No! Not Anakin! He couldn’t ….

No! Not Anakin! He couldn’t ….

Becca's Chava Chat

Such an emotional testament, almost an earth-shattering plea from Padme in regards to her once devoted, forthwith estranged husband; Anakin Skywalker. Her denial of the pain-staking truth is apparent by her shocked expression and the sheer fear that fills her heavily distraught eyes.

Yet she remained poised and resilient (at first), regardless of Obi-Wan’s serious accusations against the father of her unborn children. Really, what choice did she have? After all, he’s her husband and as one of the oldest covenants of marriage, most absolute vows state … So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God (in this case, the Force) hath joined together, Let No Man Put Asunder.

Obi-wan and Padme no he couldn't

Put it this way, if Padme didn’t have faith in Anakin, they didn’t have much of a marriage; or vice versa. Again, the rational Padme already knew this and she made a statement testifying to this in the Clovis Arc of the Clone Wars. Still by this time, Padme is heavy with child (children), the galaxy is in complete turmoil, and her entire personal world has been tipped over on its axis. All rationality is gone and replaced by pure raw emotions that ultimately leave her stripped of her typical, well masked, politician visage. So when Obi-wan questions Anakin’s whereabouts, she immediately goes into defensive mode; safeguarding that little boy she once knew on Tatooine.

“I don’t believe you. I can’t…”-Padme

“Padmé, I must find him.”-Obi-Wan

“You’re going to kill him, aren’t you?”-Padme

“He has become a very great threat.”-Obi-Wan

Obi-wan and Padme I don't believe you1

Considering all that they have been through and all the events that are yet to take place, can you blame her for wanting to believe that this was all a lie or even a possible case of mistaken identity? I, for one, can completely empathize with Padme here. Maybe not to the same degree as hearing that my husband was guilty of committing murder(s), but facing a jury or trial for a crime of severe amplitude, absolutely!

When I was five months pregnant with my second daughter, my then husband was arrested for a nasty entanglement with a local detective’s son and I had to be present for his arraignment. Emotionally, you are torn apart and can’t believe in the truth, even though the undeniable evidence is staring you in the face. So I totally understand and side with Padme’s decision to withhold any or all information from Obi-Wan at that given time. In fact, this leads me into my whole reason for this blog …

Not too long ago, a friend of mine and fellow Coffee with Kenobi blogger, Jeff McGee (AOG/Marvin dog Media/Talking Toys) had me on his newest endeavor, the Bantha Banter Podcast and he posed a specific question that left me … speechless. Ok not really, but I was in a silent, contemplative state for a few minutes. The question, you ask? Well … we were having a discussion on Anakin and Jeff has always been intrigued (probably a bit more confuddled) on my strong feelings for the unorthodox Jedi Knight turned Sith. So, he asked …

“Why are you so protective over Anakin?”

To be honest, I don’t have a direct or definitive answer as to why; I just am. When I first saw him, he was already Vader and I was only four. My first impression wasn’t that he was evil, not necessarily, but that he was … lonely. Being four, your mind doesn’t register on the in depth or intricate facets of particular character traits; only the obvious. As I’ve mentioned many times, I like to connect when it comes to Star Wars, especially with characters and cinematic scenery or imagery.

Lonely or Alone; yes, this is Vader. Think about the Original Trilogy in its entirety, as far as Vader is concerned, he has no connections … no one that is like him in any way. Well, not until we meet the Emperor in ROTJ. Even then, besides their ability to conjure the force how similar are they, really? Based solely on appearance, there’s no comparability, but I digress … “The Jedi are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that’s left of their religion.”-Governor Tarkin

Vader and Tarkin

… Rewind to the beginning, to the Prequel Trilogy …

“I miss her,”-Anakin

“Afraid to lose her I think, hmmm?”-Yoda

Even as a small child, Anakin was … different, he stood out amongst his peers and in a sense, (figuratively speaking) he stood alone. In a lot of ways, he was misunderstood. Sound familiar? Think back to your own childhood days, have you ever felt … out of place, that you didn’t quite belong? This is the genius in his character, it makes him that much more relatable to the viewer IMO.

Anakin facing Yoda's decision

“Childhood is not from birth to a certain age. And at a certain age the child is grown and puts away childish things. Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”-Bella (BD Part 1)

Just as young Anakin believed no one could ever kill a Jedi, Padme held on to her faith. Believing there was still good in him, even as life escaped her. Eventually the unstoppable sands of time reels its ugly head, submerging every snippet of childhood dreams in its grainy path and dousing the fire of fantasy that once burned so brightly. “That is the way of things … the way of the force.”-Yoda

I can relate to him, to Anakin. Like him, I am emotionally driven, intoxicated on the romantics, and fiercely loyal to my loved ones. And yes, sometimes this leads me down a path I should not go, but one must take risks in life … or what’s the point of living?

He has intrigued me from the start of my Star Wars fandom and I’m sure he’ll continue to consume it, even into the Sequels and beyond … Anakin, like the force, lives on.

figure with Vader's Mask

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  1. Pam Bruchwalski
    October 21, 2014 at 09:16 Reply

    You have to know without even batting an eyelash that i agree with you 100%. Most of us have walked in Anakin Skywalker’s boots at one time or another whether we choose to admit it or not. We. All. Have. Dark. Sides.

    As I’ve said, when I first saw A New Hope a zillion years ago, even at the newly cynical age of 14, I knew that Darth Vader was different. HE is what intrigued me about the film, not the hottie heroes whom everyone else loved.

    I get being different.

    Love the theme of this entry, Becca.

    1. Becca Benjamin
      October 21, 2014 at 18:46 Reply

      Hi Pam 🙂

      Trust me, I know … after all, you’re the one who influenced me to break out of my shell and let my voice (via text format) be heard.

      You know, since you “went there” … about not following the flock in regards to “hottie heroes”… let me clarify that:

      I loved Vader before I knew he was Anakin. And yes, Anakin is portrayed by a very “good looking” young man, but that has no power here. Again, deep down, I would’ve loved him regardless. It’s not the exterior of the man he once was that draws me in, it goes beyond that … that’s what separates him from all the others. Anakin, Vader, however you prefer to label him, he’s an enigma and I love those layers that make him so 🙂

      … like anything else, you should be “in-touch” with your feelings, yes, even the dark side 😉
      Thanks Pam!

  2. lovelucas
    October 21, 2014 at 10:17 Reply

    I’m right with you, Becca. Always, especially from the time of TPM when it’s Anakin who is alone, forcing to choose between his beloved mother and his dreams. Shmi sacrificed by helping along his decision – that it was his future, not hers, this said as her heartbreak begins. But…well, that was the beginning of the end, wasn’t it? The Jedi – jeez – Yoda, all of them, knew this was a wrong decision – “You miss your mother” – attachments… That guilt, sense of loss and then it’s all repeated with Padmé.
    I lose my patience and I’ve finally decided to turn off and reject the opinions of those who complain that Anakin is weak and should have been a blood thirsty Vader in the prequels. They’re missing the heart of Star Wars and George’s intentions. And I don’t understand why they choose this – it’s right there at the end of RotJ…and always has been.

    1. Becca Benjamin
      October 21, 2014 at 19:02 Reply

      Well said, lovelucas 🙂

      I totally agree with what you’re saying and you’re right, there are those that feel “cheated” by Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin. They feel that Lucas cheapened the character by making him into a weak, love-sick, or obsessive teenager with emo issues etc.

      I feel sorry for those that see it in that light, I really do. Personally, I don’t feel any other actor good have filled those “boots” the way Hayden did. The man is truly quite the “emotional” actor, he’s great at portraying emotional anguish ex: Awake or Life as a House.

      What we see the young Anakin go through and deal with between TPM, AOTC, and ROTS is truly remarkable, really. We, as the viewer watch and absorb all that he is struggling to face, to contain, to endure, and to comprehend. Yet … not a single soul around him offers to lend him a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to allow him to vent. It’s as if they don’t even notice the amount of pressure he is carrying within himself over the years… that’s the frustration, but that’s also the crescendo or climatic chain of events that will eventually nurture and enrich our saga….
      Like you said, it’s right there … at the end of ROTJ 🙂

  3. kai charles
    October 21, 2014 at 11:28 Reply

    If you add in the element of fate: The prophecy was Anakin would bring balance to the force, His life was posdibly meant to be all about following the sith path and fathering Luke and Leia.

    That brings up a lot of compassion for him from me 🙂

    1. Becca Benjamin
      October 21, 2014 at 19:09 Reply

      Hi Kai 🙂
      Ah yes, the prophecy. According to Lucas, He IS the chosen one from said prophecy. I would never dispute that and I have always agreed with that testament.
      IMO, I feel that there is still a lot to learn where Anakin and the prophecy are concerned. There was a reason WHY Lucas left that so vague, not sure if he had done that on purpose or not, but hopefully with the new movies/sequels we’ll find out.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting 🙂

  4. Melinda
    October 21, 2014 at 16:25 Reply

    Oh, Becca … I have so much to say — and so little time right now. That’s what I get for stopping by so late in the afternoon. 😉 I WILL be back, and leave you a slew of comments (as always 😉 ). 😉 Be ready for the onslaught!

    (Maybe the break will allow me to ruminate for a while. 😉 You put forth some very interesting, thought-provoking ideas. Thank you. 🙂 )

    I will say this before I depart this afternoon … imagine the heartache Obi-Wan must have been experiencing when he went to see Padme. He saw what Anakin had done (not first-hand, mind you, but still …), and there must have been some part of his brain that couldn’t believe his best friend had committed such atrocities. I know Obi-Wan looks stoic when talking to Padme, but that doesn’t mean his heart wasn’t breaking all the same. Both of them were in an absolutely awful position.

    Thank you for once again giving me a great deal about which to think. 🙂 MTFBWY 🙂

  5. Erica
    October 21, 2014 at 18:19 Reply

    You know I love Anakin! I feel very protective of him too. I think it’s because when I have compassion for him, it reminds me to have compassion for myself when I slip into dark side mode.

    Thanks for your words and your honesty! xoxo

  6. lazypadawan
    October 22, 2014 at 16:32 Reply

    I first saw ANH when I was 7 and even then, I kind of felt sorry for Vader. I think you have your finger on why: he wasn’t like the others around him and this is mentioned in the novelization as well. There was something lonely about him. In TESB, you see that loneliness reflected again when he encounters Luke, especially that telepathic conversation (which confirmed to me Vader was probably telling Luke the truth about being Luke’s father). ROTJ reveals Vader at his most pathetic; the viewer realizes the second most evil guy in the galaxy and the terror of the Imperial forces was in reality just Palpatine’s bitch. Worse yet, the Emperor was ready to throw Vader away for someone “younger and far more powerful” should Luke defeat Vader in battle. Worst of all, Vader KNEW IT. That resignation in his voice when he says to Luke, “It’s too late for me, my son” said it all. There’s a reason why when I first saw ROTJ many years ago, the audience cheered the loudest when Vader chucked the Emperor down that bottomless hole of doom. As far as I’m concerned, the prequels (along with Clone Wars) were as much about validating Luke’s desire to save Vader as it was about telling us why Anakin fell to the Dark Side. He was once a boy who “knows nothing of greed,” who suffered injustice after injustice, who just wanted to be loved, who wanted to be appreciated, who wanted some control over his own fate, and who wanted to be happy. I always liked Vader in spite of my being more of a good guy fan, but the prequels made me absolutely adore Anakin.

  7. lovelucas
    October 22, 2014 at 19:30 Reply

    LP – Love your prose and as always, agree. Never ever thought of Vader as a bitch of anyone but – I suppose he certainly was the Emperor’s lap dog although we really didn’t get a handle on that status until ESB and much more so in RotJ. George made me do it…When I see Vader, I see Anakin/Hayden. I never, ever see Prowse and even though we hear James Earl Jones, I SEE Hayden – crispy Anakin, mournful Anakin, tragic Anakin. I can’t hate Vader no matter how much of a villain he’s intended to be. It’s knowing what came before and those final words to Luke.

  8. Another Winner From Coffee With Kenobi |
    October 22, 2014 at 21:12 Reply

    […] is back again with another great read at Coffee With Kenobi, this time an essay about Anakin and why he’s a sympathetic […]

  9. Melinda
    October 23, 2014 at 08:44 Reply

    Becca, leave it to you to help me see Anakin/Vader in a different light. 😉 (I mean that as a compliment. I hope you took it that way. 🙂 )

    I never thought of Vader as “lonely”. When we get to the OT, I have a hard time seeing him as such, but at least in some way, I suppose he was. “It’s lonely at the top.” How many times have we heard that — either from real people or characters on both the big and little screens. There is truth in that statement. Just how lonely one decides to be, however, is based on how far removed from others the one at the top puts oneself. Vader put himself pretty far removed. He was a man (or man/machine) with a mission — and a rather self-serving, evil mission it was … to make the galaxy what he and Palpatine wanted it to be.

    I suppose that’s where I get hung up where Vader is concerned. “Actions speak louder than words.” Anakin’s actions took him to a very dark place. “You make your bed, you (have to) lie in it,” so to speak. Who would want to get close to someone who committed the atrocities he did?


  10. Melinda
    October 23, 2014 at 08:59 Reply

    But getting back to your original musing …

    I most definitely can understand Padme’s inability to believe — at first, anyway — Anakin had committed the heinous acts he had just committed. A once loyal, dedicated Jedi, how could he turn on his brethren? He loved the Jedi. He was deemed The Chosen One. These were his brothers-in-arms, his comrades. They were devoted to saving the people of the galaxy, not destroying them! And how could one who was so tender and loving (to Padme) be capable of slicing down even children? This was not Anakin!

    That would be too much for the brain — let alone the heart — to wrap itself around!

    I like to watch (good!) detective shows on television. Last night, I was watching a show I haven’t seen in quite some time (cable is good for seeing shows in syndication 😉 ), and this particular episode was about the police hunting for a serial rapist (who had killed one of his victims). The evidence mounted, and the police finally identified the individual responsible for the heinous crimes. They went to his house, found his live-in girlfriend of many years home (not him yet), and questioned her about her boyfriend’s activities. When one of the detectives asked, “Did you hear about the rapes? When you noticed (his) odd behavior at night, didn’t you put two and two together, and realize you were living with a rapist?” With a pained expression on her face, she looked at the detective, and replied, “No! Would you?”

    The facts can be staring right at you, but sometimes they’re just too horrible for one’s brain and heart to accept.

    Padme LOVED Anakin. He was EVERYTHING to her. Like you said, he was the FATHER of her unborn child(ren). This man could NOT possibly do what Obi-Wan proclaimed.


  11. Melinda
    October 23, 2014 at 09:12 Reply

    And poor Obi-Wan. My heart goes out to both Padme and the revered Jedi every time I watch that scene unwind in Padme’s apartment. Padme has just had the rug pulled out from underneath her. While Obi-Wan has had a little more (not much more, but at least some) time to accept what Anakin has just done, he by no means is happy about executing the task he is faced with accomplishing. Anakin is/was his brother. As close as Obi-Wan was to Qui-Gon Jinn, I surmise his relationship with Anakin was even closer. There was a connection between the mentor/student-turned-brothers-in-arms that was incredibly special. Imagine what went through Obi-Wan’s mind as he watched the playback footage of Anakin on his rampage! I am sure there was a fair amount of doubt running through Obi-Wan’s mind as he watched. And as he discussed the situation with Padme, one could see he was in just as much anguish as she was. He was resigned as to what he had to do — but that didn’t mean he wasn’t hurting all the same. Anakin HAD become a threat!

    I’m not quite done, Becca, but I must be off. I hope you don’t mind if I return later to finish what I have started. I really have enjoyed your blog — and it certainly has gotten me to thinking. 🙂 As usual. 😉

    Have a great day! See you soon. 🙂

  12. Jeff M
    October 23, 2014 at 13:20 Reply

    As always, your blog is very deep and thought-provoking. I love that at the age of 4 you felt sorry for the guy in the black hat, that shows you never saw things as absolute good or evil, and a little kid who thinks in shades of gray is a rarity. That you still feel that way is even greater, especially after having seen and experienced so many negatives first-hand.

    I think we are both of the same mind on this one: you HAVE to agree with Padme and believe there MUST still be good in him, because to believe otherwise is to admit that someone so good can be completely corrupted, to admit that some people are incapable of being redeemed, and that is a harsh fact to buy into.

    I feel like Anakin is a product of his environment. He has an extremely strong will, but like someone who suffers with PTSD or other mental illnesses, he doesn’t trust his own feelings and opinions, and relies on the emotional support of others. That is why his mother was so important to him, and why Padme becomes his rock. When they aren’t present, he is adrift with no anchor, and the tragic end we witness is the inevitable conclusion.

    When thinking about it all in these terms, it makes perfect sense why you would feel protective of him, and I applaud your ability to verbalize your feelings so eloquently.

    In other words: You write a heckuva blog 🙂

  13. Melinda
    October 24, 2014 at 10:24 Reply

    One of the facets of Star Wars that really appeals to me is that I like to watch the films over and over again in order to garner more and more aspects of what’s going on in each scene. Each of the films is multi-layered, and even after all these years, I can walk away with some new piece of information/interpretation of a scene/theme. And I have friends like you who are willing to share your own insights. I thank you for that. 🙂

    There. I’m done. For now. 😉

    Until next time, MTFBWY 🙂

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