Eight episodes, spin-offs, six independent animated series, a full-length cartoon, three television films of poor quality, books, two hundred video games, a sea of sold souvenirs, costumes, models – this is the true world of Lucas’ universe. Not all film franchises manage to become a cultural phenomenon, especially those that started out with pure enthusiasm. The forty-year history of the struggle between Light and Darkness against the background of alien landscapes and the starry sky has succeeded.
Star Wars: A Tale and a True Story
The reasons why “Star Wars” entered the consciousness of people of all continents, went into quotations and outgrew its creator, became the topic of serious books and research. But miracles do not lend themselves to rational explanation, which means that the source of the saga’s popularity will remain beyond our understanding.
Critics classify the saga in a dozen different genres. There are really a lot of sources for “Star Wars”: these are “spaghetti westerns”, and science fiction, and knightly stories. This is a tale about princes and princesses, only they rule not small earthly kingdoms, but entire planets and galaxies. Instead of faithful horses – starships, instead of soldiers – stormtroopers. They are helped by magicians – Jedi Knights, armed not only with knowledge, but also with lightsabers. This is a new genre that has filled archetypes with new meaning, given modernity to old legends and full of the true spirit of adventure.
Awakening in each viewer a deeply (or not very deeply) hidden inner child or teenager, the franchise convinces – there are fairy tales, miracles are possible, and everyone can become a part of them: a farmer, a scavenger, a smuggler or a princess.
Star Wars: A Religious Meaning
While creating the script, Lucas filled the saga with religious allusions and meanings. Researchers find references to the Bible, Taoist treatises and the samurai code “Bushido”. The classic and familiar to all fans “May the Force be with you” is an almost literal quote from the Gospel of John (14: 16-17). According to Eneken’s mother, he was conceived without a father. Skywalker Jr.’s name is Luke, meaning light. The smuggler Han Solo, having learned the teachings of the Force and seeing miracles, followed Luke, as an apostle followed Christ. Lando Calrissian hugs his friend Khan, but then betrays him like Judas.
In addition to biblical analogies, there are others. John M. Porter, an admirer of Lao Tzu, wrote a study of the Star Wars Tao.
The authors clearly explained to the audience simple religious truths: that there is a higher power, that the world is heterogeneous, that there are good and bad, light and dark sides, between which one has to choose. In order not to concretize attention to one particular religion, Lucas introduced a universal and simple concept of Force, not burdened with details, understandable to everyone.
Power permeates the world, keeps it in harmony. Those who can control her become Jedi. In Episode I, she is described as a consequence of human symbiosis with midichlorians , a special microscopic form of life. The more of them there are in a person, the more Power is in him.
Not everyone liked this physiological explanation: it deprived the Force of magic on the one hand and spirituality on the other. In the latest episodes and animated series, the scriptwriters prefer not to mention midichlorians, again emphasizing the spiritual and energetic power of the Force, returning it to its original meaning.
Star Wars: Last Hopes
From the Republic to the Empire, from the Empire to the First Order … Trade wars, political divisions, a senate steeped in corruption and bureaucracy, economic blockades and sanctions – Star Wars has everything we hear about on the morning news. The latest episodes are not so full of political details. If the Sith Lord, Senator Palpatine, used absolutely earthly and human methods of seizing power to achieve his goals, which we watched the first three episodes, then in Episode VII the authors immediately present Supreme Leader Snoke as the all-powerful ruler of the First Order. By removing the details, they clarify the picture.
The bright side of the Force, bringing peace, goodness and harmony, suddenly loses its attractiveness for those who must defend peace and law. What attracts heroes on the dark side? Was it not enough for them wealth, respect, power? No. They had all this. They lacked “dark passions” – anger, envy, anger, jealousy. They lacked what is in any person, but is unacceptable for an adept of the Light Side. The thirst for possession, omnipotence, the thirst for passions turns the heroes to the dark side, but not everyone manages to become a true adept of Evil.
In the last episodes, it becomes clear that the Dark and Light sides are not mutually exclusive, they are two sides of life, two sides of human nature. No one can be called an impeccable hero or a “villain without fear and reproach”: both have a choice. A villain is a hero who succumbs to temptation. And the hero can remain on the Light side because fate has not yet presented him with difficult moral dilemmas.
Star Wars: Fathers and Grandfathers
Betrayal and moral choices are much more discussed in Star Wars than starship flights and rebel combat operations. Darth Vader returns to Good at the last moment, unable to bear the torment of his son. His grandson kills his father, but is unable to kill his mother. The tangle of family ties in the saga is very tightly wound.
Anakin Skywalker’s transition to the dark side is associated with his personal, human qualities. He is proud, arrogant, jealous, he cannot restrain the dark sides of his nature and becomes an easy victim of a cunning politician – Senator Palpatine. Luke didn’t care that he was the son of Darth Vader; on the contrary, he did his best to awaken goodness in his father’s soul, he believed that Anakin would return to the light side.
Another thing is Ben Solo, who took the name Kylo Ren. The dark image of a grandfather becomes a curse and an obsession for the young man. He does not seem to understand that Anakin in the last minutes of his life returned to the Light side. Trying to imitate Darth Vader, he wears a similar costume and mask, renounces his family and is afraid of only one thing – that he will not reach his greatness and strength. And yet, even in the depths of this soul, twisted by evil, good lurks. Will his spark be enough for the grandson to repeat the fate of his grandfather?
Star Wars: Results and Prospects
Fans, disappointed by the trilogy-prequel to the “classic” episodes (IV-VI), now simply rejoice at the release of more films, giving food for their fantasies, approval or indignation. But the topic of disappointment is raised in the franchise itself.
Luke Skywalker, the main and flawless hero, himself experiences severe disappointment – the Jedi Order could not see what was happening under his nose, allowing the strengthening of the Sith Lord and Darth Vader’s transition to the side of Evil. Luke himself “missed” his student and nephew, allowing the destruction of the Jedi Academy. Everyone is mistaken, even the all-powerful Jedi, who can move stones and control someone else’s will. The inability to learn from mistakes is an elementary human weakness inherent even to them, and this thought is one of the main thoughts in the saga.
Lightsaber, blood-stained midi-chlorians, and a cloak won’t make anyone superhuman. Fighting with your passions, grievances, the ability to learn from your mistakes and forgive others is a life-long battle, and no one can escape it.