Sunday, January 9, 2011

47-45 BBY: Star Wars Tales Volume 4: Children of the Force

It seems that Mace Windu is full of contradictions.

Standing in a nursery full of future Jedi, Mace Windu defends the practice of taking infants from their parents to his padawan. Depa, who after just finishing her first “extraction” mission, feels uncomfortable with the ancient practice, and looks to her Master for some wisdom and a reasoned defense of what she’s just done. It seems her conscious is not sitting well with her: “I wonder if perhaps it is cruel to take a child away from its parents like this?” She asks her Master. Mace’s response is even and factual: “A Jedi’s path must be singular and focused. There is no room for emotional attachments. The edict of the order isn’t arbitrary. It exists as such for a reason”. Mace explains why emotional attachments are dangerous for a Jedi, as such powerful emotions can lead to the darkside. Mace has reason, tradition, and ultimately, the law behind him.

Mace’s words echo those of Jedi recruiter Morrit Ch’Gally from 990 BBY: “We Jedi firmly believe that Force strong beings have a right to receive the best raining available, and our way requires the shunning of emotional commitment, especially toward one’s birth family. Yet something that seems self-evident to us has been characterized as monstrous in the HoloNet. I admit that while we recruiters are vital to the continuation of the Order, we don’t do much to burnish the Order’s reputation”. Ch’Gally also explains how the law is behind the Order: “Within the Republic, the Jedi Order has the legal authority to take custody of Force-sensitives, and some Masters have argued that the Force’s presence in a child indicates the child’s consent to join the Order even before he or she is able to speak”.

Mace’s argument is one for the greater good, one that places the needs of the many over the needs of the individual. Depa defers to her Master’s wisdom. Perhaps she is not convinced, but she is willing to be open to Mace’s answer.

Once the Jedi have left the nursery, it is invaded by a Zeltron bounty hunter. She has been hired at the behest of one of the child’s parents who want their infant returned. The hunter takes a young Sullustian, and upon her exit runs into Mace. After a brief confrontation Mace regains possession of the child, wherein the bounty hunter climbs her high horse of morality, and asks what gives the Jedi the right to do this. What gives Mace the right to separate a child from its parents?

Surprisingly, Mace is moved by the hunter’s words, and in a complete 180, returns the child back to his parents, thereby undercutting all his words to his padawan at the start of this story. A hypocritical act if you ask me.

I wonder, does Mace even believe what he preaches?

But is Mace a hypocrite, or simply a man who regrets the life that was chosen for him?: “Mace – while we know we are forbidden to make contact with you, we would like to see our son just once. Please. Your loving parents”. Mace looks back at the mother and child he has reunited once again, and deletes the message from his parents.

Mace Windu: A complicated man, and an even more complicated Jedi.

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