02:00 – 02:19:58
As Chapter 9 of the Sith Edition of the 15-Minute Force opens, it’s all over but a bunch of housekeeping. Anakin Skywalker lies legless and defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi on the bank of a lava river on Mustafar while his former master tells him how disappointed in him he is.
“I hate you!” Anakin says.
“You were my brother, Anakin,” Obi-Wan says, “I loved you.” Meanwhile, Anakin is slowly sliding into the lava, the lower half of his body on fire while Obi-Wan does nothing to save him.
You could argue that, at this point, if Obi-Wan had done the merciful, humane thing and just lopped off Anakin’s head, he could have saved the galaxy a lot of pain and suffering over the next couple of decades. Which makes Obi-Wan, once again you may argue, one of the biggest douchebags in the Star Wars universe.
On the other hand, it is Darth Vader who ends Emperor Palpatine’s reign at the end, presumably bringing balance once again to the Force (?), so leaving Anakin alive may have been the right thing to do. It was the will of the Force. Of course, Obi-Wan can’t know that he was leaving Anakin alive. At the moment, it appears he’s letting his former padawan die a slow and painful death. Pretty harsh treatment for someone you said you once loved as a brother. Still douchebaggery, in my opinion.
If you’re keeping score, here’s where I stand:
Yoda = Secret Sith Lord
Obi-Wan = Douchebag
Obi-Wan does have enough humanity left in him to turn his back on Anakin as his former apprentice’s body is completely engulfed in flames and his shrill cries fill the presumably sulphurous air of Mustafar. At this point, Anakin looks like a marshmallow you’ve held in the campfire perhaps a little too long. Surely, he is a goner. No reason to look back as you walk away, Obi-Wan.
R2-D2 meets Obi-Wan at the top of the bank. Anakin met his defeat only a couple of hundred feet from Padme’s ship. Then, C-3P0 comes out of the ship to tell Obi-Wan to hurry, Miss Padme is on board, and they must really leave this dreadful place. Obi-Wan gives C-3P0 an odd pat on the shoulder as he trudges up the ship’s ramp. His robes are visibly singed.
Padme comes to briefly and asks Obi-Wan if Anakin is all right before passing out again. Obi-Wan feels her forehead and looks concerned. Then the Naboo shiny ship takes off. It appears that C-3P0 is piloting the ship. That can’t be right, can it? C-3P0 is also a pilot?
Meanwhile, back on Mustafar, Anakin is clawing his way slowly, agonizingly, up the lava riverbank, using his robot hand. Emperor Palpatine’s familiarly evil shuttle arrives. Palpatine spies the crispy Anakin on the bank and orders his clone trooper guards to get a medical capsule immediately. The emperor goes down to Anakin’s side, tenderly touching his forehead with one pallid hand.
I thought we had seen the last of Yoda, but I was wrong. Here he is, I don’t know where but there are asteroids outside the window, and he appears to be meditating until Bail Organa interrupts him with an “Excuse me, Master Yoda.” He tells the Jedi Master that they’ve been contacted by Obi-Wan.
Then we see the silver Naboo ship land, and Obi-Wan carries Padme down the ramp. Senator Organa meets them and says they will take her to the medical center…quickly.
The emperor returns to Corscant with Anakin’s charred body in its floating sarcophagus…
And then back to the Padme childbirth scene. A medical droid explains to Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Bail Organa that medically Padme seems fine, but they’re losing her anyway. You know how it is. She’s apparently lost the will to live. They need to operate quickly to save the babies.
Babies. Plural. For the first time, someone has figured out that Padme is carrying twins. Obi-Wan looks pensive as we cut back to…
Anakin on the table, getting fitted for his Darth Vader armor and his new prostheses. I remember being very happy with this scene the first time I watched it. Plus, I enjoyed the duality of Padme giving birth, while we were watching the birth of the real Darth Vader. Both are in pain as they go through the processes…
Padme has her babies. Luke comes first, and receives his name. Then Leia.
Back to Anakin, and the POV shot as the mask descends to cover his face. This is good stuff. For the first time, I really thought about the Darth Vader outfit as being more like Iron Man’s armor. Or, more aptly perhaps, as Dr. Doom’s. As the helmet is locked into place with a hiss and the respirator-style breathing begins, I am in nerd heaven.
Then, back to Padme. Obi-Wan is still holding Leia above her as Padme says that there’s good in Anakin still. She knows it. And then she dies. Exit Padme, Stage Left.
On Coruscant, Darth Vader (and now I can truly call him Darth Vader) is raised to an upright position. He’s taller now, it seems. I think is leg prostheses were longer than his real legs. Emperor Palpatine asks if he can hear him.
“Yes, Master,” Darth Vader responds, his new voice a deep baritone between mechanical breaths. He suddenly sounds like James Earl Jones, which is appropriate but still jarring. In my head canon, I’ve decided that it’s like a voice programmed into your GPS. The helmet makes the whiny Anakin Skywalker sound like the carefully enunciated baritone of JEJ. In his new voice, Darth Vader asks about Padme, if she is all right.
Palpatine, ever the good guy, tells his apprentice that, in his anger, he killed Padme.
Darth Vader says he couldn’t have. She was alive. He felt it. And then he lashes out with the Force, breaking some things and crumpling some others, freeing himself easily from the restraints holding him to the operating table. And then he gives out a booming “Nooooooo-oooo-oooo!” as Palpatine wears an evil smile behind him. Here, Darth Vader is truly born.
In another conference scene (hopefully our last), Yoda is sitting at a table with Obi-Wan and Bail Organa, deciding what’s to be done with the Skywalker twins. They must be kept safe and out of reach of the Sith. Senator Organa agrees that he and his wife will take the girl. They always talked about adopting a baby girl. Yoda says the boy will be taken to his family on Tatooine. Obi-Wan says he will take the child and watch over him.
It seems like the Lars family would be the obvious place for Anakin to search for his child. We have to remember that, at this point, Obi-Wan and the others believe Anakin Skywalker to be dead on Mustafar. Maybe the decision to place Luke with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru wasn’t as insane as it seemed it was, although I have to wonder why they didn’t tell Luke he was their son rather than telling him about his Jedi father Anakin Skywalker. Anyway, what’s done is done.
Yoda tells Kenobi and Organa that they must go into hiding until they are needed again. He asks Obi-Wan to hang back as Organa leaves. He tells Obi-Wan that he has training for him during his solitude on Tatooine. It seems that Qui-Gon Jinn has learned to communicate from the netherworld of the Force, and has learned the path to immortality. It seems that Qui-Gon’s ghost will teach Obi-Wan how to crumple into a empty pile of smoldering clothes when he dies.
Bail Organa, as a parting shot, leaves C-3P0 and R2-D2 in the care of Captain Antilles, tells the captain to clean them up and have the protocol droid’s mind wiped. R2-D2 finds this funny. This explains why C-3P0 doesn’t remember everything that’s happened when A New Hope happens. It doesn’t explain why R2-D2 didn’t tell everything he knew, though.
Padme Amidala is given a state funeral on Naboo. The queen and notable Gungans, including Boss Nass and the dreaded Jar Jar, and several Nubians we’ve seen before are in attendance. Amidala, in her coffin, has the necklace that young Anakin gave her in her hands. Aww.
Then a shot of Darth Vader stalking the deck of an Imperial Star Destroyer, alongside the Emperor and someone who looks like a younger Grand Moff Tarkin. Outside the ship, I see TIE-fighters and the framework of the Death Star being constructed. Yay. We also hear a snippet of the Imperial March theme. Double-Yay!
Bail Organa arrives home, on what I presume is the doomed Alderaan, and hands Baby Leia off to his wife.
Obi-Wan passes off Baby Luke to Beru on Tatooine. Then, as the twin suns of Tatooine are sinking into the horizon, we come to the end of the prequel trilogy, and the credits begin rolling just slightly after the 2:13 mark. “Written and directed by George Lucas” kicks it off, and then it goes on for approximately 6 minutes more.
I suppose all the loose threads have been taken care of to my satisfaction. I have to wonder when Obi-Wan and Yoda found out that Anakin Skywalker was actually alive and was Darth Vader. It seems like they still don’t know this at the end of this movie. Maybe that could be told in another standalone movie. Just sayin’.
I still don’t know why Leia is a princess, though. Ah, who cares? I know that there are answers to this online, but I think everyone is just retconning the answer. Lucas thought she was a princess way back in ’77. Therefore, she was a princess. Han Solo was more interesting than any of these characters anyway. And he’s getting his own movie.
So, this concludes this edition of the 15-Minute Force. When we return, it will be to write the synopsis of the one Star Wars movie I haven’t watched yet, Rogue One. I don’t have to tell you that I’m looking forward to it.
Meanwhile…Until Your Master Abandons You to Become a Crispy Critter…May the 15-Minute Force Be With You.