Did Inadequate Women’s Healthcare Destroy Star Wars’ Old Republic?
January 4, 2017 5:49 AM   Subscribe

"[Anakin] seriously spends two hours of the movie freaking out about his wife’s uterus, and hypes himself up so much that he gets to the point of slaughtering tiny tots in a Jedi temple. All because he can’t think of another way to save Padme from reproductive health complications. Why didn’t they just go to a goddamned obstetrician-gynecologist?"

"Reproductive health and childbirth is a crutch, and Lucas gets away with it because his audience accepts that these things are mysterious and cannot be intervened with the way that that the loss of limbs can be remedied with robot prosthetics, or the way Luke can be rescued from near-death on Hoth by being submerged in a bacta tank. Having babies is worse than being mauled by a wampa ice creature or being chopped up by lightsabers and falling into a river of lava. Lucas can write a world like that, and worse, the audience will accept it."
posted by Shmuel510 (221 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite

 
Star Wars' answer to healthcare problems is "replace it with mechanical part"
posted by INFJ at 6:00 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


Lucas gets away with it because his audience accepts that these things are mysterious and cannot be intervened with the way that that the loss of limbs can be remedied with robot prosthetics...

I have to take exception to this. Lucas got away with this? No, it was a sucky plotline and a terrible part of the movie, and fans rightly ridiculed it. It was right up there with "Anakin has no father", midichlorians, the clueless Jedi council, Anakin being "too old" to train (so they're just going to let this overpowered powderkeg wander around?), Padme not aging while "little Ani" grows into "Hayden Studmuffin McBroody", not questioning a whole army of clones, "hiding" Luke with his aunt and uncle on Vader's home planet and not even changing his name (seriously, the Empire doesn't have a phone book?), and oh my god so many issues. So, so, so many issues.

Yep, the whole childbirth angle was massively problematic, and the author rightly points out just how stupid it was. But that doesn't mean the audience liked or accepted it. There's a ton of crap in Star Wars you just have to hold your nose and ignore, because the parts that aren't pure crap are so amazingly fun.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:06 AM on January 4 [66 favorites]


This reminds me of similar conversations about the 2009 Star Trek movie, where, in a world where human beings can be transported from one spot to another, Captain Kirk's mother dies in labor.

I think Jeong is doing an excellent job of gesturing towards the quieter side of sci-fi misogyny. It isn't just about slavegirls in bikinis. It is also about how women's experiences-- even the very mundane-- are more mysterious than mystical space religions. Every plot depends on fantastically advanced technology for FLYING and FIGHTING and TIME MACHINES and LASERS, but as soon as a woman's body exists for anything other than a man's sexual gratification, technology is useless. The vortex of female mystery defeats it all!

It weirdly reminds me of that rabidly anti-choice congressman who was asked if women ever had financial considerations for having abortions, and he admitted he had never even thought about why women had abortions in the first place. It can be legislated, but IT CAN NEVER BE KNOWNNNNNN.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:07 AM on January 4 [196 favorites]


On the bright side, there doesn't appear to be any stigma attached to her being an unwed pregnant woman.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:14 AM on January 4 [11 favorites]


(Just realized-- Kirk's mother doesn't die in labor, that's silly--he wouldn't have a shouty stepdad if she was dead. But she suffers through a difficult and dangerous labor for no particular reason, in a world where that makes no sense.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:16 AM on January 4 [14 favorites]


Captain Kirk's mother dies in labor

No she doesn't. She safely gives birth while being evacuated from a doomed ship in the middle of an attack, and is mentioned as being alive in Star Trek: Beyond, on James Kirk's 30th birthday.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:16 AM on January 4 [16 favorites]


Yep, the whole childbirth angle was massively problematic, and the author rightly points out just how stupid it was. But that doesn't mean the audience liked or accepted it.

You may not have liked or accepted it, but (according to the author) a bunch of people leapt to the defense of Episode III from the dread specter of "feminism" when this was brought up. This is a movie that I've almost never seen defended as anything more than "maybe less bad than the other prequels", and yet you point out the shitty childbirth tropes and there's an army of people to argue how you're wrong and it totally makes sense.
posted by tocts at 6:17 AM on January 4 [33 favorites]


It's also interesting to see some of the dynamic Jeong talked about being reified in this thread.

Anakin makes stupid decisions: Well, he must have his reasons! Here's several hypothetical ones that have no actual grounding in the source material, but seem semi-plausible!

Padme, pregnant rich person with access to the most advanced technology in the galaxy, fails to get even the most basic medical treatment: Well, who can say. The important thing is Anakin, and this fanon backstory that springs to mind!
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:25 AM on January 4 [28 favorites]


I think this is great science fiction writing. I'm going to share it with my science fiction class, in fact, because it illustrates exactly how and why to think through the economic and social logic of a world.

"The social and economic logic of this world doesn't hold up when examined" does not mean "this work cannot be enjoyed and has no other redeeming qualities"; it means "there's a political event horizon in this work, and we can learn some things about the world in which it was produced by figuring out what that is". For instance, the economy in LoTR and the Hobbit makes zero sense; also, who cleans the bathrooms in Rivendell? We can have a lot of fun - like this article does with Star Wars - kicking around potential explanations; we can also learn something about Tolkien's concerns and his toolbox.

One of the things we try to do in my SF class is precisely this - examine the logic of the world and try to figure out what is missing so that we can understand more about the intellectual conditions under which the book was produced. How can we think through the fact that virtually everyone down to the most minor characters in Octavia Butler's work is straight, even though her books are obsessed with "queering" certain social/economic/sexual relationships? What don't we see in the gender-egalitarian world of Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness?

LoTR, Butler's work and The Left Hand of Darkness are all interesting and significant works of fantasy and/or SF; they all have limit horizons in them. Everything does.
posted by Frowner at 6:29 AM on January 4 [151 favorites]


In a galaxy of bacta tanks that can heal grievous wounds, and highly advanced cybernetic prosthetics to replace limbs, reproductive health is stuck in the middle ages.

The violent male power fantasy is that medicine isn't for healing people or making life better, but to enable further, more prolonged violent struggles in which the true strength of one's will (ability to dominate another person) is allowed as much time as it needs to shake out.

A Cleric joins your party to heal your Tank as the Tank pursues the ultimate goal killing of an opponent; the Tank is not there to protect your Cleric for the ultimate goal of making someone healthy.

This is all kinda depressing so I would like to once again say how good the Lego Movie was, a kid-focused action movie where conflict was ultimately resolved by loving talking until understanding is achieved.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:35 AM on January 4 [110 favorites]


Star Trek could at least argue that the troubled pregnancy on the frontier trope is part of their wagon train to the stars shtick.

All of George Lucas' kids (at the time of the movie in question) were adopted. He may just be genuinely ignorant of how prenatal care and child birth works. Not trying to make excuses for it, because it was a such a shitty and confusing part of an already shitty prequel series, but we're dealing with someone who as a writer is very, very naive when he tries to do anything beyond hero myth and space ships 101.
posted by thecjm at 6:37 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


And we don't really know that the pregnancy was "troubled" in Trek 2009. Just the birth, and giving birth in a cramped medical shuttle while trying to escape from a massively overpowered mining-ship turned war machine might not be the easiest delivery with even the best of Trek-level medical technology.

In any case, who the fuck are all these fanboys coming out of the woodwork to defend the prequels? NOBODY likes the prequels except, perhaps, the children who had them as their first and last exposure to Star Wars.

Feminism can't ruin the prequels. Lucas already ruined the prequels by writing and directing them. Feminism could only have improved them.
posted by SansPoint at 6:42 AM on January 4 [13 favorites]


When watching Rogue One, I could find no good fictional reason for a society being somewhat matriarchal and yet having so few women even walking around in the background. I came up with my own head canon that matches well with this article. Human women's healthcare is too shoddy for them to go off to war in large numbers.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:43 AM on January 4 [8 favorites]


I wholeheartedly agree that people attacking the author and defending the movie are mostly misogynist idiots. The author is completely correct in pointing out how screwed up and problematic this storyline is, and I agree with her. I'm only taking exception to the idea that this was overlooked or accepted - from the start it was laughed at and ridiculed, but it's like trying to point out the most egregious of Trump's lies. Just because they're not being highlighted doesn't mean they're being ignored.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:44 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Lucas can write a world like that, and worse, the audience will accept it.

Well, it was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I am not defending Lucas' writing (believe me), nor am I defending the problem of pervasive sexism in the SF genre. But Star Wars is a faerie tale, as is made clear from the first words to show on the screen. All faerie tales have these sorts of issues, and have difficulty holding up logically under close scrutiny -- they only really make internal sense when they get plugged into Jung or Campbell (not that Lucas is particularly adept here, either). Once you announce to your audience that 'this is a faerie tale', the suspension of disbelief kicks in even more than usual, and then everything works, unless your audience member doesn't play along.

Does this mean that the audience 'accepts it'? I suppose it does -- just as they accept everything in that story that makes the story actually function, for that time when the story is being told. That is far from saying that they adopt the story's values as their own as a permanent thing.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:49 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Well, I suppose one could argue, that like the Empire's problems with engineering, the child birth issue even more shows the problem of relying on quasi-religious groups being too involved with government. Science and those outside religious concern suffer while zealots thrive.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:54 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


The author's not denying that it's fanciful or a fairytale, she's just pondering why in this fairytale losing all your limbs in lava seems legit but birth complications aren't.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:54 AM on January 4 [47 favorites]


Wait, does anyone casually fuck in Star Wars? I'm just realizing now that Han and Leia must eventually fuck when they're married, and Luke goes volcel like the rest of the Jedi, and Padme and Anakin fuck but as part of a Secret Marriage, and it's implied Shmi never even fucked at all despite giving birth, and even the most sexually-aggressive creature we see - Jabba, who chains up Leia - seems to have the idea that sexual fulfillment is based around ladies dancing. Who nonmatrimonially fucks in Star Wars?

New Theory: Sith Force Spell blanketing the galaxy, causing a amnesiac/confusion bubble of about a foot in diameter, surrounding literally every humanoid beings' genitals. Exceptions to this are rare and species-specific, like the Ysalamiri lizards

This magical sphere of unsexy genital-based confusion will be known as the Sith Incel Bubble
posted by Greg Nog at 6:56 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


Are we gonna have to institute the Jeong Law?

Because it sure as shit feels like the reaction to a feminist criticism of pop culture justifies the feminist criticism.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:57 AM on January 4 [47 favorites]


When watching Rogue One, I could find no good fictional reason for a society being somewhat matriarchal and yet having so few women even walking around in the background.

There were certainly women about in Jedha City. As for the rebel bases, It's Star Wars. What's the current ratio of women to men in the front lines of combat? In 2011, women represented 14.5% of active duty military across all roles. That percentage will be significantly lower if you're looking at FOBs like you see in Rogue One. Of all the ridiculousness in the movie, that's the least galling.

What's weirder is that there doesn't seem to be a single woman employed anywhere in the Empire. I guess they don't have an EEOC.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:58 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Well now. This is something I've never really thought about, however, it was probably tough to craft a story to properly fill the original SW story. The first three movies were bleh anyway. Should have kept Darth Maul around!
posted by pizzakats708 at 6:59 AM on January 4


I could find no good fictional reason for a society being somewhat matriarchal and yet having so few women even walking around

It's because a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there were no humans. Instead, what you see humans portraying on the screen are actually hive insects.
posted by fings at 7:01 AM on January 4 [21 favorites]


It's because a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there were no humans. Instead, what you see humans portraying on the screen are actually hive insects.

The Bee Movie but it's Star Wars
posted by leotrotsky at 7:05 AM on January 4 [34 favorites]


"Faerie tale" doesn't mean "random and bereft of logic", though - and I think that despite the opening sequence, understanding Star Wars as a fairy tale like Cinderella isn't very useful anyway.

Fairy tales, as we know from innumerable books about fairy tales, are moral tales that deal with social norms. Literary fairy tales get massaged into neatness, but none of them are removed from actual historical conditions.

Star Wars is obviously a set of moral tales, but moral tales that are clearly meant to have a literal, real-world dimension - Space Nazis, for one thing. There's far more invested in creating "real" worlds than in your average fairy tale - salvage spaces, multiple civilizations, "real" detail in terms of interiors and clothing. In this respect it's far more akin to the "fairytale" landscape of Spirited Away (which has a powerful internal narrative about labor and production) than the fairytale landscape of Snow White.

I don't think Star Wars is off the hook if we say it's a fairy tale. Its worldbuilding is far too elaborate for conventional fairy tales - if it wants "logic is secondary because this is just a story" it needs a different feel.


In 2011, women represented 14.5% of active duty military across all roles. That number will be significantly lower if you're looking at FOBs like you see in Rogue One.

So okay, we can't be totally heterodox here - Star Wars can either take place so long ago and far away that it is "before" women's reproductive healthcare and therefore Padme dies in childbirth or it can take place in a world that is a metaphor for 2011, where we have OBGYNs. (Or else its logic is bad and can't be defended, of course.) It's either Really Not Like Now Hence Childbirth Death or stuff is excusable because it's just a depiction of how things are right now today.
posted by Frowner at 7:07 AM on January 4 [28 favorites]


she's just pondering why in this fairytale losing all your limbs in lava seems legit but birth complications aren't.

What kind of bears eat porridge? Why do bears make porridge and then leave the house? Why does a prince have no hesitation about kissing a dead-for-one-hundred-years princess? Why did the boy who cried wolf just not cry bear instead? Who hears a talking chicken and a) isn't struck by the fact it's a talking chicken, b) listens to the talking chicken's doom forecast, c) takes that seriously, and d) doesn't look up to check?

In these constructed universes, these things just happen. It's all part of the internal logic to make the story work. Not much of it makes any real sense at all.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:11 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


What kind of bears eat porridge?

Almost all bears if they could; be careful with your food while camping

Why do bears make porridge and then leave the house?


Same reason I do - bears and me are forgetful

Why does a prince have no hesitation about kissing a dead-for-one-hundred-years princess?

Dudes are way thirsty

Why did the boy who cried wolf just not cry bear instead?

Bears are less scary than wolves because you can trick em with porridge

Who hears a talking chicken and a) isn't struck by the fact it's a talking chicken, b) listens to the talking chicken's doom forecast, c) takes that seriously, and d) doesn't look up to check?

Other chickens, and other barnyard animals. also, again, me
posted by Greg Nog at 7:14 AM on January 4 [76 favorites]


Bears eating porridge is way more logical than Padme dying of sad.
posted by Artw at 7:16 AM on January 4 [68 favorites]


In these constructed universes, these things just happen.

That's a formalist "reading" and valid, but not the only critical reading (interpretation) of value as Frowner has described.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 7:20 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


What's weirder is that there doesn't seem to be a single woman employed anywhere in the Empire. I guess they don't have an EEOC.

Only since they booted Mara Jade and Admiral Daala out of continuity....
posted by davros42 at 7:22 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Everything is completely random and beyond critique! It's total coincidence that they were even flying on spaceships. George Lucas stuck his hand in a hatful of completely context-free options. Other strips of paper he could have pulled out included "Yul Brenner" and "giant turtles with wings instead of feet." We're just so lucky that we live in the world in which he pulled out spaceships!

or, for a less snarky version, see Frowner's response above.

Bear eat porridge because the bears are stand-ins for people, as is common in animal fables. They are stand ins for common people the way space Nazis are stand ins for real Nazis. And it's not a random animal; bears were selected because they can stand on two feet, giving them the appearance of a bipedal mammal with two arms to grab things, much like humans. Bears can hold porridge. It's actually very well thought out.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:24 AM on January 4 [47 favorites]


In these constructed universes, these things just happen.

Find me a single Star Wars fanboy who would welcome application of this principle to Boba Fett, despite eagerly applying it to Padme's tragic uterus-sadness death.

It doesn't sound like you even understand fairy tales that well. Motivation and internal logic exist in fairy tales. The fact that they have fanciful foundations doesn't mean that nothing in them means anything and that interrogating them is pointless.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:24 AM on January 4 [22 favorites]


she's just pondering why in this fairytale losing all your limbs in lava seems legit but birth complications aren't

...because it's terribly written and the characters make bizarre choices that make no sense whatsoever? Because Lucas was trying to figure out a way for the backstory that set up IV-VI to make sense, and made a whole raft of bad choices? Because he transported a medieval swords-and-sorcery epic to space, without bothering to consider what that would change in society besides fancier weapons and vehicles.

There was just a recent post about how ridiculous the whole lavaworld thing was - the intense heat and lack of breathable atmosphere would have fried anyone to a crisp long before Anakin could get himself diced. Neither the lava limbs nor the birth complications storylines are legit. But we're rationalizing people, not rational ones. We let it slide because it's the explanation given, not because we like the explanation.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:27 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Bears eating porridge is way more logical than Padme dying of sad.

Or a robot theorizing that she has given up the will to live. Thinking about that line makes me cringe.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:29 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that midwifery droid is clearly covering for its incompetence.
posted by Artw at 7:34 AM on January 4 [24 favorites]


Star Wars' answer to healthcare problems is "replace it with mechanical part"

Not to mention "blow up the thing that blows planets up."
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:34 AM on January 4


GhostintheMachine: Because he transported a medieval swords-and-sorcery epic to space

I heard that Star Wars was a Western. In the pioneer West, death in childbirth was common. (My grandmother was orphaned on the Prairies for exactly that reason.) In Westerns, it was a handy dramatic plot point. I wouldn't be surprised if Lucas pulled it in unthinkingly from the Western spot in his brain, without noticing the limit horizon that Frowner pointed out so well above.
posted by clawsoon at 7:35 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


It isn't just about slavegirls in bikinis. It is also about how women's experiences-- even the very mundane-- are more mysterious than mystical space religions. Every plot depends on fantastically advanced technology for FLYING and FIGHTING and TIME MACHINES and LASERS, but as soon as a woman's body exists for anything other than a man's sexual gratification, technology is useless. The vortex of female mystery defeats it all!

I hadn't thought much about this, but I'll add when Lois McMasters Bujold writes her sci-fi semi-military space opera series, uterine replicators feature heavily, women even being pregnant is optional, and a key plot element of at least two of her novels involve children maturing outside the womb.
posted by mark k at 7:35 AM on January 4 [30 favorites]


They have the money to travel from planet to planet but no women's health care?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:37 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


It doesn't sound like you even understand fairy tales that well.

Probably. I'm just trying to enjoy the movie without thinking about it too much.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:37 AM on January 4


jenfullmoon: "They have the money to travel from planet to planet but no women's health care?"

You could say the same about the US federal budget.
posted by octothorpe at 7:38 AM on January 4 [64 favorites]


Sci-fi: Boldly continuing to not go where men have persistently refused to go before.
posted by Kabanos at 7:39 AM on January 4 [59 favorites]


Oh god why is everyone so fighty about this article? It is hilarious. And insightful.

Jeong's fan-capped screenshots while watching the movie again are pretty funny, too.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]




There's a ton of crap in Star Wars you just have to hold your nose and ignore, because the parts that aren't pure crap are so amazingly fun.

Although, y'know, a lot of objections to the prequels are rooted in the opinion that the parts that aren't pure crap are also not amazingly fun . . . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 7:41 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Well, if you start thinking about things like space travel and the energy expenditure involved versus the problems they are solving with space travel in most SF it does all tend to fall apart.
posted by Artw at 7:42 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Oh god why is everyone so fighty about this article?

A mental exercise: compare the responses to Jeong’s piece (but you are ignoring these internal motivations/those movies sucked so thinking about them is a waste of time/this was just a plot device/you are reading wayyyyyy too much into this/you don’t understand the genre/I think we all know George Lucas didn’t mean that at all) to the internet’s wholehearted embrace of the Darth Binks theory.

I mean, I loved the Darth Binks theory! But funnily enough, the collective internet response was not “the prequels are meaningless pablum so this thought exercise is pointless, now shut up.”

I wonder what the difference between the two is? Hmm.

(Query: do we have a shorthand term for fandom reactions when source texts that have been obsessed over for DECADES are given the most glancing of feminist critiques and suddenly caring about them is the work of a blinkered fool, because the texts don’t support such close readings?)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:42 AM on January 4 [92 favorites]


> uterine replicators feature heavily, women even being pregnant is optional, and a key plot element of at least two of her novels involve children maturing outside the womb.

I really enjoyed that plot point in the StarGlass and StarBreak novels by MeFi's own Phoebe North. Even in that agrarian village-on-a-spaceship scenario, they knew how to make babies without pregnancy.
posted by jillithd at 7:43 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


In these constructed universes, these things just happen.

Shit just happening for no reason is the usual glib critique of modern(ist) novels where middle-aged men are unhappy and make everybody else unhappy too and then they all win national book awards. not fairy tales! in fairy tales every Chekhov's gun on the mantelpiece gets used to murder a woman sooner or later, so to speak, and it's arbitrary but not random. women's suffering in fairy tales, both traditionally accreted and composed by single authors, is thematic and programmatic and means a whole lot. it's a central element.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:43 AM on January 4 [34 favorites]


why were the three bowls of porridge all at markedly different temperatures when they were all served at the same time?

I accommodate this by pointing out differences in bowl surface area and thermal condyctuvity. That or I make it about seasoning.
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


So, Anakin has a vision of Padme dying at childbirth, which, to him, gives him reasons to try to figure out a way to prevent it somehow. Why? I think in SW visions are sources of bona fide oracular knowledge; they can be clouded, and details might be missing so they can't be understood sometimes, but they are essentially truthful. If so, Anakin must be aware that there is nothing he can do to prevent what will happen. Now, I assume that visions are not common, so perhaps he doesn't know this (how would he know to trust a vision if that is not normally a source of knowledge for others? If he was the only one who had visions, then he would probably dismiss them), or is uncertain about how truthful his visions can be. (Furthermore, if he doesn't know, would anyone else know? Anakin's connection to the force is fairly extraordinary, even in-universe, so perhaps his force-cognition is in a very strong sense alien for anyone else. Taking counsel with, let's say, Yoda, might not be useful.)

If force-visions are sources of infallible knowledge, then Anakin can't have reasons to prevent Padme's death: there is nothing he can do and he knows it. However, this also means that nobody else could have done anything to prevent it either, and he knows it. Againt the article, better healthcare is not really an option.

At this point, Anakin's only option is to accept his loss, which he is unable to because of his own traumas regarding loss and abandonment. But then it turns out that Palpatin says that it is possible, by means of the dark side of the force, to bring people back from the dead. This gives Anakin an option that effectively bypasses the predestination issue, since he doesn't know that trying to bring Padme back will fail, so that he has reasons to.

[I would like to point out that if this is so, at this point Anakin has no reason to want Padme not to die at childbirth. In his mind, he only needs to figure out how to bring her back.]

The Old Republic wasn't destroyed by poor healthcare (although it didn't help). It was destroyed by a poor educational system that didn't foster scepticism, which allowed one of its peacekeepers to believe that:
1) Visions were a reasonable source of knowledge, and thus, of reasons to act, and
2) Testimony is enough to stablish knowledge of what is possible.
Maybe 1) is reasonable in-universe, but why would 2) be? Also, it is obvious that Anakin's education didn't give him a very strong moral compass.
posted by fmoralesc at 7:50 AM on January 4 [9 favorites]


Probably. I'm just trying to enjoy the movie without thinking about it too much.

I get that - to an extent. I get just wanting to not think about things and just enjoy an experience for the experience. Know yourself our.

What I don't get is why people have knee jerk reactions to OTHER PEOPLE thinking about things THEY THEMSELVES don't want to think about. Why those people come in heavy and defensive that the very act of thinking about something critically is an attack on their personal ability to enjoy something unironically. I just don't get it.
posted by absalom at 7:51 AM on January 4 [36 favorites]


You don't even need an ultrasound to diagnose a twin pregnancy! People were doing that with stethoscopes in the 19th century here. But oh, no, in a galaxy with medical tech so far advanced that we have an actual hover-droid delivering babies, nobody can lay their hands on a stethoscope.

Even if this needed to be the plot (which, sigh), there are better ways to do it. Like: Anakin's turn to the Dark Side is not signalled by a sudden massacre of a bunch of Jedi children, but by the less-dramatic-but-much-more-plausible start of abuse during Padme's pregnancy. We know in our galaxy that pregnancy is a high-risk time for domestic abuse to start or ramp up and there's no reason that should be different in this one, given that immature whiny rage-monsters are not that different either.

So, maybe in this scenario, the Jedi back in their golden age were associated with the spread of modern medical knowledge and technology across the galaxy. As part of the backlash against the Jedi, the things they're associated with, and seen as having control over, are also being criticised and attacked. There are a lot more conspiracy theories around - "oh yes, they'll tell you it's a vaccination programme, but really it's a midichlorian test - don't you know that Jedi steal children?"

Against this background, Palpatine works out that Padme is pregnant early on, possibly even before Anakin does. and starts subtly encouraging him to reject pregnancy and postnatal care specifically (which by itself is of course excellent in this society because, come on, they've got faster-than-light travel). There's so many tempting conspiracy theories out there, and Anakin is fertile ground for conspiracy theories, especially about stuff the Jedi Don't Want You To Know. (Palpatine probably has a whole collection of conspiracy-theory blogs across the extremist spectrum and an army of astroturf trolls for the comment sections of all the galactic media sources).

Anakin gets more and more paranoid, more and more controlling. He doesn't want her working - it might hurt the baby. He doesn't want her leaving Coruscant, it's not safe. He'd rather she didn't spend too much time with her friends. And, of course, he doesn't want her seeking out any antenatal care, either. To start off with, he says he just wants a good doctor/midwife/clinic, he doesn't trust the Jedi ones, don't you know they're funded by shifty corporations like Mao-Kwikowski?, or whatever. As time goes on, it becomes clear that nobody's ever going to meet his standards. Padme is worried, of course, but she's sure he'll get better soon: he's a good man! he's just scared! it's not abuse, he hasn't hit her! And when he's not raging at her, he's sending her links to blogs from the growing back-to-the-land fundamentalist movement, where people go entirely off-grid and have 14 babies with no medical assistance on a beautifully-photographed farm somewhere. She's not totally convinced, but it certainly seems like a more peaceful life than the one she's got right now. And surely he'll come round soon, she loves him, he's not a bad guy... By the time things start blowing up and she realises it's never going to get better, she's too busy trying to hold the galaxy together to think twice about her own health.

In the end, the baby-delivering hover-droid correctly diagnoses that Padme's death is caused by Anakin force choking her in late pregnancy, which set off a series of reactions that ultimately killed her with the assistance of a treatable pregnancy complication she didn't even know she had. Perhaps if they'd got to her earlier, perhaps if they'd had her records to hand, they could have done something... but it's too late.

Meanwhile, in Darth Vader's Dark And Gloomy Lava Castle, Anakin gets another notification from Future Facebook. Palpatine's tagged him in an article about how the medical establishment are covering up hover-droid-induced deaths. "I don't want to upset you, Anakin, but... makes you think, right? After all she was fine before those medical droids got their hands on her. And wasn't everything better when she spent her time alone in her apartments sitting around pregnant in billowy clothes, just waiting for you to come back? Maybe we should just outlaw those droids altogether now we're in charge. What do you say?"
posted by Catseye at 7:52 AM on January 4 [86 favorites]


Well, if you start thinking about things like space travel and the energy expenditure involved versus the problems they are solving with space travel in most SF it does all tend to fall apart.

Uh, the article is not questioning the fact that space travel exists or wondering how it works. The article is questioning why, in a universe where space travel exists, women are dying in childbirth? In a universe where someone can fall into lava and live, there's no pre-natal care? The article actually makes the point that it looked like there was no pre-natal healthcare at all, and Padme was a fairly wealthy woman.

There are things that we believe about every story: if the story is about talking animals, well then this is a universe where animals can talk. If it's a story about magic, then this is a universe where magic exists. If it's a movie about space, then this is a universe where space travel is possible. The disconnect is at the point where science has evolved enough to make space travel possible, but rich and powerful women are still dying in childbirth.

In the pioneer West, death in childbirth was common.

It was like that everywhere all over the world since forever until modern medicine came along, not just in the pioneer west.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:55 AM on January 4 [20 favorites]


Anakin has no father

My new headcanon is that women's uteruses are actually the source of the Force. This is why you can't apply medical science to them. They are magical and mysterious and not subject to your medical science! Also this is why they can get sad and kill you. Or produce Anakin just for LOLs. In fact, male sperm actually has no value, all children are Force-created. But men don't want to admit this and women mostly humor them, except for Shmi who doesn't care.

This is also why there are so few women. Their Force wombs are uncontrollable and they generally die of random Force accidents at a young age.

On the upside, women in that universe never have periods. Which is good because all that magical blood would cause problems.
posted by emjaybee at 7:57 AM on January 4 [38 favorites]


Ten billion gigawatt planet-liquifying laser? Sure, why not. Put it in a 15-quintillion-ton space ship the size of a continent, just to be safe.

Charged plasma containment system with nigh-infinite battery life, contained in a vessel the size of a coffee mug? Hell yeah, man, it's a fucking laser ninja sword, back off.

Quasi magical powers wielded by a shadowy religious group, including telekinetic manipulation, mind control, and the ability to exist outside of time and space? Well, if the Jedi aren't going to keep the peace, who will?

Coherent vision for reproductive health? NOW JUST A GODDAMN SECOND.
posted by Mayor West at 7:58 AM on January 4 [44 favorites]


(Query: do we have a shorthand term for fandom reactions when source texts that have been obsessed over for DECADES are given the most glancing of feminist critiques and suddenly caring about them is the work of a blinkered fool, because the texts don’t support such close readings?)

"Twitter"?
posted by No-sword at 7:58 AM on January 4 [22 favorites]


...because it's terribly written and the characters make bizarre choices that make no sense whatsoever?

But it's terribly written along certain very predictable axes, in particular, as the article points out, along the misogyny axis.

I really enjoyed the article. This particular plot hole has annoyed me since I first saw the movie in the theater. I mean, you've got hyperspace and light swords but no basic stethoscopes to discover two fetal heartbeats, really? (Upon preview: exactly Catseye!)

Thing is, if Lucas had portrayed Padme's pregnancy realistically, he could have made Anakin's emotional arc even stronger and underscored the theme of fate/prophecy vs. free will that is woven throughout the movies.

Haunted by his dark visions, Anakin could have completed his transformation into the unhinged hovering/stalkerish lover. Accompanied Padme to every doctor's visit despite the danger of outing their secret relationship, pursued every risky technological option to thwart his vision-of-doom. He could have tracked down dodgy treatment options for imaginary problems, sought out dangerous mystical remedies (on Palpatine's recommendation, natch) to avert bad luck, only to have Padme die despite the efforts. Maybe Obi-wan or Yoda, alarmed by Anakin's increasingly bizarre behavior would have intervened, thwarting his efforts, so Anakin blames them and the Jedi, sending him off the rails into a child-killing rage against the Jedi.

Seriously, this is a stock plot arc in shows like Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds--it's not an exotic or unusual trope.

That kind of approach would have still centered the narrative on Anakin, rather than on Padme, keeping him front and center in the story, making it still all-about-him, thus countering any complaints that emphasizing Padme's pregnancy would change the focus of the movies.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:59 AM on January 4 [21 favorites]


When I see plot holes, unlike most people, I attempt to come up with some reasonable explanation that maybe just isn't talked about or shown on-screen. A lot of the time, I can come up with a simple explanation that neatly covers the plot-hole and would be weird or a waste of time to show on screen.

The closest I can get with this one is that prenatal care in the Star Wars universe is indeed terrible and everything about it's stupidity in the article is accurate. BUT, Anakin was always going to fall to the darkside, the only question was what was going to be the rationalization. Had Padme gotten the care she should have, Anakin would have found some other trigger, or rather, the emperor would have found/created one for him.

They can detect magic force microbes (and fuck you Lucas for making talk about midi-chlorians again) and measure them. If they couldn't diagnose what was wrong with Padme, it was out of purposeful ignorance.
posted by VTX at 8:00 AM on January 4


The real question is: why were the three bowls of porridge all at markedly different temperatures when they were all served at the same time?

I've thought about this, and while it is possible for the bowls to be of differing temperatures, the particular temperatures they have don't make sense. Since the bowls are of differing sizes but the same shape, they've got different surface area to volume ratios, so they transfer heat at different rates. So far, so good. The dad's big bowl should be the hottest, but the mom's medium bowl should be of moderate temperature and baby bear's small bowl should be coolest. Since baby bear's is actually juuuuuust right and mama bear's bowl is the cold one, the bowls must differ in some other respect.

I believe the bowls must be made of different materials. Papa and baby bear can have normal ceramic bowls, but mama bear's bowl needs to be an excellent conductor of heat (say, silver) to end up cooler than everyone else's. Also, it would help if mama bear's bowl had a rougher internal surface- e.g. heat sink blades or spikes- to maximize heat transfer between the porridge and bowl so the bowl can radiate the heat away.
posted by Jpfed at 8:01 AM on January 4 [14 favorites]


"Twitter"?

And yet, the same conversation is happening here on metafilter dot com
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:01 AM on January 4 [13 favorites]


Also, this seems like as good a place as any to reiterate my favorite Star Wars fandom theory, the in-universe Rule of Cool.
This is a universe where the underlying technology basically gives the inhabitants god-like powers before you even get into the mystical force stuff. You can throw absurd amounts of power into any object and it just seems to run forever. How much power does antigravity take? It's obviously little enough of a concern that you can just leave your landspeeder idling in hover mode. How much power does a lightsaber take? That's a tiny little handle and it's doing weird things with physics that we can't do with massive, expensive, power-hungry equipment. So they can pretty much just do whatever they want from a technological standpoint. Which leads me to believe that all the shitty run-down stuff, all the weird, stylized-but-inefficient ways to implement technology (hello AT-ATs) are just affectations. The inhabitants of this galaxy could do miraculous things with the technology we've seen, and they just do what seems cool instead.
Sure, they have the technology to make childbirth effortless and risk-free, because it's a hell of a lot harder to regrow a limb than it is to safely usher in the arrival of a new human. But no one's given it the faintest bit of thought, because it's icky lady-bits. Just send the protocol droid to handle it, I'm sure he'll figure something out.
posted by Mayor West at 8:03 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure they really have science or any understanding of how their technology works either, the answer to which is basically "magic".

Darth Vader lives in a lava castle on the planet where he was horribly disfigured by lava, which says a lot about the level of psychological realism they are going for too.

So basically Star Wars is mainly nonsense that conforms to s general feeling of "Star Warsiness" and not a hell of a lot else. It's assembled from cliches on the fly even if some of those cliches are now its own internal cliche.

Why pull THAT cliche out of a hat? I honestly think it's because Lucas wrote himself into a corner or is just plain old and it seemed a commonplace narrative element to him.

Why does it stick out? Well, it's a pretty egrarious character fridging of a character who's already badly served, but it also feels really unstarwarsy because your taking the Princess Leia character of the prequel era and jut having her die for no reason, and that's just not what Star Warsiness is about.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


There's so many tempting conspiracy theories out there, and Anakin is fertile ground for conspiracy theories, especially about stuff the Jedi Don't Want You To Know. (Palpatine probably has a whole collection of conspiracy-theory blogs across the extremist spectrum and an army of astroturf trolls for the comment sections of all the galactic media sources).

Padme should have known the moment he started wearing that red MRGA hat under his hood.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:14 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


1. If this is just now coming to your attention and ruining your fun, that's privilege. For the rest of us, when we watch a movie and there's an unrealistic dearth of people like us or it shows complete ignorance about basic facts of our lives, the fun is already dampened. Sorry for having to talk about it in public and sharing our experiences if that ruins your fun, I guess.

2. The worldview that this comes from, that wombs are magical, is a worldview that exists today and it kills people. Somewhere in the U.S. today, a woman is dying from inadequate healthcare because women's health is something that politicians don't understand. Rape is 'ok' to some people because they think wombs are magical and can repel rapists. This isn't a fun thought game where we decide if we like the world better or not with the midichlorian theory in it. Instead whether or not this worldview is propogated or inherent in our society is of life and death importance to some of us.

Lucas wanted his movies to reflect U.S. political issues; he said so himself. Today someone pointed out that it illuminated a problem he himself hadn't thought about and suddenly this fun little movie about nazis and guys dying in Vietnam isn't fun anymore.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:15 AM on January 4 [89 favorites]


There are certainly a lot of plot holes in the Star Wars universe!

It won't do, though, to simply point that out in response to this article -- because politics. Because gender injustice. Because some plot holes presume or don't question and actually actively reproduce shitty beliefs about and treatment of women here in this universe.

Pointing out that Lucas's work is illogical and sloppy is one sort of critique. Pointing out how some of his illogical and sloppy work is both a product of and reinforces misogyny is a different and, to my mind, more important critique.

Um, like what tofu crouton says, sort of, only they say it better.
posted by allthinky at 8:20 AM on January 4 [8 favorites]


Mama Bear served up a bowl of porridge, then got distracted because Baby Bear was hollering for something, and as usual only wants mama to fix it. So she came back and the bowl was cold. Guess that one's for her, always sacrificing for the others. She then pours two more bowls, one for Papa and one for Baby Bear, and puts an ice cube in Baby Bear's bowl, because that's the best solution she has found for getting the right temperature immediately, while Papa Bear's bowl is still hot and he can get his own damn ice cube if he wants.

Simple, really.
posted by Liesl at 8:20 AM on January 4 [61 favorites]


Darth Vader lives in a lava castle on the planet where he was horribly disfigured by lava, which says a lot about the level of psychological realism they are going for too.

Not to derail, but ... my wife and I have been discussing whether it is more interesting for Darth Vader to have built his castle there by choice (either out of adolescent machismo or masochism) or for the Emperor to have stationed him there as a reminder/punishment.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 8:24 AM on January 4 [19 favorites]


The Emperor as utter trolling dick does seem to be a theory with some merit.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on January 4 [19 favorites]


Yeah, that midwifery droid is clearly covering for its incompetence.

I would love to see a short series of The Adventures of Incompetent Medical Droid, in which it invents increasingly implausible explanations for patient deaths.

[Small child run through with lightsaber] "Thinking too much about difficult math problems."
[Mon Calimari with head cut off] "Bad calimari."
[Screaming stormtrooper being stomped to death by a bantha] "Ennui."
posted by Shepherd at 8:32 AM on January 4 [31 favorites]


Haunted by his dark visions, Anakin could have completed his transformation into the unhinged hovering/stalkerish lover. Accompanied Padme to every doctor's visit despite the danger of outing their secret relationship, pursued every risky technological option to thwart his vision-of-doom. He could have tracked down dodgy treatment options for imaginary problems, sought out dangerous mystical remedies (on Palpatine's recommendation, natch) to avert bad luck, only to have Padme die despite the efforts. Maybe Obi-wan or Yoda, alarmed by Anakin's increasingly bizarre behavior would have intervened, thwarting his efforts, so Anakin blames them and the Jedi, sending him off the rails into a child-killing rage against the Jedi.

Aw, man, now I'm picturing a world with an Episode III where an increasingly paranoid and unstable Anakin spends the first act tracking down shady back-alley practitioners of banned-by-the-Republic medical technology, and in doing so actually causes Padme's death, because there's a reason the Republic banned them, damnit. Palpatine gives him a little push, and convinces him that it was actually the Jedi working against him all this time, and Anakin flips his shit and wipes out the temple while Palpatine executes Order 66.

That would be a brighter world, all right.
posted by Mayor West at 8:32 AM on January 4 [9 favorites]


Women being fridged via childbirth is such a tiresome Thing in fiction (it's a way to die that only people with uteruses can experience, so obviously it's THE way to go for such persons in fiction because duh how else are we going to Other a whole class of people?). The fact that no one put any extra thought into this particular instance of it, in a fictional universe of frankly magical medical technology, just indicates that no one stopped for a split second to think, "Hey, I know that Padme has to die in order for the story to go, but putting that misogynist cliche aside for a sec, can we find a way to not make it like every single other dead mother story that's ever been written, given that we have all these extra mitigating factors that make that even less plausible than normal?" Instead they were just like, birthin' babies is weird and hard, so yeah, that.

(Hey people, I am a HUGE Star Wars geek from the age of about 6. This plot point is still bad and everyone involved should feel bad. Is it okay for me to say that? Should I post pictures of my Japanese ROTJ one sheets?)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:33 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


I've said it before and will say it again: The goal of a movie is to make you fall in love with it. Be it character, plot, style, acting or mostly likely several of those things, most movies are designed to invoke an emotional reaction in you. 'Cause once you love it, then its plotholes don't matter and a person will even come up with theories to cover them.

The Emperor as utter trolling dick does seem to be a theory with some merit.

Which does the fabulous job of making Vader look like a whipped dog. There's another backstory or theory that says Vader's suit was intentionally cumbersome and heavy so that Anakin would be spending much of his energy dealing with that instead of toppling the Emperor. Which is brilliant in illustrating the Emperor was a brilliant manipulator, but with Vader spending 20 years not coming up with something better while having access to impressive technology makes not a goddamn lick of sense.

Which goes to a major problem of the Star Wars films for me: the goddamn backstory fucking shit up. Out of eight movies, four have been prequels that try to clean up story that doesn't need cleaning. It may sound interesting when presented in the non-prequels, but the movies have done a terrible job of telling those back stories. I've heard the animated series are much better, not doubt 'cause they have time and desire to develop characters and plot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:35 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Haunted by his dark visions, Anakin could have completed his transformation into the unhinged hovering/stalkerish lover.

This plot even works even better you take out stalkerish behaviour/violence against women thing, as it would also solve the huge plot hole of "why the eff does Padme love anakin so much?"

Well, now it's because he risked everything and raised hell to try and save her and her baby while being strong and emotionally supportive for her. Then this adds and even greater emotional weight to the argument of "how far is too far" when Padme is like, "we just need to accept it, try to save the children", and Anakin is more all "But I need to save you! And it's the Jedi's fault!"
posted by mayonnaises at 8:36 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]



There are things that we believe about every story: if the story is about talking animals, well then this is a universe where animals can talk. If it's a story about magic, then this is a universe where magic exists. If it's a movie about space, then this is a universe where space travel is possible. The disconnect is at the point where science has evolved enough to make space travel possible, but rich and powerful women are still dying in childbirth.


This is an extremely cogent way of explaining story logic. Identifying which things are true "in universe" and which just don't make sense in universe when read against the obviously fundamental/intentional things that are true in universe is part of the political critique. We can spot which things the author clearly thought about, and then we can spot the things that they either didn't bother thinking about at all or didn't know enough about to make them make sense.
posted by Frowner at 8:36 AM on January 4 [18 favorites]


In both the real universe and the Star Wars universe, the creation of successful artificial wombs would have as profound an effect on women's personal freedom and autonomy as the birth control pill did have in our real world history. Women would no longer have to choose a surrogate birth mother or choose to undergo the health changes, sacrifices of time and activity, and loss of bodily autonomy necessary to give birth. And the existence of the Clone Wars in the Star Wars universe proves that artificial gestation exists there: if you can mass-produce a clone army, you can grow biological offspring for civilians.

The lack of widely available artificial gestation in Star Wars suggests a total lack of regard for or interest in the healthcare of people with uteruses, religious or cultural taboos against "unnatural" pregnancies, and/or restriction of artificial gestation for military use, all of which are horrifying to contemplate in various ways.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:39 AM on January 4 [23 favorites]


The Epsiode II "maybe fascism...is good?" conversation really should have been the moment Padme ran screaming for the hills.
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on January 4 [11 favorites]


The lack of widely available artificial gestation in Star Wars

Goddamn clone army is hogging it.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


My statement upon watching Padme's death scene: "It's as if millions of obstetricians suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." (Though IMO preferring lava or lightsabers to pregnancy and childbirth is entirely reasonable, that's still no excuse for failing to understand how it works.)

Vader spending 20 years not coming up with something better while having access to impressive technology makes not a goddamn lick of sense.

Anakin was never presented as being especially bright, just good at pod-racing and strong in the Force and all that. Plus education even among Jedi is probably not that great what with the whole widespread illiteracy thing.
posted by asperity at 8:47 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


When watching Rogue One, I could find no good fictional reason for a society being somewhat matriarchal and yet having so few women even walking around in the background.

To be fair, it would be odd if the demographics of the Imperial and Rebel military forces changed significantly between this film and A New Hope, which takes place days (if not hours) later.
posted by designbot at 8:48 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


The Epsiode II "maybe fascism...is good?" conversation really should have been the moment Padme ran screaming for the hills.

For someone coming from a planet that elects teen-aged "monarchs" for seemingly limited terms of service, I doubt Padme has much of a radar for shady political leanings.
posted by thecjm at 8:49 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


This plot even works even better you take out stalkerish behaviour/violence against women thing, as it would also solve the huge plot hole of "why the eff does Padme love anakin so much?"

Plus, do we really want to seen another depiction of a guy repeatedly abusing a woman? The cupboards are all full on that trope, we can move onto other things for a while.

The difficult part of Anakin/Darth Vader is telling a story that lives up to what Vader becomes in the later films. Is it really possible to do that transformation justice? After all, the point of Vader as a character is that he's a powerful Sith Lord, ruthless and powerful in his quest to bend the galaxy to his will. Oh wait, it's actually the will of the Emperor. So Vader is just a tool, from beginning to end.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


But [Kirk's mom] suffers through a difficult and dangerous labor for no particular reason, in a world where that makes no sense.

So I agree that it's just underlying shitty misogyny, but -- from a certain point of view, as Ben says -- couldn't you say this about modern western society? Again from a certain point of view, a lot of women choose to maximize the "naturalness" of their childbirth, viewing medical interventions including analgesia as a vaguely immoral accommodation unless there's some dire, immediate need?

You don't even want to know how bad the nipple-nazis in the Republic and Federation are.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on January 4


It's why the milk is all blue.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Anakin was never presented as being especially bright, just good at pod-racing and strong in the Force and all that.

Iirc, Anakin built C3PO himself.
posted by Jpfed at 9:07 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


It's clearly a kit model, there are tons of those things rattling around the SW universe. Basically what passes for engineering there is being an enthusiastic part of a modder community, since the basic technology and forms for everything were developed hundreds if not thousands of years ago and handed down.
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


My kids build some pretty good Lego contraptions, but I wouldn't say they're engineers.
posted by Etrigan at 9:12 AM on January 4


I heard that Star Wars was a Western.

I think the primary movie Lucas stole from source material inspiration for much of Star Wars (IV at any rate) was Kurosawa. I think it's pretty useful to think of the SW societies as fundamentally medieval in their mind-set too. Power relationships are feudal ("democracy" doesn't exist), or worse Confucian, like the fundamental Sith and Jedi relationship patterns.

That doesn't change your technical argument, but I think it reveals the problems Lucas had shoehorning patriarchal social concepts into a high tech society. In the social/historical context he was trying to evoke, women dying in childbirth is common. In feudal/Confucian societies, who your parents were is tremendously important. Parentage is a central theme in all of the SW films.

The tension between that dramatic need to kill moms (not just Padme, but Shmi and Aunt Beru* and Lyra Erso too) totally not working in an advanced society with medical technologies far better than present day is a huge problem for the whole series. Moms (and mom figures). Heck, why didn't Padme simply use a mechanical surrogate to gestate the kids? If you have healing vats, surely artificial wombs aren't impossible.

The real question for me is: why does Lucas feel the need to kill moms so often? (aka the girlfriend in the freezer plots).

*And Owen, ofc. Owen just comes as part of Luke's motivational package.
posted by bonehead at 9:15 AM on January 4 [8 favorites]


No true Scotsman engineer?
posted by fragmede at 9:18 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


If they had just listened to the goddamn words they put in Leia's mouth in RotJ and realized that Padme had to live long enough for Leia to remember her and had her die of progressive organ failure from Anakin dark-siding her instead of going for the death-in-childbirth cliché and chickening the fuck out of straight up pinning her murder on Anakin by having the idiot medical droid introduce needless ambiguity, we could have avoided this whole problem. Disney call me I can make Star Wars better
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:22 AM on January 4 [24 favorites]


I've thought about this, and while it is possible for the bowls to be of differing temperatures, the particular temperatures they have don't make sense. Since the bowls are of differing sizes but the same shape, they've got different surface area to volume ratios, so they transfer heat at different rates. So far, so good. The dad's big bowl should be the hottest, but the mom's medium bowl should be of moderate temperature and baby bear's small bowl should be coolest. Since baby bear's is actually juuuuuust right and mama bear's bowl is the cold one, the bowls must differ in some other respect.

I believe the bowls must be made of different materials. Papa and baby bear can have normal ceramic bowls, but mama bear's bowl needs to be an excellent conductor of heat (say, silver) to end up cooler than everyone else's. Also, it would help if mama bear's bowl had a rougher internal surface- e.g. heat sink blades or spikes- to maximize heat transfer between the porridge and bowl so the bowl can radiate the heat away.


I also thought about this when I was a kid and came to the conclusion that Baby Bear was given more porridge than Mama Bear, either because of self-sacrifice or because women aren't supposed to eat too much lest they render themselves disgusting or appear insufficiently fragile and delicate.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:25 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


[Several comments deleted. As ever, if you think this is dumb or not interesting or why is anyone even talking about Star Wars or whatever, just pass the thread by.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:26 AM on January 4 [11 favorites]


Great article - I always knew that this sequence ruined Episode III and kept it from being the almost not-terrible movie it could have been. But now I understand the reason it sucks in a much richer way.
posted by skewed at 9:29 AM on January 4


bonehead: The real question for me is: why does Lucas feel the need to kill moms so often?

The same has been asked of Disney. It's a good question.
posted by clawsoon at 9:32 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


If they had just listened to the goddamn words they put in Leia's mouth in RotJ and realized that Padme had to live long enough for Leia to remember her and had her die of progressive organ failure from Anakin dark-siding her instead of going for the death-in-childbirth cliché and chickening the fuck out of straight up pinning her murder on Anakin by having the idiot medical droid introduce needless ambiguity, we could have avoided this whole problem. Disney call me I can make Star Wars better

This right here.

All three of the prequels could have been made 100% better with one more draft of the screenplay by a competent writer. This particular issue could have been solved with two lines of dialog:

MEDICAL DROID
Senator Amadala's injuries were too grave, but we were able to save her babies, a boy and a girl.

OBI WAN
We will name them Luke and Leia.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:32 AM on January 4 [11 favorites]


I assumed that each bear preferred their porridge at a different temperature and that they prepared and served it appropriately according to taste.

I must have missed the version that specified that they were heated for the same length of time and served simultaneously. Is it called "Goldilocks and the Extremely Pointless Logic Puzzle"?
posted by kyrademon at 9:43 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


Well it is now (at least in my house).
posted by Tabitha Someday at 9:53 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


To add another wrinkle, I have a couple of young daughters and I guarantee three different bowls at the same temperature could definitely be "too hot," "too cold," and "just right." (strangely if you add chocolate chips it's suddenly the perfect temperature)

And yeah, the prequels are shit. I didn't see the third one (fool me twice...), but I'm not surprised given some of the stuff in the rest of Lucas' Hollywood's oeuvre. The number of big budget movies written/directed by women really needs to increase. A lot.
posted by ODiV at 9:53 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I always thought the actual porridge temp was irrelevant, because Goldilocks was trying to "Single White Female" Baby Bear and steal his life. However, like most errant children trying to commit identity theft, she did a terrible job.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:54 AM on January 4 [12 favorites]


I must have missed the version that specified that they were heated for the same length of time and served simultaneously.

How do you cook porridge in your house?
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


As much as I am enjoying the conversation about having fantastic literature make economic/social/moral/applicable-to-our-lives-in-this-world sense versus fairy tales in which there is philosophical truth but logic is a greatly different thing than in our world (and I do love it, and have numerous thoughts on this, and just adore the "Star Wars is about space bees played by human actors for convenience" idea)... I think ultimately the answer to the question posed here is that Star Wars was (originally) pretty obviously intended for young boys, and Lucas (or whoever) just didn't really give much thought to how women (or anyone else, really) actually live in this universe. And that is a double-pronged problem endemic to fantasy and science fiction that deserves to be talked about; exceptions deserve to be celebrated.

The article understands what happened here, and is poking at it; the way women are a background element more than free agents in the movies and the apparent lack of women's healthcare are a "writer never considered" thing, rather than any sort of convoluted consequence of some aspect of this fictional world that's kind of obviously making itself up as it goes along.

I have never seen the prequel movies, and last saw the originals as an actual child, so my frame of reference is mostly the Bioware RPGs, which are a whole lot more coherent and lady-featuring, but still seem to generally suck for most average not-space-princess-or-space-priestess-or-space-Hitler women. I like Revan, though, and don't you dare tell me she's "canonically" a dude.
posted by byanyothername at 9:55 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


> "How do you cook porridge in your house?"

In a microwave.

Like a bear.
posted by kyrademon at 9:57 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


Don't be ridiculous. You can't fit a bear in a microwave.
posted by Etrigan at 9:59 AM on January 4 [41 favorites]


Daddy bear cooks the porridge in a pot as part of the rustic forrest living aesthetic.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


When watching Rogue One, I could find no good fictional reason for a society being somewhat matriarchal and yet having so few women even walking around in the background.

There were certainly women about in Jedha City. As for the rebel bases, It's Star Wars. What's the current ratio of women to men in the front lines of combat? In 2011, women represented 14.5% of active duty military across all roles. That percentage will be significantly lower if you're looking at FOBs like you see in Rogue One. Of all the ridiculousness in the movie, that's the least galling.


No, it's incredibly galling, especially in Jedha City where you'd expect around half the population to be female*, to be shown maybe a grand total of six women. Or maybe I should say: it's incredibly galling as a woman to look for a reasonable number of women in a city scene and see hardly any. And you can't compare rebel armies to standing armies- by their very nature volunteer armies should have more women (unless your society is patriarchal, in which case they wouldn't be allowed to volunteer). The French Resistance was 15-20% women. One in seven fighters in the Polish Home Army were women. We do not see anywhere near those numbers in Rogue One. Besides, what about support staff at the FOB? There were an awful lot of people rushing around that rebel base; even if one wants to believe that fighting rebel women don't really exist, there should be women there doing other work.

Seriously, there were like seven total speaking roles for women in Rogue One, while there are at least seven major roles for men (Galen, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, K-2, Bodhi, Draven, Krennic, Tarkin). It's ridiculous to tell every women who has commented on the lack of females in the galaxy that that's the "least galling" thing about the movie. It's a pervasive irritant to be reminded that reasonable gender representation just is not a concern to people making movies, even though 52% of people going to see movies are women. It's also incredibly frustrating to be told it's not a fucking problem.

*Or really, a lot more if we want to accept the idea that all the men are fighting and dying while the women stay home. You can't have a lack of women in a military at war and have a lack of women on the "home front" unless you just have a lack of women in general. Or maybe they've all died in childbirth!
posted by oneirodynia at 10:09 AM on January 4 [54 favorites]


oneirodynia: No, it's incredibly galling, especially in Jedha City where you'd expect around half the population to be female*, to be shown maybe a grand total of six women.

Hey, it's 1 of 3 on the Bechdel Test. So there are more than two named female characters, but they never once speak to each other?
posted by clawsoon at 10:20 AM on January 4


Or maybe they've all died in childbirth!

Based on Rogue One, they probably all died trying to protect their families only never to be spoken of again or used as motivation by their daughters seeking revenge. I mean, a distant scientist father and an insanely paranoid father figure in hand are worth more than a dead mom in the bush.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:23 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


I can get easily irked by articles that too smugly apply our real-world issues to fantasy world movies, but this one is brilliant and great. I mean, in broad outline I think what Lucas was going for was the classic hubris thing where the attempt to avoid a prophesied outcome is the very thing that brings the doomed outcome to pass. [If Oedipus had grown up actually knowing who his parents were he probably wouldn't have killed dad and certainly wouldn't have married Mom.] And I can also get that the traditional myths and tales Lucas is trying to emulate generally come from a time when childbirth was a mystery to most people, and death from complications far more common. But to NOT question that when inserting it into a world with healing tanks and bionic hands and other clearly super-advanced medical technology is really bad, lazy writing.

It has been so long since I watched this movie that I didn't even remember this is how Padme dies. "Lost the will to live"? I think I openly groaned in the theater the first time. Everything about the Padme/Annikin storyline is awful. Which is a shame because the political intrigue of how Palpatine takes over the Senate is actually quite interesting, but the whole movie suffers because the "love story" is so terrible.
posted by dnash at 10:24 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Lyra Erso too

Early during my second Rogue One watch, it hit me: wouldn't it have been awesome for Lyra to be the engineer? Like, a chunk of this film is about a girl trying to track down her estranged mother.

Also, with regards to storm troopers, I totally think Scarrif could have had women without being an issue: the Empire has a policy against front-line female combat, which means way more of the support troops sent to supposedly secure bases are female.

I was thinking this is explained through a selective plague. (Or maybe, if we want to go more serious, a ton of the bit characters are women who disguise themselves as men. Life as a lower-class woman in a city sucks, hence the disguise.)
posted by steady-state strawberry at 10:26 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Thanks to Episodes IV-VI, by the end of the prequel trilogy we need the following things:
1. Anakin needs to turn to the dark side.
2. Padme needs to die.
3. Anakin/Vader has to believe that his child did not survive.
4. Anakin/Vader must not know that Padme was carrying twins.
5. Obi-Wan and Yoda must know about both twins' parentage.
6. Obi-Wan and Yoda must escape into hiding shortly after the rise of the Empire.

I'm sure there's a better way of getting to these end results besides creating a universe devoid of prenatal care, but he really was written into a corner here. Padme can't have prenatal care, because then Anakin would know that "there is another." The only way to do it, I think, is to have Anakin have visions of Padme dying, but nothing relating to childbirth, while Padme attempts to keep the pregnancy entirely secret from both the public and Anakin. This means that by the time of her death, Padme's pregnancy must be at a stage where she can successfully conceal it from Anakin, but far enough along that when she dies, the children can survive and be handed off by Obi-Wan to their surrogate families. Given this, here's my obstetrics-friendly prequel plot outline.

Anakin and Padme fall in love and conceive their children. The escalation of the war forces Anakin off to battle, separated from Padme. During Anakin's experience on the front lines, he is traumatized the atrocities of war and finds his faith in the Jedi diminished. Anakin briefly visits Padme and is a changed man, bitter and quick to anger, frightening Padme. Padme, aware of her pregnancy and concerned for her children having seen Anakin's darkness, retreats into seculusion "for her safety in time of war", accompanied by loyal Naboo nurses and doulas. The separatists become aware of Padme's hiding place via spycraft/bounty hunters/probe droids. Anakin foresees danger to Padme and has been firmly taken under Palpatine's spell in the name of the war effort. Yoda senses the presence of the twins through the force, and alerts Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan arrives to investigate ahead of the separatist forces just as Padme is giving birth to the twins. The Separatists arrive to abduct/kill Padme. Padme warns Obi-Wan of the changes she noticed in Anakin, and advises him to hide the children with the nurses/doulas/etc. Anakin arrives to save Padme, finds Obi-Wan there and assumes infidelity. Large-scale battle involving lightsabers and droids, during which Anakin takes reckless action resulting in Padme's death. Anakin and Obi-Wan duel, and Obi-Wan triumphs. Obi-Wan retrieves the children and flees. Anakin calls to Palpatine via the Force, and is encased in his suit. Palpatine publicly blames Padme's death on Obi-Wan and a Jedi conspiracy, and launches the purge. Obi-Wan and Yoda narrowly escape the purge, including a battle in which Obi-Wan maims Anakin. They secret away the twins, under close watch due to their force sensitivity, and go into hiding. Roll Credits.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 10:32 AM on January 4 [17 favorites]


Lyra Erso too

I'm not sure what exactly her play was on Lah'mu. Galen and she already had a plan for her and her daughter to escape safely. She tosses that away to pull a gun on Krennic when he's surrounded by death troopers.

Why, exactly?

How does she see this playing out? How can that possibly result in a good outcome? Even if she succeeds in killing Krennic, what does she think happens next? The troopers just decide to go home? With Krennic dead, does the Empire just give up on their advanced weapons programs?

Even if you're gonna fridge Mom, can you at least have her die in a way that doesn't insult our intelligence? Like, "She was killed by a space bear in a dispute over blue porridge."
posted by leotrotsky at 10:32 AM on January 4 [17 favorites]


As we all know, one of the most common paths to enlistment in the Star Wars universe is stand up comedy, so you can't, in good faith, hold the military institutions responsible for the large disparity between genders. We can all agree this is a problem, yes, and they should be doing more, empire and rebels alike, but forcing comedy clubs to institute some sort of affirmative action instead of the current merit-based system would be unfair to patrons. And I think we can all agree in times of war we need all the levity we can get. In time this will get better along with society. We just need to be patient and understanding.
posted by ODiV at 10:35 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


While we're on the topic of random details ruining people's reactions to things early, I had the two counter-arguments pop into my head almost immediately and I was unable to buy the premise of the article:

1. The article says that "we never see Amidala go to a doctor". Well, we also never see anyone go to the bathroom in any of the Star Wars movies, but I'm assuming the author takes it as read that that happens, so why not this?

2. Having an OB/GYN and an ultrasound and all that is still not a 100% guarantee against a mother dying in childbirth. It increases the likelihood, yes, but it doesn't reduce the risk to zero.

I mean, "she's lost the will to live" is still kind of dippy, but those objections seem nit-picky.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on January 4


> "Padme can't have prenatal care, because then Anakin would know that 'there is another.'"

I can think of any number of good ways around this supposed problem off the top of my head.

Like, how about, 'they broke up, he never even knew she was pregnant'.
posted by kyrademon at 10:37 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


How does she see this playing out? How can that possibly result in a good outcome?

Plans like this work out all the time in these movies. She just needed to do it an hour or so in instead of 15 minutes.
posted by ODiV at 10:37 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


As we all know, one of the most common paths to enlistment in the Star Wars universe is stand up comedy, so you can't, in good faith, hold the military institutions responsible for the large disparity between genders.

This provides a plausible explanation for their problems with aiming and low doors. Stand-up comics are not known for their proprioception .
posted by leotrotsky at 10:39 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


she suffers through a difficult and dangerous labor for no particular reason, in a world where that makes no sense.

I figured Winona Kirk had just eschewed painkillers because the film was made by a lot of Southern Californians (local rituals can influence local product) and also because she figured being treated by big-eyed Alien OB's was already sufficiently trippy.
posted by czyz at 10:42 AM on January 4


1. They broke up
2. He was a captive or frozen in carbonite or otherwise incommunicado throughout almost the whole of her pregnancy and childbirth
3. She was a captive or otherwise incommunicado throughout almost the whole of her pregnancy and childbirth
4. It was a one night stand and they saw each other again
5. She lied to him and claimed she wasn't carrying twins
6. A doctor lied to her and claimed she wasn't carrying twins
7. Something something can't medically analyze special forcebabies something something
8. The damage that forced him to live in the Darth Vader suit includes brain damage and robbed him of some of his memory
9. The Emperor Jedi mindtricked his brain so much that it broke and he lost some of his memory

I mean, sure that's just off the top of my head, and some might work and some are dumb, but if you're just about to write the prequels ab initio based on Episodes IV-VI, you are totally not backed into any "no prenatal care and death in childbirth" plot unless you want to be. Hell, going that route actually CONTRADICTS Episodes IV-VI; Leia remembers her mother a little bit.
posted by kyrademon at 10:46 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


"Anakin has no father"

Headcanon: Palpatine spent years using Sith powers to identify force-sensitive lower-class and/or slave women that nobody will believe, who he would then travel to and rape while using the Force as a roofie. Anakin has a whole shitload of half-brothers and sisters that he knows nothing about.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:48 AM on January 4


I'm not sure what exactly her play was on Lah'mu. Galen and she already had a plan for she and her daughter to escape safely. She tosses that away to pull a gun on Krennic when he's surrounded by death troopers.

From flipping through the movie tie-in book, she hated Krennic on a personal level. He's that dickweed friend your SO can't seem to shake from their younger days.

Also, while I get the coolness of death troopers, these dudes were attached to a science officer in the Engineering Corps. Not sure they merit the coolness of the uniform.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:50 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Palpatine spent years using Sith powers to identify force-sensitive lower-class and/or slave women that nobody will believe, who he would then travel to and rape while using the Force as a roofie.

Given that he's Rey's grampy, that makes sense to me.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:51 AM on January 4


1. The article says that "we never see Amidala go to a doctor". Well, we also never see anyone go to the bathroom in any of the Star Wars movies, but I'm assuming the author takes it as read that that happens, so why not this?

Because everyone, INCLUDING PADME, is surprised by her having twins. As the article notes, doctors have been able to figure out twins for centuries, using just a stethoscope, so there's zero reason for anyone to be surprised here, especially the wealthy ruler of an entire planet.

2. Having an OB/GYN and an ultrasound and all that is still not a 100% guarantee against a mother dying in childbirth. It increases the likelihood, yes, but it doesn't reduce the risk to zero.

She didn't die from complications of childbirth, this ruler of entire world who's fought in wars suddenly "lost the will to live" after finding out she'd delivered twins. Besides, a doctor and advanced technology available to a queen in this universe would probably guarantee that kids are born 110% healthy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:52 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


With Krennic dead, does the Empire just give up on their advanced weapons programs?

In SW logic yes, pretty much. SW, like other heroic literature, is all about how exceptional people matter, and only exceptional people matter. It's a device. It's not meant to be realistic.
posted by bonehead at 10:53 AM on January 4


From flipping through the movie tie-in book, she hated Krennic on a personal level. He's that dickweed friend your SO can't seem to shake from their younger days.

Heh, that doesn't help explain anything, as it's still a stupid play if she wants to save herself and her family. What she did was suicide by plot device.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


How about - After she found out she was demoted from being a Jedi in an earlier script, she just didn't want to be in the movie anymore?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:59 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


The lava castle seemed so out of place and prequelly. Darth Vader is a huge LotR nerd and wanted his very own Barad-dûr?
posted by mubba at 11:03 AM on January 4


I seem to remember it was established at some point that Darth Plageius could make you pregnant using force magic. This may or may not be canon or anything anyone gives a shit about at this point.

(Remember Darth Plageius? Major player in the prequels who only appears in tie-in material and a story Palpatine tells in III)
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I'm sure there's a better way of getting to these end results besides creating a universe devoid of prenatal care, but he really was written into a corner here.

First of all, he wrote himself there, so no, not buying it. He didn't inherit the narrative.

But also, part of the problem is that in ANY movie, whenever ANY writer gets stuck in a narrative loop, or trap, or whatever, the solution is "and then his mom or girlfriend dies, maybe both". In these movies, she was both, so bonus! "All plots lead to women dying of broken hearts" is not the inevitability that sci-fi makes it out to be. Why is "women dying for pathos" a given in a preponderance of narratives, but "giant robots from space show up" isn't? Because we live in a culture where "women dying for pathos" is a given, a constant, a reliable crutch. Even when it makes no sense.

George Lucas wrote himself into that corner because he lives in a culture that writes women into that corner, not by accident.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:06 AM on January 4 [25 favorites]


The lava castle seemed so out of place and prequelly.

I dig that its basically like something a 12 year old would come up with.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


My preferred version of "he can't know there are two kids": Padme gets lots of prenatal care, including sonograms. The sonograms only ever show one fetus. We later learn that this results from one of the twins being force sensitive even in utero, manipulating perception to hide itself.

Everyone assumes it was Luke, but in the end (hypothetical episode 9 where 2016 didn't ruin everything), it turns out that it was Leia, suspicious of the patriarchy from an EXTREMELY young age.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:12 AM on January 4 [37 favorites]


I'm personally really tired of arguments that try to tell me why it makes internal sense for women's experiences to be so underserved in a piece of media. They miss the point.

This isn't a test of your imagination. Internal sense isn't the only thing that matters. An invented world only works a certain way because that's how the author wrote it; it's a result of the author's choices, which are not made in a social vacuum. And here the author's choices resulted, again, in women's experiences being underserved in a piece of media.

Also, on a related note:

I too could come up with an explanation for how a world with near-magical medical technology apparently has no concept of reproductive health care. But if I did that, it would be because I'm aware that that needs justification. There's no attempt to do this in Star Wars, because the person responsible for the script didn't even know how bizarre that dichotomy was.

Post-hoc papering over of the plot hole by fans is fundamentally different than if that justification had been built into the world/story in the first place.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:17 AM on January 4 [16 favorites]


How about - After she found out she was demoted from being a Jedi in an earlier script, she just didn't want to be in the movie anymore?

Was she a Jedi in a earlier script? That would have been kinda cool, but I can see how it would interfere with the gritty "no lightsabers" feel.

Still...her mom's recklessness could have given Jyn a low opinion of Jedi, which could have turned into some nice character beats between her and the blind guy. But oh right, character development wasn't an ingredient of for the R1 buffet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on January 4


Reckless idealism vs. cold pragmatism.
posted by ODiV at 11:22 AM on January 4


Can I just say. The grindingly predictable minimising at the start of this thread has been entirely cancelled out for me by the sparkling snippets of FTFY fanfic.

My favourite (even though kind of the wrong word given the subject) so far is emotional abuser Anakin goaded into it by Palpatine but more please, more.
posted by greenish at 11:26 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


Still...her mom's recklessness could have given Jyn a low opinion of Jedi, which could have turned into some nice character beats between her and the blind guy. But oh right, character development wasn't an ingredient of for the R1 buffet.

I'd have replaced Saw with her. Lyra Erso does not die at the hands of the Death Troopers and instead becomes the part-machine, paranoid fanatic that Saw is in the movie. She abandon's Jyn for The Cause at some point which makes their reunion more impactful and Lyra-as-Saw's suicidal final act more in keeping with the character.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:27 AM on January 4 [16 favorites]


I'd have replaced Saw with her.

THANK YOU, that works really well for the movie in my head, while eating vitamin infused buttery popcorn and cancer killing raisinets.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog: "Wait, does anyone casually fuck in Star Wars? I'm just realizing now that Han and Leia must eventually fuck when they're married, and Luke goes volcel like the rest of the Jedi, and Padme and Anakin fuck but as part of a Secret Marriage, and it's implied Shmi never even fucked at all despite giving birth, and even the most sexually-aggressive creature we see - Jabba, who chains up Leia - seems to have the idea that sexual fulfillment is based around ladies dancing. Who nonmatrimonially fucks in Star Wars?

New Theory: Sith Force Spell blanketing the galaxy, causing a amnesiac/confusion bubble of about a foot in diameter, surrounding literally every humanoid beings' genitals. Exceptions to this are rare and species-specific, like the Ysalamiri lizards

This magical sphere of unsexy genital-based confusion will be known as the Sith Incel Bubble
"

SOrry, you know and I know Han was ALWAYS DTF.
posted by Samizdata at 11:48 AM on January 4


But also, part of the problem is that in ANY movie, whenever ANY writer gets stuck in a narrative loop, or trap, or whatever, the solution is "and then his mom or girlfriend dies, maybe both".

This is why I like Raymond Chandler. His solution to the same problem is "have somebody walk into the room holding a gun". And when he actually uses this solution in The Big Sleep, he immediately lampshades it with Marlowe's best line from a whole career of great lines.

But I digress.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:48 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Honestly would any character in SW not be improved by being female? It would work just as well, or better, as a majority-female universe.
posted by emjaybee at 11:55 AM on January 4 [5 favorites]


he immediately lampshades it with Marlowe's best line from a whole career of great lines.

But I digress.


OK I'll bite. What's the line?

posted by Atom Eyes at 11:55 AM on January 4


OK I'll bite. What's the line?

Leaving thread 'cause I literally just bought the ebook ($3 US on Amazon) and don't want to know!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:58 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Pterodactyl: "I've thought about this, and while it is possible for the bowls to be of differing temperatures, the particular temperatures they have don't make sense. Since the bowls are of differing sizes but the same shape, they've got different surface area to volume ratios, so they transfer heat at different rates. So far, so good. The dad's big bowl should be the hottest, but the mom's medium bowl should be of moderate temperature and baby bear's small bowl should be coolest. Since baby bear's is actually juuuuuust right and mama bear's bowl is the cold one, the bowls must differ in some other respect.

I believe the bowls must be made of different materials. Papa and baby bear can have normal ceramic bowls, but mama bear's bowl needs to be an excellent conductor of heat (say, silver) to end up cooler than everyone else's. Also, it would help if mama bear's bowl had a rougher internal surface- e.g. heat sink blades or spikes- to maximize heat transfer between the porridge and bowl so the bowl can radiate the heat away.


I also thought about this when I was a kid and came to the conclusion that Baby Bear was given more porridge than Mama Bear, either because of self-sacrifice or because women aren't supposed to eat too much lest they render themselves disgusting or appear insufficiently fragile and delicate.
"

Until the one day Mama Bear snaps, murders the family and consumes their organs while still hot and fresh from their steaming corpses? Then goes on a rampage as life has no meaning with just porridge and home invasion to look forward to?
posted by Samizdata at 12:15 PM on January 4


Saw is a reflection of Vader. Making ex-Jedi Lyra Erso into an aging fanatical cyborg, and an actual absent parent not just a surrogate, likely would have worked better and simplified the narrative. His initial introduction is a jarring "who is this guy and why is he here?" moment in Rogue One. All for the slight, marginal advantage of having a Clone Wars character crossing over into the live-action canon.

Yeah, opportunity lost there.
posted by bonehead at 12:19 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


clawsoon: "bonehead: The real question for me is: why does Lucas feel the need to kill moms so often?

The same has been asked of Disney. It's a good question.
"

Because it is easy motivational drama for almost everyone?
posted by Samizdata at 12:21 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


easy or just lazy?

Treating the most-significant female relation of a main character as disposable objects hardly the only way to motivate a character. That's the point.
posted by bonehead at 12:23 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I love this piece.

I saw Episode III while pregnant with my second child, after my first child had died due to incompetent healthcare at delivery.

So it is pretty much a miracle that the Ottawa Cineplex Odeon is still standing really. And I agree that it's privilege to not have that be so jarring that it takes you out of the fictional universe - the pregnancy, the not having twins, the running around with a teeny-tiny belly before delivering full-size twins, etc.

And only a testimony to my childhood fan-love that I've seen any of the subsequent films.

Also, just a peep: Homicidal maniac after my child? I would not die of a broken heart, I would be like, someone get me some weaponry and any remaining Jedi to take this asshole out so my kids can grow up safely. Ahem.

I now have two boys and I have to say the idea that writing for boys = being stupid about women is total nonsense. Boys like logic and biology as much as anything else.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:23 PM on January 4 [25 favorites]


. The article says that "we never see Amidala go to a doctor". Well, we also never see anyone go to the bathroom in any of the Star Wars movies, but I'm assuming the author takes it as read that that happens, so why not this?

Because a major theme and character of 6+ movies doesn't hinge on Anakin Skywalker being constipated?
posted by soundguy99 at 12:25 PM on January 4 [14 favorites]


wait that motivation actually explains a lot
posted by Greg Nog at 12:27 PM on January 4 [28 favorites]


leotrotsky: "As we all know, one of the most common paths to enlistment in the Star Wars universe is stand up comedy, so you can't, in good faith, hold the military institutions responsible for the large disparity between genders.

This provides a plausible explanation for their problems with aiming and low doors. Stand-up comics are not known for their proprioception .
"

Awesome. So that means I am a stand up comic now (instead of just a clutz ?)
posted by Samizdata at 12:29 PM on January 4


Greg Nog: "Who nonmatrimonially fucks in Star Wars?"

This guy. This guy fucks. Nonmatrimonially.
posted by mhum at 12:39 PM on January 4 [13 favorites]


wait that motivation actually explains a lot

"the Dark Fiber is a pathway to many abilities some would consider to be...unnatural. Join me and together we will bring regularity to the galaxy."
posted by nubs at 12:47 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I sure noticed the lack of women in Rogue One. When Our Hero turns up with a team of rebels looking to redeem themselves I looked them over and thought, "they could get a token CGI alien in there, but not a token woman?"

I also remember being furious in the moment when the line about Padme losing her will to live was delivered in the theater. (Big fan, went opening night.) Because there's nothing about having two new babies to give a woman motivation to try to survive. Not compared to being disappointed in her boyfriend. I mean, pfft, babies, amirite?

My personal headcanon is that Anakin and Padme were force-linked by Anakin's obsession (hence the visions, and etc.) When Anakin took what should have been fatal injuries, he reached out for life energy via the force, and there was one life directly connected to him. That's why she died for no medically identifiable reason (remote life draining via a force link would look inexplicable.) That's also why the Jedi kept making such a big deal about controlling your emotions and not making deep emotional connections. They weren't (just) being jerks, they were warning of a real risk. Someone strong in the Force can overwhelm the target of their attachment without even meaning to. It's even possible that this happened just after childbirth because until then her (literal, physical) symbiosis with two powerful Force-wielders had been protecting her.

I have no explanation for why the twins were a surprise.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:51 PM on January 4 [23 favorites]


clawsoon: "bonehead: The real question for me is: why does Lucas feel the need to kill moms so often?

The same has been asked of Disney. It's a good question."

Because it is easy motivational drama for almost everyone?


Another thing that moms do is protect their children. This is a narrative obstacle, if the writer wants the child to rush off into the world and have adventures. Do you think that Ariel's mom would let her run off after a boy she had seen only once? She would not. Even the presence of a mother that isn't protective in a direct way creates a web of family obligations that potentially weigh down a character and complicate their actions, cf. Katniss's clinically depressed mother. The easiest thing to do is to write out the mother, and until maternal survival rates from childbirth started to rise in this past century, it wasn't an implausible thing to do at all. Now it's just lazy.

(I am a writer, and the mothers in my stories are often ineffective or emotionally absent in a way that leads to a character's freedom to act in some regard. My own mom, who is completely awesome, worries that this is a reflection on her somehow.)
posted by Countess Elena at 12:55 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


(as a further example to the above, I might note that my mom was a narrative obstacle to me sneaking out of the window at night to have adventures with my cool friends, the way it always happened in middle-grade fiction, because she could actually hear, and so could the moms of my friends, and none of them were likely to be fooled by rolled-up blankets in the shape of a kid in the bed)
posted by Countess Elena at 1:00 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I don't believe anyone has linked this fascinating theory about Padme's death -- she did not die of a broken heart, or lose the will to live, [or of some bizarre absence of quality prenatal care,] but because Palpatine killed her in order to cement his hold on Vader. Works for me.

[Note: This is not meant to hand-wave the real issues of misogyny in Star Wars, or the other issues that have been stated upthread. I just think this is a pretty plausible theory that actually works within the movie.]
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:01 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


SOrry, you know and I know Han was ALWAYS DTF.

But he learned the hard way to let... the Wookie... er well um
posted by delfin at 1:15 PM on January 4


I always like the bits with Obi Wans ex in Clone Wars. Strictly freinds with benefits, nothing more, obviously - per the Jedi code.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


(Ultimately Anakin fucks it all up by being Anakin, of course.)
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on January 4


Backstroke Of The West explained this quite clearly:
Check result, she complete health but we can't explain why she quick dead
- Does she die quickly?
We do not know why. She loses the live descending the will that go to. We must proceed the surgical operation right away. Talent extraction child.
posted by comealongpole at 1:25 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I just think this is a pretty plausible theory that actually works within the movie.

My problem with that theory is the same with pretty much any one the fans come up with (which includes me on many occassions) - it isn't supported by the text we have, it's something we have to read into the narrative. Now, the person who made that page makes a bunch of comments about how the last hour of RotS doesn't "hold your hand" and "asks the viewer to put things together."

I ask you, in all the Star Wars films - all of them - when has the narrative not held the hands of the audience? The films in general have the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and what small moments I have found that I think are subtext or hints at subtlety are the result of the performer, not the writing (or, at the least, not the writing of one Mr. Lucas). But we are suddenly to believe that this franchise went into a great leap of trusting the audience to puzzle it out. I have no problems accepting that the Force in some way was involved in Padme's death, but given that the Jedi standing right beside her when she "loses the will to live" and is seemingly untroubled by this concept is the same one who will sense, at a distance, the death of everyone on a planet in the next film, I kinda just want to throw my hands up at the whole thing. It's a lot of complicated explanations when the Occam's razor approach seems simpler:

The prequels are bad movies, and as part of being such, they indulged in the overused, tired pop culture trope of "fridging" to give the (purported) hero of the six film arc a motivation for his turn to evil.

My hope is that however they deal with General Leia's departure from the story now, it is better than a fridging.
posted by nubs at 1:26 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


There was a strange Victorian convention you run across sometimes reading books from that era where somehow, no one had a mother. Even if the main character was raised by an adult woman who fulfilled the role of mother in every respect, it wasn't the biological mother for some reason. I've occasionally wondered if this was because acknowledging someone had a mother was tacitly acknowledging that somewhere, at some time, someone had sex.

This was a big enough thing to be parodied by Gilbert and Sullivan:

GROSVENOR. (wildly) But you would not do it – I am sure you would not. (Throwing himself at Bunthorne's knees, and clinging to him) Oh, reflect, reflect! You had a mother once.
BUNTHORNE. Never!
GROSVENOR. Then you had an aunt! (Bunthorne affected.) Ah! I see you had! By the memory of that aunt, I implore you to pause ere you resort to this last fearful expedient. Oh, Mr. Bunthorne, reflect, reflect! (weeping)
posted by kyrademon at 1:29 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


And just so I'm not solely posting flip fluff in this thread, I will say that the dire Padme loses the will to live and pops like a bubble part of RotS is probably the most blatant example of Lucas's utter inability to convert his incredibly timey-wimey, broad-stoke backstory for ANH-onwards into meaningful action/drama.
posted by comealongpole at 1:32 PM on January 4


Who nonmatrimonially fucks in Star Wars?

There's more sexing in the Extended Universe (bold old EU and new EU), just not in the movies.

What's the current ratio of women to men in the front lines of combat? In 2011, women represented 14.5% of active duty military across all roles. That number will be significantly lower if you're looking at FOBs like you see in Rogue One.

OK, but again, bacta tanks exist but women in the military don't? Back to Frowner's point:

We can have a lot of fun - like this article does with Star Wars - kicking around potential explanations; we can also learn something about Tolkien's concerns and his toolbox.

One of the things we try to do in my SF class is precisely this - examine the logic of the world and try to figure out what is missing so that we can understand more about the intellectual conditions under which the book was produced.


In this case, Star Wars has historically been produced under the same conditions of a lot of Hollywood blockbusters, which is from the perspective of white dudes. Childbirth is mysterious, non-white people don't exist, and all the extras are men. The Force Awakens made some huge strides in this. Rogue One was not as good.

Now, you could come up with a headcanon where the structure of most human societies in the Old Republic was heavily patriarchial and this carried over to the Empire. Perhaps within the Rebellion women started to take a larger role, from both a "needs must" perspective and because young men were drafted into military service. By the time of The Force Awakens we saw a more egalitarian society.

I always assumed that Anakin and Padme were going to hook up, they were going to go off on separate ways due to the war, and she'd give birth while he was away. Maybe she was already having second thoughts about him when she found out. Then they were out of contact for a while, due to Reasons [Being captured? Being stranded? Insert plot device here], and by the time she can contact him again and knows she's bearing twins, she doesn't want to tell him anything because he's fallen off the deep end. She goes into hiding, gives birth, sends Luke away to Tatooine and Leia to Alderaan. She hides out on Alderaan herself and is sometimes able to visit Leia. When Anakin finally catches up with her, she tells him she lost the pregnancy and she dies resisting his capture or defending someone he's trying to kill or something similarly heroic.

I think everyone can agree though that there were a million ways to do the whole prequel trilogy, and Lucas picked some of the worst ones.
posted by schroedinger at 1:36 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


I don't believe anyone has linked this fascinating theory about Padme's death -- she did not die of a broken heart, or lose the will to live, [or of some bizarre absence of quality prenatal care,] but because Palpatine killed her in order to cement his hold on Vader.

Nobody here has linked it, because it was discussed in TFA.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:36 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Another alternative to "Padme dies of a broken heart because reasons": Anakin and Padme fall in love and conceive their children. Padme gets LOTS of prenatal care and learns early in her pregnancy that she'll have health problems that are complicated to treat and potentially fatal for both mother and fetus(es): fetal bloodtype/midichlorian mismatch, maternal transmission of space HIV, etc. Padme is pragmatic and wants to pursue treatments prioritizing the health of her child(ren), while Anakin refuses to consider any option that doesn't include perfectly healthy outcomes for Padme and baby, which strains their relationship. The strain worsens as Anakin obsessively searches for a perfect cure and grows increasingly furious that the Jedi won't magically fix everything. Meanwhile Palpatine is feeding him bullshit about the powaahhh of the Dark Side. Padme hits her breaking point when Anakin reacts violently to OB/GYNs discussing worst-case scenarios and warning of the dangers of stress on pregnancy. Padme leaves to hide from Anakin and pursue aggressive experimental treatment to keep the disease from being transmitted in utero. She either learns she's carrying twins shortly after leaving or knew and hid it from Anakin to keep him from freaking out more. Anakin freaks out more because Padme would totally never leave him so the Jedi totally abducted her. Padme's trying to prevent the war from afar while juggling poor health and impending single motherhood, Anakin's blowing up Jedi outposts looking for hostage Padme, Obi-Wan needs a drink. Padme is going to go into Jedi witness protection with her kids hiding as a refugee on Alderaan, complete with fake deaths for everybody, until Anakin blows up the Jedi hospital with Padme inside in labor. Baby Luke needs surgery before he can be moved, so Yoda stuffs baby Leia and Padme on an Alderaanian refugee ship, and Obi-Wan stays behind to throw Anakin into lava and steal baby Luke from NICU. Canon sneaky assholes Yoda and Obi-Wan decide to keep the twins safely separated by telling Padme that Luke "died" in surgery. Crispy Anakin discovers Luke and Padme's faked death docs and freaks out. Witness Protection Padme never fully recovers her health, never tells Leia about her dead twin, and dies on Alderaan while Leia is still very young. Obi-Wan smuggles Luke to Tatooine, decides he hates babies, and dumps Luke on Uncle Owen & Co.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:38 PM on January 4 [14 favorites]


Now, the person who made that page makes a bunch of comments about how the last hour of RotS doesn't "hold your hand" and "asks the viewer to put things together."

Wait. This is the same movie that, in order to reveal the depth of Darth Vader's sorrow about the death of his True Love, felt it necessary to show him literally throw back his head, glare up at the sky, and cry out "NOOOO!" to an indifferent cosmos.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:41 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


nicebookrack, a 1980s treatment for the prequel put Luke and Leia's mother as a disguised servant in the home of Senator Organa, helping to raise her own daughter, which was another melodramatic fiction trope. The Victorian novel East Lynne, very popular in its day and now deservedly forgotten, relied on it.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:45 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


To be fair, they only released the edit where the NOOOOO is cut off early. The footage of Vader continuing MOORRREEEE BAALLLLL ANND CHHHAAIIIINNNN and springing into a Hitting the Town musical number with Palpatine is locked away in Lucas's private vault with the despecialized editions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:46 PM on January 4 [13 favorites]


Wait. This is the same movie that, in order to reveal the depth of Darth Vader's sorrow about the death of his True Love, felt it necessary to show him literally throw back his head, glare up at the sky, and cry out "NOOOO!" to an indifferent cosmos.

Yes, exactly. This was the moment my wife - who was about 8 months pregnant when we saw RotS - absolutely lose it and start laughing so loud that I was afraid/hopeful we were going to be asked to leave. Fortunately, the movie ends pretty quickly after that point.
posted by nubs at 1:48 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


The footage of Vader continuing MOORRREEEE BAALLLLL ANND CHHHAAIIIINNNN and springing into a Hitting the Town musical number with Palpatine...

robocop is bleeding: It's quite possible that, somewhere in the world right now, that silly bit of nonsense you just typed caused an unsuspecting Seth Green to pop a Force boner.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:53 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I also remember being furious in the moment when the line about Padme losing her will to live was delivered in the theater.

I think this part is misunderstood. Her part became so implausibly written that she simply lost all will to go on.

It's quite understandable really.
posted by mazola at 1:58 PM on January 4 [13 favorites]


OK I'll bite. What's the line?

It's recreated faithfully in the film.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:05 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


How about this:

First, Padme knows she has twins. This is because she's not a damn idiot.

Also, because she's not an idiot, she hides this fact from Anakin by any means necessary, because twins for firstborns is bad news to royalty, leading to all kinds of crazy shit decades down the line when order of succession begins to matter. While first out of the womb wins, the kids, fostered by the opportunists, backers and hangers-on eager to be the powers behind the throne, are each going to grow up believing they're the elder child. It's too much to hope that as their mom somehow Padme'll manage to ensure they're raised to be preciously wise and capable of threading that needle. So she maintains kayfabe even while on the delivery table.

Second, she dies after childbirth of natural causes. The nine months the kids are developing in her womb are nine months they're developing midichlorians in unprecedented quantities (or spawning, breeding, or whatever the hell midichlorians do). Each kid's Force-power is over 9000, so their mom, who'd never been exposed to midichlorians in anything other than mundane quantities, is getting fucking well rocked, 24/7, by more than any Jedi's mother has ever experienced in the history of the cosmos.

Once the kids are delivered, out go all those midichlorians too. Her whole body goes through withdrawal at cosmological psychic assault levels, and shuts down. Boom. And yeah her "natural causes" is still on the level of a TV series' offscreen dismissal of an inconvenient character but at least this is an effect with some plausible causation, rather than George Lucas as Star Wars DM rattling dice behind a cardboard screen and declaring she lost her saving throw.

The rest goes roughly according to plan, Obi Wan and Yoda doing their thing as previously arranged, the only unplanned-for bit being Anakin's emo-boy sturm und drang.

Lucas had so many narrative opportunities to exploit during his protracted retconning of the Star Wars universe and he just bounced randomly around instead. It's really a mystery how the prequels managed to convert Star Wars into an evergreen franchise rather than kill it dead.
posted by at by at 2:13 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


because twins for firstborns is bad news to royalty, leading to all kinds of crazy shit decades down the line when order of succession begins to matter

I hate to nitpick, but the Queen of Naboo is an elected position. Padme served two terms, but by the time of her death, she's the Senator for Naboo, having been appointed to that role by the Queen who was elected after her. So, on Naboo Queens are elected and Senators appointed. (My conclusion from the prequels was that the governance structure of many of the worlds in the Galactic Republic is really fucking weird). Past that, I think your notion of Padme having issues due to midichlorian incompatibility would work just great.

Lucas had so many narrative opportunities to exploit during his protracted retconning of the Star Wars universe... It's really a mystery how the prequels managed to convert Star Wars into an evergreen franchise rather than kill it dead.

Nostalgia for the originals was still driving a lot of dollars. And the current movie studio model is to have the large tentpole franchises - Marvel, Potter, etc...so Star Wars just fits into that really well. I'm both glad that Disney has it - because it will keep Lucas away (who is a creatively brilliant guy, but really seems to lack ability in deciding what works and what doesn't in a story) - but also sad, because it means that Star Wars will be subjected to all the pressures of being part of a franchise, which means story decisions based on market appeal and preserving the value, as opposed to breaking new ground and taking creative risks.
posted by nubs at 2:37 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Honestly, in a galaxy where you can clone a whole army, women should not be dying in childbirth that frequently.

Frankly, I don't even know why Padme even needs to hide her pregnancy. Yes- Anakin might need to keep things on the down-low, but she's a senator, regina emerita of Naboo, and an adult woman in a supposedly egalitarian society. Why should she have to tell anybody who the father is?

"So senator, you want to give us a hint or anything?"

"Nunya."

"Nunya? Nunya who?"

"Nunya Damn Business."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:03 PM on January 4 [8 favorites]


This does remind me of one of the more minor things that drove me nuts about Mass Effect 3 - the fact that an accidental pregnancy is a feature in one side character's plot arc. And everyone acts like that's not some kind of rare, completely bizarre thing to have happen. It's the year 2186, people have toothbrushes powered by miniaturized black holes, and yet we apparently don't have more-or-less foolproof birth control for both sexes. It's hard for me to see that as anything other than a mostly-male writing team not thinking about this stuff.
posted by waffleriot at 3:31 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Mass Effect 3 - the fact that an accidental pregnancy is a feature in one side character's plot arc.

Alien, Aliens, Mass Effect 3, Star Wars, The New Testament, Rosemary's Baby: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.

(Credit for the joke goes to Uncomfortable Plot Summaries.)
posted by lord_wolf at 3:44 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


I agree that having Padme die in childbirth was lazy BS, for all of the reasons described in the article, and discussed here.

I do think that Jeong chooses the wrong hook to hang her very good points on though, because I disagree that the fact that the death of a woman whose labor was induced by being force choked and tossed across a landing pad is indicative of shitty obstetric care. She didn't die of a broken heart. She died of a crushed trachea, and the medical droid was a shitty diagnostician.

To the extent that Anakin was driven to the dark side by his fears of her dying in childbirth, the fact is that Anakin was a paranoid control freak with severe anger issues* and would have been terrified of anything happening to her even if she spent the entire pregnancy in a Bacta tank. Just like how real-life domestic abusers love to blame their victims for "making them" do the violent thing, any deviation from Anakin's internal vision of what staying perfectly safe in pregnancy looked like would have resulted in him lashing out at her eventually.

So, there's no reason to assume that Padme didn't get the best care available, as befits a Senator of the Republic, and that that care wasn't also top notch (maybe a long long time ago, twins were common enough that the doctors didn't feel that it was a big enough deal to mention and/or Padme specifically asked not to be given information about the pregnancy to maintain the surprise).

If I were in charge of the script, I'd resist killing Padme off on screen at all. I'd be willing to listen to justifications of why fridging her was necessary for the lead-in to episodes 4-6. I think they'd be wrong ultimately, but just like other movies that folks may have watched recently, killing off characters who don't exist in pre-written canon is a reasonably easy way to keep the retconning at a minimum. But she could have died years after the birth (after living in hiding from Anakin or something)... it still could have been the last 5 minutes of the movie. Palpatine lies and tells Anakin she's dead. Flash forward 2 years and a show Palpatine finding her. Choosing the childbirth-is-hard fridge to put her in was dumb and insulting.

*remember: the sand people were massacred pre-pregnancy, Anakin did not turn into a violent nutjob because of Padme's fragile uterus.
posted by sparklemotion at 4:03 PM on January 4


(Off-topic: hi author Sarah Jeong! you have given us the gift of Twitter fame! ...on Metafilter)
posted by nicebookrack at 4:03 PM on January 4 [13 favorites]


You know, I really think we've wasted far too much time contemplating the terrible writing choices Lucas made. Can we go back to pretending the prequels never existed?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:19 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the new movies do.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Actually, I don't think the Jedi of the late Republican period know shit about medicine. They're more like Medieval physicians or Scientologists, just trying to fit everything into an a priori knowledge framework. It's the same with the stupid midi-chlorians: they probably don't have anything to do with the Force, which is actually just an unseen energy that links all living things (which, I suppose, people figured out by the time of the War of Two Death Stars). Maybe midi-chlorians just randomly turn up in people's blood, some of whom happen to be Force-users. Maybe high levels are coincidental with Force ability, but not actually related to the Force itself. At some point, though, the Jedi must have got it into their heads that midi-chlorians caused the Force, and began obsessing over them like they were an imbalance of bodily humors.

This is what really happened to Padme- they took her to a Jedi medical facility, and they spent all their time testing her stupid midi-chlorian levels, and not looking for amniotic fluid embolism, or postpartum hemorrhaging.

And of course, like the Medieval barbers actually performing all the surgery, it's left to the flouncy protocol droids to organize everyone's prenatal care and family planning.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:40 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


So this is going to be long, based solely on what I recall (might be incorrect in places), and expounds on this and a few other points, and is entirely head canon as there isn't any hard in-universe references to any of this. The TL;DR being, there was no Ob-Gyn to go to so Padme was doomed by a combination of a repeatedly fallen society, idiot people that were a symptom of that fallen society, and single-purpose idiot droids.

There was a Pan-Galactic Golden Age Meta-Civilization (MetaCiv from now on). The MetaCiv could have been single species or it could have been a teeming chaos of biodiversity, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the MetaCiv seems to have given the current galaxy droids, blasters, credits, hyperdrives, and hyperspace lanes that are all fairly standardized in one way or another.

The MetaCiv dies but leaves tons and tons of stuff and knowledge that are cobbled together into ParaCiv. Which also collapses and the surviving parties form OrthoCiv, and so on. If this sounds a bit much think of the collapses in Galactic Governance we've seen in the games and movies. The Old Old Republic (whatever it was called) fights the Sith and fragments. The Sith fragment because Sith and the Old Republic arrives. The Old Republic fragments and The Empire emerges. Then the Empire fragments and the New Republic emerges which then fragments after the First Order one-shots their capital planet.

But every time this happens, the hardiest and most commonly known pieces of tech and knowledge survive. And a sort-of-but-not-really functioning galactic community survives. Not that people know how to improve on much, or how things function at a mechanical level, but they can be repaired and replicated. Ditto on the life sciences and anything that requires lots of knowledge to be coherently passed down generation by generation. I mean, the Jedi and the Sith turned to carving teachings into fucking stone walls after they lost the ability to make those data crystal holocron things.

So to finally get to the point of all this: When Padme is delivering the twins, they get a droid that delivers babies. Not a medical droid, because they're ignorant of medicine and rely on droids for seemingly all their medical needs. The delivery droid isn't tasked with the mother's health, just the babies, and isn't some flashy old thing like R2D2 and so it lacks initiative. Likewise, we don't see Anakin being fitted with robot arms by a fleshy doctor, it's all droids (also, no one bothered to tell the droids to administer painkillers, so they didn't). And people generally don't know what they can and cannot ask for because, well, so much has been lost and these people are idiots.

Outside of head canon: The writers are likewise idiots and could not imagine a coherent scene to tie up the loose ends that did not exist in the original trilogy. More favorably, they had something like the parasitic force connection that KarmaKaze mentioned above but had everything that explained this cut from the end of the movie.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:48 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


how things function at a mechanical level, but they can be repaired and replicated.

The second half of that sentence negates the first, unfortunately.

I mean, I know it's an old and well-used SF trope, the idea of a civilization (of sorts) carrying on a sort of "cargo cult" version of an older and more advanced civilization amongst the technological remnants of the previous civ, but in order for the story to be credible, either the newer civilization is barely keeping everything together with spit, baling wire, and duct tape, or there's an astoundingly high level of automation, where robots and computers are really keeping everything running and the people are just faffing around. Neither is evident in the SW universe - for all the "grittiness", society (especially on rich planets) is still clearly too high-functioning on a basic technological level. Coruscant and the Senate chambers couldn't even exist in some kind of "remnant" civilization. Even on the poor planets at the ass-end of nowhere (Tatooine, Jakku) you don't have junkyards like Watto's and the place Rey trades with unless you have a healthy customer base of mechanics and pilots who actually know how things work - they're holding things together with spit and baling wire because they're broke, not because they don't know how it really works.

The writers are likewise idiots and could not imagine a coherent scene to tie up the loose ends that did not exist in the original trilogy. More favorably, they had something like the parasitic force connection that KarmaKaze mentioned above but had everything that explained this cut from the end of the movie.

Lucas was the writer, director, and executive producer of ROTS, Rick McCallum is credited as producer. That's it, two guys. There may have been uncredited writers, but there's no such thing as an uncredited producer, and the writers, director, and producers are the one who create the story of a film.

They didn't have anything that explained anything, they're maybe not even idiots, just a couple of old dudes who never paid any attention to female biology or even bothered to check Wikipedia for basic info on childbirth, they just went, "Hey, Padme dies in childbirth, worked in all those Westerns we loved as kids, and besides women and their Mysterious Bodily Functions, who knows, amirite?"

It may have been unintentionally sexist, but it's still pretty sexist.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:52 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


The difficult part of Anakin/Darth Vader is telling a story that lives up to what Vader becomes in the later films. Is it really possible to do that transformation justice?

As the prequels were coming out, my guess was that the solution was going to be that Darth Vader was a clone of Anakin. (Not that it would have done better justice, but it was clearly a looming conundrum Lucas wasn't capable of solving.)
posted by XMLicious at 9:35 PM on January 4


Given what we've been told, I think the skewed gender ratio must be because of cloning. It's pretty clear that the Star Warsiverse is incredibly sexist (e.g., Twi'lek dancers, Jabba's slave girls, and the thriving market in metal bikinis) so men probably make most of the decisions about reproduction. And whom do they reproduce? Exactly.

The same technology that they use for cloning can obviously be used for growing radix (non-clone) humans. So why would anyone get, or remain, pregnant? Just create the zygote in a cloning tank, or transfer it soon after conception. Padme is likely the only pregnant woman on her planet, which is why basically nobody knows how to treat her. So why didn't she use advanced reproductive technology? Obviously because she concealed the pregnancy until it was too late.

The implicit misogyny of this technology can be seen in the sex ratio of Empire (and to an almost identical extent, Rebel) troops. There are lots of young men, so they're the ones who end up in armies, and it is simply more efficient to have only one sort of bathroom when the female ones would hardly be used. So actually, rather than being the sort of sexist claptrap that everyone assumes George Lucas would have committed, it's a very far-sighted meta-commentary on the consequences of misogyny. Similarly, R2D2 is male because something about failure to be in touch with biology, flesh this out later. In conclusion, you're the sexist.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:46 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


The easiest thing to do is to write out the mother,

Yeah, note that while Brave has a mother, the mother is the Killer of Fun.

On the other hand, I found it refreshing that Moana's dad is the Killer of Fun and not only is her mother alive, her mother is supportive of her journeying. (Plus Gramma Manta Ray, obviously.)

Okay, off the topic of Disney mother killings, I thought it was weaksauce that the original movies had Leia barely remember her mother and now this shit happens.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:05 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


On the bright side, there doesn't appear to be any stigma attached to her being an unwed pregnant woman.

Anakin and Padme wed, in secret, at the end of Attack of the Clones.
posted by crossoverman at 2:01 AM on January 5


Stigmas aren't generally based on secret truths. Her public persona was an unwed pregnant woman.
posted by Etrigan at 3:41 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I paid close attention to my porridge this morning because of this discussion. What I observed is that, if I left the porridge to cool on the stove for a few minutes without stirring it - which I usually do - it's much cooler on top than on the bottom. The porridge on top is warm and directly edible; the porridge on the bottom is steaming hot and will burn you.

So the mother bear probably took her porridge from the top of the pot, her child's porridge from the middle, and her partner's porridge from the bottom.

I assume this effect happens because cooked porridge does not have convection currents which would even out the temperature. I did not attempt to calculate an R-value for cooked porridge; I will leave that experiment for future researchers.
posted by clawsoon at 7:15 AM on January 5 [8 favorites]


thought it was weaksauce that the original movies had Leia barely remember her mother

I've always explained this away (post Eps 1-3) as her remembering her adoptive mother, who perhaps died while she was still young. (Yes, this may be explained in books but I'm only going by the movies).
posted by Preserver at 7:16 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Even as a kid (after eps. 4-6) I never actually assumed that Leia's memories of her mother were of her birth mother.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 7:52 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I just chalked that up Lucas being lazy again (common theme, ain't it?). I mean, it's pretty easy to jump to "Leia had visions of her mother from the force" or "she can remember from when she was a baby 'cause the force" or something.

easy or just lazy?


Yes.

Lucas was lazy so he choose the easiest solution. One leads to the other. A better writer would have figured out a better solution to that narrative problem. I think Lucas stumbled into this one good idea but isn't really talented enough to run the whole show. The best Star Wars movies are the ones where other people take his ideas and run with them. Lucas helps more when he contributes less.
posted by VTX at 7:58 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Even as a kid (after eps. 4-6) I never actually assumed that Leia's memories of her mother were of her birth mother.

I think you could have interpreted it either way at that point. In the context of the conversation at the time, Luke is saying he has no memories of his mother at all and Leia does; at that point, since we then knew that they were brother and sister but nothing else about the mother, the likeliest possibility was that Leia stayed with her mother and Luke was sent away. But really she could be remembering anyone.
posted by Preserver at 8:23 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I think Lucas stumbled into this one good idea but isn't really talented enough to run the whole show. The best Star Wars movies are the ones where other people take his ideas and run with them. Lucas helps more when he contributes less.

I think the opposite is true: Lucas' real talent is as an executive producer, the guy who literally runs the whole show. The art, photography, and special effects of the original trilogy and prequels were all absolutely top notch, because Lucas was savy enough to assemble the best team in the business. If he had gone the extra mile and found the best directors and writers in the business, the prequels would have lived up to their potential. Both Steven Spielberg and Spike Jones reportedly begged him for the opportunity to direct a prequel, but he said he wanted to do it all. This is exactly the opposite attitude he had when he started the whole thing. Back in 1978, Lucas was telling people he wanted to create a playground universe for other directors and artists. Once he retired and sold to Disney, Kathleen Kennedy went back to Lucas' original plan, and it worked like a charm. Lucas' weakness is that he couldn't stop micromanaging. Kennedy knows how to put a team together and maintain a good creative process. That makes all the difference.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:17 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


at that point, since we then knew that they were brother and sister but nothing else about the mother, the likeliest possibility was that Leia stayed with her mother and Luke was sent away

Did we even know they were twins at that point? I don't think that detail popped up until the prequels.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:38 AM on January 5


Homicidal maniac after my child? I would not die of a broken heart, I would be like, someone get me some weaponry and any remaining Jedi to take this asshole out so my kids can grow up safely.

posted by warriorqueen


Name checks out. Epony-appropriate or something.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:47 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


The same technology that they use for cloning can obviously be used for growing radix (non-clone) humans. So why would anyone get, or remain, pregnant?

Another great sexist disservice committed by fiction, mostly film and TV, is the endlessly recycled cliché that pregnancy and childbirth are either:
-if abnormal, a horribly quick Death By Childbirth doom
OR
-if a "normal" birth, a beautiful, slime-free Miracle Of Life process.

So there end up being few stories that question these ideas, because for male writers it's a totally foreign concept to consider how many women would JUMP at the chance to have healthy biological children through artificial gestation. Or to consider how many women who do choose "natural" pregnancy/childbirth still have complicated feelings about it, and/or how pregnany and childbirth can have profound lifelong physical and mental effects on women beyond the "tiny DIY human" result.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:53 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Somewhat related: one of the greatest songs of all time, "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush, was specifically written for and based on a movie scene about a woman having unexpected complications during labor that are scary but ultimately non-fatal.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:59 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Did we even know they were twins at that point? I don't think that detail popped up until the prequels.

I don't think so. Might explain (again pre-prequels) why Vader knew about Luke and not Leia...since he'd have to have known their mother had one child (Luke) before they conceived the second (Leia).
posted by Preserver at 10:02 AM on January 5


There is a moment in RotJ where Luke and Vader are dueling. Luke is hiding under some stairs and Vader tells him to search his feelings and in similar contexts that has basically meant "ask the force". So, presumably, if a force user (or maybe just Skywalkers) concentrates, they can determine that a person near them is a blood relation. Vader knew that Padme was pregnant, that Obi Wan was there, and that he is related to Luke (which he felt through the force).

He has been close enough to Leia to make the same determination but it's not a huge stretch to think that he just didn't have any reason to check so he just never did and it's not a thing he'd notice spontaneously.

It makes sense that he'd conclude that Luke is his one and only child. It's not until he starts concentrating on Luke's feelings that he discovers the existence of a sister.

This one touches on the mysteries of the force so of course it's all internally consistent and tidy.
posted by VTX at 10:18 AM on January 5


He has been close enough to Leia to make the same determination but it's not a huge stretch to think that he just didn't have any reason to check so he just never did and it's not a thing he'd notice spontaneously.

best Failed a Force Check ever
posted by nicebookrack at 10:30 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


There's gotta be some meta-level of dramatic irony that Leia's very first scene in Star Wars is as a daughter mouthing off to her father, and nobody knew it—not Leia, not Vader, not the audience, IIRC not even (at the time) the writers!
posted by nicebookrack at 10:36 AM on January 5 [9 favorites]


thought it was weaksauce that the original movies had Leia barely remember her mother

I've always explained this away (post Eps 1-3) as her remembering her adoptive mother, who perhaps died while she was still young.


This was always my assumption as well, but then I re-watched the original trilogy last weekend, and these were Luke's exact words: "Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?"

Which didn't really help clear things up.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:57 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Did we even know they were twins at that point? I don't think that detail popped up until the prequels

From Ghost Ben's conversation with Luke in Return of the Jedi:
Obi-Wan: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.
Luke: I can’t kill my own father.
Obi-Wan: Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope.
Luke: Yoda spoke of another.
Obi-Wan: The other he spoke of is your twin sister.
Luke: But I have no sister.
Obi-Wan: Hmm. To protect you both from the Emperor, you were hidden from your father when you were born. The Emperor knew, as I did, if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him. That is the reason why your sister remained safely anonymous.
Luke: Leia! Leia is my sister.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:07 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


nobody knew it—not Leia, not Vader, not the audience, IIRC not even (at the time) the writers!

It's pretty clear that at the time of ANH, there were no plans/inklings for anyone - including Mr. Lucas (who you have to watch, he's pretty revisionist with his history of the saga) - that Vader was even Luke's father, much less Leia's.

In 1976, when ANH was in post-production (so no one had any idea yet about what would happen), Lucas met with Alan Dean Foster to lay out the plan for a novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, that would act as the basis for a sequel for ANH. There's a transcript of that meeting. For me, this is an amazing exchange:
FOSTER: The point is at the end of the picture, the impression I get-and I am still an outsider to the film-is that the princess is the princess and she doesn’t take anybody. It leaves Luke feeling disappointed because he was interested in her, but she is completely unattainable at the end of the picture. She’s just as divorced[from Luke and Han] as the other generals standing up there in the throne room. But Luke is not; Luke wants her. That’s the impression I get. When she’s standing up there hanging his medallion around him, she doesn’t try to kiss him or anything.

LUCAS: Well, another thing we could do is to go one step beyond the simple and move into the love story plot, where you have them kind of vying for each other. She is a spry little snappy kind of girl and he’s sort of liking her, and in the process of the movie, they fall in love and have a wonderful relationship and in the end she gets killed. it’s one of those tweaked ideas, but it’s one of those things that works. What I wanted to when we were shooting the other movie is have the princess run off with the Wookiee. But it sounds perverted.

LIPPINCOTT: I think that somebody else has got to be killed.

LUCAS: I wouldn’t mind killing her off.

The other thing we haven’t dealt with is Darth Vader. But Darth Vader, as we discovered in this picture, tends to be pushy; he’s not strong enough as the villain to hold the villain role. he doesn’t have the persona that you need. You really need a Cushing guy, a really slimy, ugly….
Yeah, a Luke & Leia romance and Vader not being strong enough to be the villain...Leia running off with the Wookie. Leia getting killed off.

And if you look up Leigh Brackett's first draft of the script for Empire, there is no mention of Vader being Luke's father.

Vader knew that Padme was pregnant, that Obi Wan was there, and that he is related to Luke (which he felt through the force).

The Darth Vader comic book series (set between ANH and ESB) is focused on Vader's efforts to learn the identity of the pilot who blew up the Death Star; that's how he learns of his son's existence in the current canon.
posted by nubs at 11:41 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]


She is a spry little snappy kind of girl and he’s sort of liking her, and in the process of the movie, they fall in love and have a wonderful relationship and in the end she gets killed. it’s one of those tweaked ideas, but it’s one of those things that works.

It just works! You bone chicks, the chicks die, you get to feel manpain. A UNIVERSAL NARRATIVE AMIRITE
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:45 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


Heh. Yeah, good point - the original outline for the sequel involved killing off Leia to give Luke motivation & development; the reverse is never considered.

Fuck me, this trope runs deep.
posted by nubs at 11:50 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


that's how he learns of his son's existence in the current canon.

It's quite the moment.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on January 5






a fiendish thingy: "(Query: do we have a shorthand term for fandom reactions when source texts that have been obsessed over for DECADES are given the most glancing of feminist critiques and suddenly caring about them is the work of a blinkered fool, because the texts don’t support such close readings?)"

Misogynerdy?
posted by scrump at 4:34 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


oops, comic scene last page that the gallery missed

Would absolutely recommend just buying the first trade, because its damn good.
posted by Artw at 5:51 PM on January 5


I sure noticed the lack of women in Rogue One. When Our Hero turns up with a team of rebels looking to redeem themselves I looked them over and thought, "they could get a token CGI alien in there, but not a token woman?"

A number of men in my life have classified this as a women-centric movie, it's weird. When I tried to explain that no, there was one main female character and almost no background/small role female characters, they can't acknowledge it. I've only seen Rogue One once, but it seemed like Cassian Andor had almost as much screen time.

Then I start hearing another guy say that films in 2016 were almost only women-led or female-centric movies and that it's crazy how movies are all about women now. I was flabbergasted. La La Land was used as an example of that phenomenon. I explained that no, it's not even close, and that given women are more than 50% of the population the fact that there may be one or two more women in a film than they're used to, women are vastly underrepresented in film, tv, media, etc. I don't go to the movies and call it a male movie, even when it's 95% men while they call it a female film when one (only one!) of the leads is female... Arg! I don't know how to explain how warped this world view is to them.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:18 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


After playing LEGO Star Wars with my offspring, I found myself imagining how the original trilogy would have been have been if they had sent the twins to opposite planets. Prince Luke Organa captured by Darth Vader, Leia Skywalker chasing R2-D2 across the desert to find Ben Kenobi...
posted by fings at 8:51 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Does a bear microwave in the woods?
posted by blueberry at 1:07 AM on January 6


I don't go to the movies and call it a male movie, even when it's 95% men while they call it a female film when one (only one!) of the leads is female... Arg! I don't know how to explain how warped this world view is to them.

Ha, it's funny, there have been a few studies on people's perceptions of the number of women in a crowd. If you show people pictures of a mixed group of people, I think the results showed that at ~20% women they perceive the group as 50/50 men/women, and if you actually go up to 50% women then they see it as mostly women. You get the same phenomenon for racial minorities.

Privilege is a helluva drug.
posted by schroedinger at 5:56 AM on January 6 [11 favorites]


if you actually go up to 50% women then they see it as mostly women.

Yes! I've told this one before on here I'm sure, but back when I taught literature we had a policy of course texts for the introductory unit being split 50/50 between male and female authors. And every year, we managed this. Every year, we got complaints in the student feedback about setting more women authors than men. And there weren't even that many texts - it wouldn't have been hard to count! But clearly, no, for the complainers it was just so self-evident that what they were seeing was Too Many Women that they didn't even think to check.
posted by Catseye at 6:10 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


playing LEGO Star Wars with my offspring, I found myself imagining how the original trilogy would have been have been if they had sent the twins to opposite planets. Prince Luke Organa captured by Darth Vader, Leia

Vader: obi-wan never told you what happened to your father...
Leia: he told me enough! he told me you killed him!
Vader: no. I am your father.
Leia: ....
Vader: search your feelings. You know it to be true!
Leia: seriously? You ignore me my whole life and your big idea for attempting a reconciliation is right after you've chopped my hand off and I'm standing over a yawning chasm?
Vader: join me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and -
Leia: no offence, Dad, but you can't expect me to just accept this. Search my feelings? Yeah, you bet! I better find a therapist. I've got a lot of feelings to unpack. "Hey Leia, you've just found out your biological father is a homicidal nutjob who destroys entire planets on a whim. And he wants a relationship after all these years. How are you feeling?"
Vader:...look, I know it's a lot to take in -
Leia: yeah, no shit. Look, don't call me, I'll call you, alright?
Vader: alright.
Leia: and - the empire killed uncle Owen! And you killed obi-wan! Like, was that your attempt to kickstart this relationship, Dad? Get rid of every other father figure I might have?
Vader: this is not going as I foresaw
posted by nubs at 6:31 AM on January 6 [21 favorites]


I watched my porridge even more closely this morning.

Near the end, it bubbled without letting any bubbles out. It was a strange phenomenon. Small areas of the porridge scum would expand and contract, but never burst. It was like watching the lungs of a mouse lift and fall.

Perhaps Mama Bear spent too much time staring into her porridge.
posted by clawsoon at 6:37 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Emperor: in time you will call me "Master"
Leia: yeah, I don't know what all kind of kinks you and Leather Daddy here have, but I ain't never calling you Master.
Vader: it is pointless to resist, my master
posted by nubs at 6:47 AM on January 6 [7 favorites]


Leia: and - the empire killed uncle Owen! And you killed obi-wan! Like, was that your attempt to kickstart this relationship, Dad? Get rid of every other father figure I might have?
Vader: this is not going as I foresaw


Leia: I'm scared to even ask about what happened to Mum.
Vader: I'm just going to give you some space. Call me if you want. You have the number.
posted by nubs at 8:32 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


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