One of the odder subplots in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones is the bounty hunter, Zam Wessel, being killed by Jango Fett with a toxic dart. I call the subplot odd because in a story as grand as Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s quest to discover the meaning behind the dart feels more like a 1940’s detective film plot than something normally explored in the Star Wars story.
Of course, this is intentional as George Lucas pays homage to another cinema influence. What makes this scene even more interesting is why Lucas chose to make a tiny dart a lynch pin in explaining how the Sith have begun to make their move on the galaxy and the Jedi.
Outside a bar on Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker capture Wessel but she is killed by Jango Fett as she is about to reveal his identity to them. Obi-Wan identifies the weapon as a “toxic dart” and heads to his long-time friend, restaurant owner and one time prospector, Dexter Jettster who has experience with such things. The grizzled Besalisk identifies the dart as a “Kamino saber dart” in that deep growl of a voice that the four-armed cook has.
What then becomes interesting is the fact that “Dex” knows all about the Kaminoans and their cloning facilities. They are obviously a species shrouded in mystery and the mystery deepens when Obi-Wan heads to the Jedi Temple and it’s archives to find out the location of Kamino. He’s unable to find the planet using the vast resources of the Jedi Order and when librarian Jocasta Nu declares that if the planet isn’t in the Jedi records then clearly it must not exist, we start to understand the influence of the Sith upon the Jedi. Their judgement is clouded. It’s “blinded them,” to paraphrase Palpatine from Revenge of the Sith.
We have what appears to be a minor character in Dexter Jettster having more understanding and awareness of the galaxy than the Jedi and all of their knowledge of the force. He says as much when he admonishes Obi-Wan for not knowing the difference between “knowledge and wisdom.” Dexter knows about the dart and about the Kaminoans. Why? Because he was once a prospector, someone who must have flown from one end of the galaxy to the other and has basically SEEN THINGS. Transition to the Jedi Temple where not only is the answer not found but actually DENIED. The Jedi in their much vaunted temple are for the most part, trapped inside, unable to see the bigger picture. That a lowly cook and former prospector possesses knowledge that the Jedi do not reinforces that they have lost touch with the galaxy in general. An entire army of clones is created for them without there knowledge! Unsatisfied with Madame Jocasta’s answer to his query, Obi-Wan, ever the champion of the light side, consults the one who should be able to see through this cloud of confusion: Master Yoda.
Finally Obi-Wan finds an answer as he interrupts Yoda who is teaching lightsaber skills to a class of young padawans. Is this a casual interruption? One that the old master is used to? Or does this also highlight the lack of focus in the Jedi temple as one Jedi interrupts another for his own needs? The innocence and pure joy that Yoda feels for his young students is palpable as he consults the youngsters to help the much older Obi-Wan find his answer. “Truly wondrous the mind of child is,” states the old master as he reflects on the innocent state his young charges are in. Perhaps it’s also an indication of Yoda sensing the confusion within the Jedi Order, and reflecting that much can be learned by those not encumbered with selfish ideas. It’s interesting though that Yoda does provide an answer for Obi-Wan which would indicate that at least the Grand Master is still in tune with the force but the fact that he is as blind as the rest of his order to the uprising of Palpatine suggests just how clouded the Jedi’s judgement has become.
As these three scenes play out in Attack of the Clones Lucas reinforces the idea of the dark side clouding the judgement of the Jedi by placing the most flagrant example of Jedi arrogance, Jocasta’s “…it doesn’t exist” line right between two scenes representing awareness and knowledge. Three small scenes having galactic meaning!
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