Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Character Ever 16: Mace Windu

Why do I love Mace Windu? Isn’t it obvious? He’s clearly the baddest mofo in the galaxy.

The Star Wars prequels are far from perfect movies. Jar Jar’s annoying, Anakin is grating rather than sympathetic and the less said about the stupidity of Count Dooku, the better. But when it gets things right, it gets them very right. Case in point: casting Samuel L. Jackson to play the coolest Jedi Master ever.

That's a lot of purple swipes.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace  doesn’t give us much to work with other than some commanding authority from the clean shaven sidekick of Yoda. He looks cool and you know you are going to get something cool out of Jackson, but George Lucas made fans wait three years to get it.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones does not disappoint. An epic battle at the end of the movie pits Jedis against battle drones. But Mace Windu faces down Jango Fett, Boba’s daddy, in a battle of skill and wits. Mace makes even the toughest bounty hunter look like an easy battle.

The cool finally rises to its highest point in Matt Stover’s novel Shatterpoint. One of the rare great Star Wars novels by current publisher Del Rey, Shatterpoint establishes what makes Mace move beyond other jedis. As he hunts his former apprentice Depa Billaba (and explain why the character disappears between Episode I & II), the reader learns of his ability to see “shatterpoints”, faultlines in the force that show different destinies of individuals or even the galaxy itself.

A bit busy, but it covers the novel well.
It also gives him his own unique form of lightsaber combat called Vaapad. With it, he actually enjoys the art of combat and skims close to the Dark Side without falling. Only Mace has ever been able to successfully use the style without falling. Because of his innate abilities and his mystery of Vaapad, he is in fact the greatest lightsaber fighter in the galaxy, which explains why only he was able to overcome Darth Sidious in single combat.

Mace apparently meets his fate in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. But any fan of genre fiction knows that without a body, you can't prove death. In my personal Star Wars universe, he’s still alive out there sans an arm. Somewhere in a galaxy far far away, Mace Windu still is fighting the good fight, still battling the forces of darkness and still being awesome while he does it.

And he does it with a purple lightsaber. How badass is that?

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