Why the Force will always sway to the Dark Side

Why the Force will always sway to the Dark Side

This article contains spoilers regarding the Star Wars saga but if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’ve seen all the movies multiple times.

One thing we’re told repeatedly, across all the Star Wars movies, is that the Force requires balance. There’s a notion that both Light and Dark must exist in equilibrium. The prophecy forming the foundation of this mythology that was used in the prequel trilogy, states a Chosen One will come and bring balance to the Force. Of course, that person was Anakin Skywalker and it’s because of him that the Force is always destined to be Dark.

This assumption isn’t based on the fact he became an evil Sith Lord or that Hayden Christensen’s performance was so wooden the Chosen One has tarnished the Force for good. It’s because he is an example of undiluted, pure Force and we all know how that went. He turned easier than milk on a warm day. Okay, he had Palpatine leading him astray but if the Force was an equal balance to start with, his interactions would have been cancelled out by the influence of the Jedi (more on them later).

The reason we can say Anakin was pure Force is down to his mother’s assertion there was never a biological father. Unless she was lying and he was the product of some unwanted liaison – a path I’m sure Disney will be keen to avoid – then we have to take her word for it. This means the midi-chlorians (sorry for bringing them up) impregnated Shmi Skywalker in a Virgin Mary like manoeuvre.

Pure Force at conception.

The counter argument here is that even if this was 100% force, her DNA still diluted it a little, thus, enabling negative human traits to enter the fray. The problem with this point of view is Shmi Skywalker is probably the most wholesome, good-natured and kind character found in the Star Wars universe. If anything, it goes to show the Force knows it’s a little bit bad and needed pure goodness to balance it out at birth.

As it happens, not enough Shmi got into Anakin and he was doomed from the beginning. The Jedi council were right to be hesitant when he showed up. Yoda sensed the conflict within the young boy in The Phantom Menace but was railroaded into allowing his training.

All his poor personality traits have been passed on to his offspring and their children. Despite having unmatched Force abilities, good political and royal ties, he never returned to free his mother from slavery. There’s probably some twisted code of ethics at play here about not interfering with planetary customs (the fact slavery is commonplace and not denounced by the Jedi doesn’t place them in a favourable light) but surely they could have bought her freedom?

Even if they released her under the proviso she couldn’t live near Anakin in case she became a distraction, it would have been better then what she endured. When Anakin finally decides to do something for his mother he’s way too late and the climax of the process just serves as a step closer to the Dark Side.

Some of the best human emotions – like love and empathy – are lacking in all Skywalkers apart from Shmi. Remember Luke breaking down in A New Hope and being haunted for the remainder of the original trilogy after seeing the burnt corpses of his foster parents. Nope, because he never mentions them once. His aunt and uncle who raised him from birth were forgotten within hours. Very touching.

It’s the same level of not being bothered that Leia expressed when she witnessed the destruction of an entire planet: couldn’t care less. They come across as very selfish, self-centred individuals. All of them are very, “me-me-me.” This is great for being driven to achieve their goals but it’s not very pleasant when even losing close ones is no different than water off a duck’s back.

By the time we see Luke in Return of the Jedi, he’s going around with a title he’s yet to earn after bailing on his training, whilst displaying all the traits of a man on the path to the Dark Side. He threatens to wipe out Jabba the Hutt, not very Jedi-like, and the only way he defeats Darth Vader is by getting angry. And we all know that anger leads to the Dark Side.

Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, never stood a chance. He has his grandfather’s DNA mixed with Han Solo’s. His father may have played a prominent part in freeing the galaxy but he was no clean-cut monk. He was a rogue that under different circumstances could have easily been a bad guy. Hardly the 100% goodness of Shmi to dilute the evils of the Force.

Of course, it’s not just the Skywalkers that have the Force. If we look elsewhere it’s possible to see how it’s fundamentally flawed. Take the Jedi, the supposed teachers of the Light and all things good, they have some dodgy ethical codes.

Firstly, they outright deny a Jedi love. From a writing point of view, Lucas was presumably giving them a religious feel, as if they are priests of the Force. The application of this rule means the good guys of the Force deny the warmest human emotion. A life without love isn’t a very healthy existence.

They’re also happy to breakup families to train younglings, creating inner turmoil from a tender age and fuelling all the negative emotions they work tirelessly to keep at bay. These oppressive traits go against everything that feels good. Only a Force built upon darkness would drive these demands so hard.

The Jedi are also pretty good at running away from problems. Even in The Phantom Menace the galaxy is in a pretty bad mess. They just mosey around, dipping in and out of conflict as the council deems fit. They should have been working around the clock to clean things up.

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda and Obi-Wan go into hiding and spend twenty years watching chaos and evil reign. With great power comes great responsibility, or if you’re a Jedi, great cowardice. In homage to those that went before him, Luke repeats this trick once Kylo Ren turns a bit nasty.

Obi-Wan comes across as the most decent of all the Force users. He even alludes to a love affair he once had so he’s the most in touch with his humanity. But it doesn’t stop him showing a ruthless side that is pure darkness.

At the end of his battle with Anakin he appears genuinely pained to see his friend’s slide to the Dark Side. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t let him get burned alive. Come on, now either do the humane thing and drag him up the bank and call for medical assistance or put him out of his misery. But burning alive . . . really? And by the next scene he’s fully composed, watches Padmé pass away, and carries on without a care in the world.

Perhaps these examples prove that Anakin wasn’t the Chosen One after all.

It seems that the Force as we know it, from the undiluted Anakin to the Jedi and the Sith, suffers from an inherent imbalance. Maybe the genuine Chosen One will be born in the same way, fatherless, but with an exponent of midi-chlorians not yet seen.

Just as we can’t see dark matter but are certain of its existence, maybe the Light Side of the Force is just theorised in the Star Wars universe. It will take a real Chosen One to appear and actually reveal its true nature.

Until then we have a bunch of people using a force that is perpetually pulling to the Dark Side. But there is a “Rey” of light on the horizon…


Heavyweight Boxing Reboot

Heavyweight Boxing Reboot

It is historically seen as the pinnacle of world boxing: The Heavyweight Division. Much of its splendour and glamour has been diminished after the tight and mundane grip of the Klitschko era. The unexpected victory of Tyson Fury over Wladimir has changed all this. Suddenly the division looks alive, led by the Brits with a good-talking American world champion in tow. Boxing at the top end just got a Hollywood style reboot.

It’s only right to start the reboot with the creator of its genesis: Tyson Fury. A man that’s easy to point derision at and still – even after his impressive upset – has questionable in-ring ability. He is very much a work in progress. The learning curve he’s set on may appear more like a straight line than a bend in trajectory, but evidence suggesting maturity has found its way into his mind-set was apparent during the second clash with Dereck Chisora.

Memories of being put on the canvas by Steve Cunningham (or giving himself an uppercut in the 2009 clash against Lee Swaby) gave genuine doubts over his ability to concentrate and stick to a game plan for an entire fight. In the November 2014 rematch with fellow Brit Chisora, he not only proved he can apply himself correctly for the entirety of a bout, he also put to bed claims that he was fortunate in the first meeting.

What made the second Chisora victory all the more impressive was how his opponent had come off the back of a credible performance against the older Klitschko, Vitali. In his prime, side-by-side with Wladimir, he was the better of the two brothers and the only man who truly beat him was the great Lennox Lewis.

Observers noted he was a Klitschko in decline but there was no way to quantify the drop-off, until we witnessed Chisora labour for ten rounds against Fury. It either meant Klitschko had been months past his best before date or Fury had come on by leaps and bounds. The truth was somewhere in the middle.

These two bouts (Klitschko/Chisora; Tyson/Chisora) did provide a handy snapshot heading into Fury’s world title bout with Wladimir. It showed us that a Klitschko doesn’t decline slowly, once they hit that wall the towel should be thrown in immediately. Dereck Chisora was the lucky man able to exploit this Achilles heel.

It gave Tyson Fury a tune-up fight against a boxer that had been savvy enough to go the distance with a Klitschko who was no longer at the top of his game. Their November clash was a chance for Fury to leave the theatrics at ringside and stick to a point-by-point plan. Having succeeded, he had a mental blueprint for how to conduct himself when in the ring with Wladimir.

Hindsight, often described as 20/20, in this case is still somewhat blurred. Nothing can be taken away from Fury’s performance against the champion. He went into his backyard and left with all the gold. What isn’t clear is if it was just a bad day at the office for Wladimir, a sign the Klitschko drop-off that afflicted his brother has found him, or if the Klitschkos have been feared for no reason for too long.

The answer to these propositions will only become apparent after their May rematch.

Regardless of the outcome, whether Fury was a one-fight wonder or a genuine world champion, the boxing landscape has now shifted. The Klitschko dominance – even if Wladimir regains the two belts that Fury still holds – is a thing of the past.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, Fury’s refusal to fight the IBF’s mandatory challenger meant he relinquished the belt. This was a pathetic piece of politicking from the IBF. It’s common for a big bout to have a rematch clause inserted. To expect Fury to skip this for a fight against Vyacheslav Glazkov is ludicrous.

It could be seen as the IBF’s way to ensure their world heavyweight title is free to circulate away from the Klitschkos once again. They set up a fight between the aforementioned Glazkov (who was the favorite) and Charles Martin. A bizarre knee injury meant the former mandatory challenger had to retire from the bout in round three, handing Martin the title.

This makes the IBF crown the main target for all fighters on the fringes of the world title scene. If those at the top close shop, those in the chase will use the backdoor.

The idea that it could be hard to secure a fight for gold comes from Fury’s recent comments. He said he’d drop the belts before giving David Haye a payday. This isn’t to say he’s running scared; he was willing to fight The Hayemaker twice (detractors say it was opportunistic) and was always overly confident. After reaching the summit he has every right to have unwavering belief now. It’s a matter of principle that makes him deny Haye.

Which brings us to the former two-weight world champion. Just as Fury has every right to feel aggrieved that Haye dropped out of two matches, Haye is justified to have done so. His injuries were clearly legitimate; doctors even advised he should retire. After working hard and undergoing a long rehabilitation, he deserves his place at the table.

Nothing should be read into his recent first round stoppage of Mark de Mori. It had the feel of the Monte Barrett affair, with less danger (and that was relatively danger free). But it was a smart choice. Had Ricky Hatton made a measured return to the ring rather than facing off against Vyacheslav Senchenko, his legacy would read much different now.

Like Hatton in his doomed comeback, Haye showed – in the few punches that were thrown – that the exact timing still needs some calibration. What he also showed, which was something Hatton failed to do, was a killer finish that is as lethal now as it was in his supposed prime.

It naturally leads to the question: Why did he fail against Wladimir when Fury walked it?

Toe injuries aside, it was clear that the night in question was a bad day at the office for David Haye. Only he knows if the occasion got to him or if the long shadow of the Klitschko legacy meant he afforded his opponent too much respect. Also, he faced a Wladimir still at something like his best, the jury’s still out on whether or not Fury did.

The other man holding gold – WBC World Heavyweight Champion, Deontay Wilder – is another unknown quantity in the grand scheme of things. Flashes of brilliance have failed to hide a flawed boxer. The irony is, this new phase of the heavyweight which is bringing much needed excitement, is centered around two champions that are perceived to be lacking boxing attributes.

A potential Fury/Wilder meeting is a script that writes itself, in spite of their individual in-ring failings. Both are prone to get caught; the advantage Wilder holds is how he has demonstrated his knock-out power. After his latest defense to Artur Szpilka, where he was far from convincing but gave a KO so devastating it left the Pole motionless for minutes after the fight, the comic book antics with Fury commenced.

In a scene reminiscent from a Rocky film, Fury stormed the ring, ripped off his jacket and began trash talking. Deontay Wilder signed off with the line: “You can run around like you’re a preacher all you want but when you step in the ring, I promise you, I will baptise you.” Eat your heart out, Clubber Lang.

On the periphery of all these shenanigans is the next great hope: Anthony Joshua. If potential was a tangible commodity, he would need a landmass the size of Texas to hold it all. But mere promise alone doesn’t guarantee success – ask Audley Harrison.

Just as it’s impossible to say now whether or not Wladimir has declined, no one knows for sure if Joshua is the real deal. After examining his fights side-by-side with Lennox Lewis’s early contests, he does appear to have more natural ability. The test will be converting that talent into wins against better opponents. More importantly – credible opponents.

AJ is the promising wonder-kid, the elephant in the room other names tried to forget. Haye was the first player that properly acknowledged his presence and he was right to do so. At this moment in time, while Joshua is undergoing development, the slick Haye could prove too much. Against Whyte we saw how open AJ really is. Haye would expose this and proved against Nikolai Valuev that avoidance is his specialty.

After Haye made his statement about wishing to face Joshua, Fury said something similar. Presumably it helps keep talk of ducking fights at bay. The truth is, he’s involved in a Klitschko rematch, that should he win, leads into a showdown with Wilder.

If AJ has the talent, then the IBF world title eliminator that’s he’s expected to be involved in against Carlos Takam will be the big reveal. If he comes through that unscathed then championship gold will be within sight. Perversely his rivals must be secretly hoping he’s on a collision course with someone like Haye before he faces Charles Martin and relives the paper champ of his title.

Whatever happens in the next eighteen months, one thing’s for sure: heavyweight boxing just got unpredictable and entertaining once again, and whoever is champion a few years from now will have no doubts surrounding their legitimacy.

Adidas: The Brand with the two sides

Adidas: The Brand with the two sides

The BBC have reported that sports manufacturer Adidas are to end their commercial agreement with the world governing body of athletics, the IAAF. It appears that the recent doping scandals, highlighted best by the allegations of Russian state sponsored cheating, has brought them to the decision. It seems strange they have found moral ground after refusing to condemn FIFA and Sepp Blatter amidst corruption charges.

In big business making public displays like this from large corporations is more about image than moral fibre. People sat in an Adidas boardroom will have decreed that being associated with drug cheats is detrimental to the sporting brand.

This sounds fair enough. When a company is paying in excess of $8m a year, they deserve to be linked with an honest product. There’s no doubt the doping claims and lack of trust surrounding athletics is a turnoff for spectators and commercial partners.

But the IAAF have been more than willing to root out the wrongdoers and have welcomed – albeit with red faces – the findings from World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). They reported that corruption was rife within athletics but their condemnation was aimed at former IAAF President Lamine Diack.

However, the report, presented by respected former president of WADA, Dick Pound, concluded with the statement: “There’s an enormous amount of reputational recovery that needs to occur here and I can’t think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that.”

Lord Coe

So we have a large sporting institute in turmoil that has taken steps to correct itself by inviting independent bodies to air their secrets in public. Furthermore, they have installed a new president, in the guise of Lord Coe, who has universal backing and is beyond reproach.

But Adidas want to jump ship.

This is the same Adidas that refused to criticise Sepp Blatter when he was coming under increasing scrutiny towards the end of his FIFA reign. The same Adidas that has been the longest serving sponsor of football’s governing body but didn’t flinch when FBI investigators started to detail a web of corruption far more widespread and complex than the one affecting the IAAF.

The same Adidas that seems to have put money before morals.

Leaving the IAAF now isn’t making a statement against drug cheats in sport; it’s taking money away from an organisation trying its best to fight corruption.

The IAAF want to clean up athletics and isn’t running for cover or acting self-servingly like Blatter and Platini did. They shouldn’t be punished for the actions of some within the sports they represent. If a footballer takes drugs he is accountable for his actions, the authorities he plays under should punish him. Adidas should punish the athletes and nations that sought to gain an advantage, not an IAAF trying to reform.

To put it into context, Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s and Budweiser all made statements in October 2015 stating that Blatter’s continued presence at FIFA was holding back reform. However, at the same time Adidas stood by the now disgraced president.

There’s too much to be gained financially by staying in bed with FIFA.

Adidas weren’t interested in making an ethical choice when the FIFA scandal came to light, don’t be fooled into thinking they care about sporting interests now. To this day, FIFA are still resistant to impartial third parties assisting in reshaping the organisation to help wipe-out corruption. There’s no WADA-type invite being issued by them.

The IAAF will survive and under Lord Coe will overcome the many difficulties facing athletics. When they do triumph they’ll be better off without hypocrites like Adidas in their party.