Clone Wars and Theology: A Foolish Muppet’s Hope

All good things must come to an end, right?  That’s what the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation tired to teach me when I was younger; it failed. Sometimes things that are a long time in coming never happen because if they did, that end would come.  It’s akin to reaching Ganon at the end of Level 9 – Death Mountain – in the original Legend of Zelda (LoZ) but never defeating him (because if you did, the adventure would end); or Gannondorf in the Dark Castle at the end of Ocarina of Time if you prefer LoZ in three dimensions.    Sometimes, this even applies to the Star Wars universe.

In late summer 2008 audiences were introduced to a new era of Star Wars, The Clone Wars, through an animated theatrical release that served as the start to a animated series that would debut in the fall and air each week.  For five seasons this show would explore – on the small screen – the three years of war across the galaxy that were book-ended by Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  The show introduced new characters, such as Padawan Asoka Tano and Republic Trooper Captain Rex, while recasting and fleshing out returning classic and original trilogy stalwarts like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Padme Amidala, and, yes, Jar Jar.

What caused apprehension for older, long-time, fans at the start of the series left them stunned and saddened at the end of the fifth season when it was suddenly cancelled.  Nevertheless, all was not lost as a final – Lost Missions – season premiered earlier this year as a Netflix exclusive.  It’s to the end of this sixth season that I’ve finally come.  I’ve put off writing on the final episode because after this, it’s over (and, like the Doctor, I don’t like endings).

In previous Clone Wars posts I’ve talked of Mortis; it’s theology; the father, son, and daughter; Dagobah, The Priestesses, and Yoda as Gollum.  As great as seeing all that was – and Dark Yoda was fantastic – the journey to Moraband and subsequent trial speak powerfully to a character greatly expanded upon.

Arriving on Moraband – a rather dark and hell-ish looking world – Yoda instructs Artoo to leave the planet and return ot the Jedi council if he does not return in three days time.  Confronted with a serpentine, dark worm, Sith creature, instead of attacking it, Yoda sees this for the trail that it is and calmly endures, showing no fear.  Sith ghosts seeks to dissuade his quest with a claim of no existence of life after death, only temporal existence, but he presses on.  Watching this scene, my friend Chris Douglas pointed out the theological reflection that could be present likening to the statement of Christ’s decent into Hell in the Apostles Creed

As Yoda faces the final trial, in a place of absolute darkness, he is warned that what he is offered by the Sith of his own time – Sidious and Tyrannus – will feel as if it is the answer he seeks, but, in truth, an elaborate deception.  Such a deception comes in the form of long-lost Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, promising the identity of the Sith Lord that has manipulated the Clone War from the start.  The final test involves the impossible choice that many a hero has been faced with; defeat evil or save an endangered life.  Before Yoda leaves Moraband, a final revelation is given:  there is another Skywalker – echoing his final words in Return of the Jedi – a new hope for the galaxy that he is to teach and it is in this future one that he is to put his hope.

Dave Filoni, the supervising director for Star Wars: Clone Wars commented in an interview with the Hero Complex blog that the final episode borrow imagery strait out of the Old Testament in its final scenes.  Yoda’s willingness to lose in the short term to see the Sith defeated in the end – a defeat he never sees this side of space and time – recalls both the mindset of the Old Testament prophets and the latter part of Hebrews 11, the part no one wants to read. A fitting end to an amazing journey through the galaxy far, far, away.

I can only hope that Star Wars Rebels is as good as this show was (and wraps up some of the unresolved story-linesSy

Posted on by Aaron in Star Wars

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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