burn on me i guess?
- The changes to Anakin’s character make him a more boring character than his film counterpart
Then why are you changing Anakin’s film character to be more in line with the TV show?
Because I like TCW more than the films and think that its characters deserve to have a finale that works for them better than the theatrical film.
I guess to clarify:
I definitely like Filoni/Matt Lanter’s portayal more, in writing and acting. I mean, I wouldn’t have made my edit if I didn’t feel that way, if I didn’t think the prequels shat the bed as far as connecting to the OT and making us like or care about the characters anyway.
That said we all know it’s not purely a case of TCW’s writing just being better. They deliberately approached Anakin as a mash-up of Han/Luke when he wasn’t really that in the movies. And it works, god does it work! I do get emotional about his relationship with Ahsoka and his men.
But on some level, I feel like retconning him into a classical ideal hero-type does away with what little about the original portrayal that did work for me. I don’t quite know how to articulate this atm because it’s like 2am where I am, but it’s almost deliberately dumber. In a lot of ways it’s Anakin as a crowd-pleasing Marvel character. The concessions made for his character do the opposite of flesh him out.
Wooden acting and campy writing aside, I think something that was unique about Hayden’s Anakin was that he was pretty feminine-coded: he was sensitive and softer spoken, he cried, he wore his heart on his sleeve. Unlike the stoic male hero informed by morals and action, his story was defined by his emotions. Interestingly enough his arc is pretty much a Heroine’s Journey. I think that’s fascinating stuff. As a kid, his struggles subconsciously allowed me to challenge some of the more toxic male figures in my life.
Sure, Anakin can come off as a bit of an entitled brat - but within an institution deliberately depicted as cold and dispassionate. I do think him being nine in TPM (and “too old” at that age) was a calculated story decision, and with the two other films, it paints a picture of a good heart discouraged by conservative moral authority - a boy made to conform to the masculine ideal of unemotional and pragmatic. He’s robbed of healthy outlets for emotions he has, which pushes him towards worse influences and shapes his worldview in unhealthy ways.
By emphasizing how young and repressed he is, there’s just a lot more going on; discussions about masculinity and those expectations, how that can skew perspectives in an upbringing, how war certainly doesn’t help - and how all of that interplays with indoctrination and dogmatic faith. For kids, it’s a lesson about how logical detachment and unemotional thinking is overrated - in a world that so often wants us to “control your feelings,” turning boys into unfeeling social monsters and looks down on women for what’s normal in any human. In a franchise about the virtues of love and family, I find that this take on Darth Vader is fitting. It’s more mature and intriguing than just a failed hero’s journey. It just mostly doesn’t work within our expectations or how he’s described in the OT. (and execution lmao) But maybe that’s the point. Like Luke, we romanticize that classical hero ideal but the prequels aim to demonstrate that its applications may be more harmful than good. Anakin represents that and the fandom backlash to his whininess is kind of poetic in a way.
The show tackles the failings of the prequel Jedi in a similar way, but more politically than psychically.
It all gets confused though because TCW Anakin is well-adjusted and relatively wise. He has a balance between his emotionality and the Jedi’s expectations and he’s treated like an endearing maverick for it. He never cries (even when he thinks Obi-Wan fucking dies), and his past? He doesn’t want to talk about it. His “inner darkness” is vague, manifesting itself as macho-man anger issues, or even just random. Alone, he’s just a good guy whose bad tendencies one day dictated his actions in a big way. It doesn’t improve the prequel character, it simplifies him and his circumstances. Considering them the same character only serves to make him more weird and uneven.
But he’s more likable! I certainly would rather watch him. The changes are for the better, but are imo more boring.
TLDR; Let Anakin Cry More 2020