Tybalt and Mercutio. Mr Jones and Axel Heyst. Steve Austin and Vince MacMahon. Conflict between forces that stand for something larger than themselves catches our attention and makes us want to finish the play, the novel, the film, or the broadcast.
If you want to dive into the nuts and bolts of how to structure fiction, you don’t need an MFA. You’d do just as well buying a few books on the subject. I’m reading 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias right now and I think it’s very good. But this post isn’t about how to layer tension into fictive relationships and how to transform story into plot.
This post is about slow-burning narrative conflict, though. This post is about keen (near-obsessive) analysis. This post is about MatPat and Elmo. Stop him when he’s telling lies:
I think liking Star Wars requires generally disliking the Jedi Council. Those clowns are terrible when it comes down to it. Mace Windu is particularly bad, and Yoda spends the entirety of the Clone Wars “having a bad feeling about this” but never actually leading. Even Obi-Wan, who I love, is shady as hell.
The best things about The Clone Wars series are the arcs that focus on the clone troopers (especially the Domino squad characters), the droids, or Ahsoka. Also good are arcs that expand the Star Wars mythos in general, and there are plenty of those. The series also does what the prequel trilogy could not: establish Anakin as a tragic hero who spends the run up to his fall as being mostly right about everything.
Also: why does the Republic care if the Separatists leave? Also also: the clone army is Republic state-sanctioned slavery.
The show does a really good job showing all the flaws with the Republic and with the Council. It shows the hubris of the Jedi leadership as a main reason for their failure to sense the Sith threat. For these reasons, I love Luke’s attitude in The Last Jedi.
To put it another way: If James T. Kirk had been around to Kobayashi Maru the Jedi Council every now and then, Palpatine would have been arrested within the first ten minutes of Attack of the Clones.