Fellow blogger Catholic Skywalker and I have been following each other for quite some time. As his name would suggest, he loves Star Wars. In fact, he defends Star Wars more than anyone I’ve seen. He could make you look at the Prequels in a new light. He even contributed to Gaming with Faith (his response to KOTOR is a bit more positive than my own [not that I dislike KOTOR]), and he’s a more qualified critic than I am, having seen over 2,100 movies over his lifetime, and viewing a wider scope of movies in theaters than I do.
Our first big response to each other was a couple years ago where I, through a blog and post that no longer exists, criticized A New Hope for being “bland, silly, rainy day-type entertainment”, and Catholic Skywalker went full-on Aquinas on it. Given how little I was looking at the big picture, I deserved that one.
Now, with “The Generational Choice: A Response to Catholic Wannabe Critic on The Force Awakens“, he’s responded to my latest critique of Star Wars, “Where Disney’s Star Wars Went Wrong”. He is much more appreciative of this critique than he was of the previous critique, and so am I. And once again, he’s proven how he’s both a better critic and a better Catholic than I am, particularly because of his understanding of humanity.
The main point of his response is that even though Return of the Jedi may have brought an end to the Sith, it was the next generation’s choice to continue with that peace, and it failed. As he states, “Human beings have the power to reign down utter destruction on ourselves. But even the best of us can only offer hope with no guarantees. All we can ever leave the next generation is a chance. Even Jesus’ saving work is ultimately a free invitation. The choice is still up to us.”
Even with that, while I can excuse the First Order, I still find it a stretch to say that it was humanity’s choice to keep the balance to the Force that Anakin Skywalker was prophesied to bring. If merely defeating the Dark Side balances out the Force, then the Force could theoretically be balanced out multiple times in history; why was it so important that a Chosen One would balance out the Force if balancing the Force can be replicated? Perhaps it’s our choice to follow the path to salvation, but our prophesied redemption through Christ was never undone and repeated.
The whole “Chosen One permanently defeating the Sith” prophesy doesn’t line up with how humanity actually works, but the Dark Side returning doesn’t line up with how the whole previous Saga actually works. Saying that a spiritual evil can be permanently killed is a lie, but having that evil return contradicts what was prophesied. Perhaps the Chosen One angle doesn’t enhance Return of the Jedi‘s climax at all but rather problematizes it.
That’s why the Original Trilogy by itself stands the test of time. Without the Prequels, there’d be no promise that the Dark Side would be permanently defeated, and without the Sequels, there’d be no way for the Saga to contradict itself. Star Wars would not be about the fulfillment of a prophecy but rather about a son who saves his father for its own sake, which is still why Luke did it as he never knew that his father was a fallen messiah.
Then again, they could still pull that “Rey is the real Chosen One” twist I theorized…
(As for Catholic Skywalker commenting that he “particularly enjoyed [my] insights on Catholicism and video gaming”, I hate to break it to him that I took down my game reviews on Catholic Wannabe Critic because, well, I can’t appreciate video games enough to want to review them anymore. I mean, I still play games that fit my picky taste and write about them here under certain circumstances, but I don’t want to be involved in a field of criticism that too often discourages me with the large amount of players and critics who embrace its interactive nihilism, ultraviolence, softcore porn, etc… Not to mention, I never want to have a “going into it nearly blind for the sake of critique” gaming experience like I had with The Last of Us again.)