Sith girl exposes fault of Star Wars films

I’m not late to the party in sharing the Sith girl clip that was popularized weeks ago. It was only recently that the reality of the young girl’s turn to the Dark Side really became clear to me. Over the course of six movies, a holiday special, 2 animated series covering the same span of time, and four-hundred (and counting) video games…the series has absolutely failed to present the Dark Side as deplorable and vile.

First, watch the video. The girl does what most adult fans would do. Maybe she’s ahead of the game as far as kids are concerned?

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But it’s probably in the redemption of Lord Vader that the whole series comes apart. I’m not sure there’s a culture out there that doesn’t like redemptive tales. They tell us that it’s acceptable to make mistakes so long as we grow from them and become better people. It’s heartwarming. It doesn’t matter that Darth Vader killed a number of younglings, probably a handful of Jedis, and a whole mess of rebels because he overthrew the Emperor and was accepted by the blue glow of the light side of the Force. Awww.

What are children supposed to take away from that? Joining the Sith sounds amazing! You can pretty much do whatever you want. Joining the Sith is akin to giving into your base pleasures – running wild with your id, even if guided by the cruel hand of the Emperor. In the end, you had a lot of fun. If that’s not enough for you, repent and move toward what might be immortality as a Force ghost. It doesn’t even sound like you have to regret the choices you’ve made. It’s just so easy.

Even outside of the Star Wars films the Sith are celebrated. In the Dark Forces comics, Luke couldn’t have gained the access necessary to overthrowing the (cloned) Palpatine without giving into his base feelings and joining the Sith/Dark Side for a time. The Knight of the Old Republic series of games not only let you choose your side freely, but the first one gives you the backstory of a powerful Sith. The whole point of the Force Unleashed series is that you’re not a proper Jedi Knight, and you get to celebrate the excessive use of power that Sith know but Jedi generally don’t experience. It’s very easy to come away with the idea that the Jedi are pretty cool but the Sith are awesome.

Arguably the best Star Wars flight simulator created. Also another romantic (or at least non-vile) take on the Empire and the side of villainy.

This becomes a failing of the series as a whole. The viewer, via our protagonists Luke and Anakin, are supposed to find the Sith unappealing in order to experience catharsis when the Emperor is defeated. It’s easy to fall into the suspension of disbelief in the film and just take the evil nature of the bad guys a given, but over time it means less and less. Anakin sacrificed younglings and has a cybernetic body, but it’s hardly dehumanizing for him in the end. The soul is the strongest thing, after all. So what’s the harm in joining the Dark Side?

Like I said, though, it comes down to the story you want the series to tell. Even though people like to reference Joseph Campbell in discussions on the importance of the Star War, very few look at the series as a morality tale. It really isn’t. It isn’t a matter of rights and wrongs that viewers are learning. Sure, it’s a story about a totalitarian government of which we disprove, although we do not get the full view of how the Empire is run and what it does to the people living under it; but at the heart of the story it’s just another “Us versus Them” tale. It’s not unreasonable that a little girl would turn to the Dark Side and join Lord Vader. Look how well it turned out for him. He became a powerful Jedi, knocked up Natalie Portman, basically co-ruled the galaxy for a couple of decades, thwarted the Emperor, and moved on to immortal blue Jedi heaven.

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About Gospel X

I am a major mediaphile as well as a social researcher. My ultimate belief is that the media can be used to teach children prosocial behaviors and teach adults how to access paradigms. And I think that Mega Man is an amazing example of proteanism. Add me on Google : https://plus.google.com/u/0/113795848855477334599

Posted on May 5, 2011, in modern mythology, movies, real life, science fiction, scifi, Star Wars, video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I know this article is super old, but after reading it I could not help but notice the similarities between your discussion of how the Dark side/light side issue work and Christianity. It works in largely the same way, you can be a bastard all your life, then accept Christ before your death and be redeemed and go to heaven. Not to start a religious argument (for the record I am not a Christian), but taking this into account, your point could be stretched to what are children supposed to take away from Christianity?

    In all seriousness though, they are just movies, and I think most kids don’t really have the understanding of what is really going on in the movies to begin with. They make decisions based on how cool things look. The girl you mention actually became interested in Sith over Jedi because of comics, not the movies, and mostly because she likes how the character (Darth Talon) looks, not because she understands the politics or morals of the character. She is a kid, she will grow out of it.

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