Insect Politics

No, this article is not about the deleted Separatist Kangaroo Court scene, though I will say that if George ever does a Special Edition of Attack of the Clones, I’d love to see it put back in, in one form or another.

The Trade Federation B1 Battle Droids were, at least in The Phantom Menace, a formidable fighting force in spite of their inherent disadvantages. However, the biggest complaint against them from certain audience members wasn’t their limited programming. It was their propensity to be cannon fodder.

You see, The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie to show the Jedi in their prime, and the weapon of the Jedi Knight is the Lightsaber, which has been shown to cut through even metal like a hot knife through butter. We’ve seen numerous times what they can do to living flesh, and it ain’t pretty.

Apparently, this vocal group of viewers wanted to see the damage those lightsabers could do full-force to some living things, and saw the Battle Droids as George Lucas trying to get away with politically-correct bloodless carnage for the kiddies.

If you’ve been following my column, you know I think there’s all kinds of things wrong with that sentiment.

First off, this actually is a series of kid’s films, so what’s the problem? Second of all, why would you want to see that in the first place? Third of all, have we forgotten the impalement of Qui-Gon and subsequent bisection of Maul? Not to mention the fiery deaths of various podracer pilots proving that Lucas doesn’t pull his punches as much as he’s accused of.

Well, regardless, Lucasfilm apparently heard these cries and gave the people what they wanted in Attack of the Clones. Not that anybody seemed to notice.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the Geonosians.

Don’t you remember how these living beings where sliced up by Anakin’s lightsaber in the Droid Factory? Not to mention graphically dispatched in a number of other ways during that sequence and the subsequent Arena scene?

Well, I have, and to tell the truth it always bugged me.

Pun not intended.

Well….maybe a little intended.

It’s not so much that Lucas gave such graphic demises to living beings in Star Wars; though that part does disturb me, it’s not as though Star Wars has ever been bloodless. What bothers me more is that nobody reacts with the same sense of unease at the Geonosians’ deaths as I do. And I think it has to do with the fact that they’re Insectoid. They push the fringe of the Humanoid classification so much that the audience doesn’t sympathize with their deaths.

That is, for lack of a better term, severely messed up.

It further complicates Anakin’s character that he willingly ends all these lives instead of finding a way to disarm them. Even though he’s protecting Padmé, he’s also still trying to repent internally for the Tusken incident. Is it further foreshadowing how far he’s willing to drop to keep himself and Padmé safe? Or is it indicative of the Jedi order at this time, paying lip service only to using their skills for defense and not attack?

As much thought as George Lucas puts into things like this, I have my doubts that he intended for his audience to be thinking so much about the lives of these unfortunate Geonosians and the impact of their deaths. But at the same time, I hope he did, because this is a debate I wouldn’t mind having about Star Wars. Not, you know, fighting against unfair criticism.

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Adam lives with his wife in Providence, Rhode Island USA (a wife who was gracious enough to allow “Across the Stars” as their wedding processional). Adam plays World of Warcraft, writes and manages the self-indulgent blog “Nilbog’s Storybook Land”, and attempts (often in vain) to complete his novel. He secretly hopes that the production of the new Star Wars films will lead to open auditions.