I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and like most fans (and even casual watchers of these films), I was disappointed when The Phantom Menace was released in 1999. How this film could have lived up to the hype and pressure is beyond me, but I still wished a number of things had been handled differently. Still, I cut George Lucas some slack—after all, it had been a LONG time since he directed a movie and he was likely a bit rusty. So when 2002’s Attack of the Clones hit theaters, I had dialed down my expectations.
The movie was better than the previous film, but one of the things that drove me and a close friend of mine crazy was the inclusion of Boba Fett (as a child, no less) and his father, Jango Fett. As characters they’re fine, but their insertion as a major plot point of episodes 2-6 (yes, their inclusion impacts the original trilogy) suggested that Lucas, in devising the layout of the films, had intended for these two characters to be a part of the story all along.
Well, he fudged a few things. Brief history: Boba Fett appeared in the fabled star Wars Christmas special as a cartoon vignette (you can watch a part of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM_MR7sY2_8). This character became so popular that he was written into the next two films (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi).
Since Fett’s popularity has endured, perhaps Lucas felt the need to milk that interest in the prequel films; thus, more Fett! But the films should have been able to stand on their own without so much reliance on a popular (albeit minor) character to goose interest (or continuity, for that matter).
In Isaiah, the prophet foretells of a “Suffering Servant.” In some instances, this idea is cast as a nation—Israel being the servant that will bring God’s word to the other nations (49:3). This idea is nothing new, for the idea of Israel being selected is the thrust of the Old Testament. Elsewhere, however, this idea is embodied in a man, and the way he’s described, it’s clearly Jesus (53:1-5). As such, it’s hard not to see Jesus as the Old Testament’s Boba Fett.
This Servant “was despised and rejected by men…and familiar with suffering” (3). “Then: “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God. […] But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (4-5). There’s more of what he endured, and how blameless he was, yet still punished, and by the Lord’s will, no less (8-10).
I haven’t reached the New Testament yet, but from what I know, this describes the end of Jesus’ life, right?
So what makes this feel forced here? One could argue that this hasn’t surfaced yet because it was unclear that Israel (and others) hadn’t fallen so far yet; therefore, the need for such a figure (Jesus) did not exist. Okay, but God knows all. So he had to know that Israel would mess up—he sees everything. But someone might say: but wait, man has free will. But people all along have seen the destruction of Jerusalem, so this was clear. And if it was clear, the idea that someone—like the rebirth of Jerusalem before his birth—would come along and redeem man. And if so, why wasn’t it known all along? They were waiting for so many other things to prove true.
Sure, Jesus is a bit more important to the New Testament than Boba Fett is to the Star Wars films; however, the issue is forcing a character into a narrative in order to boost relevance. Isn’t his story strong enough on its own?