1:15:01 – 1:30:00
As we begin Chapter Six, it feels like we’re in the climactic final stretch of the story. In any ordinary movie, that would probably be the case, but the finish line for this one remains in the distance at the end of these fifteen minutes. Too many plot threads to tie off.
But…Mace Windu’s personal plot thread ends here in the opening seconds of our chapter. If you will recall, the Master Jedi with the purple lightsaber had just gotten his hand lopped off by Anakin Skywalker and then, to add insult to injury (or more injury to injury), was zapped with Force lightning by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious and jettisoned from the highrise window (the Mace window, if you will) of Palpatine’s office. We see Windu fall, presumably to his death, if he’s not dead already from being Force-electrocuted. However, we don’t see the splat and we never see the body, so if you want him to be alive in your fan-fiction, it’s viable. He may even be alive in the extended universe (which is no longer canon) as far as I know, but he’s dead to me.
Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious now looks more like the Dick Tracy villain Pruneface than he did prior to the showdown with Windu. This transformation perplexes me now as much as it did when I watched this in the theater. Okay, I knew we had to make Chancellor Palpatine, the former senator from Naboo, look more like the Emperor Palpatine we knew from the end of the original trilogy. But, this didn’t feel like a change that was a result of his use of the Dark Side powers to me. More like, this is the true face of Palpatine and his formerly grandfather-like visage had been a disguise, some trick of the Force, and now we are seeing his true, evil countenance. That’s my head canon, anyway.
“What have I done?” wails the perennially-weak Anakin.
“You’re fulfilling your destiny, Anakin,” says Darth Pruneface as he rises from the window sill amidst all the broken glass. And then Palpatine siezes the moment to make Anakin a job offer, inviting him to become his apprentice and learn to use the Dark Side of the Force. Anakin, who now, as a Master Jedi-killer, faces limited job prospects, accepts the offer, of course, asking only that his new master help him to save Padme from her prophesied death.
Here, Palpatine hedges his bets a little. Anakin is already on the hook, in the net, and stunned by a blow from the fish bat. Palpatine no longer has to promise him the moon and the stars. Instead, he says something like there has only been one Sith Lord who has been able to cheat death (this would be that Darth Plagueis we’ve heard so much about), but if we work together, Anakin. . .eh, let’s see what happens, Sonny Boy. A true Sith Lord knows how to do a little crawfishing.
Anakin pledges his loyalty to Palpatine, and then Palpatine tells him that his Sith name will now be Darth [pause for dramatic effect] Vader. This makes me sincerely wish that there was at least one outtake where Palpatine said his new name was Darth Morty or Darth Eugene or anything else. Palpatine raises the deep hood of his robe at some point here, completing that familiar Imperial look.
This scene is intercut with a brief snippet of Master Yoda, far away on Kashyyk, looking overwhelmed by the disturbance in the Force caused by Anakin’s re-naming ceremony. Or maybe it was Windu’s death, though the timing suggests it was the first utterance of “Darth Vader” that did it. Yoda, as presented in these prequel movies, is the most powerful and least effective of all the Jedi. Or, as I’ve suggested, he may secretly be in league with the Sith. We’ll see if the evidence bears this out as we go through the rest of the movies.
Palpatine tells Anakin that all of the Jedi, including Anakin’s buddy Obi-Wan Kenobi, are now enemies of the Republic, and now it’s kill-or-be-killed time. Palpatine’s premise is that the Jedi will try to kill him (which is a reasonable assumption since Master Windu just tried to do that) and all of the senators (which is a stretch). Fortunately for Palpatine, Anakin has never been very smart. Calling Anakin “Lord Vader,” Palpatine orders him to go to the Jedi Temple and do what must be done. Show no mercy, yadda yadda yadda Sith Rule.
What about all the other Jedi spread across the galaxy, the helmet-less Lord Vader wants to know.
Palpatine assures him that they’ll be dealt with. After Anakin kills all the Jedi in the temple, he’s to go to the Mustafar System to kill Viceroy Gunray and all the other Separatist leaders to end this little war. The Sith will restore peace in the galaxy. The Pax Palpatina.
Next, we cut to a hooded Anakin Skywalker walking up the steps to the Jedi temple, backed by a platoon of clone troopers. The mysterious Order 66 (which, of course, you know nothing about yet) has not been executed, so these are just clone troops who, as members of the Army of the Republic, are following orders issued by Chancellor Palpatine. Go with Jedi Skywalker to the temple, where he’s going to do some stuff that may seem all evil, but don’t ask questions and just follow orders.
Back on Utapau—I think it’s Utapau, even though it reminds me of Geonosis and Tatooine: doing these things a week apart is keeping me disoriented—the battle between the clone troopers and the droids continues to rage, and Obi-Wan still rides his lizard mount. Obi-Wan issues some unimportant order to the clones and Commander Cody returns Obi-Wan’s lightsaber to him. He had dropped it during his previous battle with Grievous, the way the Jedi handbook tells you to do it. Almost immediately after, Cody receives a holographic communication from Palpatine telling him the time has come to execute Order 66.
“Yes, my Lord,” says Commander Cody, who then orders his troops to blast Obi-Wan off of a high ledge. This is almost immediately after he returned the Jedi Master’s lightsaber to him. Not to mention several seasons after the animated Clone Wars in which they shared any number of adventures together I haven’t watched. Just: Execute Order 66, and then I attempt to kill my friend and comrade without question.
The implication is that this isn’t simply a matter of obedience and blindly following orders. This is some serious Manchurian Candidate shit going on here. The clones who were tank-bred on Kamino were somehow preprogrammed with the ultra-top-secret Order 66 to kill all Jedi. I mean, the programming had to occur on Kamino, right? On the genetic level. Because at no time since have all of the clones been together. And, I’ve accepted on faith that the Kaminoans were innocent dupes in the entire “let’s create an imperial army” conspiracy. So, how exactly were the clones programmed with this Order 66? Wouldn’t the cloners have thought it odd for Master Jedi Sifo-Dyas to request a secret Kill-All-Jedi command to be included in his order specs?
This is why I encourage you to never think too much about what’s happening in the Star Wars universe. Enjoy the spectacle and don’t ask too many questions.
Anyway, Order 66 is executed and Commander Cody gives the order to fire upon his friend Obi-Wan Kenobi. Both Jedi and lizard fall approximately forty stories to their unavoidable deaths in the water below. No one could survive such a fall, even a…Ah, who am I kidding here? We already know Obi-Wan doesn’t die from this fall, so why waste my breath? He’s destined to die in an anticlimactic crumpled heap on the Death Star a couple of decades from now. But, I bet the lizard is dead, and good riddance to that warbling annoyance.
Next comes the montage of Jedi death scenes. Jedi Master Conehead Katmandu is fragged by clone troopers on a bridge somewhere. Jedi Don’t-Call-Me-An-Asari is likewise betrayed on some planet teeming with giant orchids. [Intercut reaction shot: the ever-perceptive Yoda drops his cane (which we already know he doesn’t really need) and is overcome with the vapors as all the Jedi are being killed.] Master Head-Like-An-Apple-Fritter is killed in midair by his accompanying clone pilots. Jedi Not-Sure-I’ve-Ever-Seen-Her-Before is killed on a skybike.
Finally…we’re on Kashyyk where the battle continues between the Wookiees and the droids. The clones receive Order 66 and attempt to assassinate Master Yoda. And—you guessed it—fail to carry out said order. Yoda immediately lops off the heads of the two clone troopers behind him. Afterward, he hops up onto Chewbacca’s shoulder. That’s right. That Chewbacca. And the walking carpet carries the psycho toad to safety.
What is arguably the most tragic of the Jedi death scenes follows, this time committed by Darth “Don’t Call Me Anakin Skywalker” Vader and not the clone troopers. He enters a chamber in the Jedi temple and finds a group of Youngling Jedi-trainees cowering behind some high-backed chairs.
Sounding like Oliver Twist, one of the younglings steps forward and says, “Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What are we going to do?” Before he can ask for more gruel, Anakin ignites his lightsaber and then…
Well, we don’t actually want to see Anakin slice and dice his way through a preschool class, do we? Keep it to yourself if you do. We don’t see that. Instead, we cut to Padme, who is looking out her window at the Jedi temple in the distance, which appears to be in flames. The young Mrs. Skywalker is distraught.
Okay, hold on a minute. When Anakin was walking up the steps to the temple, Order 66 had not been given yet. When he enters the youngling chamber, they are already cowering and saying that there are too many of them. I assume that the “them” referred to are the clone troopers. Which implies that the order was executed at some point between climbing the steps and Anakin entering the chamber. If Order 66 was executed while the clone troopers were marching behind Anakin, why didn’t they kill Anakin, who is still a Jedi as far as they know?
I told you not to ask too many questions. You never listen.
An inexplicable part of this rebellion sequence follows, with Senator Bail Organa landing his cool sky convertible and being approached by a group of clone troopers. They warn him that there has been a rebellion and that it is time for him to go. “And so it is,” he says, returning to climb back into his skycar.
Suddenly, a youngster with a lightsaber and a Jedi Padawan rat-tail shows up on the platform and starts killing clones. I don’t know who this kid is. Nor do I completely understand why he shows up and begins killing clones now. If they were going to kill Senator Organa, they would have done so as he was getting out of his convertible. It didn’t seem to me like they were about to kill him as he was leaving. But, they kill the kid now and Organa hightails it out of there like he believes he’s next. Which I don’t believe he was. Perplexing.
Star Wars wipe cut to Obi-Wan Kenobi, with a Batman rebreather in his mouth, swimming underwater. He’s been underwater since he fell forty stories earlier, I suppose, during the entire time almost all the other Jedi in the galaxy were killed. I wonder if Obi-Wan sensed all the deaths the way Yoda did. Obi-Wan is also strong in the Force. There’s no one around for him to engage in dialogue, plus he’s underwater, so we’ll never know.
Obi-Wan emerges from the water and begins some rock climbing while we see a drone in the background searching for him.
Meanwhile, back on Kashyyk, Yoda says goodbye to the Wookiees Tarfull and Chewbacca and says that he will miss them. They’ve obviously grown very close. Then, the minute Jedi master climbs into a hidden escape pod and blasts off into space. I don’t think we’ve ever seen an escape pod go in the opposite direction. I didn’t even know this was a thing. Since the pod was concealed, we have to assume that Yoda always has a personal exit strategy. Since the pod seemed to be designed for solo travel, Yoda apparently never intends to allow anyone else to escape with him. Hmm…It could be just me, but this sounds an awful lot like the Sith mindset.
Next, back to Bail Organa, leaving Coruscant in a ship that may or may not have been like the one Leia was using at the beginning of A New Hope. I’ll have to see the exteriors again when I watch that movie in a few months, but the interior shot looks very familiar to me. Senator Organa walks down a white corridor, speaking this line of dialogue: “Hopefully, we’ll be able to intercept a few Jedi before they walk into this catastrophe.”
End scene. On to Utapau, where Obi-Wan eludes capture and escapes in a tiny starship that looks like a muscle car. While he’s trying to find the Wolfman Jack show on the radio, he dials up a holgram of Bail Organa. He tells the senator that his clone troops have turned on him. Organa tells Obi-Wan that they’ve rescued Master Yoda and that it appears this ambush has happened everywhere. He sends Obi-Wan their coordiates.
Swipe right to the Anakin and Padme reunion. Both are glad that the other is okay. What happened? Padme wants to know. Anakin tells her that the Jedi have tried to overthrow the Republic. It may be that he even believes this, but that hardly begins to justify the massacre of the Jedi daycare. R2-D2, meanwhile, is trying to tell C-3P0 that Master Ani is acting a little crazy. You know, like a Sith Lord or something. C-3P0 remains eternally obtuse, or else he’s just loyal to the Creator. Anakin tells Padme that he will not betray the Republic, and that he hopes Obi-Wan has remained loyal to the Chancellor. Anakin’s own loyalties remain with the chancellor, and with the Senate, and with Padme. In that order. He says the chancellor has entrusted him with an important mission. He is to travel to the Mustafar system, where all the Separatist leaders are gathered, and then end the war. He asks Padme to wait for him.
As this chapter of the 15-Minute Force ends, Obi-Wan is arriving at Senator Organa’s ship, which is where we will arrive next time at Chapter Seven, kicking off the final act of Revenge of the Sith.
Until then…Never Trust a Clone to Watch Your Back…And May the 15-Minute Force Be With You.