The Walking Dead

Fear The Walking Dead’s New Villains Are a Jab at Star Wars’ Prequel Jedi

Fear the Walking Dead will have a new villain when it returns for Season 8 -- and that organization has striking similarities to Star Wars' Jedi.

Fear the Walking Dead has never been a series with long-term villains. Even its worst baddies like Proctor John, Virginia and Teddy were lucky to make it past half a season. As if the zombies weren’t enough, the apocalypse always had some new figure who wanted to come along and cause trouble for everyone else. That’s what happened yet again in the final three episodes of FTWD Season 7, which proved to be a major letdown.

After Teddy’s bombs went off at the end of Season 6, there was a lot of potential, the series became an anthology-based, heavily plot armored story that eventually became completely predictable. Victor Strand was supposedly the main villain, but it didn’t take long before he was trying to redeem himself. In “Divine Providence,” Strand epically killed Wes — who had become a makeshift villain — and was reaccepted into the core group during “Amina.” Left without a real bad guy to defeat in Season 7, FTWD teased its Season 8 antagonists in the finale “Gone,” and the upcoming villains are reminiscent of the Jedi Order from Star Wars.

Near the end of Season 7, Morgan left the main group to try and keep baby Mo safe from Strand. He was looking for a safe place for everyone to live after the presumed war for the Tower. What he found was Madison Clark — and she was causing trouble. As Morgan found out in “Gone,” Madison was working for PADRE (yes, that PADRE) to kidnap children. She stole Mo from Morgan and sent her off to PADRE before he could do anything. That led to an argument, a fight and eventually a team-up.

The ending of “Gone” implies Season 8 will be about getting Mo back, but wrapped up in that is a very interesting point. PADRE’s motive is twisted, but it’s not totally original. PADRE wanted kids to grow the next generation of humanity so that it could rebuild society according its principles. The organization believed in brainwashing kids so that they had no personal attachments. PADRE’s leaders believed that emotional connections were what led to weakness — so they were determined to eliminate that part of humanity. The exact same thing happened in Star Wars, but it was the good guys who followed that philosophy.

During the Star Wars prequel films, the Jedi Order would take Force-sensitive children from their homes and raise them in the Jedi Temple. They wouldn’t know their families, and they were strictly forbidden from having any emotional connections. That didn’t work out for them on numerous occasions, most notably when Obi-Wan Kenobi failed to teach Anakin Skywalker properly. The villains in FTWD are doing the same thing that the heroes did in Star Wars, reinforcing that the “good guys” weren’t really all that good.

The whole story of the Star Wars prequels was that Anakin turned to the dark side and how the Jedi Order did very little to stop his decline into darkness. It will be interesting for Fear the Walking Dead fans to see if PADRE’s similar belief system likewise undercuts them and leads to a fall similar to that of the Jedi Order. If nothing else, this storyline gives FTWD clear villains that viewers can root against next season — and who will feel pretty familiar.

Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for Season 8.

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