Liz (amidala_thrace) wrote,

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Welcome to Short-Stick Town! Population: Obi-Wan and Padmé.

Yes, another rant. Go team me. I guess I've just been feeling particularly ranty this week, at least when it comes to fandom. Maybe it's the cold medication. Cold medication definitely has the ability to make one ranty. Or at least make me ranty. XD

So. Rant. This one has to do with Padmé. And, to a lesser extent, Obi-Wan.

This rant starts with me visiting a bookstore. Yay bookstores, right? Well, usually. Not this time. Because I was walking towards the cash, purchases in hand, when I saw a display of Star Wars books. Several of them had the word NEW! emblazoned upon their covers.

Look, I'm a glutton for punishment. I know my One True Pairing will never be represented in any SW novel I am likely to read - with the possible exception of Matthew Stover's wonderful Revenge of the Sith novelization - but I keep buying SW books, and I keep reading them, because mostly I love them and they say so much more about the SW 'verse than the movies ever could. When I want Obidala, which is often, I go looking for fanfiction or I hang around the Obidala Fan Forum or I work on To Ignite the Stars. I have, by and large, accepted the idea that Obidala is, well, not accepted by the general population of SW fandom. I'm okay with it. (Okay because when you sail a ship that the majority of fandom doesn't enjoy, you find sneaky little ways to bombard them with it. Like, for instance, making the majority of your SW fanfiction Obidala-oriented, moderating an Obidala icon stillness community, and spamming jedi_news with Obidala icons nearly every time you do your update.) And yes, there may be a bit of that masochism in there. When I see a display of Star Wars books, some of them new, I'm going to go over and investigate.

Which is what I did today.

Nothing really caught my eye until I spotted a small, unusual hardcover down near the bottom of the display. I say unusual because it was enclosed in a slipcover with a painting of Darth Vader on the front. You don't see many books in slipcovers, or at least I don't - that's more for DVDs. So, my curiosity piqued, I headed back to the store's seating area to examine it.

Upon removing the book from its slipcover, I found this. Basically, The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader is a biography of Anakin, from birth to death. I paged through it, occasionally reading passages here and there, searching to see how my favourite scenes were handled, and thinking.

Yes, thinking. Thinking about how other SW characters, particularly in the prequel trilogy, tend to get the short end of the stick, in favour of Anakin.

I get the feeling some of you are rolling your eyes right about now. "Well, DUH," you're saying. "Star Wars is Anakin's story; George Lucas said so himself. So you have issues with this why?"

Not because I'm an Obidala shipper, I promise. Or, not only because I'm an Obidala shipper. Look at it this way: in the Original Trilogy, it could be argued - and not without merit, either - that the character being focused on the most is Luke. And by extension, his twin sister and the smuggler that just happened to get wrapped up in all of this. The story focuses on them just as much as it does on Luke, or on Darth Vader for that matter. The EU bears this out (judging by the number of books written about Leia or Han or their children, where Luke is not the main focus of the story).

Now, turn that around and apply it to the prequel trilogy. You'll find it doesn't quite work out so well for Obi-Wan and Padmé. Things aren't so bad in Phantom Menace, when the trio are given roughly equal billing in the fight to liberate Naboo (except possibly, and ironically, for Anakin, who doesn't turn up until a third of the way through the movie). Particularly Padmé and Obi-Wan, who have major roles - negotiation and defense respectively. They fly back to Naboo, are suitably kick-ass, and save Naboo. Woo-hoo. Go team.

Fast-forward to Episode II. Here, we see Obi-Wan's billing start to slip a little bit as he is relegated to the Exposition segment of the plot. The audience needs to discover the clone army, and sending Obi-Wan off on a mission of discovery isn't a bad way to do it. This, of course, in turn paves the way for Anakin to escort Padmé to Naboo and engage in a blatant attempt to get into her pants whirlwind courtship. The romance, too, needs to happen, or there'd be no Luke and Leia. Anakin and Padmé, though, are given far more screen time (please note that I have not directly timed this) during which far more occurs. Obi-Wan chases after an assassin droid, discovers the clone army, witnesses the creation of the Separatist alliance, fights off a monster and Dooku and rhapsodizes with Yoda about the Clone War beginning. Each of those events is theoretically important to the plot, but none would have been out of place were they accomplished by another character, or if the audience had found out through some other means.

Now, for Episode III. Revenge of the Sith, moreso than either of the previous two, is Anakin's movie. Almost everything that happens is seen through his eyes. Obi-Wan's job is to inform Anakin of his dual role as Palpatine-informer/Palpatine-spy, and then to develop more and more frown lines throughout the rest of the movie as Anakin descends deeper into the dark. Oh, and he gets a couple of cool battle scenes.

If you read this journal on a regular basis you will know how much I loathe and despise Padmé's portrayal in Episode III (with the FIRE of a THOUSAND suns, people!!!! A THOUSAND SUNS!!!!!!!!!). Revenge of the Sith was nothing more or less than character suicide for her. (You could conclusively make the point that said suicide has its roots in Episode II, and I won't hesitate to agree with you.) Padmé is a baby incubator. That's what she is and that's all she is. Oh, and she gets tearful a few times because her dear sweet genocidal husband might be burning up in the Jedi Temple. She's a baby incubator and an accessory to Anakin, and her survival depends on his continuing to remain alive. Exhibit A: she dies of a broken heart after seeing what he has become.

So yes indeed, Episode III is Anakin's movie and the prequels are focused on him, with occasional deviations to the other members of the Trio. Certainly, Anakin is an interesting character. I'm not trying to deny that. I personally don't find much attraction in writing from his point of view, but my puny little opinion means absolutely nothing when weighed against the amount of paper and electronic ink that has been spilled in books and fanfiction.

And this, ladies and gentlemen and Wookiees of the jury, is precisely my point. SO MUCH has been written about Anakin, both in the Expanded Universe and fanfiction, that it's damn near obscene. One would think that now Anakin's story has essentially been completed, and the EU is moving on to writing about his grandchildren, that the Lucasfilm writers could leave well enough alone.

But, if one were to think that, one would be wrong. The biography in the bookstore today proves that pretty conclusively.

So I'm left to ask the question: why can't some EU writer, somewhere, write more about Padmé and Obi-Wan? To be fair, a lot has been written about Obi-Wan for younger readers, and perhaps even in the pre-prequel novels (with which I'm not terribly familiar). But Padmé? We know almost nothing of her backstory, other than what's on Wookieepedia. It wouldn't do the writers any harm, I don't think, to whip up some biographies of Padmé and Obi-Wan. Heck, I'm even considering doing it myself. Probably for Padmé, cuz my inner Padmé muse is the most vocal. XD

Of course, the one X factor in all this is profit. Possibly, stories and books about Anakin make more money for Lucasfilm than stories about any other character, and that would make sense given the size and health of the Anakin fanbase. BUT, the counterpoint to that is, how many more millions does Lucasfilm really need? Surely to goodness they must have more money than Scrooge McDuck twenty times over by now, and could therefore afford to take a gamble on a book only about Padmé or Obi-Wan.

Or maybe I'm just living in Fantasyworld. Fantasyworld is a happy place, though, and I am very comfortable there.

In Fantasyworld, Qui-Gon survived to see Obi-Wan to Knighthood, Jedi were permitted to marry, Padmé and Obi-Wan had a grand wedding with Qui as best man, and they had six children.

And nobody ever heard of Anakin Skywalker. XD

Tags: obi-wan kenobi, padmé amidala, thoughts

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