When Good Guys Become Evil, Then Good, Then Evil, Then… Wha?

I’m in my mid-thirties. When I grew up, there was only one Star Wars trilogy. We followed Luke Skywalker and company as they sought to rid the galaxy of the evil empire. Our heroes remained heroes until the last rolling credits. Only one villain, the fearsome Darth Vader, found redemption. By this point, we all knew Darth was really Luke’s father and that at some point he had been a hero. So having him find redemption gave a sweet bookend to a beloved trilogy of movies.

Twenty-two years later, George Lucas decided to let us all see what happened to poor Anakin.

For those of us old enough to have been around the first time, it was a chance to see what the fall of Anakin Skywalker was all about, and to see the fabled Clone Wars. We knew and understood what we were watching.

For those younger, new, fans, they watched the movies from episode one to six, and understood the story as that of Anakin and his children.

Now my six year old son is a fan of the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Anakin, clone troopers and Chancellor Palpatine, he sees them as the “good guys”. Trying to explain to him that these soldiers who fight and die so valiantly next to the jedi will, upon a single command, turn around and murder all of them, is tough. Every time the topic comes up, I can see injury in his eyes to think that the heroic Anakin will become a monster.

I wonder if George Lucas thought about that. I wonder if he considered even for a moment how he would injure young fans by creating a series like Clone Wars. I wonder if he thought what kind of position he would put parents into by having love be the thing that drove Anakin to the dark side.

When I was a kid, Star Wars was a sci-fi fairytale. The good guys stayed good. I’m not against the anti-hero. I’m not against a hero who falls and then finds redemption. But introducing series after series that features villains, then the villains before they were villains, who then become villains, who are then heroes again, is confusing for adults, let alone six year old kids.

So why am I rambling? Because stories should have a logical order. There is a danger in prequels. There is a danger in prequels, then doing prequels to the ending of the prequels. An audience can be alienated, especially if the differing stories are aimed at different demographics.