Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Clone Wars: Overlords

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Overlords"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 15
Original Air Date: January 28, 2011
via Wookieepedia
This week, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are drawn to a distant planet by a mysterious force.  There, they encounter three powerful beings: the "Father" and his two children.  His Daughter is strong with the light side of the Force, his Son the dark.  Father has his hands full serving as fulcrum between the two and what's more, he is dying.  Word seems to have gotten around the galaxy that Anakin is the Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force.  Father is hopeful that Anakin will take his place.

Like so many fans, I grew up with Star Wars.  The first movie came out when I was four years old and the saga has been an essential part of my personal mythology ever since.  And yet, I never really gave much thought to what it was all about, the moral underpinnings of this grand adventure.  Frankly, I was too young to care.  Good vs. Evil was enough for me.

It was, in fact, blogging that brought me to a deeper understanding.  It started with my exploration of Star Trek's original series.  Once the moral landscape of that franchise became more clear to me, I started wondering more about my beloved Star Wars, a story I'd believed to that point that I knew better than Trek.  My curiosity led me to the novelizations of the original movies and with this new lens, I was able to see these all too familiar stories in a new light.

There are many themes in Star Wars but the one that has come to interest me most is, essentially, a question to be answered by each of the major characters in turn:  which side will you choose in the struggle between good and evil, light and dark?  Or potentially even more interesting, will you choose to enter the fray at all?

Take the four human heroes in the original film, the one now known as Episode IV: A New Hope.  The story begins with Leia, who has already answered the question by the time we meet her.  Her devotion to the Rebellion (the light) is total and never wavers over the coarse of the saga.  Obi-Wan is firmly on the light side as well, though it takes Leia's plea for help to draw him back to the fight.  Luke is new to the game and in his eagerness for adventure, is easily won over to the cause.  Han Solo is Star Wars's Mercutio, unintentionally the most interesting character.  Han takes some convincing.  He certainly develops loyalty to his friends quickly but self-preserving instincts prevent him from giving over completely.  I think this question of dedication is an essential element of the original film's enduring appeal.

As the story grows, the conflict between light and dark becomes more complicated for Luke.  The climax of his story comes when he is forced to choose between joining the Emperor or destroying him.  Will he use his extraordinary powers for good or for evil?  It's a question powerful people in our own world face continually.  Too often, they choose the dark side.  Our world would be a different place if that were not the case.

Luke chooses the light.  When Anakin's story begins in Phantom Menace, we, the audience, already know his own choice will be different, even if we don't yet know the particulars.  The dilemma Anakin faces in "Overlords" is, in essence, the dilemma of the Star Wars saga.  The Father implies that the importance of his role extends far beyond his own family.  He is essentially offering Anakin the power of a god.  What will Anakin choose to do?

We've got two more episodes to find out.
via Wookieepedia
The Father is voiced by Lloyd Sherr.  Sherr was born February 28, 1956 in Los Angeles.  He has done quite a lot of narration work for History Channel series, including Modern Marvels, Command Decisions and Engineering Disasters.  He took over the voice of Filmore in the Cars franchise when George Carlin died.
via Pixar Wiki
If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Altar of Mortis."


  1. I remember this story the first time out. Need to rewatch it.
    Great post on the good and evil which one would you chose ?

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    1. Thanks, parsnip. There will be plenty more to discuss over the next couple weeks, too.

  2. Lucas has said that the real story of the trilogy and, later, the prequels is of redemption. That's the story he wanted to tell. You have to have a fall before someone can be redeemed.

    1. I think that is true of the Anakin/Vader story. I am eternally hopeful that Star Wars will grow beyond that story. I'm a little worried about episode VIII...

    2. I'm a lot worried by episode VIII because of whom they have helping with the writing. This idea that they have to allow the director's to have script control is awful and is producing horrible results.