A Stirring in the Force

In one of the Interlude chapters in the novel Aftermath: Life Debt, author Chuck Wendig takes the reader back to Maz Kanata’s castle on the verdant world of Takodana. While Kanata and her castle/world have appeared in a spattering of stories since she was first introduced in The Force Awakens, she has otherwise not received greater treatment in the Star Wars canon. Her unmistakable absence has left me disappointed since what we learn about Kanata and her connection to the Force in The Force Awakens is incredibly fascinating. Still, I know that her story will eventually receive a much larger treatment – I shared my own idea for a story that would suite her in a previous post– and in the meantime smaller stories like the Interlude in Life Debt satisfy my need to know more about her. 

LifeDebt
The cover of Life Debt.
Photo Credit – Del Rey Books

Now, while I am happy that we are given this glimpse of Kanata in Life Debt, the Interlude also includes a rather peculiar remark which Kanata voices about the state of the Force. It is an otherwise subtle comment, coming on the last page of the chapter after she handles a minor situation that unfolds in the fortress she calls home. Standing on a parapet of the ancient castle, she is approached by the droid 8D9 who tells Kanata that “Peace has returned to the Castle.” In turn, Maz states the following:

“Good, good, good. Still. Peace has not returned to my heart. Something is off balance. Some stirring in the Force has made the water turbid. Hard to see. But I think it best we be prepared.”

What is so strange about this comment, what made me immediately stop reading the novel and left me in deep contemplation, is the phrase “Something is off balance.” Given that she follows this by saying there is “some stirring in the Force,” it is obvious that Kanata is referring to the Force being off balance. But what makes this so odd is the timing of her statement, coming only a handful of months after Anakin Skywalker – redeemed by his son Luke – fulfilled his prophetic destiny as the one who would bring balance to the Force. The entire trajectory of Anakin’s life, guided at times by the Force and at other times by his own feelings and actions, led him to that moment aboard Death Star II where the balancing act would finally be completed. It was not the first action towards fulfilling the prophecy, but it was, so far as Star Wars lore is concerned, the last.

Again, this is what makes Kanata’s statement so strange. How can it be that the Force is already stirring, that Maz Kanata can sense that the Force is off balance when the Chosen One literally just completed the balancing act? This question has bugged me ever since my first reading of Life Debt, and while a handful of explanations/ideas have been floating around in my mind, some way of reconciling what she says with the reality of Anakin’s actions has eluded me. For the life of me I just can’t figure it out, at least not in any crystal clear way. Of course, it would be simple enough to just ask Chuck Wendig for an explanation, but going to the author for answers isn’t how I tend to roll. Besides, I am sure Wendig is a busy guy, and he surely has better things to do than answer every question/comment a reader throws his way. But I digress…

mazkanata
Kanata sits at a table in her castle.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Basically, I think the simplest explanation is the one that probably makes the most sense: Kanata’s senses are correct, the Force feels off balance to her because it is off balance, a result of whatever is “stirring” within the mystical energy field. But beyond Kanata telling the truth, we really cannot extrapolate a great deal, there is just not enough information to help us understand the relationship between Anakin’s balancing act and the Force being off balance once again. While we cannot understand that relationship we can, however, acknowledge that if Kanata is correct then Anakin being the Chosen One and balancing the Force is called into question. Is it possible, we must ask, that Anakin did not actually balance the Force in Return of the Jedi? Or, if he truly did balance the Force, what could have caused the Force to be off balance right after he had fulfilled his prophetic destiny? And on this point, are we as fans okay with this new imbalance to the Force knowing that it runs the risk of undermining the fundamental lore at the very heart of the six Star Wars films George Lucas created? Or, is there potential for this new imbalance to add to that lore in a way that honors and expands, but does not detract from, Lucas’ original vision and story?

6 comments

  1. Those are very pertinent questions to finish the article with. Snoke is out there so I would assume that the imbalance is to do with his actions. The new canon has been keen to explore the workings of Force beyond the Jedi and the Sith, so there’s every chance that they chose to sidestep Anakin’s journey as a dogmatic concern, rather than an absolute one.

    My hope is that Anakin’s journey is not undermined by the new canon, but this may be in vain given how they’ve already treated Han Solo and the Rebellion/Republic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, I think there is a pragmatic reason to sidestep Anakin so they can work different angles of the Light/Dark side (and everything in-between). And, at the same time, I think there IS a really smart way to make Anakin an important part of all of that without making him the absolute center-piece beyond ROTJ. Still, it sounds like you and I have the same fear that the original story that Lucas put down is slowly being blanketed by new stories. Or, more specifically, the lore and thematic centerpieces of Lucas’ story are being overshadowed and fundamentally altered. My hope is that this isn’t the case, but the deeper we head into this Disney era, the more I am starting to think that is actually what is taking place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. My biggest disappointment with TFA was that it tried to wipe away the OT rather than build on it, which has made me feel more protective of the Lucas saga as a whole. That’s why recent rumours that I’ve read about Rey on this very topic have set my Spidey sense tingling. Unless Disney have something really clever planned, I’d rather that they left Anakin’s arc alone and created something entirely new.

        But then I’m young enough to remember the Special Editions as a good thing, so if you’re of a similar mindset it may well just be that it’s our turn to be the cranky, set-in-our-ways older fans… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My first thought is entirely off, I’m sure, and probably a little inappropriate – but my gut reaction was that Han probably impregnated Leia (lol I know I’m sorry!!).

    That all said, it probably does have something to do with Snoke, is my guess. Interesting though…very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been thinking about Leia being pregnant with Ben off and on today. Someone on Twitter proposed that to me and I think it could definitely be the case. Still, I think even if it is in reference to a lil baby Ben “stirring” in the womb it would still, eventually, lead to some sort of imbalance in the Force anyway. Maybe it isn’t an imbalance right after ROTJ but it seems safe to say that the Force is out of wack when we get to TFA.

      Like

      1. Oh for sure. One of my favorite quotes is “because things are the way they are, they will not stay the way they are.” So just because Anakin brought balance to the Force with his redemption and death – its not like that could be the way indefinitely. When Luke started training others, he immediately throws the balance of the Force off again. So by the time we get to TFA, I’m sure it’s not as imbalanced as in the prequels but it’s still tipping one way or another.

        Liked by 1 person

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