by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 6
Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett was breathtaking to say the least. The return of Grogu. The live-action debut of Cad Bane. Ahsoka and Luke together. But, although there was plenty for fans to feast on in this episode, the latest episode of the Disney+ series subtly plays an interesting and ominous role in the larger Skywalker saga.
The episode concludes with a “duel of the fates” of sorts. Grogu must decide between following the path of the Jedi with Luke or following his emotional attachment to The Mandalorian and return to his adoptive father. The theme of attachment resonates throughout the Skywalker saga, but is particularly evident in the prequel trilogy as it plays an integral role in the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader. Anakin’s journey in the prequels largely encompasses a struggle between two ends of the same spectrum: total, almost obsessive attachment to another and the complete negation of emotional attachment. The former represents the stance of Palpatine and the appeal the dark lord of the Sith held in the eyes of Anakin. Meanwhile, the latter represents the almost impersonal stance of the Jedi Order. George Lucas has spoken extensively about the warring pulls of attachment and detachment that ultimately led to Anakin’s fall:
“The thing with Anakin is that he started out a great kid, he was very compassionate. So the issue was, how did he turn bad. How did he go to the Dark Side? He went to the Dark Side, Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments. They can love people, they can do that. But they can’t attach. That’s the problem in the world of fear, once you are attached to something, then you become afraid of losing it. And when you become afraid of losing it, then you turn to the Dark Side, and you want to hold onto it, and that was Anakin’s issue ultimately, that he wanted to hold onto his wife who he knew, he had a premonition that she was going to die. He didn’t know how to stop it, so he went to the Dark Side to find… in mythology you go to Hades, and you talk to the Devil, and the Devil says ‘this is what you do’ and basically you sell your soul to the devil. When you do that, and you’re afraid and you’re on the Dark Side and you fall off the golden path of compassion because you are greedy, you want to hold on to something that you love and he didn’t do the right thing and as a result he turned bad.”
Ultimately, one of the lessons of Anakin’s fall is that both the Jedi and the Sith were wrong. The devil-like qualities of the Sith that Lucas speaks of glaringly show the wrong-doing of the Sith, as Palpatine seduces Anakin on the premise that he can save his beloved wife from certain death. But the Jedi are also misguided in their views on attachment as well. In so bluntly discouraging attachment, the Jedi exhibited compassion, but not the deep rooted emotional connections we associate with love. In a way, the Jedi feared what would happen if a person became too emotionally attached (as seen with Anakin). The Jedi, though, are also off-base. In maintaining such a strong stance on attachments and adopting an attitude so devoid of emotion and compassion, the Jedi inadvertently pushed Anakin toward the dark side. Anakin was struggling with his feelings and fears and, when given a choice between unrelenting attachment and total detachment, it was inevitable he would lapse to the dark side. The lesson this all serves is that the Sith were wrong in overly prioritizing attachment and the Jedi were wrong in neglecting the importance of attachment. A balance, of sorts, is necessary.
So, how does this relate to the latest chapter of The Book of Boba Fett? Luke and Ahsoka both speak of Grogu’s attachment to Din Djarin in a somewhat negative light. In The Mandalorian Season 2, Ahsoka outright refuses to train Grogu on the basis of his attachment to The Mandalorian, which is seen as in direct opposition to the dogma of the Jedi Order. Luke holds similar sentiments in The Book of Boba Fett. Luke and Ahsoka have seemingly failed to learn the lesson of Anakin’s downfall: that attachment is inherently wrong. Instead, Luke and Ahsoka seem somewhat blind to the balance in attachment that would’ve saved Anakin and likely the Jedi Order altogether. Now, Grogu is being placed in a similarly impossible position between two mutually exclusive choices that do not need to be mutually exclusive. Grogu can train in the ways of the Force and be a Mandalorian foundling. But, Luke and Ahsoka don’t see it this way.
Flash forward to The Last Jedi and we have a hardened Luke scarred by his urge to kill his nephew Ben Solo. Totally cut off from the Force, Luke laments the failures of Jedi dogma. He criticizes the hubris of the Jedi Order in believing they always knew what was best. He criticizes the Jedi Order in claiming that their attempts to help led to unfathomable harm. And he points out the hypocrisies in the Jedi that Palpatine also identified. Many of the failings in the Jedi that The Last Jedi-era Luke points out are exhibited by the Luke we see in The Book of Boba Fett. On the surface, Luke is more powerful than ever, confident in his abilities in the Force as he trains Grogu and attempts to restart the Jedi Order. But, in putting Grogu in such a difficult position, Luke is evidencing his narrow mindedness that the Luke of 30 years later is hyper-critical of. We can feel the hubris and confidence in Luke. He has no doubts in regards to his stance on attachment, despite how similar situations led to the fall of his father to the dark side.
Moving forward in the Disney+ run of Star Wars series, it will be interesting to see if this theme is explored more deeply. As a viewer, we have this excitement and love for the return of Luke that, in some ways, may blind us to the possibility that he is overly confident and misguided in his perspectives. Nonetheless, the incredible writing in Chapter 6 contains brilliant references to the broader Star Wars saga, but also touches on more intimate and subtle themes that nicely tie the prequel and sequel trilogies together.
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm