Mere Insights into the Future or Opportunities to Change Course?
In the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Vision of Hope”, Ezra Bridger has visions of fighting alongside Gall Trayvis, the self-styled “Senator in Exile” who has been the source of information (or misinformation) for the Ghost’s small band of rebels. Despite Kanan’s warning to refrain from taking the visions too literally, Ezra chooses to act upon his insights, hoping to meet and work with this man he idolizes as a celebrity among rebel insurgents.
The events that transpire during this episode of Rebels has caused speculation among fans about whether acting on visions is encouraged among the Jedi. (Check out RebelForce Radio’s Star Wars Rebels: Declassified episode from 4 February 2015 for their discussion about Jedi visions.) Citing Yoda’s advice to both Skywalkers in the movies, it has been asserted that using Jedi visions as a guide for action is frowned upon by the Jedi Order.
From the perspective of the movies’ initial release order, our introduction to acting upon Jedi visions is during Luke’s training on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. While balancing in a handstand and levitating cargo crates and R2-D2 through the Force, Luke experiences a vision of Han and Leia suffering at Cloud City. When Luke prepares to rush to their rescue, Yoda issues a warning: “Decide, you must, how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them, you could, but you will destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”
Yoda, aware of the machinations and deceptions of the Dark Side, tries to persuade Luke to choose his path based on wisdom and discretion instead of emotion and attachment. He beseeches him to continue his training instead of hurrying away to confront unknown threats unprepared. Obi-Wan weighs in on the discussion, warning Luke that temptation awaits him if he leaves before he is fully trained. Adamantly, the two Jedi Masters, Luke’s mentors, sternly attempt to steer him from acting rashly as he is spurred on by his visions of his friends’ pain. Some see this as a possible judgment against acting upon Jedi visions of the future.
In other instances, more blatantly foreboding in its decrying reliance on Jedi visions to govern one’s actions, are Anakin’s visions of his mother’s pain on Tatooine and later of Padme’s death in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, respectively. Anakin’s nightmarish visions of his mother in peril causes him to leave his assigned post on Naboo in order to find and rescue Shmi from her Tusken captors. When he discovers her, nearly dead at the abusive hands of the sand people, he erupts in a wrathful rage against the Tusken encampment, slaying men, women, and children indiscriminately. Certainly, his willingness to allow himself to thoughtlessly follow his visions led to a growing darkness in his person — something that would manifest itself in the eventual rise of Darth Vader when he later acts on his visions of losing his wife during childbirth to the point that he betrays the Jedi Order and slaughters younglings in the temple in a vain attempt to save Padme’s life.
For those who remember these bleak examples of the dangers of allowing Jedi visions to dictate a course of action, it seems reasonable to assume that the Jedi are not only cautious when it comes to such premonitions, but even to rationalize that acting on those visions is forbidden in the Jedi Order.
That is, until we consider what was revealed in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars…
In Season 3 of The Clone Wars, Episode 7 “Assassin”, Ahsoka has visions of Aurra Sing threatening to assassinate someone. When she tells Yoda of her dreams, he informs her that she is having premonitions which can only be seen more clearly through meditation. In saying this, he encourages her to focus on the visions — to seek to understand what they are telling her. When she does so, she realizes that Senator Amidala is the one who is in danger of being assassinated. She brings news of her visions to the Senator, who insists on going ahead with her plans to go to Alderaan in spite of Ahsoka’s warning.
Determined to get a better understanding of what she has seen, Anakin’s padawan returns to her chambers in the Jedi Temple to continue her meditation, resulting in further confirmation that Senator Amidala’s life is in danger. When she tells Yoda of her concerns, Yoda responds with the familiar words, “always in motion is the future”. Similar to his direction to Luke many years later, he provides Ahsoka with a choice of whether to act upon what she has seen: “Choose you must, how to respond to your visions.”
As she accompanies Padme on her mission to Alderaan as additional security, she is plagued with uncertainty about her visions and how she should act upon them. Her dilemma is punctuated by a rash response to her vision that turned out to be either misunderstood or a possible variation of the future of which Yoda spoke. Yet, when she is convinced to act upon a vision a second time, she interrupts an assassination attempt by deflecting Aurra Sing’s shot sufficiently to save Amidala’s life.
Later, when Ahsoka realizes that the would-be assassin was about to make another attempt on the senator’s life, she prevents the second attack and enables the capture of Aurra Sing.
When Ahsoka and Senator Amidala return safely to Coruscant, Yoda congratulates Anakin’s padawan for her choice to act upon her visions in defense of the senator’s life, “Served you well, your visions have, young padawan.” He then encourages her to peer more deeply into the matter through her increased insight to discover more about the plot to assassinate the senator from Naboo. The additional details she provides brings about the confession of Ziro the Hutt who was already imprisoned on Coruscant.
Although Ezra’s visions in Star Wars Rebels “Vision of Hope” turned out to be misleading, it is not a blanket condemnation against using Jedi visions to determine an appropriate course of action — rather it is an admonition to beware of allowing emotions to cloud one’s insight and discipline oneself to spend time and thought in meditation in order to better interpret one’s visions. As Kanan teaches Ezra in the epilogue, “Visions are difficult, almost impossible to interpret,” Jedi visions do not forbid action, but are to be considered in view of the complexity of an ever-changing future.
Rebels Review: Did “Path of the Jedi” Just Change a Historical Moment from the Original Trilogy?
Mitchell Stein: It feels good to be back and reviewing these episodes once again. After a fairly short winter hiatus, Rebels is back in a interesting new format. What I witnessed in this week’s episode was something that leaves me with mixed emotions. I found it entertaining certainly, but there are flaws that are just leaving me uncertain of what new direction the show is heading in. Beware of spoilers ahead.
Like I said, Path of the Jedi is a confusing episode, not just in the story perspective, leaving you just as clueless as Ezra in the hallucination scene, but so much happened in this is episode, and ultimately at the end, not much of an actual outcome exists out of this episode, (or so we may think). So we get Ezra and Kanan going to a secret, ancient, Jedi base, yet another Inquisitor encounter (which actually doesn’t truly happen), and some confusing encounters that really just lead up to the one moment that the entire episode had me devote twenty-two minutes to getting the point across.
Before & After the Special Editions:
Han and Greedo (Part 2)
Last week, I proposed that the exchanged blaster shots between Han and Greedo as seen in the Special Edition essentially changed the lovable smuggler from a “man trying to make his way in the universe” to a relatively shallow character who was inevitably poised to become a hero of the galaxy. This alteration has continued repercussions on his character development throughout the original trilogy as well as affecting the storyline of the Rebellion as a whole.
Before the change, Han Solo progressed from loner to leader. He made a deal to carry two men and two ‘droids to Alderaan for a hefty sum of money, not for a noble cause, and certainly not to rescue a princess. He was coerced into marching into the detention area for an even heftier sum of money. There is no evidence of altruism or heroism in him at all; he is, as the princess states, a mercenary. He made the trip to Yavin IV to collect his promised credits for passage to Alderaan plus the expected reward for rescuing the princess. As Y-Wings and X-Wings were being prepared for the battle ahead of them, Han was filling his hold with credits and cargo. When Luke confronts him about “turning [his] back on them,” Han encourages the youth to join him and Chewie because Luke was “pretty good in a fight”. As the younger man walks off, dejected, Han explains himself to his copilot — fighting against the Death Star was suicide. Still true to his character, Han Solo is in it for himself, hurrying to pay off old debts before he pays with his life.
But in that moment when Darth Vader has Luke’s X-Wing in his sights and his wingmen unexpectedly crash and careen into his TIE, Han Solo’s journey is complete (at least for this first installation in the saga). Although he claimed that he came back so Luke wouldn’t “get all the credit and take all the reward,” when he playfully shoves Luke at the base of his X-Wing, we all realize that there is more to him than money. He returned to fight alongside his friend, to come to the rescue when the call came his way. Han becomes heroic in the footsteps of Luke, who had immediately responded to Princess Leia’s holorecording by making it his mission to deliver the ‘droids to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Han’s motivation seems to stem from personal relationships, however, while Luke’s emphasis is on right and wrong. Therefore Han isn’t committed to the Rebellion, but loyal to his friends. Continue reading
Greetings Bothans! What follows is a post about the Star Wars memories of a long time fan, Stuart Tullis. Reminisce about battles set in a galaxy far, far away, at a time that we have long passed, with characters, creatures, and stories we shall always love. Many of you will know Stuart, a fan of RebelForce Radio, but he is also a podcaster over at TechnoRetro Dads, so be sure to check that out! With that, I’ll let Stuart take us a long time ago, to a galaxy far, far away…. ~ Bethany Blanton
Star Wars Scrapbook
On a warm night in northeastern Kentucky, three kids sat atop hood of the family car, captivated by the characters on the screen at the drive-in movie. Although the sound came from a small speaker on the pole beside the car and the picture on the screen paled in comparison to today’s high definition resolution, the sights and sounds they saw that night would be forever imprinted on their minds as well as the minds of hundreds of millions of both children and adults since 1977. And though I don’t remember whether I was four or five at the time (my age is dependent on whether my mother’s recollection that we saw it in 1977 is correct or my brother’s insistence that it was 1978 is the year), what I do remember is that I wanted to see more of that “galaxy far, far away”.
I am a Star Wars kid. Everyone was a Star Wars kid in the late ‘70s. We reenacted that movie in the basement, in the backyard, at school, at our friends’ homes, in the park, at the camp, and at the playground. Before we had any official Star Wars toys, we shot stormtroopers with tree-branch blasters and had lightsaber duels with sticks, tubes, and vuvuzelas. We quoted lines (and probably misquoted lines), pretended we were on the run from the Empire’s sinister agents, and jumped off walls into homemade trash compactors. We wondered about the Clone Wars, imagining a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi with the father of Luke Skywalker flying their spaceships on missions as directed by their commander Bail Organa. When we played dodgeball at school, we thought we could hear the voice of Obi-Wan telling us to “use the Force” as we prepared to throw the ball. Car rides were especially exciting, since the car behind us was most certainly a TIE fighter in disguise, waiting for the right moment to fire at us. Star Wars was everywhere because we took it with us in our minds. Continue reading