The Origins Of Star Wars Essay, Research Paper
The Origins of Star Wars
In the movie Star Wars, Director and Screenplay writer George Lucas creates a very complex, believable universe. Lucas borrows many things from different places to create his universe.This paper will show whether or not he succeeds and how does he does it. The origins of the much of Star Wars will be explained and the symbolic nature of the characters will be touched upon, as well as a brief history of the most important part of the story line.
The Star Wars universe has a rich and complex history. It starts with Yoda, who trains Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, after serving in the Clone Wars of the Old Republic’ which existed right before the Empire, decided to take on the responsibility of training a Jedi. He trains a young up-and-coming hotshot pilot in the ways of the Force. This is Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father. Anakin finds the dark side of the Force much easier and more expedient than the light and becomes a dark Jedi, Darth Vader. He becomes so powerful that his body starts to be eroded by the dark side energies, forcing him to wear a suit and respirator. Ben blames himself for Anakin’s failings and lives like a hermit in the Jundland Wastes of Tatooine, watching over Anakin’s son, Luke.
Luke Skywalker is the unwitting hero of Star Wars. He is reluctantly thrust into helping out the Rebel Alliance after his aunt and uncle are killed by the Evil Galactic Empire. In him we see all the naivete that is in a provincial boy. Lucas keeps the outcome of the movie in doubt by making the hero a child who must grow into his role. But the character is not an original one, he has no personality at the beginning of the story and Luke’s character is only defined by the events that he passes through. And all of these come from Joseph Campbell’s novel The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, Luke follows the sketch of the archetypal hero’s journey outlined in that book very closely.
Princess Leia is not the ingenue we originally expect. Lucas breaks the feminine stereotype of helplessness and a weak will with Leia. She is smart and strong, and she knows how to get out of a bad situation. For example, when during her rescue’ by Han Solo, Luke, and Chewbacca, she takes Luke’s gun and blows a hole into the garbage chute for an escape, she forces the viewer to reevaluate her. She is also a trouble- maker in the group, her strong will clashes with Han’s and creates conflict. This is compliment to Akira Kurosawa, the famous Japanese Director, as it appears that a big influence on her character was the Princess in his 1958 classic The Hidden Fortress, in which a bickering, young princess and a swaggering general try to make there way to safety across Japan while dodging a persuing army. Leia’s hair style however, seems to pay homage to Queen Fria from Flash Gordon.
Han Solo is the all purpose rabble-rouser and “doubting thomas”. He starts off seeming not to care about anything but himself and ends up forsaking money and going for the ideal, rescuing Luke at the last minute. Han serves as an antagonist to Luke, constantly forcing him to strive to prove Han wrong. For example, Han’s disbelief in the Force “Look kid, I’ve traveled from one end of the galaxy to the other. Seen a lot of crazy things, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s some all powerful Force’ controls MY destiny”, is no doubt a spur to Luke to develop his own powers. Han is in his most basic form a foil for Luke, helping push his character into development and maturity.
He is very similar to characters in Erol Flynn’s Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk, from which pieces of his persona are no doubt taken, a dashing bad-boy pirate who stops to rescue the girl. His name also makes him sound like a frontier loner and he resembles a cowboy, wearing a low slung blaster, habituating a saloon on a desert planet when he is first encountered, and riding out on a faithful steed, the Millennium Falcon.
Their are also a number of other secondary and minor characters that serve to set the tone and feel for the story, the various imperial admirals, rebel fighters and so on. They are all important in establishing the viability of the universe in which the main characters exist. The secondary characters, like Darth Vader and C3PO though are integral to the story, but for the most part only as symbols of other things. Darth Vader, for example is only a symbol of the Empire, a figurehead who stands for evil, the natural opposite of what the heroes are fighting for. When Vader kills’ Obi-Wan it is more important on its symbolice level that of the the Empire striking a blow to the Allainace, demonstrating the ability of the Empire to hurt and destroy than anything else, especially since Obi-Wan does not exactly die, his spirit lives on and helps Luke to destroy the Death Star.
C3PO and R2D2 appear to be visual and audible fluff’, cute, but not important except in their role of plot advancement. From crossing a corridor in the middle of a firefight to playing holo-chess with Chewbacca, they are the softer elements of Star Wars, not as important but somehow neccessary.