Foreshadows

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Fanfiction
Title: Foreshadows
Author(s): Paula Block and Judi Hendricks
Date(s): 1980
Length: 80 pages
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Wars
External Links:

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Foreshadows is a gen Star Wars story that appears in Skywalker #4. The authors are Paula Block and Judi Hendricks.

The very first "clone story." It was a controversial work which either fans either loved or hated, and there was much discussion of it in the letterzine, "Jundland Wastes" and in the letter of comments in Skywalker #4.

This story was one of the four stories discussed in the meta article, Give'em Hell, Kid.

art by Joni Wagner for this story: Kylie Metik
art by Joni Wagner for this story
art by Joni Wagner for this story, Luke and Chaylor Metik

From the Authors

From one of the authors:
The clone aspect was not only central to the story, it was the inspiration for it... We had the background Lucas/Darth story ironed out long before we worked out the 'wrap' Chay/Luke... the clone concept is indeed the whole focal point of the story. And everything, every detail was layered towards that end and it would have been impossible to remove that aspect without causing the entire story to collapse. Luke/Lucas' psychic connection is so strong in the story because they were born of the same cell.... I'd be interested in hearing if some of your other readers have qualms about Luke being a clone and why. The few folks who've told Judi and I that have they disagreed vehemently with the concept seemed to do so not from a plot standpoint, but from a personal anti-Luke-as-a-clone-standpoint. [1]
From the other author in the same issue:
When [Paula Block] first came up with the clone idea, I told her it was disgusting thought, and to come back when she felt better. Then she came up with 'What if Luke were a clone?' line a month or three after Star Wars first opened. I thought she was loony. Every time Beru would say, 'He's got too much of his father in him,' Po would chuckle... Well, after to years of 'what ifs', the thought was beginning to annoy and intrigue me... I was afraid at first that the idea was too radical -- that making Luke a clone would cheapen his character somehow. But then Po said, 'What's WRONG with him being a clone?' It was as if every irrational prejudice I'd ever felt was wrapped up in that line with a futuristic twist added. It was a challenge to write a story that made the main character an unpopular minority. [2]

Reactions and Reviews

'Foreshadows' by Paula Block and Judi Hendricks is a colossal work running 80 pages and containing the physically and facially accurate illos I've ever seen. If I were a teacher in Popular Lit/Popular Film, I could easily structure a 15-week course using 'Foreshadows' as the text and SW and TESB as source material; that gives a clue as to how complex this story is. This complexity alone entitles the story to praise, however one feels about the actual plot and the shocking discovery therein. If you've read the story, you either love the discovery or hate it -- it's like the 'is Darth Vader Luke's father' argument -- hot or cold, there is no lukewarm. But regardless of how you feel, there mere fact that this story can evoke so much argument and discussion...is testimony to its worth...The plot can be summarized in a paragraph: A young man, Chaylor Metik, whose father was a friend of Luke's father, takes Luke to a remote planet, named Sh'Zekhar, where he promised to Luke that he'll learn all about his father. All the action takes place during the visions or meditation which Luke must use to get in touch with his father's past. So, therein lies the story, in a sense. The visions which reveal the individual turning point in Lucas' life are the major devices that the authors utilize to make their point -- the discovery revealed later in the story. When Luke grasps the final object, he has already gone through much turmoil. He begins to feel that the visions are dominating him. This loss of control scares Luke and he feels that his father is taking over his identity. At this point in the story, the suspense and plot are working well; I found myself wondering, along with Luke, how the visions affect him. I was genuinely caught up in the situation. [the reviewer inserts a SPOILER WARNING HERE]... 'Foreshadows,' as the title suggests, is wrought with foreshadowing. The visions all point to one predominant theme -- that Luke's life has taken and will continue to take a similar path to his father's. This supports the shocking discovery that Luke is actually a clone of his father, created by Lucas Skywalker to preserve the Jedi Knights and with them, a hope for the Old Republic. Both Luke and young Metik are clones, destined to live out whatever has been planned, be it the same or different from their 'father's' destinies. It angers Luke that his life is already planned out by Kenobi and the elder Skywalker; he feels manipulated, deceived and robbed of in individuality. Pretty heady stuff, right? Sure, but all the emotions could have been brought up using a device other than clones. Maybe I'm just a sentimental traditionalist, but it seems a drastic step to take for the sake of a good grabber at the end. I found the story to be the most thought-provoking one I've read; but why the bombshell? The story could stand alone, ending with Luke coming to terms with his father's spirit and learning to control the meditation through is mastery of that aspect of the Force. What's wrong with that as a main theme? One man's search for his own identity and destiny through an examination of his history. At the end of the story, aboard the Falcon, Luke tells Han that he is a clone of his father. Solo grins and cracks a few jokes. Luke asks him if he thinks Leia will think less of him, since his father was an outspoken leader of the anti-clone movement. Han says, heck no; she's an independent thinker. Luke is relieved. They crack a few more jokes. Luke calls himself an illegal experiment. They jump to hyperspace. End of story. Oh boy, there lies my second complaint. Luke has just gone through probably the most emotionally traumatic event of his young life... and after a few lectures and another vision or two, he's recovered enough to crack jokes...Whew! That kid is miraculous... [This zine] is out of print already and that's a shame. Rarely have I found a fanzine so full of arguments, discussions and materials to digest. [3]
One of the most compact and subtle characterizations of the Dark Lord is 'Foreshadows' by Paula Block and Judi Hendricks where in only six pages the authors touch on many of the complexities of Vaders personality. He is outstandingly intelligent and talented both physically and in the Force -- and he is fully aware of it... He is completely morally autonomous, responsible only to his own conscience, and reacts to Lucas's' attempt to apply peer pressure with sarcastic comments... Yet he clearly has a sense of morality of his own; he resists killing Lucas without a fair fight, and when Lucas asks what Vader wants, he answers, 'Your life, Skywalker... but with honor.' Vader is highly defensible about allowing anyone to reach him emotionally, as if he as been hurt and now fears to leave himself vulnerable. He is too proud to take a chance on being rejected, but he is capable of appreciating others and has an underlying wish for a more friendly relationship. He gives Lucas a gift, but disguises it by pretending he intended to dispose of it as a worthless trinket; and he approaches the other students tentatively in a rather condescending gesture, only to have his actions misunderstood, have the metaphysical door slammed in his face, and instantly retreat into sardonic superiority.... 'Foreshadows' stresses Vader's pride and all-consuming need to win, to demonstrate his superiority. [4]
I will agree that 'Foreshadows' was a very good story... Some people have complained that the frame of having Luke find out about his father 'distances' the main action too much, but I don't agree. I liked the method of revealing the action slowly and partially through Luke's heirlooms and describing the effect of the information on him. It does slow the story down, but in this case, I think that is an asset, since it seems to need to be absorbed slowly for full impact. I also thought the characterization was excellent, with the single exception of Han Solo. It may not be my place to criticize anyone's Han, since, as I said in my last letter, I'm not an expert on him, but I wasn't entirely satisfied. Luke and Kenobi were very well done, and I... really liked Vader... I would have liked to see more on his motivation for going over to Palpatine, but it was really unnecessary to the main story, and almost impossible to bring in from Luke/Lucas's point of view. I did think there was a good suggestion of a code of warrior honor, and an underlying ironic sense of humor, a basic humanity hidden by his arrogant pride, which is partly a defense against the kind of attitude on the part of the other Jedi students express in Hallis's sarcasm after Vader's victory in the saber match. All in all, I was very pleased with it. I didn't much care one way or the other about the 'bombshell' of Luke being his father's clone -- I though it was necessary also, but I didn't think it destroyed the story either. It sort of slid by me with a shrug. All in all, I certainly think 'Foreshadow' was the best story of Sky 4, and one that the authors can well be quite proud to have written. [5]
'Foreshadows' is one of the few stories in fan fiction to treat Luke as a fully-functional, dynamic character, constantly changing and developing, and also one of the few to use Luke's psychological health as a base. Solo acts as a protector in this story, but as Luke grows in the course of it, we have not so much role-reversal as role development. In 'Foreshadows,' Han is protective but not in the average, run-of-the-mill fan story style; he is protective but trusting in Luke's judgement and maturity. Han allows Luke to make the decision to go with a stranger, but lets him know that he has an escape... Another theme of 'Foreshadows' is one of role development; Luke grows in this story and one can see part of his growth by analyzing his relationship with Han. Luke does see through Han's act most of the time but even hs isn't always sure. Since Han is mercurial, he sometimes takes Luke by surprise. But for the most part, Luke is aware of the Corellian's true feelings, perhaps due to the instinctive ability on Luke's part to read people with his Force sensitivity, or the deep bond between the two... and when Han is frightened with his feelings, Luke is very comfortable with them... In 'Foreshadows,' both Luke and Han grow. Luke, due to his visions of the past, and Han, due to his newly-discovered feelings over Luke. Together, their relationship has taken a major step forward -- they inwardly accept each other's concern and outwardly share a comfortable friendship. [6]
"Foreshadows" really irritated me right out my bedsack. It's so well written that its flaws are that much more difficult to overlook.

First, to address the issue of cloning, which the story doesn't really address at all. Fine, a point of debate is reported, and Luke's feelings based on Imperial propaganda - are revealed. Some attention is given to the identity problem, with Luke wondering how much of him is him; but that's rather easily disposed of by giving him immediate assurances from Kylie, and he's swamped in more forceful doubts soon enough. Invocation of cloning as a mere plot device is particularly offensive to me as an example of creative people declining an opportunity to be really creative - to really think about cloning. All right, Lucas wanted to preserve some portion of himself - physically. He didn't trust to his teaching to preserve something of himself. (Obviously Lucas would have lived on in Kylie and every other person he'd "touched" with his existence; not all of them could have been killed, oh ye Jedi of so little faith...) The idea that a clone is necessarily a near-perfect replication of the donor is a fallacious one. There is no reason why Luke should have to look so much like Lucas, and very good reasons why clones should not resemble their donors. The triumphant Empire surely could be expected to maintain some intelligence records on their fallen enemies, even on "certain" kills, with Vader to advise them of Jedi. Who would be more ready than the prime users of cloning technology to suspect use of cloning technology? All it would have taken, for instance, is for some acquaintance of Lucas Skywalker who had taken an Intelligence posting and returned to Tatooine to realize that Luke Skywalker looked enough like his father to be a twin, not a son, for the whole thing to come to naught. And if the donors could see the successful survival of cloned offspring under such truly dubious circumstances one might protest that their failure to foresee any such problems as they had with Darth Vader smacks too much of a novelist's contrivance; which recourse to cloning is, in this case. The good old - and still fiercely contested-question of nature versus nurture is raised briefly in regard to habits of thought, but not addressed at all in the simple matter of physical appearance.... [much, much about cloning snipped] ... Others who have enjoyed this story, as well as its authors, could fairly accuse me of "nitpicking," and tell me that the technology simply exists, that's all. I would be much more convinced if the authors had indicated any real understanding of the mechanics and problems of cloning before telling me (by declining to explain) that "oh, they've figured all that out, already." Lucas ((George)) does indicate that cloning technology may exist, but there's no cause to assume that it's the sort of technology that could produce a Lucas look-alike in Luke. And without discussion, the important and complex issue of cloning remains where they've left it - nothing more than a magical plot device - and my diatribe stands. This is all undergraduate genetics, after all. And it really bothers me that people are so ready to talk about clones without thinking about them. "Foreshadows" does better than most - they do discuss the individuality of the clone - but they could have done better. It was unclear to me how much of Luke's response to his surroundings, especially initially, was meant to be inherited memory - if any of it was - and how much was intended to be taken as reverberations in the Force. Apart from my genetic quibbles, I really object to the characterization of Han as a weak-minded, clumsy buffoon. Weak-minded follows from what Ben says about the Force's influence in Star Wars, coupled with the ease with which Chaylor/Luke/ Lucas cow and manipulate Han. Buffoonery follows from their treatment of his reaction to realization of that manipulation; and clumsy follows from his reactions to Luke's personal trouble throughout. If the Force is in Han - and, since 1n the story's own terms, it must be, since he is alive (and very alive, full of life and vitality to a remarkable degree, but that's my prejudice talking) why do nascent Jedi treat him so contemptuously? Why does Lucas, who has had all these additional years to mellow, stoop to manhandling Han, instead of responding to Han's very real concern for Luke, concern which has impelled mm lo seen, mr Luke even in the face of ridicule and scorn from Chaylor and Kylie both? Or did the authors intend to draw such a strong parallel between the Jedi's treatment of Han and their rejection of Lord Vader? The attitude displayed in the authors' characterization of Han seems very condescending, to me. And there are truly disturbing undertones of Jedi elitism in "You can never depend on a nonbeliever... Rigid doctrinarianism, again. This is far removed from Ben's gentle tolerance of Han's excesses. It is also removed from either more liberal Christian ("There are in my father's house, many mansions") or Eastern ("There are many Hays, but they are all the same Way") religious philosophy. These Jedi talk big news, but scorn and humiliate the non-Jedi such as Han who fail to meekly accept their obviously pre-ordained ancillary role (Kylie). It's enough to make Vader's philosophy attractive by comparison, and I trust I'm not suspected of being a closet Vader fan. At least he makes no attempt to sugarcoat his pretensions of superiority, his goals and attitudes.

Disclaimer: I got off on a loong discussion of cloning towards the end of this letter. It's not meant as personally directed at the authors of "Foreshadows." If that story hadn't been as good as it was, it wouldn't have set me off the way it did. [7]
But "Foreshadows," oh my, where to begin? Granted, I've limited experience to SW fan-fic, but "Foreshadows" is the best story I've ever read. The characters were people. That's the strongest Luke I've seen. Not physically -

but in terms of strength of will, moral and emotional strengths and weaknesses. It was a logical follow-up to SW, a believable way for Luke to reach for maturity and the answers he needs to know. "Foreshadows" delved so deeply into Luke's hopes and fears, and accentuated the many differences between him and Han. It also emphasized the depth of their friendship without being maudlin. Chewie was handled well. It was surprising to realize that he wasn't actually given dialog, because he said so much. As to impact - considerable. Chaylor was developed well. Likeable, yet suspicious; I wasn't sure where he stood. The settings and functions of the Jedi enclave were believable, and the collapse of the Republic well-p1anned. Like Luke, I was impatient to know more - I couldn't stop reading long enough to formulate any theories. It was a lot to take in at one sitting, and I could identify with Luke's shock and withdrawal. It was pleasurable to see Luke learn so much, grow so much, and yet retain his essential se1f. The glimpses of Lucas throughout were tantalizing and effective. His death was devastating, and though an inevitable, necessary part of the p1an, it still hurt. His: "He tried to speak, tried to tell Kenobi that there was no reason for the tears in the old man's eyes..." brought tears to mine. I felt I had known Lucas, and wished for more time. He was his unique self; and while Luke may be his clone, he's not a carbon copy. There's so much more to say, so much more to praise. "Foreshadows" was both emotionally draining and satisfying. I didn't read that story - I felt it, breathed it, touched it. The intense effort, time and detail that went into the writing were considerable - and it was a privilege to have the opportunity to read it. Joni Wagner's illustrations are excellent! What accurate representations! The icing on the cake (how cliche).

Oh, yes. I also enjoyed seeing Luke crack on Han. It's about time he got the last (good) word. [8]
"Foreshadows" was great.
 The idea for Luke's background is one I've never seen before - but it's very reasonable in context. At the beginning of the story, I was very leery of Chaylor. Luke thinks he's OK, but he tried to change Han's feelings, and I wasn't sure I was or wasn't supposed to like him. Even by the end of the story, when I did like him, I thought he had been a little "uncool" (I'm dating myself) when he first talked to Han and Luke. [9]
...the story I enjoyed most had to be Foreshadows." It was lovely. TESB dated it but it was still gorgeous. The characterizations for Han and Luke were perfect. It was a beautiful story to read. I'd heard a few Clone Wars/Luke theories before but had never thought them to be very interesting, but after "Foreshadows" I've changed my mind. [10]
As far as "Foreshadows" goes, I dislike the notion that Luke is a clone. Up until the point that he begins to put 2 + 2 together, it was one of the best readings I've experienced in a long time (and I've read 150+ books in the last 14 months). I'm hoping that there'll be a sequel, with the clones of all six protagonists together, along with Kylie. [11]
Ah, now the piece de resistance. Block and Hendricks have outdone themselves with "Foreshadows." It's very well written and has a number of interesting ideas. And that one -- ghod, it's in the same class with Vader's announcement! What really got to me was that a month or so ago I'd looked at a prozine (FANTASTIC FILMS, I think) with an article postulating that Luke was a clone of Vader! I really prefer this version, folks! It does get around the problem of a total lack of mention of Luke's mother, and just the idea in itself is enough of a shocker without bringing in the possibility that Vader's telling the truth. (I think he's lying.) Luke's reaction 1s entirely credible, under the circumstances. Han's reaction to the news is also entirely in character, and I love his difficulty with the standard cuss word -- yes, that could be a problem! The flashback scenes are excellent, the final farewell between Lucas and Kylie is absolutely beautiful. So's the illo - my favorite, I think. The handling of Vader murdering Lucas is very good, a balance of the different sides of Vader. Kylie's a beautiful character, a good balance for Chaylor. I wanted to smack that smug, self-righteous little prig. Poor Han, up against that! Young Beru was well handled, and Joni Wagner did a fine job of the illo (even if my first impression was of a young, pretty Nancy Reagan as opposed to the anorexic reality). I do question the use of Obi-Wan as a title. In SW, Ben said, "That's a name..." not "That's a term," or whatever. [12]
"Foreshadows" by Judi L. Hendricks and Paula Block was one of the stories I'd watched progressing from conception to completion, and I'm still not tired of it. Taking up nearly half the zine, it is unarguably the dominant piece in the issue and well worth the praise it will undoubtedly garner. Undeniably "different" from any other notions spawned concerning the SW mythos, this Luke-as-clone viewpoint will probably inspire discussion for months to come, perhaps for cons to come.[13]
Of the serious offerings [in the zine], my favorite was "Foreshadows". I found it an exquisitely crafted merging of past and future, a precarious but firm balance. I shudder to think how easily that balance could have been upset by less skillful writing. The concepts were fascinating - Luke a clone? A nasty thing to do to the kid, considering his society's ambivalence to cloning. But even before that came up, Kylie had a very interesting role. The conflict between her known age and apparent youth tied in with the "past and future" motif, and it made for strange developments in her relationship with Luke. The shades of Oedipus in the scene of Lucas and Kylie in the glen with Luke, in vision, along for the ride made it almost a relief to find out that Luke was a clone. Other, or lover? Neither, really. At the same time, these conflicts came through very muted, a refreshing change from being beaten over the head with Basic Conflict. [14]
At this point in reading, I sighed and said to myself, 'Well, that was a very nice zine, and I enjoyed it, but isn't there going to be at;least ONE long story that's going to really grab hold of me and tel1 me something new and different about my favorite SW character?" And lo and behold' there was "Foreshadows," unquestionably my favorite of the stories in this issue. I was very impressed with it, both because of the high quality of the writing and because of the balanced, perceptive way each of the SW characters was shown. Highly interesting that the authors should have picked up on the clone idea even before TESB - almost uncanny' one might say (do you suppose there really IS some- thing in this Force stuff?).

The status of the clones in the SW universe has always interested me, and I thought the varying reactions of the people in this story were probably very close to the mark. Of course, it is obvious that a clone would not recognize himself as a clone unless he were told - we hive all met clones in this universe, I'm sure. In fact, my mother was one. They're called "twins. But there are indeed moral questions involved in the creation of artificial multiple births' which were touched on with considerable skill here. I was also highly impressed and delighted by the way Vader was presented in "Foreshadows," (There, we finally got to him - my favorite SW character, that is...) especially in a story from Luke's viewpoint. The authors have clearly seen (what so many ignore) that there had to be some good qualities in him for Kenobi and the elder Skywalker (if he existed) to nurture and accept him as part of the Jedi in the first place. On

the other hand, I don't believe that his character could have changed THAT drastically after he left the Jedi. I do not believe Vader is "amoral" - but I do believe he is, and was' arrogant, out-outstandingly talented, and remarkably self-contained, wary of establishing any emotional bonds' yet certainly not incapable of responding to someone like the Skywalker in this story. His behavior during the conversation with Lucas, the duel (Oh, that WAS lovely!) and when he kills Skywalker was remarkably true to character. The rest of the story was just as well done, but this segment pulled it all into focus for me. [15]
Lastly we come to "Foreshadows." Gods, what a story! It was very considerate of you, you know, to put this one last and give the rest of us a chance to be appreciated before the reader was totally blown away. "Foreshadows" is, of course, one of those stories that is theoretically invalidated by Empire, but in this case the writing is so good that you don't care, Even pre-Empire, I might have had reason to dislike it because of the idea of Luke's being a clone, which appeals about as much to me as it did to him: kind of steps on my toes, so to speak. However, Paula Block and Judi Hendricks can, seemingly, stomp all over your feet and make you love every minute of it. [16]
This leaves the other Fan Q nominee, "Foreshadows," and it would take a volume about as thick as SKY 4 to adequately review such a complex work. Regardless of the details established about Luke's progenitor in TESB, "Foreshadows," like ThousandWorlds, stands on its own merit as a SW novella. Strangely, for me, I was not as impressed or involved with the new characters of Chaylor and Kylie and the soap opera of strange purport among Luke/Lucas/Kyl1e. The strongest aspect of the story for me was its beautiful construction and the intertwining of past and present systematically revealed to Luke through his father's legacy. The glimpses into the Jedi camp and Lucas' and Darth's relationship were intriguingly handled. I particularly liked the scene with Nenn and Lucas at the cloning labs - the idea of Jedi as pro-clone is a novel one. And Po and Judi have such a knack for writing non-human characters! I finished this story and immediately wanted to read about the search for Nenn's clone. Of course, amidst all the mystic soul-searching and Jedi revelations, it was reassuring to spot Man's cynical presence occasionally. The writers treated Solo's affection for Luke, masked with many a gruff admonition and grumble, with a nice subtlety. The end scene, when Luke reveals his clone ancestry to the Corellian's easy acceptance, is a gem: Luke trembling with trepidation and Han cracking jokes. Joni's illos, as always, are superb and definitive likenesses, but while I marvel at the exquisite portraiture, my favorites have to be the faceless opening illo and the one of Lucas regarding the fetus in cloning laboratory. I realize it was the authors' request, but it distracted from my involvement with Chaylor and Kylie to have them so obviously depicted as Richard Gere and Sigourney Weaver, perhaps because their faces are just too familiar and so recently 1n well-known films. On the other hand, using Eddie Fisher as Bail Organa was, I thought, ingenious. Funny, after seeing TESB again today, Luke's remarks to R2 on Dagobah about "...something familiar about this place..." and "...like a dream., recalled 'Foreshadows" to mind with genetic - and Jedi - memory, adding further credibility to Po and Judy's speculation. [17]

References

  1. from Jundland Wastes #4
  2. from Jundland Wastes #4
  3. From Jundland Wastes #1
  4. From Jundland Wastes #2
  5. From Jundland Wastes #1
  6. from Jundland Wastes #3 (which uses this story as one of four examples in an article, Give'em Hell, Kid, that explores the relationship between Han and Luke in fanfic)
  7. from an LoC by Susan Matthews in Skywalker #6
  8. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  9. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  10. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  11. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  12. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  13. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  14. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  15. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  16. from an LoC in Skywalker #6
  17. from an LoC in Skywalker #6