Jun. 8th, 2017

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One of the features of writing something that takes place before an already-existing story is the awareness of things the audience knows that the characters do not, creating marvelous opportunities for dramatic irony. Foreshadowing is different, more tantalizing, when we already know what's coming.

There are so many foreshadowing lines in Episode I. When Padmé demands, "Are you sure about this? Trusting our fate to a boy we hardly know?" there is tremendous irony in knowing that she will utterly bind her fate to Anakin, and though it's after more than a day's acquaintance, it's still a swiftly-made decision that will have life-long consequences. We can chuckle at Threepio's "I assure you, they will never get me onto one of those dreadful starships" and Obi-Wan's "We could be stuck here a very long time," knowing their respective futures of perilous space journeys and decades of exile on Tatooine. There's Anakin's heartbreaking line "I had a dream I was a Jedi. I came back here and freed all the slaves." Though we know the Jedi part is coming, before Episodes II and III came out we could only wonder whether the rest of the dream foretold his destiny or only his longed-for desires. And there are few moments more poignant than the exchange between Anakin and Qui-Gon. "No one can kill a Jedi." "I wish that were so." We know that Anakin will become Vader, the infamous Jedi-killer. And Qui-Gon is mere days away from being killed. Sob.

"I want to be the first one to see them all!"

For some reason, there's something particularly affecting for me about this particular line. The foreshadowing isn't quite as literal -- though Vader travels far and wide, I doubt he manages to visit every system in the galaxy. But it's so heartrending to consider the contrast between this wide-eyed, innocent optimism and the grim being that Anakin will become.

This is one of those moments that I'm particularly impressed by Jake Lloyd's performance. There's so much sweetness in his face as he gazes at the stars and voices his dreams. Like most young children, his imagination is the only limit to his aspirations. (Of course, his confidence is significantly abetted by his ability to see the future.) Obstacles like slavery don't worry him; they can and will be overcome. And you can see why Qui-Gon believes in him, even before he confirms his high midichlorian count. It's hard to resist his infectious enthusiasm. We might all benefit from gazing at the night sky with a fresh sense of wonder and excitement. It's all too easy to forget how remarkable it really is to have a galaxy before your view.

And then I can't help wondering if Vader ever remembered this moment during his long, lonely life among the stars. SOB.

Next, a little more snark from Obi-Wan...

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