the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy?

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You’re thinking it’s a little early to be considering fixing the new Sequel Trilogy when only a third of it has been released. However, while it’s true the recent release of the first instalment, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, is meeting with commercial acclaim (even now firing photon torpedoes on Avatar’s record), once the dust has settled it is likely to not maintain the reactive critical acclaim it has to date received and in hindsight will be acknowledged as a hugely entertaining but extremely derivative entry into the saga.

I won’t be getting into debates via comments to this article about how this new sequel trilogy might be derivative but will at least be better than any new move that George Lucas has made in the past twenty years, or would likely have made if Disney had allowed him to share custody of the franchise going forward, as we’ve already heard any number of fans reviling the Prequel Trilogy and Clone Wars (just as original fans not only found the Ewoks insufferable, but Yoda before them).

My aim in this article is to consider alternatively how a happy medium might have been reached with Disney moving the franchise forward, while at the same time acknowledging how they would not have such a successful franchise had it not been for George Lucas in the first place, through thereby respecting his original vision for the Sequel Trilogy, instead of him ending up having nothing to do with the production of The Force Awakens or its frequently evolving script and the recent news from Lucas himself that his ideas were at least partly scrapped.

And so my theory begins with the following statue/ idol in Anakin Skywalker’s bedroom on Tatooine in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, firstly shown in the scene where R2-D2 rolls through the doorway when Anakin shows Padme C-3PO…

Maz Kanata-Phantom Menace-1

…and as Anakin later leaves the bedroom for the last time to travel to Coruscant with Qui-Gon Jinn to be trained as a Jedi…

Maz Kanata-Phantom Menace-2

Then recall back in 1983, how Return of the Jedi director, Richard Marquand, spoke to Prevue magazine…

Prevue magazine Jun-Jul 1983

…after completing his work on the final instalment of the original trilogy about George’s plans for Episode VII-IX:

“If you follow the direction, and project into the final trilogy [i.e. Episode VII-IX], you realise that you’re going to meet the supreme intellect, and you think how is it possible to create a man who has such profound cunning that he can not only control Darth Vader, but the fate of Luke Skywalker? Control the destiny of the whole galaxy? You’ll be amazed!”

So it’s clear that even as far back as the 1980s, Lucas had envisioned there being another player behind-the-scenes of the Original Trilogy story who had been in control the whole time.

In addition, Dale Pollock, author of the 1984 George Lucas biography, Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas, spoke with The Wrap back in October, 2012 and revealed his thoughts on the original dozen stories Lucas wrote treatments for. When writing the biography, he was able to read all of the stories but signed non-disclosure agreements on their contents:

“It was originally a 12-part saga. The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.”

While in this interview, Pollack called the Prequel Trilogy “dreadful”, he had very positive things to say about the ideas behind the next two trilogies, stories he confidently believed Disney would use, claiming they represented one of the reasons Disney made the acquisition of Lucasfilm in the first place.

Now while Lucas had obviously intended this character of “profound cunning” to be male, with Disney redirecting their stories in these new films to feature females in more prominent roles (although to give credit where credit is due, Lucas set the precedent in the Original Trilogy by establishing Princess Leia as one of the earliest examples of a female character whose power came from her political conviction and acumen and whose passion influences the two male leads, Luke and Han to take their places as full participants in the Rebellion), is it that they haven’t entirely abandoned Lucas’s original vision for the Sequel Trilogy but have chosen Maz Kanata as this “supreme intellect”, this “Phantom Menace” (and not Jar Jar Binks as has previously been proposed by fellow theorist Lumpawarroo)?

We know from the flags shown hanging from the exterior entrance of her castle (on the planet of Takodana) below…

Boonta Eve flags hanging from Maz Kanata's castle

…are identical to those used in the procession at the start of the renowned Pod Race on Boonta Eve in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, that she has some connection to Tatooine.

Boonta Eve flag parade from The Phantom Menace

What that connection is intended to be isn’t clear yet…

…but did Kanata, or one of her agents, gift the idol (that resembled her) to a very young Anakin, or his mother Shmi…

…and was it imbued with her Dark Side energies for the purpose of influencing him from as early an age as possible?

Think about it too, Maz Kanata slyly watching over Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine a dark parallel to Ben Kenobi’s watching over Luke Skywalker.

Of further interest in this new film is that in addition to the introduction of Maz Kanata, we are also introduced to another new character earlier in the film played by Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), an actor renowned to fans of science fantasy/ horror as Father Lankester Merrin, veteran Catholic priest (rather than Church of the Force priest;) from the classic film, The Exorcist. Recall his character in that film finds the amulet resembling the statue of Pazuzu on an archaeological dig in Iraq, the demon he defeated years earlier (as shown below).

Pazuzu statue and Max von Sydow in The Exorcist

It’s interesting that the statue of Maz Kanata in Anakin Skywalker’s bedroom on Tatooine appears to have the one flat tone, just as does the statue of Pazuzu above.

As for who Maz’s agent on Tatooine was, recall that when young Anakin met Qui-Gon Jinn he recognised him as a Jedi almost immediately, suggesting he had previously encountered one (somewhat unusual given the Jedi were not tending to interfere in events in the Outer Rim prior to their realisation of the re-emergence of the Sith).

So was that agent perhaps Quinlan Vos, the dreadlocked dude sitting outside the Cantina shown below observing the conflict that broke out between Sebulba, Jar Jar Binks and Anakin (who was later revealed to be a Jedi in The Clone Wars).

Quinlan Vos in The Phantom Menace

Or, given Kanata’s castle is meant to echo the original “hive of scum and villainy” that was the Mos Eisley Cantina, with its primary patrons being smugglers, might this suggest that Maz doubled as a smuggler herself, or better yet a slave trader in the years leading up to The Phantom Menace?!

Was she the one who first sold Shmi Skywalker to Gardulla the Hutt to ensure the Force-sensitive child, Anakin, was raised in an Outer Rim Territory where it would be less likely for him to end up identified by the Jedi Council and trained in the ways of the light side from an early age?

Was she perhaps the Sith Master of Darth Plagueis, and compelled him to manipulate the midi-chlorians to create Anakin? She is after all even older than Yoda, having been revealed by J.J. Abrams to have lived “over a thousand years”!!!

And is Max von Sydow’s inclusion in the film as priest of the Church of the Force meant to make us recall the demon Pazuzu with whom his character was said to have done battle with in The Exorcist?

Need further convincing?  It’s not only interesting that Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana, according to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary…

Star Wars Force Awakens Visual Dictionary

…was built on an ancient Jedi and Sith battleground, but that the working title of the film during production was “The Ancient Fear”.

Ancient Fear - original working title of Episode VII

While this “ancient fear” could be interpreted as Supreme Leader Snoke, he hasn’t been referred to as such yet, whereas J.J. Abrams has made an effort to point out that Maz is over one thousand years old.  Also, according to the visual dictionary, she is Force sensitive, but not trained in the Jedi arts! This immediately brings to mind Palpatine’s own background as a Force user who was recruited by the Sith Master, Darth Plagueis, before the Jedi had an opportunity to train him.

Another interesting part of her character is her collection of old relics – one of which is Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, the one passed down to Luke in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by Ben Kenobi on Tatooine…

Obi-Wan handing Luke his father's lightsaber

…and which he lost (along with the hand he wielded it with) in battle against his father on Cloud City in the overture to that most famous of scenes in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Luke loses lightsaber along with his hand

Given Vader left a garrison behind on Cloud City…

Imperial garrison Vader left behind on Cloud City

…might this not suggest he had also left strict instructions for them to collect it (as he’d not likely want his old weapon to fall into the hands of a Jedi again), after which he passed it onto his own master, Darth Sidious?  And after the Emperor’s own death, one of his Imperial Dignitaries…

Imperial dignitary that remained behind on Coruscant

…who remained behind on Coruscant contacted Maz, as per Palpatine’s instructions in his last Will & Testament, for her to come to the Imperial Palace to retrieve it along with his treasure trove of Sith artifacts, including those shown decorating his chambers in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith?

Recall here the Jedi Order forbade attachments, which would not only include emotional ties but attachment to physical objects also.  So an obsession with collecting artifacts would be frowned upon by the Jedi.  However, this wasn’t an issue for the Sith, who were renowned for their preoccupation with Force relics (much like Hitler’s known obsession with holy relics).  Now cast your mind back to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith where we were treated to numerous scenes of Palpatine’s collection of Sith artifacts on display in the Chancellor’s Suite, including…

Chancellor Palpatine's suite on Coruscant

…the bronzium statues of the Four Sages of Dwartii…

Four Sages of Dwartii

…and those retrieved from the archaeological excavation of Massassi territory on Yavin 4…

Massassi temple on Yavin IV

such as the Sith Chalice (a metallic incense burner used by the Sith during their initiation ceremonies) and…

Sith Chalice in Chancellor Palpatine's Suite

…the frieze depicting a battle between the Jedi and Sith during the Great Hyperspace War.

Great Hyperspace War bas-relief

Recall too that the location of the catacombs beneath Maz’s castle on Takodana, similar to the Sith shrine beneath the Imperial Palace…

emperor-throne-hadabbadon-art

…which the Emperor used as his private sanctum, are rumoured to have once been a battleground between the Jedi and the Sith.  So she perhaps had her castle erected over it to ensure she could get first dibs on any Sith relics left behind on the battlefield, which could go a long way to explaining her secret treasure room where Rey retrieved Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber (previously lost by Luke, along with his hand, when doing battle with Darth Vader on Cloud City) and which also included a mask that looked a lot like those worn by the Knights of Ren (along with robes seen sitting on the floor).

Postscript: Finally, in the new Tarkin novel…

Tarkin novel cover

…considered as canon by Disney, it is revealed that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was constructed over a Sith shrine, and it was the dark side energies emanating from it that were clouding the Jedi’s vision the Prequel Trilogy. So if Maz Kanata’s castle was similarly built on an ancient Sith battleground wouldn’t it similarly cloud any Light Side visions? So wouldn’t that mean if Rey’s vision was so strong that it was influenced by the Dark Side? And when Maz says of the vision to Rey, “The Force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in”, isn’t it more likely it is the Dark Side of the Force that would let itself in? Now why would Maz, who displays an innate understanding of the Force, be suggesting to Rey that she “let it[the Dark Side] in” unless her claim that she is “no Jedi” is meant to subtly suggest that she is a Sith who would of course want an untrained Force-sensitive user to open themselves to it.

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…Boba Fett’s origin?

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In the famous bounty hunter scene in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader says, “you are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive… no disintegrations.”  The “no disintegrations” comment is specifically directed at Boba Fett, who simply responds, “as you wish.”

No Disintegrations

While most fans feel that this scene was intended to infer Vader had previously engaged Fett’s services to obtain the plans stored within R2-D2 by “any means necessary”, and disintegrations had occurred (the bounty hunter killing Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru to prevent any competitors from obtaining the same information and collecting his reward)…

Boba Fett was on Tatooine during the search for the droids

Boba Fett was on Tatooine during the search for the droids

The bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru having obviously undergone "a change in composition…an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity"

The bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru having obviously undergone “a change in composition…an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity”

…there is another obvious clue that fans have completely overlooked from the “meeting with bounty hunters” scene in Empire.

That clue comes with Boba Fett’s response to Vader’s directive.

Yes, the original identity for who George Lucas had intended Boba Fett to be, before stupidly opting to make him an altered clone, has been RIGHT THERE… and yet none of us saw it, but how in the hell could we have MISSED it?

The clue to who this is lies in the romance novel, The Princess Bride written by William Goldman in 1973.

350px-Florin_Guilder_map

In the novel’s fantasy world a beautiful young woman named Buttercup lives on a farm in the country of Florin.  She delights in verbally abusing the farm hand Westley, whom she refers to as “farm boy”, by demanding that he perform chores for her.  Whenever she gives him an order, he answers “as you wish” and happily complies.

As You Wish

Westley leaves to seek his fortune so that he can marry her, going on to become the Dread Pirate Roberts’ valet and then his predecessor.

clever

It is obvious Westley did not acquire the fortune from his piracy he required to marry Buttercup, so moved into the more lucrative pursuit of galactic bounty hunting, and the rest as they say is history;)