In Star Wars, Having a Blindspot Will Get You Killed.
Updated: Jan 9
When I sat through the Prequel Trilogy (PT) in the early 2000’s, I was always puzzled at why Obi Wan Kenobi was so impotent whenever he went up against Count Dooku. The Jedi that could not be bested by Darth Maul, took down Grevious & went toe-to-toe with Anakin, stood virtually no chance against the once Jedi, now Sith. Why is this? How could a more than capable Jedi be dispatched so easily by an older man whose best years were behind him?
Because everyone has a blindspot.
Every prominent Force user in Star Wars has a person who is a blindspot. Obi Wan’s was Dooku. Maul’s was Obi Wan. Anakin’s was Luke. For the purpose of this article, a “blindspot” should be defined as a person who causes another to act in a way inconsistent with the way they are toward others. As an audience, we hold Force users to a higher “awareness” standard because of their abilities to do wondrous things, when in reality they are no different than we are.
What I find fascinating is the possible reasons how/why these individuals become a person’s blindspot. There are deep rooted issues here. Let’s dive into the psyche of these individuals.
Why Dooku was Obi Wan’s blindspot. Obi Wan Kenobi was the Padawan of Qui Gon Jinn, who was trained by Count Dooku. It would be completely natural for Qui Gon to teach many lessons handed down by the Count to his own Padawan. It’s likely that Obi Wan grew up with a reverence of Dooku. Obi Wan would put on a confident face, but ultimately he was conflicted inside and hoped Count Dooku would come back to the Light. Striking down the Count would be striking down the last of his connection to his beloved Master, and once revered Jedi.
Why Obi Wan was Maul’s blindspot. Obi Wan obviously cut Maul in half, and years later he finished the job in their final fatal encounter, but I believe Obi Wan represents much more than the “Jedi that got away”. When Maul killed Qui Gon on Naboo, Obi Wan was filled with anger and rage as he went at Maul. Anger was Maul’s fuel - and Obi Wan used them to defeat him! That literally and figuratively cut Maul to the core. Neither the physical or mental wounds ever healed. Years later on their final meeting, an older Obi Wan was peaceful and serene as he gave Maul a Samurai-like “honorable death”. Maul could never be at peace. Obi Wan was better than him while filled with anger (Maul’s calling card) AND better than him while at complete peace - something he could never be. For these reasons, Maul would always be at a disadvantage to old Ben.
Why Luke was Vader’s blindspot. But was he……? “The son saving his father” is not an unusual trope, but could it be that Luke was an opportunity for the long-standing Sith tradition of apprentices killing their masters? I think we will debate this another time...
Why Vader was Palpatine’s blindspot. Let’s face it. After years of manipulating and superior Dark side Force powers, Vader was a beat dog. Palpatine had him exactly where he wanted him - under his thumb. The Empire was so established that the only way it was going to crumble was from the inside. The ONLY reason Anakin turned to the Dark side was to save/protect Padme and their offspring. So an opportunity to save his child falls in line with Anakin’s original intent. Palpatine did not underestimate Luke. He underestimated his own ability to not completely wipe out Anakin’s humanity. That mistake got him tossed down a shaft.
Why Palpatine was Yoda’s blindspot. The oldest and wisest of the Jedi, Yoda has been around to see & experience many things. But that wisdom did him no good when it came to sniffing out the Sith Master/Chancellor - who was hiding in plain sight! Yoda was complicit in the arrogance of the Jedi Order, thinking that they could be peacekeepers and generals in a Galactic war. No one can, nor should be the judge, jury and executioner. These decisions left them overly confident in the wrong things, which lead to vulnerability and blindness. I believe that he knew they were going down a path that lead toward their own destruction but there was no way out of the years-long plan that was unfolding right before them. He was outmatched, and outsmarted by Palpatine on nearly every front. When all was revealed, the only thing Yoda could do was retreat, and hope for a new day - and for someone else to right his wrongs.
Why Anakin was Mace’s blindspot. To say that Mace didn’t trust that “Anakin was the fulfillment of the Prophecy” is a laughable understatement. He made it clear on about as many levels as possible. While they were able to work together for years (maybe even like each other), it’s quite understandable for Anakin to have some resentment toward Mace. Mace was always knocking him down a peg, keeping him in his place. I’m sure Anakin was a bit of a Jedi rockstar with all the Midichlorians and Prophecy talk, but Mace was not one to blow smoke up his robes. It probably felt like Mace was always against him. Anakin was not a guy who kept healthy relationships either so it was a powder keg waiting to go off….and boy did it. When it mattered most, Mace needed Anakin’s help….but that was when Anakin had to decide between the Jedi and Padme. While I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision for him to make, it was one he had decided long before. As Mace was falling to his death after being Force-shoved out of a high window, he probably thought, “I should have been gentler with Ani….”
Why Ben Solo was Luke’s blindspot. This one is easy. The son of his best friend and sister, his connection to Ben was too personal. You see this happen all the time in youth sports - a dad that is seemingly a good coach to everyone but his own kid. Maybe he was too hard on Ben. Maybe not hard enough. But by the time the darkness had crept into Ben (to an alarming degree), Luke’s panicked response was THE ultimate gut-punch for Ben. He saw his Uncle and teacher doubt him in the worst way and it was the tipping point. The rule about Jedi not having attachments may actually have stemmed from this kind of scenario. When you love someone unconditionally, it’s natural to treat them differently - sometimes to a fault. When you love someone unconditionally, sometimes you act irrationally to their distress. When you love someone unconditionally, sometimes the best thing you can do is let someone else lead them.
Similarly, my own blindspots are my kids. I love them so much that I often overlook flaws and think I’ll address them later. Sometimes I do. And if I don’t, I hope it doesn’t come back to me losing a limb (or my life) for it.