Clone Wars and Theology: Return to Mortis

Is true peace possible when one strives for total control in a galaxy plagued by evil and shattered by war?  This is a question that the final episode of the Mortis Trilogy on Star Wars:  The Clone Wars attempts to grapple with.

The final episode of the Mortis trilogy feels much akin to the end of Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith and it’s supposed to.  In the final episode the father morns the death of the daughter and entreats Skywalker to stop his son before he unleashes himself on the galaxy.  Anakin sought the blessing of the father to leave Mortis but finds himself dialoguing with Qui-Gon  about  the hunt for the son, and confronting him in the Well of the Dark Side, a volcanic location akin to Mustafar.  Interestingly, the father’s final words to Anakin before he leaves to find the son are “Ask, and you will know what to do” (echoing Christ’s words “ask and you shall receive”  or  the Apostle James “If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God, who gives generously to all”).

In confronting the son, it’s a look forward to Anakin’s confrontation of Palpatine in Episode III with much the same result: a dark promise of the future made with dire results.  Instead of defeating the son, Skywalker allies with him to “prevent” a “greater evil”, to prevent the future we all know he embraces, by wiping out both Jedi AND Sith (a similar choice he later presents to  a younger Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back).

Not caught idle, Obi-Wan pursues Anakin to the Well of the Dark Side and in doing so foreshadows their future “battle of heroes”.  This confrontation leaves Obi-Wan stranded as Anakin speeds away to exit Mortis with the son, only to be confronted by the father and bringing about more character references to the Mortis title.  In the end, the father undoes the son’s promise saying that the son “broke the laws of time”.  The resolution of the episode causes viewers to wonder who remembers what and what the repercussions of these events will be on the rest of the Clone Wars (and future episodes).

 This final episode in the Mortis trilogy presents its own “Eden scenario” in the midst of  the Well of the Dark Side (akin to Mustafar and rather “hellish”) where a powerful, darker character offering something that offers greater control and less dependence (in the name of bringing peace in this case) as if Anakin is missing something and this promise will fulfill him.  Is the promise worth the cost?  It is noteworthy that the promise involves knowledge, just as the promise in the garden did.    Moreover, a reverse of the offer given to Anakin is given to the son by the father: the offer that should be refused is accepted and the offer that should be accepted, refused; a theme that also presents itself at the start of Genesis in the old Testament; the Tree of Life offered and (by action) refused when Adam and Eve accept the Serpent’s words to partake in the tree that is warned against (and not the only time that serpents and deception make an appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

I appreciate that Anakin cannot handle the knowledge he’s given by the son; that the rush to experience the future is cautioned against by the events in the story; patience over expediency as the wiser path.  I am left wondering if the trinity of characters, father, son, and daughter are entities that can exist outside of time, and if Mortis itself actually does (questions left unanswered).  These episodes are a microcosm of Star Wars writ large, grappling with choice, destiny, cycles, and inevitability.  Anakin is given an opportunity to bring balance by wiping out the Sith and leaving the Jedi Order intact (in Episode III); Lucas himself has said that balance to the Force isn’t equality or duality of the sides but the victory of light over the Sith.  Nevertheless, he fails the first time.  When the opportunity arises a generation later the Son of Skywalker succeeds in resisting temptation where Anakin failed the first time (in eerily similar circumstances) and Anakin – given a second chance much like Sampson was given – succeeds where he first failed 20+ years before.


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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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