Throughout most of the Star Wars saga, we see a lineage of Skywalker descent make choices based on compromise, morals, and their life experiences — in turn, forging a personal perspective or point of view. One’s choices or decisions in life don’t make them right or wrong, per se, rather a sense of righteousness or justification for their own actions. Again, at the time, it may seem like the right thing to do, but onlookers or outsiders may not see it as such. In fact, such perception of oneself would never be considered as a bad person, but perhaps, making a bad decision. In other words, no one ever thinks of themselves as evil.
“He’s got to follow his own path; no one can choose it for him.” — Princess Leia
We see this theme from the very beginning, starting with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Leia does her best to build up Luke’s hope for his new friend before he ventures out on a dangerous quest, against the Empire. In doing so, she is also lessoning him and guiding him, much like a mentor or a parent would. Said scene almost mirrors that of a similar moment from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace; where Shmi Skywalker teaches Anakin the importance of choice and the possible repercussions that may, or may not, follow.
“Anakin, this path has been placed before you. The choice is yours alone.”
This is one of those moments where the viewer can actually see two sides of the coin, in a manner of speaking. Yes, it’s obvious that Anakin has a decision to make, but so does Shmi. It is a silent choice, but it’s painfully apparent. Not only on her face, but within her mannerisms and the simple, yet loving caress, upon her son’s cheek as she lets him go …
“Now, be brave, and don’t look back. Don’t look back.”
And with that, she let go of her only begotten son and gave him up to the unknown — in hopes of a better life, the life of a Jedi Knight. Again, a decision not barren of consequence. For if she forbade the rogue Jedi from taking her son off-world, would she have perished at the hands of the Tusken Raiders? Not to mention, if Anakin had heeded his mother’s advice and hadn’t gone back to Tatooine in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones — would she had been spared? And even another question comes to mind, for ‘what if’ Padme chose differently? If she had stayed behind on Naboo, would she have still fallen in love with Anakin and met the same ruinous fate at the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith? Decisions. Choices. The paths we choose pave our destiny, or so it seems.
Delving further, we see Luke hastily decide to flee his Jedi training and go after his endangered friends in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. In doing so, he not only discovers a severed emotional tie, but loses a hand while unearthing the hidden truth; Darth Vader is his father. One year passes, he once again chooses to confront his father; even though his sister asks him to reconsider and “run away, if he can feel your presence then leave this place.” Had he done so, would the force’s balance have been restored? What of the galaxy, would it have breached an irrepressible … aftermath?
Then again, thirty years has since gone by and the wake is yet to come. A new mantle will rise. Inspiring today’s generation of Star Wars fans and a new, but familiar journey will begin. The legacy lives on and new paths will be chosen, leaving footprints in the sands of Jakku …
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