Debate of the Day: Was Phantom Menace Smarter Than We Think?

Well, I wasn’t expecting to wake up first thing Monday morning and have my mind blown, but here we are.

It’s common knowledge that The Phantom Menace sucked pretty hard, and is by far the worse Star Wars movie ever. The rest of the new trilogy was pretty terrible as well, but Phantom especially stood out as being a series of inane plot holes and incoherence. But what if it wasn’t?

I just got reading a really interesting theory from redditor JoshMeme that I think you should read below:

a) You should be familiar with the scene in Episode 3 when Palpatine tells Anakin about Darth Plagueis. They watched that bubble opera, and Palpatine said something along the line of “Darth Plagueis was able to manipulate midichlorians to save the ones he loved from dying.” Of course, the important thing to take from this was that it made Anakin realize he could save Padme by switching to the Dark Side. Well, there was another part to that quote. Palpatine slips in there a line that says Darth Plagueis was able to use the force to create life. Palpatine then smiles at Anakin and continues speaking. Remember, we learned in Phantom that Anakin had no father. So there was a pretty clear insinuation here by Palpatine. We have two possibilities: Palpatine was making it up, or Anakin was truly the creation of Palpatine’s former master. If you check Wookiepedia, however, it does say that many people believe Plagueis did conceive Anakin. To back this up further, the new novel about Darth Plagueis that has been postponed several times is now slated to come out a month before the re-release of Episode One. I doubt that Lucas has gone completely crazy, so he probably realizes that it might be hard to get people to go see the re-release of Phantom. Maybe he’s hoping something big will happen to spur interest in the films. Maybe there will be a big revelation in this book, particularly one about the origins of Anakin. Plagueis was killed between 52 and 46 BBY. This range should be clarified, and maybe even moved up a few years with the release of the novel in January. Anakin was born in 42 BBY. We don’t really know the gestation period of a force baby, and like I said, the date of Plagueis’ death is not set in stone yet. It isn’t very hard to believe Anakin was conceived by Plagueis.

b) So now you might say, alright, you have my attention. Maybe Anakin was created by Plagueis, sure. I’ll play along now. So what? Well let’s look closer at Palpatine. Plagueis’ Wookipedia page goes on to say that Palpatine feared being replaced by Plagueis’ force baby, and thus killed his master. Interesting. This means Palpatine knew that Plagueis was at least trying to make a force baby at the time. And as of Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine knew that baby was Anakin. So you might then wonder, did he know it was Anakin the whole time? He always had a close relationship to Anakin, that I assume was just a poorly constructed plot instrument that was never explained. But this logical explanation would definitely make some sense of it. So then you might ask, why some kid on Tatooine? Well, if I were to make an evil force baby, I would do it as far away from Coruscant as possible. Now that we have established that Palpatine knew about Anakin’s origins throughout the series, let’s go on to part (c).

c) In Phantom, Qui Gon and company are forced to land on Tatooine because their ship started to fail. Before they knew it, their communications were jammed. They were unable to tell anyone on Coruscant where they were. Qui Gon said of the communication jam that he “sensed a disturbance.” So what do you know, they left the planet with Anakin and brought him to Coruscant, where Palpatine spent all of his time. But before the group leaves, they get a surprise visit from Darth Maul. What the hell was that? In a cut scene earlier in the movie, Darth Maul suggests that he and Palpatine had tracked Amidala to Tatooine. Specifically, he says “If the trace was correct.” How was he able to trace the ship if the communications were jammed? Again, I thought this was a plot hole. But it all makes sense now. Darth Maul never said he saw a trace. Palpatine could have easily told Maul he had traced the ship, but Palpatine already knew where it was. Or, Palpatine was able to trace the ship, but either way, Palpatine was the one jamming their communications from the other side of the galaxy. So what are the chances the group would land on Tatooine and pick up Anakin, all while Palpatine, the man who killed his master over Anakin, happens to be clouding their ship. You can say what you want about the will of the force, but it is pretty clear to me that Palpatine purposefully made sure the group landed on Tatooine. He made that ship fail, and he made them have to land on Tatooine. The entire plot of Phantom was completely orchestrated by Palpatine. He got the ship to land on Tatooine so he could get Qui Gon to bring Anakin to him, and he could train Anakin himself. All of the events of Star Wars are therefore a result of this plan. Phantom’s existence now makes sense. The prequels were even more planned out by Palpatine than they superficially appear to be. It no longer seems like a mess of forced plot elements and annoying coincidences. Palpatine was just a fucking genius.

As awesome as this all was, there’s no way I actually believe this is what Lucas intended. I just don’t think he’s that smart to have purposefully buried something like that in an otherwise idiotic movie, or if he was, he was still stupid to bury it that deep where no one would ever find it, and just think the events of the movie are stupid coincidence. And furthermore, even if it is true, it doesn’t exactly make the movie “better” as the acting, writing and editing is still exceptionally terribly with or without that plot point.

Still though, kind of cool.


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