It’s interesting that you criticize Qui-Gon’s death and bearing on the story, when Lucas ultimately managed to better flesh out Qui-Gon’s character, motivations, and relationships with Obi-Wan, and Anakin over the course of a single movie than Snoke was developed over the course of two movies in the ST. I would say Snoke is to Ben Solo what Qui-Gon is to Obi-Wan and to a lesser degree Anakin, only Snoke has far less scenes, and Snoke and Ben Solo’s relationship is far less developed obscuring Ben Solo’s character motivations.
Let’s try not to get too far off topic with the ST talk, especially when the comparison is so labored and irrelevant to the discussion.
The problem is Qui-Gon is basically the closest thing to a main character in TPM, and then he’s gone. There are two things that went wrong - he should have been far more in the background in a mentor role, and his influence on Obi-wan and Anakin should have been more clearly conveyed in the other films (which is to say more than not at all, which is the case).
Anyway, I’m going to give this as half a point in favor of ROTS.
I used the example to point out a possible double standard, but I might have used ANH as an example as well. Tarkin serves as one of the main antagonists in that film, and after ANH he’s gone, never to be mentioned again.
My criticism of Qui-Gon has nothing to do with him dying. In fact, that he dies in TPM is one of the few things I would not change about him.
However, Tarkin serves a purpose beyond his apparent role as the villain. Firstly, ANH is far more political than TESB and ROTJ. For one the political situation is mentioned or discussed on numerous occasions, between Leia and Vader early on, in the Death Star conference room, and again between Tarkin and Leia before the destruction of Alderaan. The more personal story of Luke, Obi-Wan, and Vader is very much in the background, and used as a McGuffin to get Luke to join the fight against the Empire.
Saying ANH has more politics than TESB and ROTJ doesn’t say much, because those two films have practically zero politics. And I’m not saying these films shouldn’t have galactic politics in them, they just shouldn’t be at the forefront. If you think Tarkin’s politicking is the focus of ANH while Luke’s story is in the background, you need to watch that film again. The Death Star scenes are asides to Luke’s story, with the galactic politics featured therein minimal (and succinctly presented in direct relation to the stakes of the story at hand), and nothing near the extent of what is portrayed in the PT.
Qui-Gon’s character serves a number of purposes. For one he is the mirror that exposes the Jedi order’s dogmatism, a dogmatism that would continue to plague them in subsequent films. Secondly, without Qui-Gon’s involvement Anakin would never have been trained. Qui-Gon’s actions in the story directly impact the further development of the main characters, and the development and outcome of Lucas’ six part story. Thirdly, Qui-Gon’s death is a stark reminder to the Jedi order that the Sith are still at large and as dangerous as ever.
When did I ever say Qui-Gon was pointless? The problem is TPM puts too much focus on the one off character, while Obi-wan stands around in the background, and Anakin isn’t introduced until halfway through the film.
The death of a main character reminds us of the stakes,
You’re suggesting that Lucas made Qui-Gon a main character, so that his death could raise the stakes more significantly? The stakes in a series of films where we already know the outcome? Not to mention, the threat that kills him is also dispatched immediately thereafter.
The main purpose of killing the mentor is not to simply raise the stakes. It is to affect the protagonist’s journey, and leave them to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, though Lucas obviously had it in mind, the impact of Qui-Gon’s death is not touched upon in a meaningful way in the later films.
and also conveys the idea that Anakin has lost a father figure who might have steered him on the path of the righteous. That void is filled by Palpatine who would take over the role of father figure in subsequent films to the detriment of the entire galaxy.
Except we only see Palpatine talk to Anakin once in AOTC, while in the same film he says that Obi-wan is like a father to him… but then in ROTS they’re “brothers”… The truth is Lucas had an interesting idea with the dueling father figures, but completely fucked it up in terms of what actually made it on screen (where Anakin and Obi-wan bicker half the time, and we only know Anakin and Palpatine are friends because he tells us such, not because we actually see it). Good ideas that are practically nonexistent in the finished product due to poor execution - the prequels in a nutshell.
So, in my view if you see a racial stereotype in Jar Jar Binks, it’s because you are conditioned to see a racial stereotype, not because Lucas put it there to ridicule another race of people.
That’s pretty obviously not how recognizing stereotypes actually works (and is kind of insulting). I don’t think there are many who think Lucas consciously included characters that resemble racist caricatures in his films (and, indeed, one should note that much of Jar Jar is Ahmed Best’s creation).
Personally I had no idea of the resemblance when I first saw the film, because I was a kid. But the similarities are obviously there when you compare Jar Jar to historical caricatures such as Stepin Fetchit and the like. I don’t think it’s enough of a similarity to be a significant criticism of the film (and hell if that film’s critics need anything more to criticize), but it’s disingenuous to say there’s no comparison to be made and then to also claim stereotyping of those making the comparison.
I’m not saying no comparison can be made, I’m saying how one judges such a comparison depends heavily on conditioning, and in my view the US’s history with racial issues has conditioned many people to be hyper sensitive to any percieved racial stereotyping. I certainly don’t remember it being a point of discussion in my country.