Star Wars is not any stranger to tragedy. George Lucas’s unique six movies chart a course for the rise, fall, and redemption of Darth Vader, arguably cinema’s most iconic villain. Kathleen Kennedy’s sequel trilogy plots an identical trajectory for Luke Skywalker, arguably cinema’s most iconic hero. Each characters make grievous errors in judgment. The place Vader plunges additional into darkness, Luke isolates himself from anybody and something. But each are in the end saved from their jaded cynicism by youthful idealism and in the end sacrifice themselves within the identify of goodness. As Lucas himself once said, their tales are supposed to “rhyme.”
This sort of recurrent imagery permeates Star Wars specifically, and mythopoetic storytelling usually. It’s a manner of grounding tales in particular themes and elevating sure concepts to the foreground in sprawling narratives. It offers completely different storytellers a context wherein to jot down, and fodder for taking part in with acquainted tropes in surprising methods. A brand new voice or perspective can take a kind of concepts, flip it the other way up, look at it, interrogate it, after which comfortably put it again on the shelf—this, by the best way, is precisely what Rian Johnson did in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a movie that each critics and audiences appeared to profoundly misread, and what Tony Gilroy is at present doing with the showstopping Andor collection.
Now, with the brand new six-episode animated Disney Plus collection Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, Lucasfilm veteran Dave Filoni has contributed one more present to the property’s ever-expanding library. One can be forgiven for anticipating a collection with such a title to function inspiring tales of heroism and derring-do from swashbuckling Jedi on the top of their energy; nonetheless, one can be mistaken. As an alternative, Filoni has crafted a moody miniseries that charts the parallel (would possibly we are saying “rhyming?”) journeys of two very completely different and tragic characters: Dooku (Corey Burton) and Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein).
The second, third, and fourth episodes play as a collection of vignettes within the early lifetime of Depend Dooku, a personality initially performed by the nice Christopher Lee in Lucas’s prequels. Although considerably underrated among the many pantheon of Star Wars baddies, Lee’s Dooku is maybe probably the most nuanced of Palpatine’s three apprentices. Although missing the depth of character given to Anakin Skywalker, whose fall relies upon hubris and naiveté, Dooku’s journey to the darkish facet is one born partly of rationalism. He doesn’t conduct himself like the opposite Sith in his interactions with the Jedi. His dialog with a captive Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in Attack of the Clones is much less seductive and extra matter of reality, much less about energy and extra about disillusionment with the hubris of the Jedi Order.
Filoni’s collection doubles down on these fascinating wrinkles of character, displaying viewers a Dooku many years earlier than his encounter with Obi-Wan. Although brief, the episodes get loads of mileage out of demonstrating the small and unsexy defects within the Jedi Order’s rationale, akin to their passivity and rising indifference to the political scenario within the galaxy, which prompts them to turn out to be unreflective puppets of the Republic Senate. For a real believer like Dooku, these compromises are unacceptable, and put him on the trail to turning into that very same jaded, cynical particular person as Vader and Luke.
Personally, I discover it fascinating that each “main” Jedi character in Star Wars should come round to accepting this philosophy. All of them should develop up, shed their naiveté, and understand that the Jedi are flawed, however that these flaws don’t negate the ideas upon which their Order was based. The identical inside battle that drives Dooku into the spider’s net of Palpatine’s machinations is similar battle that causes Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) to butt heads with the Jedi Excessive Council in The Phantom Menace, that causes Obi-Wan to develop cautious of the Jedi’s standing as navy combatants in The Clone Wars, that provokes Anakin to desert the Order’s teachings in Revenge of the Sith, and that Luke himself espouses in The Final Jedi.
Dooku’s path mirrors that of Vader’s, in that his worry on the unmooring of his accepted philosophy carries him to the darkish facet. Ahsoka’s storyline, nonetheless, mirrors Obi-Wan’s and Luke’s. After she is ousted by the Jedi Order on false costs in Filoni’s Clone Wars collection, she isolates herself, as we start to see in Tales of the Jedi. However, true to kind, her isolation is short-lived earlier than hassle finds her once more, and he or she dedicates herself to aiding a fledgling riot.
In Lucas’s galaxy, “Concern is the trail to the darkish facet.” As Luke tells Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, “Confronting worry is the future of a Jedi.” How every of those characters reply to that worry is what makes the distinction, and what turns tragedy into triumph. Obi-Wan isn’t extra triumphant than when he flashes Vader that sly, wizened smile simply earlier than vanishing into the ether in A New Hope, accepting his destiny and turning into “one with the Drive.” Vader’s defining second is selecting to sacrifice himself to avoid wasting his son by hurling Palpatine into the pits of the second Loss of life Star in Return of the Jedi. Luke was by no means so highly effective in life than the second that took him to his loss of life, when he appeared earlier than all the First Order in The Final Jedi and outmaneuvered Kylo Ren, sparking legendary tales that relit the fires of hope throughout the galaxy. All these characters are carried into the Drive—all of them, aside from Dooku.
No, Dooku’s story ends unceremoniously within the opening act of Revenge of the Sith, in a single, gorgeous act of betrayal. After lastly being bested in single fight by an Anakin Skywalker already dangerously near the darkish facet, Dooku’s execution is prompted by Palpatine himself, the Sith Lord with whom Dooku had aligned himself. It’s a second performed to perfection by Lee, who gawks in bewilderment, actually rendered speechless by the proclamation that seals his destiny. It is without doubt one of the darkest character beats in Star Wars, one made much more tragic by the arc Filoni offers him in Tales of the Jedi. Dooku’s story serves as a searing reminder that not all tales finish in a happily-ever-after, and that some come up a day late and a greenback brief, delivered to their unlucky ends by myriad small and seemingly innocuous compromises of morals and of character.
Many Christians at this time wrestle with the concept that such a tragedy would possibly befall them. And I don’t imply tragedy within the sense of some freak accident completely outdoors of 1’s energy to manage—I imply that they, too, can compromise themselves by neglecting small deficiencies of character. A tragedy of Dookuian proportions, if you’ll. If this weren’t the case, the apostle Paul would by no means have inspired the believers within the church at Ephesus (most of them former Gentiles) to “watch out the way you stroll, not as unwise folks however as smart, profiting from your time, as a result of the times are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16, NASB).
With out turning this text right into a dialog concerning the teachings of “lordship salvation,” suffice to say that if Paul didn’t consider it was very attainable for a professing Christian to show round and royally screw up, then it appears fairly unlikely that he would ever have put ink to scroll. Virtually each epistle he wrote comprises some sort of admonishment that believers ought to keep away from one set of behaviors whereas practising one other. To err doesn’t jeopardize one’s sealing by the Holy Spirit, in any other case Paul may need argued fairly in another way in his letter to the Ephesians, the place divisions and false teachings have been threatening to separate the church (Eph. 4:14-15; 1 Tim. 1:3-4). However to err may result in devastating temporal penalties—because the Corinthians realized firsthand (see 1 Cor. 11).
To show a blind eye to the very actual dimensions of tragedy that permeate the gospel account and proceed to hang-out the world is to shallow out and ignore the causes for Paul’s directions within the first place. As W. Stanford Reid wrote in 1957:
The Christian can’t and doesn’t search to flee from the sense of tragedy on the planet. However his view of tragedy is the results of a way of insecurity compelled upon a world of probability. He sees tragedy in man’s continuous rejection of the sovereign God of grace; however on the identical time he additionally sees tragedy swallowed up in hope. Christ had died; yea, he has risen once more and he provides salvation freely to all. Tragedy is just not final, for Christ lives and reigns because the Redeemer and Intercessor for all who come unto him by religion.
As any believer can attest, the Christian life is one which have to be walked “circumspectly,” with carefulness and readability of considering, and reliance on Scripture’s revelation of the desire and character of God for understanding what is correct and mistaken in a world of darkness.
Maybe this fact is what makes the characters of Star Wars so mythic—they’re “relatable” not as a result of they work a nine-to-five job or fear about payments, however as a result of their dimensions mirror one thing deeper than “relatability” to anyone tradition. Fairly, these mythic archetypes converse to one thing deeper and extra primal, to the commonalities discovered within the human situation the world over. On this, Christians can mirror as a lot on the tragedy of Dooku as they will on the triumphs of characters like Ahsoka or Luke, particularly with regards to ascertaining the present state of the fashionable American church.
Dooku is just not mistaken in his evaluation of the Jedi Order’s shortcomings; in truth, not less than one Council member flat-out tells him that he’s proper. It would even be that he must distance himself from the established Order to proper his considering within the first place; nonetheless, worry steps in, and, remoted from the opposite Jedi and too embittered to obtain the outreached hand of his involved good friend, Yaddle (Bryce Dallas Howard), he falls additional into the clutches of the darkish facet.
If the present trend toward an undefined secularization (that’s projected to proceed) is to be believed, then many Christians—particularly public figures—are leaving the church (and the religion). Too many are fast to dismiss them, and too few have appeared involved sufficient to warrant any severe reflection on the problems that prompted their exodus within the first place—and I don’t imply the “main” points, like these of abortion or homosexual rights, which have acquired loads of consideration, and rightly so. I’m speaking concerning the “minor” points which have induced disillusionment amongst many throughout the church: cold-heartedness, hypocrisy, and an absence of widespread decency, all issues the apostle Paul warned in opposition to repeatedly (Rom. 2; Eph. 4).
The little issues add up over time; Dooku didn’t abandon the Order in a single day, and when he did, the Jedi had given him loads of causes to take action, most of them small and pointless, the outcomes of pretense, insincerity, and artificiality. Individuals will go away the church over sure points, to make certain—a church that’s unwilling to compromise the elemental doctrine of the Christian religion is completely going to invoke the ire of the world, simply as Jesus’s unique disciples did (Matt. 10:22; Luke 21:17; John 15:18-25). That is nothing new. However there are additionally some leaving who shouldn’t, who usually are not leaving as a result of their church cares deeply (and rightly) concerning the sanctity of human life or the biblical establishment of marriage between man and spouse. They’re leaving as a result of they’re fed up with hypocrisy and the lack of accountability—and that’s one thing we are able to all agree is unacceptable.
It’s not that Dooku was proper to go away the Order; moderately, it was mistaken that the Order gave him so many causes to take action within the first place.