliegg’s suspiciously inconsistent story betrays this — he goes from “we’re still looking, I’m not giving up hope” to “she’s dead, son” in under 5 minutes as he tries to discourage Anakin. Some of Qui-Gon’s Tusken friends agree to fake her death, but the consequence of Anakin murdering them was unforeseen by them all. This is why Qui-Gon shouts, “Anakin! No!”

Later, Qui-Gon toys around with Master Yoda, contacting him telepathically through the Force and taunting him with visions of “the netherworld of the Force” and nonsense. In a vision, he encourages Yoda to send Obi-Wan and the boy “Anakin’s son” to Tatooine where  he will “train Obi-Wan” to contact him in the Force. In reality, once Obi-Wan is there, Qui-Gon reveals himself in the person, and they move in all neighborly. Obi-Wan’s ridiculous “call” in ANH that startles the Sand People off is really just Qui-Gon’s password to tell them he’s a friend. (He does seem to know an incredible lot about them!)

And so there you have it. I have a vision of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon grilling out bantha flank steaks outside his lodge, Qui-Gon and Shmi’s black-headed kids romping around in Uli dress for sand protection, Shmi warning them not to spoil their appetite before the burgers are done, a beautiful day under the twin suns . . .