Anyone who has studied George Lucas, and his approach to the Star Wars films, is no stranger to his propensity for Earth historical and mythological inspiration serving as the development of plot context, characters, and costuming. One only requires a review of the celebrated work Star Wars: The Magic of Myth by Mary Henderson (1997) to bear witness to an inveterate study and appreciation of these subjects when crafting the best of those tales that transport us to a galaxy far, far away. So when 2012’s Clone Wars Season 5 “Onderon” story arc introduced audiences to what was deemed as the origins of the Classic Trilogy’s Rebel Alliance, which also featured a new character dubbed “Saw Gerrera,” many fans online (including myself) and in the podcasting world leapt to the conclusion that Lucas — who personally spawned the new character and the unfolding scenario (Radcliff, 2016) (Breznican, 2016) — wished to draw upon the issues and legacy of Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna. An exploration of the “Onderon arc” suggests that Lucas also wished to use his universe to explore the morality of armed resistance, larger societies engaging in proxy wars, and how these decisions may affect the sojourn and its practitioners over time.
Flight instructors often tell new initiates that standard procedures and federal regulations, to be mastered in full prior to the completion of training, are often written in blood. After each accident and incident, the aviation community endeavored to document and learn from the often fatal destiny of unfortunate souls. Though news coverage of notable accidents and incidents might lead one to believe otherwise, there has never been a safer era for aviation throughout its 112 year history (Tolan, Patterson, & Johnson, 2015) (Westcott, 2015), and safe pilots continue to build their knowledge in the science of aviation safety. Indeed, the process of conducting some preliminary research on a fatal crash of a private flight from Boston to Wisconsin last week led me to discover that the NTSB was publishing the results of the crash most Star Wars fans had been pondering since March.
Be aware: This article is a continuation of Part I, which can be found here.
Note: The final paragraph contains some speculation and possible spoilers for season two of Star Wars Rebels.
The inflammatory reputation often associated with the inquisition largely stems from its Spanish iteration, beginning November 1, 1478, under the authority of Pope Sixtus IV, at the behest of Columbus-era’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Having been previously dominated by North African Muslims, at a time in which 200,000 Jews also inhabited the country, the Spanish crown believed their rule, and the unity of their country, required all to be baptized in the name of the Church. There were to be no pretenders nor agnostics, and certainly practitioners of either Judaism or Islam within the purview of the Spanish monarchy. The Pope, Ferdinand, and Isabella agreed that the inquisition could be a valuable tool to uncover those who proclaimed their loyalty to the Church in public, but continued to believe in their hearts, reinforced by observance in secret, Gods and traditions antithetical to Jesus, the Pope, and the divine right of the throne of Spain (Inquisition, 2014).
This essay serves as a requiem for the chief villain of Star Wars: Rebels, season one.
A major scoop that hit during 2013’s New York Comic Con was the introduction of the Inquisitor. As the concept for Rebels was first bantered about, there was always this singular question surrounding who the new heroes would battle. Would they most likely encounter Darth Vader — an enticing, yet wholly problematic proposition, given his sacrosanct position in pop culture? After all, unless this new cast was meant to lose their heads within the pilot episode, running from Vader’s grasp for five or six seasons would cheapen the character in most eyes. Someone else, particularly one capable of tangling with a Jedi or two, was meant to step into the fray. That void, I immediately felt, was filled by a historical reference most appropriate to the state of the galaxy, the nature of Palpatine’s sense of strategy, and also given what was witnessed in The Clone Wars previously — an inquisition targeting the Light Side of the Force. As Palpatine’s alter ego Darth Sidious once established in an earlier time, referring to Force-sensitive children soon to be cultivated by the Jedi Order:
…The natural talent these children possess is too great to be wasted by the Jedi. I foresee an army of Force-talented spies in my service, trained in the Dark Side to peer into every corner of the galaxy from afar…and my enemies will be helpless against such vision.
When looking at the Priestesses and the Overlords of Mortis as one general amalgamation of a higher plane of existence beyond the tangible world of our main heroes and villains, it was seen in Part II that the beings of a higher power, serving as guides and instructors for the instruments of destiny in the real world, often play the role of the trickster as part of the standard hero’s peregrination — shaping and molding the actions of corporeal chess pieces through contrivance, surrealistic visions, trials, and suggestion.
No one exhibits those characteristics more than the Priestesses: the beings who christen Yoda with the knowledge of post-mortem omniscience and omnipresence. Perhaps intimating that Yoda couldn’t handle the additional understanding of the Chosen One’s inevitable destiny, destroying both the corruption within the Jedi and the Republic, before eliminating the Sith at the height of their power (metaphorically exhibited as Anakin’s taming both the Daughter’s Griffin and the Son’s Gargoyle toward the end of “The Overlords”), upon successful completion of a conspiratorial Priestess/Sith final exam, ‘Serenity Priestess’ plants a seed that draws Yoda toward a different Skywalker other than Anakin. As they exist without time or space, she allows Yoda to hear a baby’s prospective clamor, and echoes the great Jedi master’s notable final words: “There is another Skywalker.” Given the additional criteria used to convince her sisters of Yoda’s prerequisite qualifications for greater power — that, “he will teach one who is to save the galaxy from the great imbalance…,” the die is cast for Yoda’s return to extant-Phantom Menace apprehension concerning Anakin’s promise as a Jedi, and upon his inevitable fall into darkness (really a fulfillment of the first half of his destiny as the Chosen One), the simultaneous birth of Luke and Leia will trigger the memory of that moment ‘Serenity Priestess’ shared with him, and Yoda (with the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi), will continue the pursuit of the prophesy with renewed vigor amidst the despair surrounding the destruction of their once proud Order. But the great Jedi master, with a principled Obi-Wan at his side, isn’t privy to the prescience afforded the exalted beings of the Force: Anakin will be that phoenix who rises from the ashes, but he must first reawaken from his dark sleep via the trigger he created out of an act of rebellion against the very dogmatic doctrine the Force created him to destroy.
By now, just about everyone has heard about Harrison Ford’s emergency landing, and subsequent injuries, accompanied by an almost obligatory non-pilot plea for him to curtail his flying activities in the future. Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill sent out a tweet that read: “Glad to hear Harrison is doing well. Get well soon. May all his future flights be green-screen!” I, on the other hand, would have been more shocked if Ford hadn’t survived this accident — as the one-time celebrity spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association, Ford is a highly experienced, exceptionally devoted, and meticulous general aviation pilot, who, as most who fly with him explain, goes above and beyond the FAA standards to maintain high levels of proficiency with the aircraft he flies.
In Part I, the symbology behind Mortis — the world and the trinity of Overlords — was explored, where it was posited that Lucas, Supervising Director Dave Filoni, and writer Christian Taylor, continue the tradition of drawing from human mythological history as source inspiration for their Star Wars tales.
Between the griffin Daughter and the gargoyle Son stands the Chosen One, bound by prophesy, in a world made from the nature of the Force itself, capable of taming each of these creatures, as with the Mesopotamian “master of the griffins.” Read more
Within the films, Star Wars has given audiences the Force — the mysterious energy field that binds all living things together. Those who can tap into that energy field either serve benevolent purposes (the Jedi), or they embody the selfish and deleterious evil of the dark side (the Sith)…“The Mortis Trilogy,” from Season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is a story in which the anti-hero, Anakin Skywalker, may learn that maintaining the muddiness of the ethereal waters is essential to preventing the galaxy from ripping itself apart — rather than engaging in a sojourn of purification aligned with what the Jedi believe to be destined for the “Chosen One.”