As my regular readers know, following my initial viewing of a major genre film, I sometimes jot down notes of my impressions, questions, complaints, etc. (Although, come to think of it, I haven’t done this in a while.) Recent media discussion and fan interest in the upcoming Star Wars sequels reminded me that I had a few notes on the second two prequels (i.e., Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith), so I tracked ’em down. The ones about RotS are relatively brief, but I may get to them in a later post. The ones about AotC are a bit more substantial. In fact, rather than a list of pros, cons, & miscellaneous comments, this particular commentary took the form of reviewing the political maneuvering that went on in the movie. I think I did this largely in an effort to try to keep it all straight in my mind and so I could refer back later, ‘cuz it was kind of confusing. In any case, I thought y’all might enjoy going through this little retrospective with me.
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith) is a power-hungry, master manipulator. In Phantom Menace, we saw him convince Amidala & others to have Supreme Chancellor Valorum removed from office and replaced with himself. In Attack of the Clones, he indirectly convinced Representative Jar-Jar to put forth the motion that the Senate give Palpatine sweeping emergency powers and the right to authorize an army for the Republic. (It didn’t seem like they had time to vote, but he assumed that power right away, anyway.) This is the same ploy Adolf Hitler used to gain similar dictatorial power in mid-1930s Germany. Coincidence?
The wayward Count Dooku (aka Lord Tyrannus) — who calls Sidious his “master”, though he seems older — has gotten the Trade Federation, the Commerce Guild, the IG Banking Clan, and other commerce-related groups to join the separatists (“hundreds of Senators”) in their bid to break off from the Republic. It is this threat of civil war that Palpatine uses to gain the above-mentioned office and power. His real aim, of course, was to get the war going, not to stop it. (This is confirmed by his conversation with Dooku at the end of AofC.) Palpatine will use it to his own, personal advantage, gaining increasing power and eventually setting himself up as the dictator in a new Empire.
Obviously, Palpatine and Dooku planned to use the droid armies for their purposes — probably on behalf of the separatists. I think they planned to use the clones, too — probably on behalf of the Republic loyalists, which Palpatine would also control. (Remember, Jango Fett said that “Tyrannus” was the one who recruited him for the “job” as model for the clones, and that’s who he ran to when he knew the Jedi were onto him.) Fortunately, Obi-Wan discovered the clone army and Yoda was able to enlist them to fight against the droids on Geonosis. But,… that still puts them under Palpatine’s command as leader of the Republican Senate.
It still isn’t clear to me what role Master Sifo-Dyas had in all this. When the order was put in for the clone troopers to be grown/trained at Lama Su’s facility, was it the real Sifo-Dyas who did so or someone posing as him (see below)? If it was actually him, was he 1) fully in agreement with Palpatine and Dooku’s evil machinations, or 2) working secretly with Palpatine and/or Dooku but deceived as to their true motives, or 3) working secretly with Palpatine and/or Dooku with knowledge of their corruption and hoping to expose/stop them, or 4) perhaps manipulated into ordering the clones but without knowledge of Palpatine or Dooku’s involvement? Or…?
Regardless, while the army was supposedly formed at the request of the Senate, according to Mace Windu, “whoever placed that order did not have the authorization of the Jedi Council.” Also, in that same scene, when Obi-Wan says that he thought Sifo-Dyas had been killed prior to the time when the order was placed (“nearly ten years ago”, according to Lama Su), Windu and Yoda exchange a look of surprise. They then express concern that the Jedi were not aware of the order for the clone army. Was Sifo-Dyas indeed dead at the time and an imposter — e.g., Dooku, or an agent of Dooku and/or Palpatine — placed the order? Or, had he faked his death in order to work with Dooku? Were Windu and Yoda aware of this infiltration by, or corruption of, Sifo-Dyas?
Lama Su told Obi-Wan that there were 200,000 troops ready and another million “well on the way”. (Also, Taun We says that if the Senate wants more, they should put in another order soon, so the clones have time to grow.) Certainly those million could not have been ready — i.e., grown, educated, trained — within the next couple of days, so there must have been a maximum of 200,000 clone troops at the battle of Geonosis.
I haven’t watched any of the Star Wars films in several years, so I’m thinking it may be time to work them into my viewing schedule. Maybe when I get to AotC I’ll catch a few more details that will help me figure this stuff out. On the other hand, maybe I should track down the novel adaptation of the prequels to get the whole story. (Maybe certain characters will be less irritating in the written form?) I’ve seen some speculation about the Sifo-Dyas stuff online but nothing definitive/authoritative. Meanwhile, if any of you Star Wars super-fans would like to comment and maybe give your own theory, please post below….