For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship. – Yoda to Luke in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
As Star Wars evolves and takes on new directions, I’m forced (pun intended) to revisit the known and to look at it anew – you must unlearn what you have learned. That’s the genius in what makes Star Wars so great and what gives it that ability to live on beyond or despite some other’s expectations; an ambiguity like no other. That said, Star Wars has roots and they were planted deep – a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Each new addition or key element just adds another extension to the saga as a whole, branching out and laying seedlings, growing, connecting the puzzle, one parsec at a time.
Ok, so if you haven’t already figured it out, I’m fascinated by the recent sprout of trees in our Star Wars universe. The Shattered Empire series from Marvel Comics sparked my interest, but it wasn’t until those crazy fan theories (which Leland Chee stated as a fundamental of the fandom) started to spread and meshed with one of the excerpts that was released by Chuck Wendig’s most recent feat, Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt. Without going into great detail so as not to spoil it for those who have yet to read this fantastic piece, we now know that trees and the Force have a greater importance to those that are sensitive, but what that importance is has yet to be determined.
Taking a journey through what we’ve seen so far, trees have always been present in the galaxy far, far away. Even starting with The Phantom Menace, yes, trust me on this. Little Anakin gives Padmé a small pendant that contains the seven sand symbols of Tatooine. This snippet is carved from Ivory Japor, a type of wood – where there’s wood, there are trees. And metaphorically, as a tree spreads its roots in order to grow, so does their relationship.
As I skipped around through the films and The Clone Wars series, I couldn’t help but to notice some very intense and significant scenes that have trees in the background. We know that in the heart of the Jedi temple grew a magnificent Force tree and Yoda is seen smiling upon it with a strong sense of hope, only that hope is far off into the future. This very tree is sought after by Luke Skywalker some decades later, as he feels compelled to retrieve what’s left of it, and restore it to the rightful possession of the light side of the Force. But this isn’t Luke’s first encounter with Force imbued trees. His journey into the cave or tree trunk on Dagobah was quite the experience. Of course, Yoda too, knows the truth hidden within those thick confines of the living Force.
Looking at Yoda in Revenge of the Sith on Kashyyyk, my heart aches for his loss as he drops his gimer stick and clutches his little heart. The pain of the Jedi Purge is evident as it encases him, but so is the living Force as it is all around him; literally. Yoda is perched upon an enormous tree. Yes I said it, a tree. Knowing what we know now, it’s no wonder his sensitivity on this devastation was intensified, he was immersed in the living Force quite literally.
Now, flash forward to The Force Awakens and one of the most controversial scenes of all time in the Star Wars universe, the death of Han Solo. Ok, this moment still gets to me, but I digress … As this scene plays out we are segued to D’Qar and we see or feel (depending on your point of view) Leia’s suffering. For me, this particular moment spoke volumes and it only increased my emotions and truthfully, still does. Her pain is apparent, but if you watch her closely, there’s something else behind those dismal eyes.
As we all know, Leia’s great strength is the ability to feel or connect with those she loves i.e. Luke. Just like in Return of the Jedi, she knew Luke was ok because she felt it. The same can be said for when she feels Han’s demise and her son’s betrayal – his completion to the dark side. The Force is strong with the Skywalker Family and one thing is certain, Leia has passed on her attune mind sensitivity to her son, Kylo Ren. That being said, Endor was flourishing with trees and the D’Qar base had leafy vines growing wildly throughout its interior.
There’s no doubt in my mind that mother and son shared a true joining in the Force as Han Solo fell from that bridge on Starkiller Base. Once Kylo Ren looks up, before he gets impaled by the blast from Chewie’s bowcaster, his gaze is distant. As if searching for someone. Yes, and at that exact moment, Leia opens her eyes. Beyond the Force, there is something to be said about the bond between a mother and son. Until you experience it yourself, you’ll never quite know or understand the powers that be within that relationship.
Lucasfilm wasn’t kidding, each generation does have a story and I’m ready. After all, it is the only way we grow.
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*You can find Becca on Twitter @urangelb or at any of these affiliated outlets: @thcantinacast @TarkinsTopShelf TGRStarWarsHour or contact her directly via email at Becca@thecantinacast.net or firstname.lastname@example.org and to read more of her Star Wars ruminations go to: thecantinacast.net & thebeardedtrio.com