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Concerning Mortis and the Symbology of the Force Part II — The Prophesy of the Chosen One

Concerning Mortis and the Symbology of the Force Part II — The Prophesy of the Chosen One

Anakin_Mortis_Destiny

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.”

Indeed, Anakin’s destiny does stand above the Jedi and the Sith, as Lucas removes his character from the limited vestiges of flawed humanity, affording him the status of Force deity replete with virgin birth. As both Orders seek to utilize and manipulate his power, Anakin has a hand in eviscerating both — he is, in essence, Shiva the destroyer in Star Wars mythology, cultivating balance and reciprocity through an Old Testament, “fire and brimstone” approach. Apparently, the Father understands the wisdom of hiding his power from the galaxy’s population. He tells Anakin, “There are some who would like to exploit our power; the Sith are but one. Too much dark or light would be the undoing of life as you understand it.” This man engenders enough wisdom to understand that the Jedi would be just as guilty of exploiting their power to eradicate evil, as the Sith would be in cleansing the galaxy of good. Either tipping of the scale would spell doom for all who inhabit the world of Star Wars.

But is Anakin the “Chosen One,” as Qui-Gon deemed him in The Phantom Menace? This has actually been a heated topic of discussion among fans even before The Clone Wars series debuted. I’ve seen a number of discussions online, and via podcasts, in which people have hotly championed both Anakin and Luke for the sacred appellation; a discussion that has increased exponentially after the debut of “The Yoda Arc” from Season 6 of The Clone Wars (sometimes referred to as “Mortis Part II”). Those that advocate the belief that Luke Skywalker is the “Chosen One” refer to a line from the “Yoda Arc” by the mysterious Priestesses (who measure Yoda’s worthiness in understanding the mastery of life preservation post-mortem), when the “Serenity” Priestess declares: “He will teach one who is to save the galaxy from the great imbalance…” This has been interpreted to mean that Luke is the actual “chosen one,”  as Yoda does train Luke in the future (as exhibited by the deliberate phrasing, “He will…”), but he isn’t directly responsible for Anakin’s training as a Jedi — even initially opposing it. Ultimately, after a series of trials that Yoda successfully mitigates, including a number of significant encounters on the Sith home world of Moriband, the Priestesses repeat to Yoda the sage’s own words from Return of the Jedi: “There is another Skywalker.” At the time, this would mean nothing to Yoda, as he had no knowledge of Padme’s impending pregnancy, let alone young Anakin’s tacit marriage. On April 7th,  model and actress Jaime King, who voiced the Priestesses, engaged in a discussion of these issues with her husband, Star Wars superfan and director Kyle Newman; the actor who voiced the Son, Sam Witwer; Ralph McQuarrie preservation artist Paul Bateman; and Rebel Force Radio podcast hosts Jason Swank and Jimmy Mac. Jaime mentioned a number of times that Lucas and Filoni declared to her that, “Anakin is the Chosen One…” Later in the discussion, she presumably texted Filoni [she actually attributes this to, “…someone on very high authority…”], who replied, according to King: “There is another [Skywalker], and then Yoda sees off-screen his future, even older, self say, ‘There is another Skywalker.’ Right? As in Return of the Jedi right before he dies. The Priestesses exist without time or space. They are a part of the cosmic and living force.” And as participants of the discussion outwardly wished the prophesy would be more clearly articulated in the mythology, Paul Bateman afforded the debate what I believe to be the missing link — that Lucas was a student not only of Joseph Campell’s “hero’s journey” universality, but also Peruvian American author Carlos Casteneda’s Tales of Power, which explores the mysticism of Native American spirit and vision quests, along with the role of tricksters in religious mythology.

Indeed, the Priestesses do play the trickster role in these sequences, often taking Yoda through vision quests to test his mettle, including taking the form of Sith rule of two progenitor Darth Bane.  Albert Arnold (1996), in Monsters, Tricksters, and Sacred Cows: Animal Tales and American Identities, speaks of the trickster as the amoral character who can be a hero, but because it is so inextricably tied to its own agenda, can also be an example of what not to do. In Nigeria, the Yoruba deity Eshu (also known as Elegba or Elegbara), according to William Bascom’s (1984) The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria, is the youngest and cleverest of the Yoruban deities, “…a trickster who delights in trouble making…” He survives the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in various iterations throughout Latin America, and in the U.S. as the character The Signifying Monkey, joining other African-based animal tricksters like Anansi, the Akan spider, and Br’er Rabbit, of the American South. While studying at Penn State, within the African-American history department, we often referred to Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ treatise concerning this subject, and how these characters informed the rebellious nature of slaves who simultaneously eschewed the wrath of severe punishment. John Wideman (1988) wrote a New York Times article covering the debut of Gates’ book The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism, explaining:

Signifying is verbal play — serious play that serves as instruction, entertainment, mental exercise, preparation for interacting with friend and foe in the social arena. In black vernacular, Signifying is a sign that words cannot be trusted, that even the most literal utterance allows room for interpretation, that language is both carnival and minefield.

As the Priestesses do not actually teach Yoda how to become a force ghost, but only serve to measure his virtuosity through a series of tricks he alone must navigate, one must question everything they say. If Anakin is the “Chosen One,” but they appear to hint at Luke serving that role, what possible motive does this serve? The controversial line in question does not mention that Yoda will train “the balancer,” or, “one who will bring the Force back into balance” — as many people mistakenly quote Serenity Priestess. The Force has destined Anakin to become Vader in order to destroy the corruption within both the Jedi Order and the Republic — the third chapter of Mortis demonstrates this fact, as his path still leads to the Dark Lord’s visage while in the well of the Dark Side. But, in order to complete the cycle, prior to his descent into the proverbial valley, in an act of rebellion against Jedi dogma, Anakin creates a key to his own redemption: a son conceived of love, who will revive the former Self within his consciousness at the opportune moment in which the Sith must be destroyed. Yoda, of course, is the key to that fail-safe opportunity, as he is destined to train the instrument, “who will save the galaxy [not necessarily the Force] from the great imbalance.”

In Part III, I’ll explore the motive behind why Yoda would need to be tricked into thinking Anakin was not the Chosen One, and also the significance of Anakin’s virgin birth in the greater mythology of the hero’s journey.

Contact Adjua at adjua_adama@coffeewithkenobi.com and on Twitter @Adjua_Adama.

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5 Comments

  1. Melinda
    April 2, 2015 at 11:08 Reply

    I can’t wait to read Part III! 🙂 I’ll have to … but I don’t want to. 😉

    I’m enjoying this series immensely! I’ll state right from the get-go that I am in the Luke-Is-The-Chosen-One Camp. And not from what was hinted at in TCW Yoda arc. In “Revenge of the Sith”, aboard a Jedi gunship, Yoda, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan are discussing Anakin and whether the young man is indeed The Chosen One. (Yes, I know ROTS occurs after TCW animated series, but since TCW didn’t emerge on the scene until after ROTS came out, the film trumps the television series to help me make my point. 😉 ) “A prophecy … that misread could have been,” Yoda notes with a contemplative look on his face. That few seconds of cinema plant all the seed that is needed to cast doubt on whether Anakin is The Chosen One.

    Do you see Luke as the facilitator in Anakin/Vader bringing balance to the Force? From a certain point of view, Luke is NOT the facilitator. Without Luke, Anakin NEVER would have reemerged. What came first? The chicken or the egg? 😉

    Very informative your essays have been. Thank you so much for sharing them. 🙂 Until next time, MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Adjua Adama
      April 2, 2015 at 18:54 Reply

      Hey, thanks for the interest in the series! As far as my answer to your question, I guess you’ll have to wait until Part III comes out on the 4th — it’s directly addressed there.

      But I get where you, and others, are coming from. I’d agree as well, if not for two distinct aspects of the story: Lucas’ decision to give Anakin a virgin birth (therefore granting him deity status, rather than leaving him a regular person), and #2 Lucas using TCW as a personal final statement on Anakin’s destiny, and on the Force itself. Had it not come directly from Lucas’ point of view, I wouldn’t hold the episodes with much weight, but because they do, it means they are equivalent to the films. They are, as ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ had different directors/writers credited, still his story ideas.

      But we can chat more when III comes out. 🙂

    2. Bart
      November 15, 2015 at 10:42 Reply

      The prophecy has been misread not because Anakin is not the Chosen One, the misreading is in what ‘bringing balance to the Force’ means.

      Balance to the force means the destruction of the jedi order, leaving only 2 jedi (first Yoda and Obi-wan) against two Sith. After Obi-wan dies, Luke becomes a jedi.

      Finally the Sith, Vader and Sidious, are destroyed by Anakin, not Luke.

      The Jedi interpreted ‘balance to the force’ as their side ‘winning’, but that’s not what balance means.

  2. Concerning Mortis and the Symbology of the Force Part III — The Agenda of Higher Beings | Coffee With Kenobi
    April 4, 2015 at 08:02 Reply

    […] 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 […]

  3. mithrandirolorin
    November 5, 2015 at 13:57 Reply

    The Prophecy was filled in Episode II in my interpretation. The OT has nothing to do with the Prophecy.

    http://jaredmithrandirolorin.blogspot.com/2015/10/bringing-balance-to-force.html

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I am a high school history teacher with a Master's in Technology Use in Education, and I have also spent time teaching CompTIA A+ and Network+ courses to high school students. Recently, for five years, I coordinated my school's AVID chapter, training students for the rigors of college. I am also a commercial-rated and instrument-rated pilot, for single and multi-engine aircraft, and I have been flying since 2008. Presently, I am working on flight instructor ratings in my spare time. Finally, I am a fitness enthusiast and a former teenage division bodybuilder. I've been conditioning since age 7, and I also hold a dan ranking in Yoseikan Aikido and Kobudo.

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