New RetroZap! writer Bill Gardner offers up an interesting theory that will shatter minds!
By Bill Gardner // I promised myself I wouldn’t watch The Force Awakens trailer. I thought back to when I first saw Darth Maul unsheathe his second blade in the trailer for The Phantom Menace and wondered, “what would that have felt like seeing it in the theater?” Frankly, I probably would have had a popcorn-oil-drenched coronary in the aisle.
Here we are some 15 years later and, sure enough, I’ve watched the trailer for The Force Awakens. To be fair, I have avoided carefully scrutinizing it. Until now. After all, I figured out exactly how Qui-Gonn was gonna bite it based solely on the fact that he was a character in the film. I think I’m pretty damn solid when it comes to calling the big plays in narrative; maybe that film degree is worth something after all.
Anyhow, I was scrolling through my feed the other day, and someone tweeted, “man, the episode 7 trailer keeps looking better,” or some such. It had been a while since I’d seen it, so I clicked on it again.
After just two voiceover lines of dialogue, everything changed for me.
I’m going to lay it out for you. The voice you’re hearing in the trailer is none other than Luke Skywalker.
Let that sink in for a minute.
But, but, I thought that was Cumberbatch?
Nay. We all know that Disney shot that theory down. Plus, c’mon, the dude just played a frickin’ dragon. He’s not going to hit the same vocal range in one of his very next roles.
You dunce, they said that was Andy Serkis. And they didn’t even have to process his voice.
Allow me a rebuttal, oh ye of much doubt.
Andy Serkis is the perfect ploy. OF COURSE he’d be cast for a Star Wars sequel; the dude is geek royalty. He’s almost too perfect and too obvious. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they could not have found a better “distraction.” No one can deny that the actor who played Gollum and that brilliant pre-post-apocalyptic ape makes sense. This makes my conspiracy-addled mind suspicious. Further, Serkis has taken a bit of flack of late. Seems to me like there’s an opportunity here for him to win a few bonus points. There’s a dose of humility in acting as a cover to one of the best voice actors around.
Yep, I’m referring to Mark Hamill. We’re all familiar with his brilliant performance as The Joker. In that infamous role, he showed tremendous vocal range. The way he dips into that abyss-level bass is awe inspiring. It’s also eerily close to what you hear in the trailer. Listen again, and then check out his Joker. Sound somewhat familiar? Imagine what the sound designers at Lucasfilm can do with Hamill.
Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
Let’s hit the hyperdrive on this thing. What could turn the movie world more upside-down than Luke Skywalker being anything other than the bastion of light and hope? Imagine for a second that he’s not completely pure–not in the traditional sense anyhow. Let me take a step back here before chopping off your hand and pushing you down the rabbit hole.
What exactly does “bring balance to the Force mean?”
Does it mean destroying Darth Sidious for his crimes against the Force? Is the prophecy we know some bastardized version spread by the Jedi where it’s about ensuring the Sith remain stomped out of existence? Perhaps it’s purely a numbers game, where the number of Sith equal the number of Jedi.
Let me paint a picture for you. Thirty years after the fall of Vader and Sidious, Luke has taken it upon himself to ensure the Jedi are rebuilt. One would expect him to do this in a way that would prevent the Sith from returning. He’d carefully choose his disciples and remain ever vigilant in ensuring the almighty Jedi maintain peace through dominance over the Force. That’s exactly what we’d expect.
Let’s make this interesting, shall we? Haunted by the sins of his bloodline, Luke has taken his role as the last surviving Force-user seriously. In the decades that followed the Battle of Endor, Luke continued dutifully carrying on the torch handed to him by Obi-Wan and Yoda. But the Force is uneasy. It doesn’t like that there are only Jedi. It seeks the much-prophesied balance. And through Luke, it will usher in this balance.
One of the things I love about the infamous and brilliant machete order is that it highlights the subtle struggle that Luke has ahead of him at the start of Return of the Jedi. He arrives at Jabba’s palace garbed in all black. Before long he’s force choking out some Gammorean guards. Many people may miss this tension with Luke. While I obviously don’t think this is foreshadowing the sequel that would come 30 years later, it certainly does give a nice taste of what may be to come.
Fast forward to The Force Awakens. Luke has reached enlightenment. He is one with the Force. He understands that in order for the Force to maintain balance, the dark side and the light side must reach equilibrium. In practice, this means that he is playing both sides. He’s not only carefully selecting prospective Jedi and training them, he’s doing the same for the Sith.
Does this make Luke evil? If you consider keeping the spiritual force of the universe from tipping one way over another evil, then yes. Is the concept of yin and yang evil? Taken out of context, slaughtering hundreds of youngling in the Jedi temple is irrefutably evil. However, if the one spiritual essence demands balance, perhaps it needs evil for the Star Wars universe to even exist.
I realize I’m now dipping into the metaphysical, existential wanker space. That said, I’m certain J.J. Abrams and co. can find a way to present this in a fashion that makes sense and underscores the role of evil in a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars is known for a lot of things. But when it comes down to it, much of Star Wars can be boiled down to a few key moments in the collective consciousness of the public. “Use the Force,” and of course, “I am your father,” are probably the most poignant. It’s easy to discount the impact that Vader’s line and all its baggage had. We’re so used to plot twists now that we’ve come to expect them on a weekly basis with our Netflix habits. We’re almost desensitized to them at this point.
That said, there are few revelations as important or relevant as Darth Vader being Luke’s father. The twist goes hand-in-hand with the seriesThe series is overdue for a game-changer. Who better to deliver one of this magnitude than Bad Robot?
More to the point–wouldn’t it be cool to see Luke being the absolute center of gravity for Force balance–the direction of both ancient clans resting on his shoulders? Talk about character growth! I’m willing to sacrifice Luke’s blue-eyed farmboy persona for what would be essentially a god. After all, isn’t that what Luke has been in our hearts all along?
Just remember, I called it first.