I’m going to call this post “Fixing George’s mistake”.
Remember back in ’99, when we all anticipated the release of the Phantom Menace? Remember how excited we were? Remember how we thought that this movie was going to be the best Star Wars movie ever?!? Remember how disappointment crept in to our subconscious when we left the theatre? Sure the lightsaber duel between Maul and Kenobi was awesome, but… Jar Jar Binks aside…
Midichlorians?!? Seriously?!? The Force is a genetic/biological entity?!? Whaaaaaaat???
In The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol, the protagonist, our old friend “the flesh carver” from the KOTOR comic series, narrates his journey from the beginnings of flashpoint station, to being captured by Rohlan “The Runner”.
The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol offers the reader a few interesting perspectives on the events of the KOTOR comic series. From Demagol’s complete incomprehension of Marn and his relationship to Zayne, to some interesting Mandalorian perspectives on the Jedi, to his fear of Squint/ Malak. Demagol’s most interesting thoughts, however, concern the Force, and that unexplainable equation which makes a Jedi a Jedi.
The Journal starts with ideological tension between Demagol and Cassus Fett, and how they envision the Mandalorian war machine. From Demagol’s perspective: “Fett sees the Mandalorians as a blunt weapon. I will craft them into a scalpel”. It is Demagol’s ambition to unlock the genetic secret of the Jedi, and use that biological answer to augment the Mandalorian forces, so they too may use the Force.
There are a few funny lines in this story, all dealing with Demagol’s incomprehension of Marn and Zayne’s relationship: “The boy -- they call him Zayne -- seems to be no Jedi, after all, but some kind of reject. He is moving around junk at the bidding of a Snivvian. I have always wondered what happens to Jedi who fail to reach knighthood. It appears they are made to become orderlies for smugglers. A strange practice.” Not only did I find this amusing, but also Demagol’s references to Marn as “The Lord of this vessel”, and Marn as Zayne’s “Snivvian overlord”.
In hearing about Zayne’s predicament, and how some in the Jedi order framed Zayne for murder, Demagol mused at the view most people had of the Jedi order: “For such a revered body, the Jedi order may be as fraught with intrigue as the Mandalorians are”. What I found most interesting about this line was not the bit on intrigue, but that even the Mandalorian view the Jedi order as a “revered body”.
I found JJM’s numbering of one of the entries clever. In first mentioning Malak in this story, or Squit as he is known at this time in history, Demagol’s entry is marked #6066. Drop the 0 and we have the sign of the beast. Demagol also goes on to say that: “He would not want to meet this one in a darkened alley”. Demagol tortures Squit significantly, and through this torture we see how Squit begins his transformation to the darkside: “he endures all wearing a look of sheer hate even I can recognize”. Later on in the journal, Demagol flat out says “I fear his presence”. Strong words coming from a trained Mandalorian.
All discussions of clever dialogue aside, I found that the most interesting part of this story was Demagol’s view of the Force. I think in this tale Miller is attempting to correct, what I deem, is one of the biggest mistakes ever made to Star Wars mythology, and to the continuity of the Star Wars story. Bringing this post back to my opening statements, in the Phantom Menace, Lucas gave us a scientific explanation of the Force. As the conversation between Anakin and Qui-Gon went, midi-chlorians are: “...microscopic life-forms that reside within the cells of all living things and communicate with the Force”. With this explanation, The Force moved from an unexplainable, mysterious thing, so something which could be documented, categorized, numbered, and labeled. The Force was now the stuff of laboratory experimentation. To continue in the vein of my last few posts, it went from the realm of the mysterious sacred, to the realm of the secular scientific.
With this small tale, I think that Miller is attempting to rescue the Force for us.
Demagol makes the transition from believing the Force is something genetic, something which can be controlled by science, to almost believing that the Force is something to be awed by: “Pulsipher rejects my conclusions that "Force powers" are inborn genetic traits -- natural mutations, that any being can be modified to have. What does he think gives Jedi their powers? Why, magic, of course! Mystic talismans and trinkets, that's what he believes!” Indeed, it is also what I myself want to believe. By the end of the tale, however, Demagol’s tune has begun to change: “ I am half-prepared to believe this “Force” is an actual external phenomenon”.
This ‘half-thought’ is then again echoed by Rohlan at the end of the tale: “He was wrong about Jedi” says the Mandalorian of Demagol. Demagol was indeed wrong about the Jedi and the Force, as I believe Lucas was wrong about the Jedi and the Force as well. Even though Lucas created “the Force” of this world, I think he has lost touch with what it represents. He no longer follows ‘the will of the Force’. But who am I to question Lucas’ Star Wars, and who is Miller to correct Lucas’ mythology? The people have been telling the Emperor he has no clothes on for some time now.
Regardless, thank you for trying to save the Force JJM. I appreciate your effort.
For my next post I’ll be moving on to a very special source of Star Wars history, and a genre not yet covered in the chronology project: The timelines offered by the developers of The Old Republic MMO. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.