Mace Windu: Character Analysis
Introduced in the Star Wars prequels, Mace Windu left quite an impact for someone with so little screen-time. Wielding his unique violet blade, Windu displayed his battle prowess in both Episodes 2 and 3 before becoming the first victim of Darth Vader.
Despite his death, fans want to know more about him. Why did he have a unique lightsaber color? Did he actually defeat Darth Sidious, or was the fight thrown? Is there a chance he'll appear in upcoming films? Did someone really name their baby "Mace"? Read on to learn all about Mace Windu!
Mace was born about fifty years before the Clone Wars began. The Force ran strong in his veins, and he proved one of the most capable Jedi of all time, earning the rank of Master at a very early age. The Jedi Council gladly issued Windu a seat, and he became one of the Council's most outspoken members, and was very skeptical of training the young Anakin Skywalker.
Windu later decapitated Jango Fett at the Battle of Geonosis, igniting a hatred of Jedi in Boba Fett that would last for a lifetime. Windu fought many battles throughout the Clone Wars, and eventually learned of Palpatine's true identity as Darth Sidious. Windu impressively bested Sidious in a duel, but was betrayed by Anakin and blasted off a skyscraper to his supposed death.
Few fans know that Mace Windu starts a chain of apprenticing that extends all the way to protagonist Ezra in the show Star Wars Rebels. Windu trained Depa Billaba, who instructed Kanan Jarrus, who teaches Ezra.
So, why is Windu's lightsaber purple?
In-universe, he's not the only Jedi to have one (though they're rare); he obtained his saber's crystal by successfully passing a painful test as a young Padawan.
Out-of-universe, actor Samuel Jackson wished to have something that set him apart from other Jedi, and was bestowed a unique and easily recognizable blade.
Mace's purple blade perfectly exemplifies his inner commitments; it blends the blue hue of Jedi with the red of Sith, just as Mace incorporates darkness into his fighting but battles for the Jedi.
Form VII, Vaapad
Mace created a devastating variant of Lightsaber Form VII called Vaapad. This brutal form allows one to tap into Dark Side emotions (atypical for Jedi) to gain speed and power in combat; however, the emotions are to be controlled so that the user doesn't fall to the Dark.
Vaapad grants great power, but carries a large chance of giving into the Dark Side; it's a great testament to Mace's character that he wielded the form for so long without turning.
Vaapad even allowed Windu to defeat Darth Sidious, an incredibly skilled swordsman who even Yoda couldn't best. Some fans debate that Sidious let Windu win (counting on Anakin's intervention), but in an Episode 3 commentary, George Lucas confirmed Sidious didn't throw the battle. Nicely done, Mace.
Mace Windu possessed a very rare skill among Force users called Shatterpoint. It allows its user to see "Shatterpoints", fractures or faultlines of individuals or structures. Windu could use this talent to see how Count Dooku was effectively the heart of the Separatist movement, for example, and how his loss with decimate them.
Shatterpoint allows one to instantly break objects by attacking them at a very precise location, shattering the item instantly. In the non-canon Legends Timeline, Luke Skywalker, Jaina Solo, and Darth Caedus also learn this technique
Despite Windu's talents of Vaapad and Shatterpoint, he made several critical errors that largely contributed to the Jedi Order's demise. Here's a quick list.
1. In an early scene of Episode 2, Padme (correctly) postulates that Count Dooku orchestrated her assassination attempt. Mace Windu immediately denies this, citing Dooku's status as an ex-Jedi. Of course, we learn that not only was Dooku behind the attack (he hired Jango and Zam), he's even become a Sith Lord. More clairvoyance on Windu's part may have prevented the Clone Wars.
2. In the novel of Episode 3 (which I highly recommend), Windu discusses Sidious's identity with Obi-Wan and Yoda. At this point, the three Masters know Sidious has at least some influence in the Senate. Windu explains that he'd suspect Palpatine, except that Palpatine is already effectively in charge of the galaxy by serving as Chancellor, clearing him of suspicion in Mace's mind. Once again, we see how Mace's overconfidence fails to see the truth.
3. Props to Mace for his defeat of Sidious; however, had he merely taken a moment to stop and listen to Anakin, the Jedi may never have fallen. Anakin pleads with Mace to spare Sidious, citing that executing prisoners is not the Jedi way (a good point, though in the novel Mace counters that Anakin executed Dooku). Then, Anakin even exclaims "I need him!". Mace ignores him and aims a killing blow, causing Anakin's betrayal and the rise of the Empire. Had Obi-Wan or Yoda been there instead, things would have ended much differently.
4. Mace refused to take Anakin with his team to confront Palpatine, despite Anakin asking to accompany them, and only brought three other Jedi with him. I believe both to be mistakes; Anakin fighting alongside the Jedi would have unified them, and clearly the other three Masters needed more help in the fight.
Which fighter was the strongest?
An imperfect but fearsome Jedi, Mace tirelessly served the Republic throughout his life. Some fans believe that because we never saw his body, Windu may yet live. While I find it unlikely, it'd be very interesting to see him return in upcoming Star Wars movies.
Feel free to cast your vote for the strongest combatant of the prequels, and I'll see you at our next character review!