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Alternative Character Interpretation / Star Wars

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Palpatine: The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way—including in their quest for more power.
Anakin: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inwards, only about themselves.
Palpatine: And the Jedi don’t?

Star Wars is one of the most recognizable multimedia franchises ever and there are fans who are likely to subject characters to different interpretations.

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  • Anakin Skywalker has different interpretations by the fans: Is he a gullible, self-centered brat who always whines about how hard his life is? Or is he a hapless Pawn of Prophecy? Is Anakin also a psychotic Stalker with a Crush who used the Force to Mind Rape the woman he was obsessed with? Or is he a poor, misunderstood Jerkass Woobie who would have been fine if those cold and unfeeling Jedi had just tried harder to understand him? Well, it depends which fans you ask. It doesn't help that The Clone Wars retroactively reveals that he was very likable, heroic, competent, and fleshed out in addition to having legitimate reasons to distrust the Jedi Order during the eponymous three-year galactic war that began back in Attack of the Clones and later concluded in Revenge of the Sith. This is all fine and dandy for retroactively making Anakin a better character, but it also creates another interpretation by fans of how he truly is.
    • Did Anakin use the Force to make Padmé fall in love with him? If so, was he intentionally using the Force to manipulate Padmé's feelings, or was he just so blinded by his obsession with her that he did so without realizing it? It would explain their rather awkward hook up and how Padmé could forgive him for massacring all those Sand People in a relatively short period of time - unless Padmé, like pretty much everyone else on Tatooine, just assumes that the Sand People are inhuman cannibal savages who go around brutalizing people for fun. Or is their dysfunctional and ultimately doomed romance down to the two of them being incredibly sheltered people who've spent most of their lives being dedicated to their careers and thus both have no idea of how romantic relationships actually work beyond base lust?
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    • The Noble Demon interpretation of Darth Vader being the kind of guy that fights alongside his men is less Darth Vader being willing to throw down alongside his troops and more Darth Vader has nothing really to live for beyond the Empire and doesn't care if he gets killed.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi receives his fair share of different interpretations from the fans and it's arguable that some inconsistencies are the results of Retcons in the Prequel Trilogy from things already established (or implied) in the Canon via the Original Trilogy. For instance, some cite his Chessmaster tendencies in the Original Trilogy and see him as self-righteous and authoritarian in the Prequel Trilogy. He asks who they intend to send and then it dawns on him that everyone else is looking at him). It could also be inferred that Obi-Wan himself is something of an Unreliable Narrator who tends to emphasise his own failures and relative culpability (which would fit in the self-effacing characterization mentioned above). For instance, when Obi-Wan tells Luke that Anakin's fall was partially his fault because "I thought I could instruct him as well as Yoda. I was wrong." in Return of the Jedi it somewhat implies that Obi-Wan must have arrogantly demanded to train someone that Yoda would have been willing to train and done a better job with. Come The Phantom Menace this is shown clearly not to be the case. Obi-Wan is perhaps a little arrogant in the way he demands to train the boy, but it seems clear that a) Yoda was not willing to do the job and b) the demand is driven by his promise to a dying man rather that any belief in his own abilities as a teacher. And there doesn't seem to be any cases where Obi-Wan tries to represent his role in events to be bigger or better than is actually seen or to place blame for his problems on others. Maybe he really is that humble and/or shy of taking praise or credit?
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  • Some like to think the Jedi are more susceptible to the Dark Side than they admit due to certain actions and behaviors. Obi-Wan and Yoda in particular get hit with Ron the Death Eater interpretations in regard to their training of Luke and hiding the truth about Vader to him.
  • The Jedi Council are portrayed as maliciously indifferent throughout the Canon, caring only for their own agenda while doing whatever they have to to achieve it. In the Prequel Trilogy, they state that the nine year old Anakin is too old to begin the training, implying they normally take children when they are too young to understand what they are actually doing. They also appear to be blind to their own hypocrisy note  and deal with emotion in a way that suggests the current generation of Jedi Masters were all poorly trained in handling them. The frequent and violent outbursts by young adult Jedi that lead to their deaths or expulsion from the Order often gets met with tutting and proclamations that "(s)he simply lacked the discipline" and that other Jedi should repress themselves even more. Basically, they come off as Not So Different from the Sith in any way other than how they handle emotion, which is just as bad but in a different way from their enemies. The prophesy that a child would bring "balance" to the Force by destroying the Sith once and for all also reeks of Protagonist-Centered Morality, since it would only be further unbalancing the Force towards the Light Side.
    • There is also just how self-important the Jedi come off. Depending on the writer they came come off as either immensely humble or extremely sure of their own morality that they come off as a gang of Smug Super jerks. This doesn't even come from writers with anti-jedi slants: Dave Filoni had his favorite Jedi Plo Koon give a We {the Jedi} are Justice line that suggests this interpretation.
  • There's been some speculation that Jar Jar Binks is actually Force-sensitive. The main citation (as per The Fool) is that with some of the crap he lives through and pulls off, there is no way all of that is purely incidental.
  • One theory that's been gaining popularity takes it even further: Not only is Jar Jar utilizing Obfuscating Stupidity (his bumbling antics being a form of Drunken Fist), but he's actually a Sith lord, co-conspirator with Palpatine, the Evil Counterpart to Yoda (who was also introduced as an annoying alien who was a lot wiser and more important than he let on) and possibly even The Man Behind the Man of both trilogies. The fact that the voice actor for Jar Jar seemed to nebulously confirm this theory on multiple occasions only threw more fuel on the fire.
  • This video makes the argument that Jar Jar Binks is more heroic than Chewbacca.
  • The interpretation of Palpatine being aware of the impending invasion is a development of Thrawn's character. There's a lot of hints that Thrawn joined the Empire because he was aware of a threat and continued to serve because he thought that the New Republic would collapse due to internal infighting (though the Empire itself collapsed due to infighting). Later interpretations transferred this to Palpatine. (The current canonical interpretation is probably that any mentions of a "greater threat" by Palpatine during his reign was an excuse to hold power; the Vong invasion bolstering that was a coincidence.)
  • The Force and The Dark Side: are they tools enabling justice or power? Or a single cunning entity manipulating everyone in the galaxy? Or at least the Jedi and the Sith. The two aspects of The Force are just that, aspects of one singular thing. Sith believe The Dark Side gives them power over The Force and others, but their quick descent into anger quickly makes them tools of it and not the other way around. Jedi, on the other hand, actively seek to follow the will of The Force because it has an Omniscient Morality License. What kind of long con it's trying to pull is anyone's guess.
    • For that matter, is the Force intelligent? After all, the abilities possessed by the Jedi apparently come from microscopic creatures in their bloodstreams. We are expected to believe that these microscopic creatures are somehow able to convey the wisdom and guidance of the all-knowing, all-powerful Force. There are reasons to give that idea a healthy dose of scientific skepticism.
    • Read about how Mitochondria have their own separate DNA chains.
    • And... symbiont microorganisms serving as the conduit for the Force are less believable than cells in one's brain serving as one exactly how?
      • For that matter, are midichlorians conduits for the Force at all? The correlation between midichlorian count and Force-sensitivity is well established, but the exact causal relationship between the two is never specified. While it's natural to assume that people are Force sensitive because they have a high midichlorian count, it could just as easily be the other way around. Perhaps midichlorians are harmless parasites that flock to hosts with large concentrations of Force energy in order to feed on its power. Or they could be simple quasi-lifeforms generated spontaneously in the bloodstream by the Force itself, but which have no tangible effect on the world beyond serving as a useful way of measuring Force-sensitivity.
  • Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back was a Rebel sympathizer, not just clumsy and stupid. Amid several significant glances and nods, he tried to divert Vader's attention from Hoth and then alerted the Rebel forces to the impending invasion.
    • Related: Is it a coincidence that Captain Piett just happens to tell Ozzel about the probe droid's finding when Vader's within earshot? If not, was he setting up his superior knowing Vader's tolerance for failure in hopes of a Klingon Promotion? (Or, in an interpretation popular in Imperial-centered fan fic, was he eliminating an inept Admiral to save himself and the rest of the crew from being victims of his incompetence?)
    • There's some debate as to whether the Jedi deserve the reputation of heroes at all.
  • There is always the idea that the Canon are like history textbooks, created by and in the style of the "heroic" side. The Jedi are pure and benevolent and completely justified in their resistance of the Dark Side! Except.. while they depict the Sith as evil for using evil emotions, they themselves seem to eschew ALL emotions, and seem to consider all emotions, even the most positive, as evil ANYWAYS... What if the Sith were just another religious order, maybe hailing from a planet with a dangerously intense sun (thus, Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good for them), where they had learned to channel their passions and emotions in a positive way? Love to empower, fear transformed into to protection, anger at the injustice of the world mastered and channelled into focused will to accomplish good things.. Good, passionate people. Then in their spread across the Galaxy, they encounter another religion, the "Jedi". The Jedi, an order of strict and passionless fighters, are horrified at the blasphemous emotionality of the newcomers, and make them into Acceptable Targets in order to crush them in a patriotic, faith-based crusade... Thereafter, the very name of the other religion would be used to describe the violation of their stricture against emotionalism, and anyone walking their left-hand path would be labeled Sith.
    • This isn't too far off from actual canon, which is that the Jedi and Sith are competing branches of the same religion which both became progressively more extreme to further distance themselves from the other. Most of the galaxy doesn't even know that there's a difference.
  • People who watched the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars as kids are less likely to hate Jar Jar Binks because the character was aimed at their age group when they first watched those installments. If they had been able to animate hair, then he would have probably been a younger Chewbacca. Jar Jar is also open to some interesting alternate interpretations, particularly once he becomes Senator. Is he really as dumb as he acts, and is he really a patsy for Sidious when he offers the motion to create the clone army? Or is it all just Obfuscating Stupidity, and he in fact knows exactly what he's doing (possible motives: vengeance against the Gungan leadership who humiliated and exiled him around the time of The Phantom Menace).
  • Jar Jar being made a Senator itself is subject to some interpretation: Was it a reward for his heroism during The Phantom Menace? Or just a way to exile him again without making Boss Nass look foolish for promoting him to General in the first place and/or upsetting his friends in Naboo? As a Representative he seems to be mostly subservient to Padmé, at least until she goes into hiding and leaves him in charge, is this the result of him being easily impressionable or does his position hold no real power?
    • At least one theory (mostly a joke) states that he's secretly a Dark Side Force wielder under Palpatine's employ, set up as The Mole and using buckets of Obfuscating Stupidity to throw off suspicion. Ever notice how he always seems to be just in the right (or wrong) place to keep things moving?
  • Upon first viewing the Yoda/Dooku fight, you would be forgiven for thinking that Dooku got his ass handed to him by the little green man. Take a second look, and you'll see a Dark Jedi Master take on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and simultaneously school them in the art of lightsaber combat. Then, after proving himself equal to Yoda in knowledge of the Force, he chalks up a no-score loss by defending against everything the Green Pinball of Destruction can dish out. He only retreats to report back to the Emperor when it's clear the fight has become a stalemate, Yoda's backup is seconds from arriving, and Obi-Wan starts to regain consciousness.
    • But it is that Dooku, who had all his attacks repelled and resorted to a dirty trick, also clearly became too afraid even of distracted Yoda to attack him when the latter was stopping the falling pillar.
      • Oh, it's not that Dooku would have won had the fight continued. It's just that the fight wasn't the Curb-Stomp Battle that everyone assumes it was. The Count holds his own (albeit barely) and retreats when it becomes clear that he can't win against Yoda. Add that Obi-Wan is regaining consciousness and Yoda's military backup is seconds away, and the odds are about to tilt against him rather badly. Probably didn't hurt that his master had a backup plan.
  • Master Yoda. Nearly all the installments he has appeared in presents his initial characterization in The Empire Strikes Back as being a facade. At times, he acts as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order... who doesn't take himself that seriously and can be extremely silly at times. The serious side is still there, in spades when it has to be, but he also fights with serving droids, makes fun of himself and others, and once reacts to a flabbergasted apprentice asking how he'd know she'd cry at good news before becoming happy by leaning in as if to whisper in her ear and then loudly saying "Grand Master of the Jedi Order am I! Won this job in a raffle I did, think you? 'How did you know, how did you know, Master Yoda?' Master Yoda knows these things. His job it is."
    • He was 900 years old by the time of the Original Trilogy. You'd have to be at minimum a Deadpan Snarker to deal with the fact that you've survived roughly 7-9 generation of friends.
      • This is the main explanation for near everything Yoda does onscreen. He's 900 years old. He's experienced everything possible for mere mortals to experience, learned everything possible for mere mortals to learn, and has lived centuries as an all-seeing, all-knowing wizard. He may still have youthful spirit and a desire to tackle deep philosophical problems, but it's been depressed as of the last few hundred years because he's completely and utterly bored - there has been absolutely nothing new in his life to really latch onto.
    • In Return of the Jedi, Yoda cracks a joke about how he looks as he is preparing to die. Unlike his initial appearance which was probably mostly obfuscation, in this case, he has no reason to be anything but himself. By the point in the story Luke first meets him, Yoda has seen the universe crumble around him, is banished to a planet just pulsing with the dark side, and whom probably knows that he is going to die soon. One might interpret from this that Yoda was a bit more jovial before The Empire, but that all the crap he's gone through has left him with little more than some gallows humor.
    • The Prequel Trilogy seemed to indicate that Yoda was always a stern leader. The Prequel Trilogy also implies that Anakin was never a good person past childhood, and that he fought with Obi-Wan all but from the get-go.
      • There's equal hints that Anakin argued with authority figure to compensate for spending almost a decade of his life as property and disliked being reminded of it.
      • Yoda, stern? The Yoda who said "Hmm, lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing!"? Sure, maybe it was for the benefit of the Younglings, but that itself is evidence that Yoda retained a youthful spirit even as his body aged.
  • The Clone Wars features characters that have been subjected to different character interpretations made by the fans:
    • Almec's claim that Jango Fett is not a real Mandalorian. Word of God says this is actually true, but is it also possible that Almec was simply exhibiting snooty elitism towards the Fetts? This would be befitting the Canon’s depiction of some Mandalorians feeling more deserving the label over others given their infighting over their cultural identity.
    • Did Savage Opress become evil of his own free will? Or are his evil acts the product of the Nightsisters' brainwashing? Or some combination of the two? Savage's death scene only serves to further muddy the issue as it features him presumably reverting back into his pre-Dark Side self.
    • Is Darth Maul a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who acts the way he does because of all of the hardships he's endured throughout his life and for all of his evil genuinely cares about his brother Savage Opress? Or is he an utterly unsympathetic villain whose obsession with Obi-Wan has turned him into a revenge-fueled psychopath that treats Savage (who he began referring to solely as "apprentice") as a minion and an investment? There's arguments that can be made for both. Maul's reaction to Savage's death presents that he did care about his brother, albeit in a cold and detached Jerk with a Heart of Gold sort of way.
    • Barriss Offee has been subjected to multiple character interpretations by fans as a result of the events that occurred during the Fugitive arc in season five:
      • Is Barriss a misguided but genuinely Well-Intentioned Extremist who is ultimately proven right? Or is she a hypocritical, self-righteous Knight Templar who is in denial of her own turn to the Dark Side? Again, arguments have been made for both interpretations.
      • In a similar vein, her mourning one of the Jedi who were killed in the bombing she masterminded. Was she merely acting? Or was she showing some genuine remorse? Likewise, was her conversation with Ahsoka after the memorial service manipulation? Or was she having doubts about her choices? The look of sorrow and guilt on her face as Ahsoka walks away suggests the latter, but her later actions imply the former. In the end, it's most likely both as Barriss was actively manipulating Ahsoka, but she still felt remorseful about having to do it, which is reinforced by the sad look she gives Ahsoka after being exposed and arrested at the end of the story arc.
      • Her comment that she feels Asajj's lightsabers suit her muddies the waters even more. Only Sith use red lightsabers, after all.
    • Ahsoka Tano's decision to leave the Order has been subjected to some interpretations by fans. Did she do it because she realized that Barriss had a point about the growing corruption of Order's values and morals? Or was she simply too hurt by the way she had been betrayed by Barriss and abandoned by the Council? By extension, was it the mature thing to do, or a selfish child's "self-pity"? While the first option appears to be more popular among fans, some argue it was the latter.
  • Boba Fett is a particularly weird case. Most fans latched onto him for his mysterious past, cool, near-silent demeanor, badass armor and the fact Darth Vader spoke directly to him in his first appearance. The Canon latched onto this interpretation and made him incredibly badass, to a degree Depending on the Writer. However, his actual portrayal in the theatrical films is... pretty different to this badass interpretation:
    • The Clone Wars reveals that Boba had the tendency of to be something of a Butt-Monkey when he was younger, with his plans repeatedly failing even when helped by more experienced Bounty Hunters previously shown as quite competent, like Aurra Sing. "Bounty" even ends with Asajj Ventress tying him up, gagging him, stuffing him in a box, and selling him to a despotic warlord in place of the kidnapped girl said warlord intended to take as his bride.
    • Though Vader does directly talk to Fett in their first appearance, it's only to say "no disintegrations". Which, as this blog rather crudely notes, is a more refined way of saying "I told you I need them alive, so do not kill them, you understand me?" Out of all the bounty hunters there, including IG-88 and Dengar (whom the same Expanded Universe establishes are a psychopathic Serial Killer droid and a man who lost most of his brain in a racing crash, respectively), Boba Fett is the only person Vader feels needs to be reminded that, in this case, the job is specifically to bring the bounty in alive.
    • Though Boba does trail the Millenium Falcon to Cloud City, he doesn't participate in the fighting there at all; Vader does all the work, and Boba's sole role there is to watch Han Solo get carbonite-frozen and then run away to Tatooine with him once Luke and Leia escape.
    • On Tatooine, Boba gets a rather lackluster fight, including being killed off when a blinded Han Solo accidentally shoots Boba's jetpack, causing it to propel him off a skimmer-skiff and into the mouth of the Sarlacc.
    • However, such is Boba's cemented reputation amongst Star Wars fans as an uber-Badass Normal that anyone who doesn't think of Boba as a badass is seen as crazy.
  • From Star Wars: The Old Republic. Some of these are simply a matter of player choice.
    • Jedi Knight: Anything from a naive Wide-Eyed Idealist with a deadly weapon to a Knight Templar who is truly associated with the Dark Side.
    • Trooper: Eagleland Type 1? A loyal, patriotic soldier with high ideals, the best example of Republic citizenry? Eagleland Type 2? A boorish, Sociopathic Soldier who shouts slogans before every battle, massacares civilians insdiscrimitely, and looks the other way when it's your side committing the abuses?
    • As a Sith Warrior: Are you merely a Hot-Blooded warrior who saves his brutality for the battlefield, but otherwise prefers rational behavior? A nasty Blood Knight who wants to slaughter everything in his path? A cunning player who is gathering a power base so he's practically untouchable from his fellow Sith? A Wild Card who does as he damn well pleases, no loyalty to anyone (even the Empire), and backs up his arguments with a force choke if he has to?
    • As a Sith Inquisitor: You start as a lowly slave plucked from the auction block once it's discovered you're Force Sensitive. So, are you loyal to the Sith now that you have a chance to move among them, or have you not forgotten how badly you were treated when the collar was around your neck? Are you gathering power as to destroy your fellow Sith, or so you are never hurt again? If you are light-sided, can you even be called a Sith, as your actions undermine the Empire from within and conversations with Ashara indicate that you both seek to Take a Third Option other than the rigid Jedi-Sith dichotomy?
    • Imperial Agent: Do you believe My Country, Right or Wrong, serving the Empire despite its lack of competant leadership, fascist policies, and brutal racism? Are you a Wild Card who grows weary of your government's policies and just wants to stop the network of terrorists trying to destroy both major powers? A deep cover agent for the SIS (Republic Intelligence)? A person who has seen way too much and wants out, no matter who gets double-crossed?
    • Smuggler: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything? A freelance business person trying to run as honest a ship as they can under the circumstances? A bloodthirsty pirate profiting off a galaxy-wide war? A privateer happy to help their Republic in a time of need for a share of the goodies? A crime boss in training? Loyal to the crew, but hang everyone else?
  • From The Force Awakens (again already gaining a Broken Base) is Kylo Ren a tantrum-prone Emo Teen styled Psychopathic Manchild (thus leading to the memetic Character Blog and causing some confusion regarding his age when officially he's 29) or an unwitting pawn in Snoke's plan?
  • In The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron (as well as his main antagonist in his storyline, Vice Admiral Holdo). Is he an arrogant Leeroy Jenkins who deserves to be put in his place, or the Only Sane Man desperately trying to hold the crew together in the face of his superiors' apparent Head-in-the-Sand Management? Even more interpretations open up when the events of The Force Awakens are taken into account, as it's possible PTSD or general psychological strain may be influencing his actions as well.
  • After Lucas explained that the opening scrolls were R2D2 narrating a century after Return of The Jedi, a lot of fans wondered if he was an Unreliable Narrator. Making himself look cooler (explians why he can fly in some movies and not others) and making up or guessing scenes where he wasn't present, therefore explaining various continuity errors. Due to Artoo being Out of Focus in the Sequel Trilogy, some fans guess that BB-8 might be the new narrator.
  • Did Luke really sense good in Vader/Anakin or was that just wishful thinking that turned out to be correct? He had lost two father figures already.
  • Are Vader and Anakin literally separate people (multiple-personality disorder/The Force) or just figuratively, and saying that is a coping mechanism for both Luke (who never saw how Vader Anakin could be and idolizes him), Obi-Wan (who can't reconcile the monster with his old friend) and even Anakin himself, (who associates all his happy memories with the time he was known by that name, unable to except that both Anakin and those times weren't perfect.)
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