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The Cat Speaks
Miss Kitty's Words of Wisdom
Star Wars Episode III: Attack of the Amnesiacs 
4th-Jan-2006 10:44 am
I've been trying to figure out how episodes 3 and 4 of Star Wars fit together. I've tried flowcharts, concept maps, contour maps, Mercator projections, overhead projectors, life planners, and everything else I can come up with to help me make sense of it, but I can only conclude that there is room for Star Wars Episode 3.5: Everyone Somehow Forgets About the Jedi. At the start of Episode 4 (the first real Star Wars, for those of you new to the series), Luke is in the 18-24 age range. At the end of Episode 3, he is in the 0-0 age range. This means that there is a gap of about 18-24 years between the end of Episode 3 and the start of Episode 4. For those of you who haven't seen Episode 4, nobody really remembers the Jedi. Old Ben is just "some bloke who lives in the desert." Yoda is just "some bloke who lives in a swamp." Darth Vader is just "some bloke who strangles his employees." Bail Organa is just "some bloke who was left out of Episodes 1-3." Luke's mom, Ms. Skywalker, was just "some bloke who didn't actually die during Luke's birth." When I saw Episodes 4-6, I assumed that the Jedi Order was a secret society, kind of like the Illuminati, NOM, or the International Red Cross. They couldn't have played that public a part in the fate of the galaxy and then be completely forgotten by the next episode. It's taken people longer than that to forget about what really happened during World War II, after all.

Those of you who haven't seen Episodes 1-3 may be surprised to learn that the Jedi Order was, in fact, pretty darned popular in the time of the Republic. Everyone knew about them. They had a big council. They were the big heroes of their day, and everyone knew they could be scary. What happened in those 18-24 years that caused the entire galaxy to forget them? Surely there were Jedi breakfast cereals, cartoon shows, movies, novels, board games, console games, trading cards, caps, shoes, ships, key chain fobs, speeders, notebooks, coffee drinks, greeting cards, LPs, soft drinks, furniture, silverware, candy bars, car seat covers, teas, and action figures. There were probably also plastic light sabers, how-to-draw-Jedi books, and a couple of pencil-and-paper Jedi RPGs. It's likely that one or more members of the Jedi Council appeared on the news every week. I would suspect that Mace Windu had his own late-night talk show, and that Ki-Adi-Mundi and Sora Bulq hosted their own weekly automotive-repair/comedy radio program.

I would estimate that Han Solo was about 30 when he met Luke. That means that he was in the 6-12 age group at the end of Episode 3, which was shortly before the end of the Jedi. He must have seen the cartoon shows. He probably wore Jedi CouncilTM jeans and took a Kit Fisto lunchbox to school. He undoubtedly saw images on the news of Jedi fighting during the Clone Wars, throwing cars, leaping 25 meters at a time, and cutting huge combat machines in half with light sabers. How is it that he forgot all of this in time to make fun of Obi-Wan in the Mos Eisley cantina?

Even if the rest of the galaxy somehow forgot the Jedi, you would think that the Empire would have something about them in its training manuals. At the very least, you'd think that at some point during Officer Training, one of the instructors would say something like, "You know this Vader character? Yeah, the one on all the tee shirts. He can kill you with a thought. He doesn't even need a tray, although he could certainly kill you with one of those, too." How is it, then, that all of the Imperial officers are so casual around Vader in Episode 4? Neither Grand Moff Tarkin nor General Motti seemed the least bit scared of getting strangled to death for contradicting him, making fun of the Force, or playing the "Your shoes are untied" trick, and they were certainly old enough to have known better. You can't say that the Empire had a blind spot for Vader like voters in the United States have for Bush, either. People were much more scared of Vader in Episodes 5 and 6, presumably after all of the Imperial employees noticed that he could kill people with the "I'm squishing your head!" gesture. Hadn't they noticed this before? Hadn't any of them, or any of their parents, cousins, aunts or uncles, or older siblings, heard of him prior to his capture of the Tantive IV? If that was the case, wouldn't the Rebel troops on the Tantive IV stopped their shooting long enough to ask, "Hey, who's the new guy?" when they saw him?

I'm not suggesting that anyone actually go out and create Episode 3.5. Lord, no. I don't think it would sell that well. It would be 75 minutes of young Sith running from store to store buying everything Jedi-related, 10 minutes of said Sith eating ton after ton of Plo Koon Chocolate-Coloured Lumps beakfast cereal, and 5 minutes of Palpatine using some wicked force powers to make everyone in the galaxy slip while taking a shower and develop selective amnesia. Of course, I couldn't see Episodes 1-3 selling that well, either, especially after Episode 1 proved to have less plot than the maze on the back of a box of Plo Koon cereal.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Jan-2006 12:51 am (UTC)
My apprentice had a similar suggestion. Perhaps the Empire mandated eye exams for every person on every planet and issued every approved clinic with one of those flashy things from Men in Black. Ben and Yoda, as ex-Jedi, didn't have health coverage. Uncle Owen may have been a citizen of the United States, and as a consequence, he was also without health insurance.
5th-Jan-2006 01:36 am (UTC)
I was going to suggest that very same thing.
5th-Jan-2006 02:21 am (UTC)
Perhaps, but I beat you to it.

- W.L.P.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Jan-2006 01:32 am (UTC)
You are brilliant.
5th-Jan-2006 01:57 am (UTC)
When I first watched the original SW, back in 1977, I made the assumption that the Jedi ended when Ben Kenobi was about 30, which now that I think of it, would mean, even if that were true, that only 40 or so years had passed, and really, that wouldn't be enough time for everyone to forget about such a huge order and power in the galaxy EITHER.

...You know, when George Lucas claimed he had all this planned out and written down from the start? I do not think so *G*. To have the level of amnesia everyone displays throughout the SWs universe, the Jedi should've fallen, at minimum, about 200 - 300 years prior to the day Luke meets R2 and Threepio.
5th-Jan-2006 02:00 am (UTC)
Wait. Lucas claimed he had all of this planned out? No way. Plus, what about Chewie? I know there is something messed up with his chronology that anyone with a whiteboard and a couple of markers could have avoided. Perhaps my Jaffa could explain this better.
5th-Jan-2006 02:25 am (UTC)
As Miss Kitty's Jaffa, allow me to relate to you all the history of a certain wookie. Chewie lived on Kashyyk for the first 80 years of his life (still young by Wookie standards). After that time, he left Kashyyk to explore the stars or whatever it is wookies do when they leave Kashyyk. Then he spent the next 60 years of his life doing the space wookie thing until he was captured by the Empire and forced into slavery because the Empire had declared wookies slaves. He does some heavy labor for another 30 years until rescued by Han. They kick around for a few years and get into some trouble, right? When the hell does he have time to fight in the Clone Wars?
5th-Jan-2006 02:36 am (UTC)
This is where being as old as I am comes in handy *G*.

Although he keeps saying that he had the whole (originally 9 movie arc) all planned out and written down from the beginning, back in the day, when Star Wars was first released, and he was doing interviews, he was quite up front about having got the idea for the "space opera" doing the movie as a self-contained, one-off deal because he was so sure it was going to be a gigantic flop that he and his then-wife, Marcia, hid out on the beach in Hawaii when the film premiered - they figured they'd get in one good holiday before they lost their financial shirts in the flopping of SW!

The fact that GL originally just had the one film in mind is obvious in the confusion over how and when Ben Kenobi actually knew Luke's father, and originally Luke, the hero, WAS supposed to bag the beautiful Princess Leia who was NOT originally conceived as being his sister, nor was Darth Vader Luke's Father - GL just conceived Vader as the original villein in a black hat (literally).

But then SW took off like a rocket and people wanted more more more and suddenly the poor man had to retcon an entire mythology. I still think he could've done a better, more coherent job of it too *G*.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Jan-2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
I have to say that this entry made a surprising amount of sense. Are you feeling alright? Been into the 'nip lately?
5th-Jan-2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
I'm writing this from the vet's office. I'm not feeling that well, but I haven't seen nip in a while.
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