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The Problem with Valorum

by on June 12, 2021

So, there’s something that just occurred to me while watching the opening crawl to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The Senate is debating the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo so Chancellor Valorum “secretly dispatched” two Jedi Knights to “resolve the matter.” Is he allowed to do that?

I mean, setting aside the whole light side/dark side, Sith vs. Jedi deal, you have the legitimate body of the Republic debating a resolution and the Chancellor’s all, ‘”Screw it, I’m gonna send in the dudes with lightsabers to sort things.” Does that seem right to you? I won’t pretend to be an expert on Old Republic politics; I vaguely recall they had a constitution, but I could be wrong. But even so, I do know the Republic didn’t have a standing army; in fact as I recall that was a major plot point in Episode 2. Doesn’t it therefore seem like a bit of a blurry line that, essentially, Valorum is using the Jedi as a unilateral executive move to enforce a political resolution of a crisis?

Now, of course, the obvious counterpoint is that the Trade Federation started it with their blockade, and that’s a fair point. But here’s my problem: why the secrecy? Why did the Chancellor have to send in the Jedi on the quiet, presumably without telling the Senate? And why were the Jedi okay with it?

Perhaps this is addressed in Expanded Universe novels, or Star Wars Legacy, or whatever they’re called now, but either way, I can’t help but wonder if this sort of thing is why the Sith were able to take over the Republic in the end.

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