We put another podcast in the books this past Sunday, but one of the main topics of conversation stemmed from one we had in our group chat earlier in the week. My son, Prop D, has been rewatching the Star Wars saga, specifically episodes 1-3. After watching Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, he concluded that it was the Jedi’s fault for Anakin Skywalker going to the Dark Side. I completely disagreed with that premise, but as I would find out, I was alone in on my stance.
I thought what drove Anakin to the Dark Side was portrayed perfectly in the much underrated Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He struggled with missing his mother, but he hid that struggle as best he could from Obi-Wan. When he breaks from his mission to check on the welfare of his mother. He finds his mother being held captive in a scavenger village, suffering in pain from what can appear to be wounds from repeated torture. Anakin frees her from the make shift shackle and holds her in his arms one last time before she dies. Immediately, he is filled with rage and kills everyone in the village.
This event began his descent into the Dark Side. The simple act of inflicting pain on the villagers due to the rage he was feeling from the death of his mother was not the way of the Jedi. The Jedi always had his best interest at hand. Obi-Wan kept his promise to Qui-Gon to take on Anakin as his padawan. Qui-Gon knew that the force was strong in Anakin and it was only right that be taught the ways of the Jedi so he could harness his skills for the greater good.
Prop D continued to disagree with me, so I decided to take this debate to the Ebbtide Crew. To my surprise, Tideking and Batman were agreement with Prop D. Tideking has always been the shadowy character of our crew, and he is the biggest fan of the villains, so I wasn’t surprised at him blaming the Jedi as well. He believed that by the Jedi holding Anakin back from being a Jedi Master, this is what drove him to the Dark Side.
The apprenticeship process served no purpose for Anakin in Tideking’s opinion. There is no point to have him to shadow a Jedi Master, attend Jedi Council meetings, and then tell him ‘nah bruh, you ain’t ready!’ At some point, the disrespect takes its toll and you have some hard choices to make. Unfortunately, Anakin chose the Dark Side and the fate of the Force was left in peril.
Batman challenged my stance about the death of his mother being the catalyst of Anakin’s descent. The Jedi knew Anakin’s attachment to his mother was something that clouded his heart and mind. Knowing this information, they should’ve taken care of his mother as well. The way Batman broke it down was that of the underhanded dealings of college recruiting. Normally, when you have a 5-star recruit, and you know he might have the pension for being “homesick,” a school would make it possible for a “member” of his family to be nearby.
Obviously, this is not the Jedi way. When you become a Jedi, you devote your life to their ways and leave all worldly and familial ties behind. The Jedi should’ve never attempted to take on the task of recruiting and training him. I think that any Jedi or Sith would’ve sensed how strong the Force was in him when they cross paths with him, and that would’ve been hard not to recruit him.
Being that I was blown away by everyone’s opinion, I decided to take the debate to my cousins, B-Cifu and J-Mac. B-Cifu knows the storyline of every comic book and sci-fi/fantasy saga there is. He feels that it was Anakin’s dream of Padme dying in childbirth and his refusal to let that dream come true like the nightmares he would have of his mother dying. His love for her made him willing to do anything to keep her from dying. Even if it meant joining the Dark Side.
J-Mac’s stance was simple. He felt that Anakin was always meant to join the Dark Side. The other Jedi Masters did not think Anakin’s heart was pure enough to be a true Master. Along with his hubris, the longing for his Mother, and the admitted desire he had for Padme, Anakin was a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. He had too many internal struggles, and Yoda knew he was liability from the start.
No one could underrate the potential for Anakin’s greatness. When you come across someone like him, it is hard to pass it up. It makes me think of real-life encounters that of Cus D’Amato spotting Mike Tyson at the boxing gym, Bill Walsh just happening to turn on the TV in his hotel room and catching highlights of Jerry Rice from one of his games while at Mississippi Valley State. The scout who went to Panama to see a pitcher, and when the pitcher decided not to show, he gave a look at the shortstop who was also a relief pitcher, let him throw 9 pitches, and the legend of Mariano Rivera began.
While these discoveries of greatness are few and far in between, there is no accounting for one’s hubris, work ethic, and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. For every Anakin Skywalker, you run the risk of changing the course of a history, good or bad. Are you willing to take the risk? Is the canvas of potential worth changing your life? We’ll just have to find out when we stumble upon greatness won’t we.