Clone Wars and Theology: Mortis

What happens when the mind behind Star Wars gets philosophical about the nature of the Force?  What happens when a someone who wrote for Lost writes a story that delves deeper into the nature of the Force than ever before?  Fans of that galaxy far far away get a story on Star Wars:  The Clone Wars called “Mortis”, one that involves much of its namesake and interesting theological paralells.

In anticipation of the release of the final Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes this past weekend, I’ve spent much time in recent weeks – revisiting episodes from previous seasons of the show, few more than the Mortis trilogy (a story that I believe to be both a turning point for the characters and the show).  As the story opens, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Asoka are responding to an ancient Jedi distress call that lands them in the realm of Mortis, a location not too unlike the Island in Lost and a place where the connection to the Force is quite strong.  In this episode, our heroes are introduced to a trinity of characters, the Father, Daughter, and Son: a family of force wielders who have withdrawn from the galaxy because of how powerful they are and live in community amongst themselves.  Anakin is brought by the daughter to the father at a monastery and sits before him in reverence as the father explains who he and his family are and Anakin’s role as the Chosen One (as if Anakin senses the father’s importance).

Meanwhile, the son, clearly allied with the Dark Side, appears to Obi-Wan and Asoka – his presence causing vegetation to die around them.  Fleeing into a nearby cave, Qui-Gon Jinn (Kenobi’s dead former master) appears and immediately asks if Obi-Wan has trained Anakin as he was asked.  The conversation raises questions, some of which are answered and others not.  Asoka has a similar vision because of the nature of Mortis as a conduit for the Force.

Concurrently, the son appears to Anakin in the guise of his dead mother, fomenting deception through his guise and truth through his words as he pontificates on the nature of Anakin’s relationship with Padme and the control it has over him.  Later the father tries to force a choice out of Anakin by explaining his destiny and testing that via threatening Obi-Wan and Asoka.

The initial draw of these episodes, I think, is what Jimmy Mac of Rebel Force Radio termed “thinking-man’s Star Wars” as the Mortis story dives into the mythological and mysterious nature of some of the elements that exist in the galaxy far far away, namely the spiritual side of Star Wars.  Not since The Empire Strikes Back has such an exploration happened on screen.  Nevertheless, I see the Tolkien/Lewis idea of created myth reflecting the story of the Creator in this first segment as good, evil, the will to choose, and a trinity of powerful beings outside the confines of time are all present. Mortis itself, as a location strong in the Force is also interesting as it seems to parallel an idea espoused by Celtic Christians of the past of “thin places” – places where individuals experience God to a greater degree (something better used metaphorically opposed to literally).

The ultimate tension of this episode hovers around Anakin’s choice to embrace his destiny or decide his own path once his potential is revealed to him and the effect that choice will have on a galaxy in conflict.  In it’s own way, this is the Eden of Genesis happening in a place long ago and far far away, complete with a trinity that asks more questions than makes statements; what will Anakin choose?

Stay Tuned…

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

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.

2 Responses to Clone Wars and Theology: Mortis

  1. Don Trachsel

    While I have not gotten to the Mortis Trilogy yet I cannot wait. God has a way of “accidentally” showing up in non Christian works. While the Celts talk of physical “thin places”, I feel we each experience them in times in our life. They follow us, not bound by geographic location, but by our journey with Christ.

  2. Pingback: Clone Wars and Theology: A Foolish Muppet's Hope - Aaron Welty | Aaron Welty

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