Saturday, November 13, 2004

# Posted 1:42 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

EPISODE III: The trailer is out. The death watch has begun. Professor Dan writes that
You just know that the odds are heavily stacked in favor of the movie being God-awful.
Pejman adds:
I know that this movie will suck much. Yea verily, it is a sure thing that it will suck mightily. But chills still go down my spine at the thought of it.
Offhand I can't remember, but I think it was Pejman who pointed out the extremely annoying (chrono)logical flaw in the premise of Episodes I-III, i.e. that in the interval between Episodes III and IV, which is clearly less than thirty years, the entire known universe has forgotten about the Jedi so much so that they believe the Force to be a myth.

However, the trailer for Episode III includes the famous speech from Episode I in which Obi-Wan describes how Darth Vader, his pupil, hunted down and murdered all of the Jedi, thus ensuring that they -- and the force -- would be forgotten. Now, you might say that Ben is hundreds of years old, which is why he alone remembers the Jedi. But that would mean that Vader himself is also hundreds of years old and the two of them are the only ones who remember the Jedi and believe in the force. (This scenario gets more complicated when we learn about the Emperor's background in Episode III, because he clearly remembers the Jedi, too.)

As a student of politics, this scenario seems especially unlikely, because why wouldn't Vader want to take credit for killing off the Jedi, if only to enhance his own reputation? Sure, it sounds bad, but Vader clearly doesn't have any reservations about presenting himself as evil.

Moreover, the historian in me wonders how even the passage of hundreds of years could lead an entire Empire -- one whose technological sophistication far exceeds our own -- to forget its past. While Vader may be quite powerful, it's completely implausible to think that he could've destroyed the entire documentary record of the Jedi's existence. Face it: Vader clearly has a hard enough time preventing R2-D2 from shuffling around with records belonging to the Rebel Alliance. What are the chances he could get rid of everything else?

A further complication to add to all of this is that, according to the original trilogy, Luke's uncle and aunt knew Darth Vader when he was still Anakin Skywalker. By extension, that means that they were alive and well before hunted down and killed off the Jedi. So in order to make this whole thing work, we need to figure out a way in which Ben Kenobi, Darth Vader, the Emperor and Luke's uncle & aunt can be the only five people in the universe who remember the Jedi.

Goddamn George Lucas!
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