“The encounter could create a time paradox the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space/time continuum and destroy the entire universe…”
~Emmitt “Doc” Brown
Well, he didn’t listen. Dave Filoni completely ignored “Doc” Brown’s ominous warning and created Star Wars’ first space/time conundrum. Will it result in a paradox and the eventual destruction of the Star Wars universe? Some fans would certainly have you believe that and from a creative standpoint it really gives future writers a cookie jar full of mulligans. Whether you view that as a positive or negative is entirely up to you.
When Ezra entered the “world between worlds” or a “void” as Filoni calls it, he crossed into a realm of Star Wars storytelling never explored before. Who would have thought the very abstract idea of “Mortis” would just be the doorway to something weirder? But alas, here we are.
By thrusting us into this new realm Filoni has created more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a space/time paradox as Ezra technically doesn’t travel back in time. He does affect it however by saving Ahsoka Tano from certain death at the hands of Darth Vader on Malachor. Something Filoni explained to Nerdist…
“What particularly excited me about this story was I could tell a story that takes place within the Malachor episode that shows you how she (Ahsoka) gets out of the conflict with Vader, and then puts her at the end of that episode…”
Of course, never knowing the fate of Ahsoka in the first-place causes problems in a casualty loop where knowing the prophecy is vital to the cause and effect phenomenon. So really, by not conforming to standard theories Dave has customized a universe within a universe where everything that has ever happened is happening at the same time. Make sense? It does to Dave…
“So, we sound designed in a line from pretty much every single Star Wars film to be happening all at once in this void, to price you for the idea that time is always happening in here. And all these events are happing.”
Could this celestial “realm" be Dave’s version of a space network with no explicit quantum rules? It certainly makes it less convoluted for the children watching and requires a lot less exposition going forward. If the “nodes” of this network are the portals we see, then a simple explanation of where these portals lead to would suffice.
What if perhaps this realm was used more as a library or holocron of sorts rather than a temporal means of affecting time and space? Or perhaps it’s a stunning use of connectivity between all points, in this case the films, and the disentanglement of Ahsoka Tano’s situation was a one off?
In any case we shouldn’t rush to judgment and call this the “butterfly effect” just yet as we really don’t know how any of this will change future events, if at all. If the Ghost Crew is in mortal danger down the road and Ahsoka, who normally wouldn’t have been there, shows up to save the day then the whole thing is variable.
This cause and effect formula when it comes to writing is akin to a “do over” or making films on slate. You can see how using time delineations and time travel have allowed other franchises to clear the table and erase mistakes of the past. I don’t think the motives here are that sinister but with great power truly does come great responsibility.
But, while Filoni is driving the bus we likely have nothing to worry about and this has already been made clear to us. It would have been very easy for Filoni to have Ezra just figure out a way to save Kanan and bring back a very popular character. And in the past Filoni has compared Kanan to Gandalf from Lord of the Rings who died but was then brought back stronger than ever. But instead it was used as a teaching moment, one final lesson from the master to the apprentice. Doing so would also negate all the cathartic moments Kanan’s death had on the rest of the crew, most of all Hera, who will likely find inspiration in his sacrifice.
And if you’re worried about the ramifications this will have on the rest of the Star Wars universe or future releases, Filoni also had this to say regarding the recent events in Rebels…
“I can’t stress that enough. Rebels exists apart from whatever the consequences of all the other characters are…”
So, while this new realm opens the doors to literally a universe of possibilities it would appear Filoni has his feet firmly planted on the ground. When the episode ends the gateway has been closed and the Jedi Temple is safely underground, out of reach from the Empire, Ezra has succeeded. This grand event known only to a relatively small few has been seemingly tucked away for later use perhaps and the show will be all the better for it.
For me, Star Wars Rebels excels most when it focuses on the small moments, the small acts of kindness and love. I believe the motif of the show is that a small group of people under tremendous duress and facing insurmountable odds, can accomplish wonders. Sometimes that involves the Force, sometimes it does not. That's one of the many great things about Star Wars, it makes all of us powerful in our own way.
A final quote form Gandalf the Grey I think sums up the show nicely…
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…”
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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