What if Obi-Wan hadn’t been able to jump aboard Padmè’s ship when she went to go find Anakin in Revenge of the Sith?
That is a theory that’s been bouncing around in my head ever since I saw the movie- but moreover- since I read the novel. I found myself wondering what would have happened if Obi-Wan didn’t stow away on Padmè’s ship when she went to Mustafar to talk Anakin out of being off-the-wall crazy…
In the movie, it doesn’t seem like it would have made such a difference… but in the book, it seems more likely that Anakin might have been slowly getting the hint that what he’d done was bad, and he needed to make things right… it seemed like she may have knocked some sense into him.
In the real story, Padmè goes to see Anakin on Mustafar and she realizes that what Obi-Wan said is true, but she makes a last, desperate plea, trying to knock some sense into him… But just when a tad little ray of hope begins to shine through, it’s dashed when Obi-Wan gets out of the ship and Anakin thinks Padmè has betrayed him.
Since Anakin has just killed the Separatist leaders and the Jedi on Courascant; he’s been imbibing the Dark Side’s poison. He’s high on it. He loses his temper- can’t control his rage, and he chokes Padmè with the Force.
I got the idea for this theory because of reading the Episode 3 novel. But it came full force when I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant film, Vertigo.
This film had a genius plot switch.
The basic plot of the movie is that Scottie is a retired detective. He experienced a traumatic episode when a fellow cop died while in pursuit of a suspect- Scottie was unable to save him, and the guy fell a long way to his death. Scottie had an episode of vertigo which is one of the main reasons for this accident. He takes this too hard, and retires. Later, an old friend asks him to investigate something weird with his wife Madeleine. She seems to be having moments where she’s possessed or captivated by someone else from the past… a relative. She sneaks off and goes to a museum and looks at a painting of someone named Carlotta. She visits the Mission Tower around San Francisco. She goes to the Golden Gate Bridge and a grave yard- seemingly for no reason, but she has blackouts and can’t remember where she’s been… she also has suicidal moments which coincide with the episodes.
Scottie begins to fall in love with her. Eventually, Madeleine “falls” off the Mission Tower. He was unable to stop her because of his vertigo. He goes into a mental institution, and when he comes out, he ends up meeting a woman named Judy who looks like Madeleine (but is a brunette). He befriends her and tries to make her look like Madeleine. She resists, but eventually agrees to change her appearance for him. Eventually, he finds out that the friend who hired him to investigate actually planned to murder his wife… the woman who he knew as Madeleine was actually Judy, and the real Madeleine was murdered by her husband and thrown off the Mission Tower. Scottie takes Judy there and tries to get her to tell him what happened. Eventually, a nun comes up and frightens Judy and she falls off the tower, and dies.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what’s going on and why I’m talking about some random old movie instead of Star Wars… Well, this movie got me thinking about that scene between Anakin and Padmè when Obi-Wan showed up. Obi-Wan showing up is akin to the nun coming up and startling Judy on the tower. Him showing up led to Padmè’s death.
Another quarrel I have with Obi-Wan arriving there is that once he was there and Anakin was over-reacting, saying, “You’re with him. You brought him here to kill me.” – that Obi-Wan didn’t do more to stop his former student before Anakin choked Padmè with the Force. He eventually told Anakin to let her go, but it was, in my opinion- too little too late. All it would have taken would be for him to say, “I snuck aboard her ship after she refused to tell me where you were.” He could have also added, “Do you realize what you could have done?! Your anger almost made you lash out against someone who loves you.” If Anakin looked sad or reflective, then that would mean that Kenobi had gotten through and could continue- something to the effect of, “What have you done, Anakin? And why? For what purpose? What did Palpatine promise you?” Kenobi’s voice would probably break about now… from emotion and fatigue. “You betrayed the Order… murdered Younglings… almost hurt the mother of your child… think about it- is this really what you want? The life of the Sith?”
Anakin might finally answer, “the Jedi turned against me… I asked for help, and all they had was platitudes… and I thought I would be made a Master, but they refused… and then they asked me to betray a friend… and things got worse while you were away… I was confused and troubled… Palpatine was the only one who seemed to trust me, and give me respect… he had the answers- the knowledge I needed…”
Obi-Wan would be confused since he had no idea that Anakin’s woes were mostly caused by the dreams of Padmè. So, he would ask, “What knowledge?”
“The knowledge to save Padmè… from my nightmares…”
Now, Kenobi would understand. He knew about Anakin’s experience with nightmares. “Anakin- you could have come to me. If I had known that’s what you were worried about…I would have helped you.”
“But I couldn’t tell you about…”
Kenobi might put a hand to his temple or chin in sadness. “I’ve always known you loved Padmè.”
At this, Anakin would visibly be upset- more at himself and about his misconceptions. If he’d known all this sooner, things might have been different. Now, he would feel extremely confused and conflicted.
He had done all these horrible things thinking that if he just did what the Emperor said, he’d be able to save his wife. He thought that the Jedi were against him- and that made it easy for him to turn on them. He thought that he couldn’t tell Obi-Wan about the dream because of Jedi not being allowed to have attachments… he was afraid to admit the truth for fear that he’d be thrown out of the Jedi Order.
Of course, once he betrayed Mace Windu, that probably would have happened anyway.
Anyhow… if the dialogue progressed, Anakin might regret his decision to turn to the Dark Side and turn back to the light.
If Obi-Wan never got on Padmè’s ship, then Padmè might have been able to talk some sense into her husband and get him to leave the life of a Sith… bring him around to the understanding that he needed to fulfill his destiny and get rid of the Sith. And Anakin would have to come to terms with the horrible thing he’d done… maybe he would talk to Yoda and Obi-Wan and work something out? Otherwise, him and Padmè might sneak off to Naboo to raise their children… Padmè, we can see- is trying to appeal to the Anakin she met and fell in love with, but she sees that the man she loved is gone. “I don’t know you anymore.” She says. If things went differently though, who knows what could have happened.
Just a thought.