[🎵Accessing] Hello! I’m Anika AKA Pixie and you are listening to the Endless Anakin Playlist Podcast, in which I use popular music as a frame to discuss anything and everything Star Wars and Star Wars adjacent.
Surprise! I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me. But no, I have been doing variations of this particular Star Wars project for almost twenty years now. Or more. And we are in an Anakin renaissance! It’s my time. So, this is a mini-episode to wrap up the first season of my rambling with a brief discussion of my favorite song and then a little preview of what’s to come.
Today’s episode is inspired by the song “Across the Stars (Love Theme from Star Wars Episode II)”, composed by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony orchestra.
“Across the Stars” was written for the second Star Wars prequel, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Padmé is the protagonist of Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Anakin is the protagonist of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The film in between is dedicated to their love story.
I have often described “Across the Stars” as my favorite song of all songs. The question most recently came up in response to season four of Stranger Things in which music is used to save Max from Vecna and the Upside Down (Spoilers for season four of Stranger Things). Max’s favorite song is Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”, which is conveniently perfect for running away from monsters. (Quick aside, I am thrilled with the Kate Bush renaissance, almost as much as I am thrilled with the Anakin renaissance. Well-played Kate, Max, and Duffer Brothers.) So, for the past month or so the question has been ‘what song would get you out of the Upside Down?’ And though I maintain that “Across the Stars” is my favorite song, I don’t think it’s my answer to that particular question.
“Across the Stars” is a ballad, not a bop. It’s not a rallying cry and it’s not empowering. It does not urge one to run or fight or keep going. Nearly the opposite, really. “Across the Stars” is quiet, and yearning, and ultimately tragic. It swells throughout Attack of the Clones and now and then in Revenge of the Sith and it’s beautiful every time. But the music, like the romance, and the Republic, and the prequels in general, is haunted as much as haunting. Everyone and everything in the prequel trilogy is doomed. Even the victors, Palpatine and the Empire, because we know their fate, too. So it’s not a song for saving someone.
The phrase ‘star-crossed lovers’ refers to a doomed romance. It was coined by Shakespeare in the prologue of Romeo and Juliet — “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life”. With this he gave away the ending and cast Romeo and Juliet as misaligned and destined to be destroyed. They couldn’t escape their fate, just like Anakin and Padmé.
Every time I watch Revenge of the Sith I find myself hoping the tragedy doesn’t happen even though I always knew the ending. But I’m invested because I know the ending. My favorite season is Winter, when the earth is cold and dead and hidden. Winter’s promise of renewal — of redemption, even, — is more powerful to me than the actual renewal of Spring itself. That’s just how my mind works. So I love the prequels because they are so sad. Anakin’s fall foretells his return to the Light. All his Dark deeds (another aside, also an amazing track) are tempered by the promise that Padmé is right, there is still good in him, and Luke unburies it.
So maybe, given my strange priorities, maybe “Across the Stars” would get me out of the Upside Down. But I think it’s more likely it would convince me to stay and try to turn Vecna, convince him that Henry could be redeemed. To escape I think I would need to hear the song “Control” by Poe.
The next episode of Endless Anakin marks my new season, quote-unquote. I wanted to give you a little preview of the topics I’ll be covering. First, I’ll be gushing about the Obi-Wan Kenobi series which was everything I wanted it to be and more. Tiny Leia! Bail Organa love of my life! Anakin’s anger and Obi-Wan’s depression! Reva my beloved! It was all so wonderful. And then I will launch my long awaited, or at the least long time coming, mini-series on attachment and how it saves the galaxy actually.
I also want to mention the ongoing projects I have on my blog. In The Flaws of the Jedi I break down my various critiques of the Jedi Order by looking at the behaviors of individual Jedi. Another series is a discussion of Earth names used in the galaxy, far, far away and how they enhance characterization and storytelling. The Padmé Fashion Project is slowly but surely continuing. Finally, I am starting up a newsletter on the intersections of mental and emotional health with pop culture and I promise lots of Star Wars. Links to all of these are in my show notes at anakin-dot-me.
Follow my playlists on YouTube and Spotify and after the episode, the song I’ve discussed will immediately play. Links can be found at anakin.me. That’s A-N-A-K-I-N-dot-M-E. Please follow, like, subscribe and tell all of your friends to do the same. [🎵Accessing] See you next time and may the Force be with you. [ 🎵]
Endless Anakin is a Manic Pixie Dust production. Song: “Robots Don’t Cry”, Anika Dane
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