Friday, 9 December 2011

Mandalorians, Jedi & Sith! Oh My!

I was recently disappointed to have prematurely finished reading the Republic / Imperial Commando Series of Star Wars Novels by Karen Travis - disappointed because I was thoroughly enjoying delving deeper into Mandalorian Culture and premature because the series has abruptly ended because of a dispute between the author and her publishers over the official Star Wars canon. The dispute basically renders the chronology of the Commando Series impossible in favour of developments in the Clone Wars cartoon and leaves the main protagonists of the novel in limbo.

Whilst the expansion of Mandalorian psyche which has taken place under Travis has been generally met with approval amongst fans, her treatment of the Jedi has not. Some of the exchanges between reader and writer have reached levels of vitriol which are a testament to the emotional investment that Star Wars fans have placed in the world originally created by George Lucas. Lucas himself is often a target for some hardcore fans who don't think the legacy of the original three films can be left in the hands of a man who in their eyes botched the prequel movies, introducing the likes of Jar-Jar Binks, Medichlorians & an annoying Darth Vader Junior. Some go so far as claim to relieved Lucas of his responsibilities for the franchise through their championing of Fan Literature or alternative timelines.

I tend to side with those who condemn Travis' treatment of the Jedi and can see much in the argument that the author has taken far too much of her own political views into her story telling. If authentic, the crux of the issue can easily be identified in an interview Travis gave for Infinity Plus

"I see Vader as a tragic character who's been betrayed by everyone, and I can't help thinking of the Jedi as self-serving unelected elitist spoon-benders making whoopee on Republic taxpayers' credits. It's an iconoclastic journo world-view. Believe me, Order 66 was long overdue. I have a couple of Jedi that I don't want to shoot on sight, but they're my own creations, so I could make them a little humbler and more aware of the consequences they create for others"

How someone with such views actually got to write a Star Wars book is beyond me and it's a great shame because I genuinely like the Madalorian clan Travis has created. I enjoy the various explorations of the philosophy of the force that have been present in other novels. Is there really a Light Side and Dark Side of the force or is there One Force which can be used for Good or Evil? There is nothing wrong with exploring things from "a different point of view" and expanding on the background of the creation of the Clone Army, the inability of the Jedi to perceive the threat of Palpatine and the fate of the Clones but it shouldn't have been done at the very basic premise that Jedi are a force for good in the Star Wars universe. To my mind, Travis' depiction of the Jedi is as ignoble as the books which saw the Jedi embrace moral relativism as their guidance in the use of the Force.

With that said, I am still disappointed that there will be no follow up to 501st Legion - perhaps someone will eventually pick up Skirta and his lads where he left off, rescuing him and the Jedi from the abyss in which they have been left.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that it was not Travis' point of view but that of the mandalorians who were always hostile with jedi. Kal believed that the jedi and the Republic both used and abused their clones.