Star Wars Keeps Depending On A Lazy Plot Device And Needs To Stop

By Zack Zagranis | Published

If you’ve seen the trailer for the final season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, no doubt you noticed the return of former corpse Asajj Ventress. Ventress is the latest example of Star Wars revealing that a thought-to-be-dead character is alive and well. If we’re being honest, it’s starting to get old.

Fans Loved It At First

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First, they brought back Darth Maul after what looked like a pretty open-and-shut case of being stone-cold deceased. The guy was cut in half and fell down a bottomless shaft, after all, something notoriously difficult to heal from. Or so one would think.

Somehow Palpatine Returned

Palpatine—also thrown down a bottomless pit—came back from certain death, as did Boba. “I also fell down a deep hole, but mine had teeth,” Fett. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson has been saying for years that Mace Windu didn’t really die despite the fact that he was sucked out a window thousands of feet off the ground. Where does it end?

The trend has gotten especially egregious recently, with shows like Ahsoka using it between episodes to create cheap suspense. In the very first episode of the Rosario Dawson-led series, Sabine Wren is stabbed in what appears to be a fatal manner, only to be fine the next episode. How are fans supposed to get invested emotionally when there are no stakes?

Decide How Deadly Lightsabers Are

We’re not saying that Star Wars should go all Game of Thrones and start killing a different character every episode to prove that no one is safe. And it’s not like we think Sabine should have died. We want Wolfwren to be a thing just as much as everyone else. On the other hand, lightsabers are either highly efficient instruments of death or they’re no more dangerous than stun guns. Lucasfilm can’t have it both ways.

Force Ghosts Cheapen Character Deaths

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In a universe where Force ghosts—and whatever Han Solo was in Rise of Skywalker—exist, death is a flimsy enough concept without allowing every character in peril to miraculously cheat death just because. If Qui-Gon Jinn, Han Solo, and Sabine Wren got impaled through the gut, how come Sabine survived? We know there are tons of explanations online, from how quickly she got medical attention vs the other two to exactly where she got stabbed, missing anything vital, but frankly, those are all missing the point.

Find New Ways To Create Consequences

Movies and TV are visual mediums; what a viewer sees is, first and foremost, the most important part of any show, with dialogue and everything else a distant second. Being stabbed with a lightsaber has been considered visual shorthand for a character being killed since the franchise’s inception. If they wanted Sabine to be injured and survive, they should have gone with the tried and true Star Wars method of showing a non-lethal lightsaber strike: amputation.

Sabine loses a leg, gets a robotic one, and everything is fine and dandy in a galaxy far, far away.

Heroic Sacrifice Means Nothing In The Star Wars Universe

Not allowing a character like Ventress to stay dead cheapens the events surrounding her demise in the first place. In the canon novel Dark Disciple, Ventress sacrifices her life to save Jedi Quinlan Vos by taking a lethal blast of Force lightning intended for Vos. The death had gravitas and showed that Ventress had finally risen above her dark side past.

Bringing her back negates her sacrifice. Not only that, but now we have to hear some convoluted explanation for where she’s been all this time. Granted, Ventress is a Nightsister, so there are in-canon ways for her to be resurrected, but that’s not the point.

Make Death Great Again

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If Star Wars wants to win back the disenfranchised fans who were turned off by the sequel trilogy—the non-incel, misogynist ones because, who wants them back?—it needs to introduce some real stakes, and death has to go back to being a permanent condition rather than simply a temporary inconvenience.

Except for Boba Fett. He deserved to come back after the way George killed him off in Return of the Jedi. The Sarlaac burped for crying out loud! The audacity.

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