So, I’m in the middle of watching the PT with director’s commentary, because it was recommended to me, and something that George Lucas said during Shmi’s death scene really struck me. George said that her death was inevitable, and that Anakin’s insistence on setting out to find her showed his inability to let go of his attachments and accept the inevitability of death.
But Shmi’s death wasn’t inevitable. Anakin had 10 years to come back and save her from slavery. Hell, if he’d come back even just a day earlier, he might have been able to rescue her. And even ignoring that, if you found out a family member had been kidnapped, and there was even the slightest chance that they were still alive and could be saved, of course you’d go get them. At the very least, you’d want the certainty of whether they’re dead or not, so that you can properly mourn for them.
If Shmi had died from natural causes, then the message would have made more sense. Her getting kidnapped and tortured to death obviously wasn’t an inevitable thing, and would have been easily avoidable.
I agree. To me it appears George did not fully think through the changes he made to the Star Wars universe he created for the Prequels. Before the Prequels Jedi had family (Owen and Obi-Wan as brothers in the film novel), Jedi had children (Anakin fathering Luke), and so Jedi would have likely had wives, husbands or long term partners (maybe depending on what species they were), and even something as simple as the robes that Obi-Wan and Yoda wore were not considered the Jedi “uniform” (many everyday people wore similar or the same type of clothing).
Why he would make these changes just to help rewrite the Jedi so it made it somehow easier or a setting to help for Anakin to “betray and hunt down the Jedi” I do not understand.
Your point on Shmi above is another example. It is also a problem with George at the time of writing and directing making the Prequels: he tells us what is happening, but he does not show it. The old rule of “Show, don’t tell” is ignored by George many many times throughout the time of the Prequels.
Shmi’s death wasn’t inevitable, it was not really shown this way on film, or in the larger story, and as your wrote above it is simple to argue otherwise (in Anakin going back to free from slavery days or years before).
Did George think he did not have the story make more logical sense? It is almost as if people around him believe everything he says for so long, and did not challenge him, and having large section of fans believe whatever he said without question, that maybe he even believed he didn’t have to actually show this in a meaningful and effective way? Or that his focus was elsewhere on the technology being used to shoot the films, or something else? (like the lack of people around to challenge him, offer alternatives, point out and address any issues and so on).
Hayden Christensen’s thoughts at the time of ROTS on the criticism he received give an insight in George’s thinking: “I guess the impression that I got from George Lucas was that if they don’t like them, then they don’t ‘get’ it – and that was good enough for me.”, which is quite an arrogant and dismissive way of thinking from George.
It does not appear George’s focus was on making the story logical, or stand up to any general scrutiny the casual viewer may have had for these changes made to the SWU for the Prequels (before we go into the nitpicking, and scene by scene dissection that many of us Star Wars fans are known for!) 😃