Why the Force will always sway to the Dark Side

Why the Force will always sway to the Dark Side

This article contains spoilers regarding the Star Wars saga but if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’ve seen all the movies multiple times.

One thing we’re told repeatedly, across all the Star Wars movies, is that the Force requires balance. There’s a notion that both Light and Dark must exist in equilibrium. The prophecy forming the foundation of this mythology that was used in the prequel trilogy, states a Chosen One will come and bring balance to the Force. Of course, that person was Anakin Skywalker and it’s because of him that the Force is always destined to be Dark.

This assumption isn’t based on the fact he became an evil Sith Lord or that Hayden Christensen’s performance was so wooden the Chosen One has tarnished the Force for good. It’s because he is an example of undiluted, pure Force and we all know how that went. He turned easier than milk on a warm day. Okay, he had Palpatine leading him astray but if the Force was an equal balance to start with, his interactions would have been cancelled out by the influence of the Jedi (more on them later).

The reason we can say Anakin was pure Force is down to his mother’s assertion there was never a biological father. Unless she was lying and he was the product of some unwanted liaison – a path I’m sure Disney will be keen to avoid – then we have to take her word for it. This means the midi-chlorians (sorry for bringing them up) impregnated Shmi Skywalker in a Virgin Mary like manoeuvre.

Pure Force at conception.

The counter argument here is that even if this was 100% force, her DNA still diluted it a little, thus, enabling negative human traits to enter the fray. The problem with this point of view is Shmi Skywalker is probably the most wholesome, good-natured and kind character found in the Star Wars universe. If anything, it goes to show the Force knows it’s a little bit bad and needed pure goodness to balance it out at birth.

As it happens, not enough Shmi got into Anakin and he was doomed from the beginning. The Jedi council were right to be hesitant when he showed up. Yoda sensed the conflict within the young boy in The Phantom Menace but was railroaded into allowing his training.

All his poor personality traits have been passed on to his offspring and their children. Despite having unmatched Force abilities, good political and royal ties, he never returned to free his mother from slavery. There’s probably some twisted code of ethics at play here about not interfering with planetary customs (the fact slavery is commonplace and not denounced by the Jedi doesn’t place them in a favourable light) but surely they could have bought her freedom?

Even if they released her under the proviso she couldn’t live near Anakin in case she became a distraction, it would have been better then what she endured. When Anakin finally decides to do something for his mother he’s way too late and the climax of the process just serves as a step closer to the Dark Side.

Some of the best human emotions – like love and empathy – are lacking in all Skywalkers apart from Shmi. Remember Luke breaking down in A New Hope and being haunted for the remainder of the original trilogy after seeing the burnt corpses of his foster parents. Nope, because he never mentions them once. His aunt and uncle who raised him from birth were forgotten within hours. Very touching.

It’s the same level of not being bothered that Leia expressed when she witnessed the destruction of an entire planet: couldn’t care less. They come across as very selfish, self-centred individuals. All of them are very, “me-me-me.” This is great for being driven to achieve their goals but it’s not very pleasant when even losing close ones is no different than water off a duck’s back.

By the time we see Luke in Return of the Jedi, he’s going around with a title he’s yet to earn after bailing on his training, whilst displaying all the traits of a man on the path to the Dark Side. He threatens to wipe out Jabba the Hutt, not very Jedi-like, and the only way he defeats Darth Vader is by getting angry. And we all know that anger leads to the Dark Side.

Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, never stood a chance. He has his grandfather’s DNA mixed with Han Solo’s. His father may have played a prominent part in freeing the galaxy but he was no clean-cut monk. He was a rogue that under different circumstances could have easily been a bad guy. Hardly the 100% goodness of Shmi to dilute the evils of the Force.

Of course, it’s not just the Skywalkers that have the Force. If we look elsewhere it’s possible to see how it’s fundamentally flawed. Take the Jedi, the supposed teachers of the Light and all things good, they have some dodgy ethical codes.

Firstly, they outright deny a Jedi love. From a writing point of view, Lucas was presumably giving them a religious feel, as if they are priests of the Force. The application of this rule means the good guys of the Force deny the warmest human emotion. A life without love isn’t a very healthy existence.

They’re also happy to breakup families to train younglings, creating inner turmoil from a tender age and fuelling all the negative emotions they work tirelessly to keep at bay. These oppressive traits go against everything that feels good. Only a Force built upon darkness would drive these demands so hard.

The Jedi are also pretty good at running away from problems. Even in The Phantom Menace the galaxy is in a pretty bad mess. They just mosey around, dipping in and out of conflict as the council deems fit. They should have been working around the clock to clean things up.

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda and Obi-Wan go into hiding and spend twenty years watching chaos and evil reign. With great power comes great responsibility, or if you’re a Jedi, great cowardice. In homage to those that went before him, Luke repeats this trick once Kylo Ren turns a bit nasty.

Obi-Wan comes across as the most decent of all the Force users. He even alludes to a love affair he once had so he’s the most in touch with his humanity. But it doesn’t stop him showing a ruthless side that is pure darkness.

At the end of his battle with Anakin he appears genuinely pained to see his friend’s slide to the Dark Side. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t let him get burned alive. Come on, now either do the humane thing and drag him up the bank and call for medical assistance or put him out of his misery. But burning alive . . . really? And by the next scene he’s fully composed, watches Padmé pass away, and carries on without a care in the world.

Perhaps these examples prove that Anakin wasn’t the Chosen One after all.

It seems that the Force as we know it, from the undiluted Anakin to the Jedi and the Sith, suffers from an inherent imbalance. Maybe the genuine Chosen One will be born in the same way, fatherless, but with an exponent of midi-chlorians not yet seen.

Just as we can’t see dark matter but are certain of its existence, maybe the Light Side of the Force is just theorised in the Star Wars universe. It will take a real Chosen One to appear and actually reveal its true nature.

Until then we have a bunch of people using a force that is perpetually pulling to the Dark Side. But there is a “Rey” of light on the horizon…

The Force is Strong in this One

The Force is Strong in this One
Note: While care has been taken to not divulge the entirety of the plot or giveaway exciting twists and reveals, as always in The Kinswah Reflective, the regular tone applies which includes examining certain aspects of the movie. If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, then it’s recommended you skip this review for now.
Finally, the anticipation is over and the most hyped film ever has been released. Under the weight of its own expectation there was a danger Star Wars: The Force Awakens would end up being a crushing disappointment. Fans of the Star Wars saga had been there before after the release of George Lucas’s prequel trilogy. Thankfully J.J. Abrams has alleviated those fears and surpassed the hopes laid down by a new generation.
From the opening scene, it’s clear Abrams is aware of the universe he’s helping resurrect. It was a franchise he grew up with and hasn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, like George Lucas did with the prequels, instead his job has been getting the old familiar to spin once again. With the use of goggles to scan the distance, using the same graphic from Empire Strikes Back‘s ice planet of Hoth scene, a sense of reassurance settles in.
The nods to the past merely tease nostalgia, as opposed to making a vulgar grab for it. After a few more scenes it is clear we are in an authentic Star Wars universe. The prequels felt disconnected, both visually and from a storyboard point of view, from the original films. Here J.J. manages to immerse the viewer back into the world first seen in A New Hope.
This is no doubt helped by the use of actual sets, allowing for the imperfections and grime of a real world. Just like the original 1977 movie, the characters are easy to connect with too. Daisy Ridley’s Rey, plays the role of lonely scavenger on a dusty planet. She soon gets a droid that’s on a secret mission. Sound familiar? It should and it doesn’t matter. This formula works in Star Wars for a reason.
Rey is soon teamed up with Stormtrooper defector Finn, played by John Boyega. Unlike Luke from the original movie, Rey is already driven and headstrong, so Finn doesn’t need to play the role of Han Solo or Obi Wan. He provides the everyman role we can all relate to. He wants to do good but is aware of the dangers.
Plus, we get given Han – and Chewbacca – so it allows Boyega to provide comic relief. The laughs are littered throughout the story without ever being cheesy. J.J. has managed to balance drama and fun perfectly.
It’s not just the very first film that sets the ambiance for all that follows. Acknowledgements and inclusions referring to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are placed throughout the movie. Each one accentuates the feel of connection rather than labours it. The Force Awakens isn’t a spectacle that requires a prop-up from the past, it just absorbs those used because they fit the scenario so freely.
Unlike J.J.’s interpretation of Star Trek which also required him to juggle history and move the brand forward, he doesn’t recolour the old palette. Star Trek needed an overhaul, Star Wars just needed to be put back on its original footing.
The main focus of the saga, the drive from prequels until Darth Vader’s redemption, is the balance between the light and the dark side. Adam Driver is the actor asked to carry that load this time around. He plays the villainous Kylo Ren. As a nod to Darth Vader, Kylo Ren has chosen to wear a dark mask and matching attire. He’s aware of Vader’s history and feels obliged to continue his goals. If you’re reading this after the warning note at the top, then you can’t blame me for mentioning, this sense of duty comes from a family connection.
It isn’t a burden he bears lightly. Driver excellently displays anger, inner struggle, fear and retribution. Mid-film he unmasks; this could have killed the mystic the imposing figure had created. But it was a genius move. It allowed Driver to fully express all his uncertainties, sadness and rage. Having all the contradictions works for the subject matter.
J.J. has managed in one film to show the descent to the dark side more effectively than George Lucas did with his entire prequel trilogy. For everything that was contrived and poorly acted in in those films, there is an organically produced alternative in The Force Awakens performed by actors excelling in emotional roles usually reserved for the theatre.
The greatest testament to the payoff in all this is how Kylo Ren, for all the vulnerability he shows, is hated by the end of the story. There’s no creation of the cool anti-hero here. He’s a bad guy you want to see lose, making Rey’s character easier to get behind.
Running alongside the force is the story of political power. It has always been present in the Star Warsuniverse. The original trilogy simply had an overbearing empire fighting the voices of freedom. The prequels described a more complex system that amounted to the same thing. Here the remnants of the former empire have become the First Order. They take their cue from Nazi Germany, in both styling and use of military might.
It’s easy to see the force used directly, like with Kylo, but Leia has been a political player from day one. Perhaps her use of the force enabled her to be a key royal figure and helps her thrive in her latest incarnation as a general.
It’s the absence of her brother, Luke, that caused a pre-release debate. And he proves to be the contradiction to the former statement about seeing the use of the force directly. Without much screen time, his existence and lack of appearance, helps drive a key plot point. He proves that less is more.
To find faults with the film would be nit-picking. It may mirror some of the original trilogy in terms of storytelling too closely for some but it updates it in a way everything feels fresh rather than redone.
For this writer The Empire Strike Back is the Star Wars benchmark and it’s with a small degree of hesitancy it can be confirmed that The Force Awakens surpasses it.
With the new cast, set in motion by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars has finally found a new hope.