1:30:01 – 1:45:00
It occurs to me that I’ve been talking about clones the way people have characterized German Shepherds and adopted kids. Don’t ever trust them because they will turn on you. I apologize if you were offended by this because you are adopted. Or a German Shepherd.
As we begin Chapter 7 of the Sith Edition of the 15-Minute Force, we are not exactly in the homestretch. But, we’re closer to the homestretch. Obi-Wan parks his muscle-car starship in the belly of Senator Bail Organa’s private stretch limo starship. Then he’s walking down a white corridor between Master Yoda and Organa. I’m just waiting for the nubian black figure of my Darth Vader to appear behind them with a platoon of solid-white stormtroopers. This doesn’t happen, of course. Nor would it make any sense yet. But the heart wants what the heart wants.
Obi-Wan asks if they’ve heard from any other Jedi who’ve survived the attack, which was the result of the execution of mysterious Order 66. Yoda says, “Nope.” Organa volunteers that he saw thousands of troops attack the Jedi Temple. They’ve also received a coded signal from the Temple telling all Jedi to return and that the war is over. Obi-Wan says they must return to the Temple to dismantle the signal before more Jedi fall into the trap.
Cut to, the glowing orange surface of the planet Mustafar, where the main industry seems to be collecting molten magma for purposes untold. After the establishing shot, we’re inside a dimly-lit conference room with the Separatist Board of Trustees, which includes the Geonosian insectoid leader, Steampunk Vader, Banking Clan dude, and the Neimoidian Trade Federation knobs. They all stand around a hologram of Darth Sidious, who tells them that when his new apprentice Darth Vader arrives, he will take care of them. None of them have ever seen a Mafia-themed movie or television show, so they can’t realize that “take care of them” is an euphemism.
Since Darth Tyranus—AKA Count Dooku—is very dead, I’m not even sure why the Separatist leaders must die. Must just be a Sith thing, killing all of your allies.
As Senator Organa’s ship approaches Coruscant again, he receives a message from Chancellor Palpatine’s assistant, some fat-headed blue guy, who tells Organa that he’s been summoned to a special session of the Senate by the chancellor. Afterward, Organa seems a little worried that it might be a trap. Obi-Wan and Yoda don’t think it is. Knowing how little Jedi seem concerned with collateral deaths in their plans, I wouldn’t take the advice of Jedi if I were the senator, especially after Yoda says the special session may make it easier for them to infiltrate the Jedi Temple. Obi-Wan and Yoda seem okay with using the senator’s potential death as a distraction.
Anakin Skywalker, the newly-minted Darth Vader, lands on Mustafar, then orders R2-D2 to stay with the ship, his proto-TIE-fighter, as he hurries to keep his appointment with destiny. He enters the Separatist chamber behind a bunch of mouse droids, where he is welcomed by the board members. “Welcome, Lord Vader. We’ve been expecting you,” says Viceroy Nute Gunray. Anakin uses the Force to shut the doors to the chamber, and then we cut away to—
Master Yoda and Obi-Wan outside the Jedi Temple, duking it out with a lot of clonetroopers. Again, Yoda demonstrates that he doesn’t need his walking stick at all. He needs to stop cashing his disability checks.
Meanwhile, at the senate, Chancellor Palpatine is telling everyone about the Jedi attempt to overthrow the Republic, and he vows to hunt down every last one of them until they are defeated. The crowd goes wild, except in the Organa/Amidala skybox.
Obi-Wan and Yoda easily defeat all the clones, then go inside the Temple to find all of the Jedi, including the younglings, dead. Yoda notes that this padawan was not killed by a clone. Killed by a lightsaber, he was.
“Who?” says Obi-Wan. “Who could have done this?”
Cut to Mustafar again, and the answer, as Darth Vader is killing all of the Separatist leaders without mercy.
And, back to the Senate (this is some fast-and-furious MTV-style editing here), where Chancellor Palpatine says that the attempt on his life by the Jedi has left him “scarred and deformed” but assures the assemblage that his resolve has never been stronger. We get a reaction shot of Padme, who seems to possess her own resolve.
Back to Lord Vader (killing a lot of people takes some time), who now seems to have yellow eyes the way Darth Maul did.
Then ping-pong back to the senate chambers, where Palpatine announces that to ensure continued stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire. Yay! The Empire is here!
I mean, Boo! The Empire is here! Of course, that’s what I meant.
Padme turns to Senator Organa and says, “So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.” No, not really, Padme. It’s generally more quietly than this. With the passing of laws riding the crest of the wave of a manufactured climate of fear. Uh, theoretically speaking, of course.
Back to Lord Vader again, and a final anticlimactic death of Viceroy Nute Gunray, who we can enjoy seeing die, even at the hands of the Sith.
And, again at the Temple, Obi-Wan has recalibrated the code to warn all Jedi to remain away from Coruscant instead of inviting them to return. Does this mean that other Jedi still survive, besides Yoda and Obi-Wan? It certainly leaves the possibility open, doesn’t it?
Before the two Jedi leave the Temple, Obi-Wan tells Yoda he must know the truth. If into the security recordings you go, only pain will you find, Yoda says. But, of course, Obi-Wan looks anyway. And he finds pain. He sees Anakin kneeling before Palpatine, who calls him his new apprentice. I guess we are supposed to write off not destroying security footage as Sith arrogance.
“Destroy the Sith we must,” Yoda says to Obi-Wan.
“Send me to kill the Emperor,” Obi-Wan says. “I will not kill Anakin.”
Which means that Obi-Wan and Yoda already know that Palpatine has declared himself Emperor, even though that appeared to have been happening at the same time they were wandering around the Jedi Temple. Okay, I can whistle past this. We weren’t with them every second. During one of the cutaways, they whipped out their iPhones and checked their newsfeeds. “Hey,” Obi-Wan said to Yoda, “Check it out. Palpatine just declared himself Emperor.” “No shit?” Yoda responded. Something like that. And…continue—
Yoda tells Obi-Wan that he’s not strong enough to fight Lord Sidious. Or Emperor Palpatine. Whatever we decide to call him.
But, Obi-Wan says that Anakin is like his brother. He cannot do it. Nor can he speak in contractions, he’s so upset.
Yoda tells Obi-Wan to nut up or shut up. The boy he trained has been replaced with this asshole Darth Vader. But I don’t know where he is, says Obi-Wan. Search your feelings and you will find him, Yoda answers, which sounds like more Jedi nonsense you say when you don’t know the answer either.
In the very next scene, Obi-Wan is interrogating Padme. He searched his feelings and decided that Anakin’s woman probably knows where he’s gone off to. That’s hardly using the Force.
In a scene that could have been lifted directly from a Star Wars-themed soap opera—call it As the Sith Turns—Obi-Wan reveals to Anakin’s wife that he’s turned to the Dark Side and that he (hand raised to mouth in melodramatic horror) killed some younglings. Padme says that she doesn’t believe Obi-Wan, even though her face says she does. Even in a soap opera-like scene, this is some pretty fine acting from Natalie Portman. Obi-Wan says, beseechingly, that he must find Anakin.
“You’re going to kill him, aren’t you?” Padme says.
“He has become a very great threat,” Obi-Wan answers. Which means: Yes. Yes, I am.
Padme can’t betray her husband.
“Anakin is the father, isn’t he?” Obi-Wan says before walking away, letting her know that he may be the only one who’s noticed that she’s pregnant. “I’m so sorry.”
Meanwhile, back on Mustafar, Anakin—I really hate calling him Darth Vader before he gets the mask—stands on a balcony, looking suitably evil while he overlooks a river of orange glowing magma while there is carnage behind him in the Separatist HQ. He’s looking down at some structure that juts out into the magma, as if he’s having a Dark Side premonition about something coming up that we, as new viewers of the film, aren’t privy to yet. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this was foreshadowing some sort of showdown. Possibly with Obi-Wan, who is searching for Anakin in order to kill him and leave Padme a widow.
Back on Coruscant, Padme and C-3PO are leaving. Padme tells Captain “Don’t-Call-Me-Panaka” Typho that there is no longer any danger since the war is over, and she doesn’t need him to accompany her. Unbeknownst to Padme, Obi-Wan is a stowaway in her shiny Naboo starship. Of course he is. He searched his feelings.
In holoconference, Anakin tells Emperor Palpatine that the Separatist leaders are all dead. Palpatine says it is finished then, his young apprentice has restored peace and justice to the galaxy. He orders Anakin to send a message to all of the ships of the Trade Federation. All droid units must shut down immediately. I guess this helps explain why the Empire seems to use stormtroopers almost exclusively—except for the occasional drone—instead of a droid army. No, it really doesn’t explain that. But, there must be some reason, right?
As the holoconference concludes, Anakin gets an alert of the shiny silver ship ferrying his pregnant bride landing on Mustafar. The two young lovers run into each other’s arms. Now, it’s obvious, even to me, that Padme is very far along in her pregnancy. It wasn’t that obvious before, I assure you. She tells Anakin about how Obi-Wan has been saying all of these mean things about him. Killing younglings and all that stuff. Anakin says that Obi-Wan is just trying to turn her against him.
Padme insists that Obi-Wan wants to help them both. He knows about the two of them. “Anakin,” she says, “All I want is your love.”
Anakin says love isn’t enough to save her. Only his new powers can do that. He’s becoming more powerful than any Jedi, and he won’t lose her the way he lost his mother. By this point, Padme knows what Obi-Wan was telling her is the truth. She begs Anakin not to do this. He’s a good person. At least, she knows he is, under all that Tusken Raider and youngling mass-killing stuff.
Padme begs him to run away with her and help her raise their child. Yeah, child. Singular. Even now, with all his extra Sith powers, Anakin doesn’t know she’s having twins. Padme doesn’t know either because all of the doctors in the galaxy are idiots. They can replace your hand with a robot one, which is handy—pun intended—since hands are being lopped off at an alarming rate, but they can’t determine that you’re about to give birth to twins. But, I digress—
As this chapter of the 15-Minute Force ends, Anakin is telling his bride that they no longer have to run because he’s brought peace to the Republic (he’s the only one who doesn’t know it’s now an Empire, I guess). Him. Anakin Mother-Freakin’ Skywalker, AKA Darth Vader. Not those wimpy Jedi.
Now it seems like we’re really in the homestretch, right? We’re on Mustafar, where everything is orange. Obi-Wan is about to wake up in the luggage compartment of Padme’s ship, and, if memory serves, is about to obtain the high ground, which is the end-all-be-all in combat, presumably. The next chapter will probably be our last for this movie. Right?
Don’t count on it.
Until Donald Trump Executes Order 66 And Proclaims The Empire of America…May The 15-Minute Force Be With You.