Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Triangle

All this talk about ‘alternate histories’ for Star Wars has gotten me thinking about all the stuff I would have changed or omitted if I had been the one writing the Star Wars movies. This isn’t to say at all that I think I’m some great writer or scripting genius- or that MY version is more compelling. Rather, these musings are just how I would have liked to have seen things go. So I preface this post with this: this is all subjective and stuff I would probably NEVER do in a Star Wars gaming universe. Truth be told, I stick pretty darn close to everything we see in the movies. So this is just an exploration of ‘what if’.

In particular, I am going to talk about the relationship between the three main heroes of the Saga: Luke, Leia and Han. Having grown up with the original movies, I distinctly remember going through ‘stages’ with each movie’s release. In the first movie, for instance, I was seven years old. I recognized Luke as the Hero and Leia (as the Princess) would be his love interest. I mean. That’s how fairytales go, right? I never really thought past that.

The novel “Splinter of the Minds Eye” (which came out shortly after Episode IV), reinforced this perception, hinting at a growing romance between Luke and Leia. The marvel comics of the period likewise hinted at this- though there was a fair bit of spark going on between Leia and Han as well. In fact, it was the comics that first really established the ‘Love Triangle’ dynamic between the three heroes.

I was ten when the second movie came out and going into it, I was still very much in the same mindset. The fact that Han Solo and Leia ‘connected’ in that movie threw me for a loop. Heck, the whole movie threw me for a loop. Luke, the Hero, was failing at his training and now was losing his girl!? What kind of a fairytale was this? I have to admit, it bothered me a little at the time. But at the same time, I found the unlikely romance between Leia and Han to be interesting and even ‘meaningful’.

By the time Return of the Jedi came out, I was thirteen and much more sophisticated (heh, right). I had ‘made peace’ with the fact that Han and Leia were destined to be together. In fact, it felt ‘right’ to me. But then another curve ball was thrown into the situation. Suddenly we find that Leia is Luke’s sister. That revelation…just never really sat well with me. Though George Lucas CLAIMS that he had ‘planned this all along’, I think that the earlier movies proved that no, he didn’t. Or that if he did, then…creepy. I mean, Luke and Leia kiss several times. Blech.

And then there was the fact that Ben said NOTHING about this relationship, even though he knew Luke and Leia were going to meet. Hell, it didn’t take a mind-reader to see that Luke was infatuated with the princess and that MIGHT grow into something more if it was not ‘checked’. And Ben Kenobi WAS a mind-reader. He could have taken SOME steps to prevent any ‘mis-steps’ on Luke’s part, even if he didn’t do the full reveal of Luke’s parentage. Hell, even some kind of ‘subliminal’ message to ‘not go there’. But no, he said nothing, even though he had the opportunity before and after he died. And in retrospect, that’s just messed up.

The truth of the matter seems to be that Lucas needed a motivation for Vader to use to goad Luke into attacking him. For some reason, Lucas came to the conclusion that the only way this could be done was by having Leia be Luke’s sister. I think that is what bothered me most- the fact that there had to be a familial tie between Luke and Leia for him to have ‘motivation’ to defend her. It was unnecessary.

After all the heroes had been through together, I think it was clear that Luke DID love Leia. Sister or not, he cared about her. And whether he was ‘in a relationship’ with her or not, that didn’t change. So what I’m saying is that the whole ‘sibling’ angle was not needed to give Luke motivation. Likewise, I don’t think it was needed to ‘smooth over’ the relationship between Han and Leia by eliminating Luke as a potential rival. The love triangle made for a much more interesting character dynamic in my opinion and I felt that Return of the Jedi just hamfistedly ‘solved’ that situation by the whole sibling thing.

So what would have changed if Luke and Leia were NOT siblings? Well, not much, really. Sure, there would have had to have been an explanation as to why Leia seemed to have latent Force powers, but is it really that difficult to believe that someone NOT related to Anakin could just have them? No. The Jedi didn’t ‘breed’ force Sensitive children, they found them in families across the Galaxy. Leia could have just been one of the ‘new generation’ of Force Sensitive people. In my opinion, this revelation wouldn’t have been any more ‘jarring’ than the whole “Luke and Leia are siblings thing.

Would Leia have still wound up with Han? Yep. To me at least, even before the sibling thing was revealed, it became clear that these two characters ‘clicked’. Would it have been a little sad for Luke that Leia had chosen Han over him? Yes, it would have. But I think it would have also pointed out how strong the bonds of friendship are. Luke, Leia and Han ‘loved’ each other as friends and I don’t think that a relationship between Han and Leia would have changed that.

In short (too late), I liked the love triangle that existed in Episodes IV and V and I didn’t like the way it was ‘resolved’ in Episode VI. I still believe it was clumsy and unnecessary.

1 comment:

  1. Luke's commitment to being a Jedi comes across as priestly in my eyes, a devotion that doesn't seem to have time for relationships. So I figured he would have passed on Leia eventually, though as Mark has said: "The most beautiful girl in the galaxy...and she's your SISTER?!" (or something like that).