Or, why TFA makes no sense in the context of the Prequels and the Original Trilogy
There is something incredibly unique about Anakin Skywalker as a character: this fascinating blend of hero, victim, and villain, and how the interplay of fate, destiny, character flaws, divided loyalties, tragic decisions, and the machinations of others leads to such great pain, loss, and evil…for himself, and for an entire galaxy. How he, as Vader, becomes both physically and mentally enslaved, suspended in an almost carbonite-like stasis and cyclical mindset for decades, until his final act of free will, spurred on by his latent, powerful love for his son, sets him—and them all—free.
In the wake of TFA, I feel the need to explain why I find Anakin’s entire arc (his fall and redemption) so important—nay, essential—to the overall message of the Star Wars saga, and why, thus far, the entire premise of the sequels feels like such an insult to all that has come before—especially in light of the nature of both Anakin’s tragic tale and Luke’s heroic journey.
***Disclaimer: in the discussion below, I bring up the concept of ‘retcon’. Rest assured, I am well aware that retcon has played a huge part in the Star Wars films from the very beginning. However, the major difference is that, usually, this practice has added in some positive or integral way to the storyline. It hasn’t greatly detracted from the meaning of the overall saga or posed a problem in a negative sense…until now.
To begin with, we must look at the presentation of the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Yes, it is true that viewers first ‘met’ Anakin in the form of Vader at the beginning of the Original Trilogy. And that, like Kylo Ren, they met him when he was already a villain. But the key difference is that we have all seen Vader as more than that for a very long time now. Not only have we seen his redemption by the end of RotJ, but we have also seen the character study that is Anakin’s backstory as depicted in the Prequels (and TCW).
And while this character study certainly does not excuse all the various evil deeds committed by Anakin/Vader during and after his fall, it does *explain* how his fall occurred. It explores his fears as well as the various underlying motivations that lead to his disastrous actions in a way that makes sense and is understandable, both from the perspective of the Prequel storyline and in the context of the Original Trilogy itself—something that is currently glaringly absent from the depiction of Kylo Ren.
Some might just say, “Well, we already saw Anakin’s downfall in great detail—we don’t need to see Kylo Ren’s,” or “What’s the big deal? Anakin did horrible things but was redeemed at the end, why not Kylo Ren? What’s the difference?”
The difference, I would argue, is HUGE.
There is a reason why George Lucas devoted three whole films (AND a good portion of an animated tv series) to the story of Anakin Skywalker. He obviously felt that Anakin’s motivations, his relationships, his strengths and weakness, his successes and failures, his positive traits and negative traits, his childhood, and even his later socio-political milieu and military context—basically everything about him—were important enough for an entire prequel trilogy (and supporting on-screen material) to cover in-depth.
For all the supposed faults of the Prequels, the story presented therein—the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, and, along with him, the apocalyptic destruction of the Republic and the entire Jedi Order—is undeniably well-thought out….and extremely compelling.
And yet, this story is compelling not simply because it is’ tragic’, but because it is tragic in a very specific way.
Here is someone who starts out his life as a slave, a young boy simply wishing to fly away….yearning for the freedom of the stars. A young boy with fear and anger already inside him due to the hardship and injustice of his circumstances (and later, his constant worry for his mother), but still largely innocent. A young boy supposedly taken away from slavery (and, at the same time, his mother)…only to end up serving a corrupt Republic in an unwinnable war, and a Jedi Order that had by this time become overly dogmatic and blinded to certain dark realities in its midst. A Jedi Order that had lost its way by becoming embroiled in the political happenings of—and subservient to—the military ‘needs’ of the Republic. A Jedi Order that was doomed the moment they allowed themselves to become soldiers instead of protectors. Supporters of perpetual war, instead of keepers of the peace. A Jedi Order that allowed itself to become slaves of the Republic, subject to the Senate’s every agenda and the Chancellor’s every whim, instead of free agents.
Anakin’s tale is so tragic because he believes he is going from (literal) slavery to freedom, to then fighting *for* the (physical and ideological) freedom of others during the Clone Wars…when in reality he is merely exchanging one set of chains for another, until he becomes fully imprisoned once more in the form of Vader.
In the Star Wars universe, it is stated that slavery is THE primary tool of the Sith—for controlling one another, and also for the subjugation of the entire galaxy. And thus it stands to reason that if Anakin is truly the Chosen One (and this is confirmed by Lucas’ canon), then he is also the one who is destined to destroy the Sith….and by doing so, it is implied, break this seemingly-perpetual cycle of slavery (and mental/ideological enslavement).
This is why the climactic and emotionally cathartic ending of RotJ must herald an end to this cycle. What does destroying the Sith mean, if not that?
Without this, there is little point to Anakin’s otherwise wholly tragic story.
Without this, I would argue, there is little point to Luke’s story, either.
Because, what has always elevated Luke’s hero’s journey above, well, just another hero’s journey, is that he completes it not by defeating a villain, but by helping bring his father back to the light. By helping set his father free. I’d even go so far as to say that Anakin’s redemption forms the most crucial part *of* Luke’s hero’s journey. It is the ultimate triumph of gentleness, surrender, forgiveness, and compassion over brute strength, domination, anger, and revenge. Feminine virtues, over toxic masculinity. How important that, after so much war and violence, these values are finally embraced by two of the main male characters of the series.
And it is made all the more poignant by the fact that Luke is both the physical and symbolic embodiment of Anakin and Padme’s love—and of the Truth that Padme spoke with her very last breath, even after the attempt to silence her—now returned to face down Vader’s darkness and help him finally destroy the Emperor (as he was always meant to). It is Luke himself who inspires Vader to in turn save him….symbolically saving the embodiment of that very love that Anakin had tried so hard and so tragically to save in the first place.
What is so distressing about TFA is that, at the moment, it seems to be sending the message that Vader’s redemption was pointless… and maybe even unnecessary or ‘wrong’ somehow. Especially seeing as it apparently has had little effect or made any difference whatsoever in the outcome of later events. So, after decades of Star Wars viewers and fans understanding the Original Trilogy’s canon as a Good Thing™ and its message as hopeful one, we are now suddenly supposed to believe that there was no point in Luke redeeming Anakin/Vader? I mean, really??
This line of thinking is so upsetting because it directly contradicts the entire point of the Original Trilogy….especially the entire plot of Return of the Jedi. By the end of that film, it is made crystal clear that redeeming Vader is the *ONLY* thing that would actually work or have a lasting, positive effect. Meeting power with power would not work. Nor fear with fear. Nor anger with anger. Nor hate with more hate. That is what sent Anakin down that spiral to begin with. And when Luke duels Vader the first time, this is what causes him to lose. By the time of RotJ, Luke has come to understand the Truth, and knows what he needs to do very well, hence his actions.
In my opinion (and in my understanding of the original intended message of the story), the *only* way the Emperor could finally be defeated was by an act of sacrifice based on LOVE. Anakin/Vader’s final act is an act of finally embracing his own mortality, acknowledging his True Self, and setting himself free, it is true. But most importantly, it is an act of protection, done out of compassion, which Anakin himself once defined as “unconditional love, essential to a Jedi’s life”. This is why Anakin in this moment is the embodiment of the ‘Return of the Jedi'—he *protects*. He saves. He defends. And this is what the true role of the Jedi was always meant to be.
Luke’s decision to turn himself over to the Emperor and appeal to that ‘barest flicker of persistent light’ within his father was necessary—not just from a thematic perspective, but also from a plot and story standpoint as well. Already by the time of The Empire Strikes Back, we were shown that the ‘true’ villain (in the sense of who has the most agency and is pulling all the strings) is the Emperor, and that Vader is, in fact, his servant/slave. (And of course, the Prequels and TCW only hammer home this fact.) The Emperor *had* to be defeated, or else the Empire would never have been stopped. The galaxy (like Vader himself) would never have been freed. For as we know, the Rebel Alliance had already attempted to defeat the Empire by blowing up the first Death Star, but of course the Empire just kept going and ended up building a new one. Blowing up the second Death Star was therefore never going to be enough to win the war against the Empire. (And there was no guarantee that Sidious would not have pulled a General Grievous on us and escaped the second Death Star at the last minute before they managed to blow it up, either.)
So, the Emperor had to be directly destroyed….and I think it’s pretty obvious that, however powerful Luke had become by that point, he was never going to be able to defeat the Emperor on his own. Only Anakin/Vader had the power to stop Palpatine/Sidious. Only Anakin *EVER* had this power. This is one of the reasons why Palpatine targeted and ‘groomed’ Anakin in the first place: he knew that Anakin was foretold to be the one who would ultimately destroy the Sith…..so what better than to bring him to the side of the Sith, instead?
But the beauty of this is that, through Luke’s presence in Vader’s life, and then his intervention in RotJ, Anakin is finally able to fulfill the very destiny that Palpatine had tried so hard to avoid by enslaving him to his will. Anakin *IS* the Chosen One, and no matter how far he had fallen in the meantime….it is undeniable that, in the end, he fulfills his destiny and destroys the Sith. Both the outer-Sith that is Darth Sidious….and the inner-Sith within himself.
But after everything….after being imprisoned by Sidious for so long, he needed Luke there, as a reminder of his True Self, in order to be able to accomplish this. There is that line in RotJ where he says sadly to Luke, “it is too late for me, my son.“ But Luke never gives up on his father, and finally Anakin/Vader sees this….and comes back to the Light via the act of saving Luke himself.
One act of compassion inspires another—and in doing so, achieves more than decades and decades of war and even the most noble of rebellions ever could.
This is extremely redemptive in so many ways—it even wholly vindicates Anakin and Padme’s love. For, without Luke’s actions at the end of RotJ, and Vader’s response to them, we would be left instead with the message that love = death and destruction. Instead, we see that love (even secret, forbidden love) is not entirely destructive, but is also creative, enduring, and can bring about hope and redemption, and, ultimately, freedom—on both a personal level, and to the galaxy as a whole.
It is for this reason that I find the entire premise of The Force Awakens—especially the whole ‘First Order’ thing, along with the character of Snoke and the presentation of Kylo Ren as a dark-side villain—difficult, if not impossible, to swallow. Ok, so they aren’t Sith, but ‘something else’. So what? They are still intent on the domination/subjugation of the galaxy and on committing genocidal actions. They have a third ‘Death Star’ at their disposal. They may not technically be ‘Sith’, but they might as well be.
And regardless of what they are or aren’t, the fact remains that TFA’s storyline is not only extremely repetitive (some reviewers have even argued that it amounts to nothing but glamourized plagiarism of A New Hope), but also completely fails to make any sense whatsoever in the context of what has come before.
I don’t care what kind of retconning had to be done via the various tie-in novels that have now been shoved into the storyline between RotJ and TFA….I’m still not buying it. Because, sure, you can give me all the trumped up and forced reasons why such-and-such happened, and you can do all the out-of-character bullshit to the Original Trio that you want, but even then…thematically, the whole scenario that TFA is based on still makes no sense.
Not in the larger context of Lucas’ saga, at least.
As mentioned above, when it comes to the character of Darth Vader, the theme of the cycle of slavery/mental enslavement is imperative to understanding both why and how he has become what he is by the point of the Original Trilogy. Anakin lives much of his childhood as a slave. He is himself ‘freed’, but later loses his mother to a violent (enslaved!) death that he feels he could have prevented if he had only listened to and acted upon his prophetic dreams sooner. He is in love with Padme and wants to be with her—something that is forbidden to him because of the Jedi Code. (Again, in this manner, he feels ‘un-free’.) The Clone Wars begin, and he marries her in secret, and goes off to fight for what he believes is the freedom of countless systems, becoming embroiled in constant warfare—along with increasingly divided loyalties—which takes a heavy toll on him. He wants nothing more than to end the war. To bring ‘peace’ to the galaxy. To be able to come home, and maybe, just maybe, finally make a real life for himself and Padme…and later, their unborn child(ren). He is pushed further and further to the brink of doing ‘whatever it takes’ to end said war. Until his growing mistrust of the Jedi Council, along with his prophetic dreams of Padme’s impending death—and the subsequent machinations of Palpatine—all push him fully over that precipice.
Until, finally, he becomes the Emperor’s lethal weapon and unquestioning servant of his will.
And then, perhaps most significantly, after he is horrifically maimed in his fight with Obi-Wan on Mustafar, he becomes physically imprisoned within his life-support suit. This suit, designed by Palpatine, is almost akin to a walking torture chamber, and at first causes Vader almost constant physical pain. Vader is kept ‘alive’ only by the suit and mask combination (or perhaps, rather, in a state of ‘half-life’). The important thing to remember here is that he did not choose to be put inside this suit, it was done *to* him. And once he is inside, it is like he is frozen into this never-changing mindset and state of perpetual torment. Sealed thus, Vader becomes resigned to his imprisonment, to his anger and hatred-fueled existence…and to being one of the Emperor’s primary tools in bringing this same twisted form of ‘peace’ (aka, subjugation) to the rest of the galaxy.
Now, looking at the character of Kylo Ren in comparison, we start to see where some of the problem lies. What, exactly, are we to believe are his circumstances/motivations? Was he raised as a slave? Did he experience tragic personal loss that he believed he could have prevented, or haunting prophetic dreams? Did he have a secret, forbidden relationship of some kind that he could tell no one about? Was he embroiled in a years-long war he didn’t fully understand that left him with compromised morality, divided loyalties, and what was likely some kind of PTSD? Was he ‘groomed’ by a creepy evil predator/abuser who presented himself as a ‘helpful’ father figure, but who had vicious, self-serving ulterior motives all along? Did he experience constant, crippling fear of loss/losing his loved ones to death? Was he horrifically maimed after fighting his former mentor whom he’d once loved like a brother in a brutal duel?
The answer to all of the above is, most likely, ‘no’. But, of course, we just don’t know for sure (because apparently we’re not allowed to know anything about anyone in that film…but *ahem*, I digress).
For argument’s sake, let’s just say that Kylo Ren’s motives and backstory will eventually be fully revealed later on the subsequent films. Fair enough. But thus far we have no context whatsoever for his horrific actions. (And I’m not including tie-in novels here, which we shouldn’t have to be familiar with in order to understand or enjoy a Star Wars film). And even though Vader did not originally have any context for his actions in A New Hope either, the difference is that….we’ve seen the rest of the Original Trilogy. It’s been out for you know… almost forty years. We’ve seen the Prequels. We can’t ‘un-know’ what we know about Anakin. So, pretending that, at this stage in the game, we don’t *need* to know anything about Kylo Ren in order to understand this character is…disingenuous, at best. (And if anything, reveals just how much of an attempted copy/remake of A New Hope TFA truly is.)
And so, as it stands, Kylo Ren’s motivations for being such an unrepentant villain seem rather weak, if non-existent. You really expect me to believe that Leia Organa and Han-freaking-Solo raised a child who hero-worshipped Darth Vader? Who never learned anything from the past? Who never cared about or understood the importance of Anakin’s redemption? Or his uncle’s crucial role in it? Please. If you want me to believe such utter BS, you’re going to have to present some extremely (and I mean, extremely!) compelling explanations. (And within the actual film in question. Not in some random book somewhere!)
Because as it stands, it feels like there is little reason for ANY of this other than Disney just wanting yet *another* excuse to resurrect Darth Vader for marketing purposes. And that’s just…not good enough.
In fact, it’s inexcusable.
Add to that the fact that Kosplay Ren™ has apparently simply chosen to wear his mask for….reasons? He can breathe just fine without it. He does not depend on it for survival. Therefore, it is merely a costume he can don at will. It has nothing of the gravitas of Vader’s suit, breathing mask, and mechanized limbs. That suit which is the physical symbol of Vader’s lifelong imprisonment within the poisoned, cyclical mindset cultivated in him by the Emperor.
This leaves us with the glaring question of why, in Ren’s case, does he serve this mysterious Snoke character so loyally? We just don’t know. But, unlike Vader, other options are more readily open to him. He is still, physically, himself. He still has loved ones–-loved ones he KNOWS are still alive. And so, regardless of whatever Kylo Ren’s true motives/motivations might be (and if anyone claims ‘daddy issues’, I will punch something), all of this just gives him a sense of being Vader Light™ (pun intended).
As if the repetitiveness of using this ‘fall to the dark side’ story is not enough, thus far it feels like, at best, a water-downed version of a much more interesting tale—and one that has already been told much, much more thoroughly and effectively within the Star Wars universe.
And herein lies my biggest issue with TFA: from the start, this film is asking us to take it on ‘faith’ that, somehow, almost nothing that happened in Return of the Jedi (and, likewise, all that came before it) has had any lasting effect. It is asking us to simply accept without question the implication that the past is destined to constantly repeat itself, regardless of the tragedies and sacrifices of those who have come before. To just take its word that, once the Original Trilogy ended, the same old shit just… happened all over again? For ‘reasons’?? To believe that Luke’s hero’s journey, the fulfillment of the Chosen One prophecy, and the downfall of the Emperor (and Empire) meant absolutely nothing?
To top it off, we are also meant to believe that a character who is the result of the great love story of the Original Trilogy has supposedly ended up with some motivation for not merely turning to the dark side (if that’s all it was, I could actually believe it), but *also* for repeating the exact same mistakes his ancestor made? Just because he happened to be his ancestor?
The sheer fact that Kylo Ren is committing these deeds in the name of one who has been canonically redeemed flies in the face of—and destroys the meaning behind—both Anakin *and* Luke’s joint hero/redemption stories. Thus far, this character also has far less compelling motivations for ‘turning evil’ than Anakin/Vader ever did, and yet….somehow manages to be MORE evil?? (I mean, jfc, at least in the case of Vader and Luke, the father and son managed to avoid killing each other….despite having much more convincing on-screen motivations to do so!)
Now, perhaps there will be some kind of twist that magically ‘redeems’ Kylo Ren. Maybe we’ll discover that he’s been doing this all undercover and ‘isn’t really the villain’ after all. Lol, at this point…who knows. But for now, the implications of what he has done (killing his father, a path that Luke very pointedly avoided going down in the OT), frustrate and upset me to no end. Not even necessarily because such an action is ‘evil’, but rather because of how thoroughly it destroys and disregards the importance of the storylines that came before.
Many of my fellow Star Wars fans seem to have enjoyed TFA without any issues and are happy to accept its character and storytelling implications without reservation. And ok, that’s fine. But for me personally, I just cannot bring myself to even remotely like this story, let alone accept it as part of the same saga I have known and loved for decades. Mainly because I refuse to let what I believe to be the overriding *hopeful* message of a story that I have loved and cherished my entire life be tainted—nay, utterly destroyed – by fanfiction in the guise of a ‘sequel’ that now tries to pass itself off as legitimate canon just because it has the huge budget of Disney behind it.
For me, Star Wars has always been, and will always be, an unabashedly Romantic story. I don’t mean a romance, per se, but rather a story that, at its heart, must possess a truly Romantic spirit. And one of the most significant examples of this transcendent spirit is Luke’s decision to help set his father FREE instead of destroying/defeating him.
For me, this is the very embodiment of the theme of Star Wars: to break the cycle of enslavement via redemptive acts of love. To free ourselves, to free others…and to help others find a way to free themselves, as well.
And for this to have a meaningful and enduring positive effect.
All of this is not to say that there isn’t room for further explorations of this topic in the form of a sequel. After all, stories require at least some kind of conflict in order to be, well, stories. I also feel the need to clarify here that I have no issue with the idea of certain of Anakin Skywalker’s descendants falling to the Dark Side now and then...in theory. However, if such a story is deemed necessary to tell, then it should do two key things: 1) acknowledge, from the start, what has come before (aka Anakin’s fall AND redemption), and 2) *build* upon the previous storyline (and all its accompanying character development)….without destroying it.
But no….rather than taking this idea to a new level (maybe having our heroes take on the galactic slave-trade directly in the shape of the Hutts or the Zygerrians or something—a fitting tribute to Anakin Skywalker’s memory), we instead have been given a ‘re-set’ that undoes two entire trilogies’ worth of storyline and character development for almost every single character involved, and, thus far, fails to move this theme forward in any compelling way. Overall, TFA feels less like sequel to the Star Wars I have loved for so long, and more like a reboot or thinly-veiled attempted at a decidedly-less Romantic remake of the series.
Early on in TFA, there is this scene where we are shown the imposing ruins of a downed Star Destroyer—intended, perhaps, to evoke a sweeping, Ozymandias-style poetic meditation on the subject. But just as Kylo Ren’s villain costume is all style and no substance, this breathtaking visual ultimately ends up feeling empty and devoid of meaning. Because what, exactly, is the point of having us contemplate the ruins of the fallen Empire, when we are simultaneously being shown an almost carbon-copy ‘new’ evil Empire that has now taken its place?
Wouldn’t it have been fascinating to see a FREE galaxy, for once? A galaxy not under the yoke of an increasingly-corrupt Republic, or subjugated by an evil Empire? A galaxy where ‘bringing balance to the Force’ actually had a meaningful and lasting effect? Wouldn’t it have been fascinating to have a glimpse of what Luke, Han, and Leia fought so hard and long for? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see how two different but heroic people who loved each other deeply could have raised an equally wonderful and heroic child? One who grew up in an atmosphere of love and support, and with a healthy understanding of the tragedies of the past and a sense of hope for the future? After the tragedy that was Anakin’s childhood, and the fact that Luke never knew either of his parents growing up, this would have actually made a refreshing change for once. (Believe it or not, characters with happy childhoods and decent parents can still have dramatic and interesting things happen to them! :p )
Instead, we are now supposed to buy this extremely cynical idea that the past is ‘doomed’ to constantly repeat itself—as though this is Battlestar Galactica rather than Star Wars. Right now it feels like the writers are saying, “Lol, look at these stupid Skywalkers, they can defeat an evil Empire but can’t even raise one child properly. Because, er…retconned reasons!!!1”
And unfortunately, we cannot even include the character of Rey here as a counterbalance in TFA’s version of the Skywalker saga….because, at this point, she has not even been confirmed as a Skywalker. It seems blindingly obvious that she is, but once again….this doesn’t seem to matter, since a) she doesn’t remember or know anything about her own past, and b) she seems to have been abandoned at some point by whomever was meant to be her caretaker, which again, seems to suggest we are meant to think the OT generation of Skywalkers (assuming that’s what family she hails from) are inherently ‘bad parents’….for some apparent reason that makes absolutely NO sense in light of the strong, heroic, and deeply loving characters we knew and adored from the Original Trilogy. The characters we last saw in RotJ were flawed, yes (just like any good character is flawed), but nothing suggested they would not be able to raise children in a loving and supportive environment someday down the road, once peace had been secured.*
*Sidenote: Perhaps this is a good place to mention that we already had a big ‘cynical reveal’ in the Prequels themselves, in regard to the (old) Jedi Order–namely in that we learned that they were not just some merry band of blameless, lily-white knights, but rather had become seriously flawed as a religious order and were very much primed to fall. But this only ‘worked’ because we knew relatively little about the Jedi Order as of the OT, and all of our information was from the point of view of a man who fully admitted that he himself was very biased. In contrast, to then go back and do this exact same ‘disillusioning the audience’ thing with the OT characters is extremely disingenuous, seeing as we already *know* those characters very well by the end of RotJ.
All of this seems unnecessarily—and purposefully—cruel to these characters, as though the writers have deliberately tried to destroy any positive feelings we had about the future of the galaxy in the post-RotJ period. Which makes no sense. Again, nothing in RotJ hinted that the future, from that point on, would not be at least somewhat brighter than it had been during the decades of the fall of the Republic and the ‘Dark Times’ of the Empire. Not a fairytale ‘happy ending’, of course, but certainly not just as bleak as it was before the saga began!
Anything insinuating otherwise must therefore be considered ‘negative retcon’….which, from the perspective of a lifelong fan of the Original Trilogy, is at once extremely baffling, deeply hurtful, and incredibly frustrating.
Whatever happened to the idea that redemptive love could actually have a lasting effect? That freedom could be enduring, and that, after fighting so hard, people who had suffered for so long under endless war and oppression could achieve something meaningful during peacetime? Whatever happened to the concept of the RETURN OF THE JEDI???
Did the actions of the characters in the Original Trilogy truly amount to nothing?
Is that the message we are meant to take away from this? If so, why? Just to make the world seem ‘grittier’? I just can’t understand it…and I’m not really sure I want to. :/
The Star Wars universe is vast, and there are plenty of other potential existential threats that could have been unleashed upon our beloved ‘galaxy far, far away’ in order to make a compelling sequel to the original saga. It was never necessary to repeat the past in such a manner that destroyed all that had come before—that was a conscious choice by the writers, and one that will forever leave me disoriented, dismayed, and deeply disappointed.
Thankfully, as fans, we all have a right to choose what we accept as canon. Nothing–not even Disney and all its capitalistic might–can make that decision for us. And right now, I choose to hold onto the Star Wars that I have known and loved all my life….not someone else’s cynical, watered-down version of it.
And when it comes to one of my all-time favorite characters, I choose to believe what I have always believed: that, by embracing the unconditional love offered to him by his long-lost son, the Chosen One fulfilled his destiny, brought balance to the Force, and set himself—and us all—free.