The science fiction classic, Star Wars, is a great movie to watch for entertainment reasons. It is very exciting, impressive, and sometimes even comical. The droids C3PO and R2-D2 are said to be like Laurel and Hardy. It even has some romance going on. In fact, before Luke Skywalker finds out that Princess Leia is his sister, there is a love triangle between him, her, and Han Solo. The aliens Yoda and Chewbacca and the countless other creatures that we meet in the movies add to the imagination and excitement of “a galaxy far, far away.” Religious connotations such as beliefs and worshipping that are expressed in this film are very intriguing (Vaz 84).
Furthermore, the historical impact of this film is also revealed through the characters and the manner in which its plot flows. This paper will tackle the impact of technology as highlighted in sci-fi movies such as the improvement of communication. Shmi Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker’s (Darth Vader) mother, gives birth to him without a father. Immediately, this brings to mind the Christian view of Jesus Christ’s Virgin Birth. Muslims, although denying the divinity of Jesus, also believe that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
In The Phantom Menace we learn that Anakin came from Midi-chlorians. These are scientifically referred to as the logical atomic life forms that symbiotically inhabit the cells of every living thing. In numerous numbers, they enable their host to become aware of their all-encompassing energy. Potential associated with this energy was related to Midi-chlorians. The energy levels ranged from two thousand five hundred for each cell in humans to a much higher degree in a Jedi. The most known level is that found in Jedi Anakin Skywalker, which was conceived by the Midi-chlorians. Studies concerning Midi-chlorians have been going on for quite a while. They were rediscovered when a novel about Jedi was established. More studies have been put in order to discover more about these Midi-chlorians as it has drawn the attention of medics as well as the Jedi healers (Vaz 32). The invention of how to maneuver Midi-chlorians to create a new life form was discovered by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis.
Religious beliefs were closely followed. Based on their religious beliefs, Anakin is said to be the Chosen One in Menace. He is initially created to be a Messiah type figure. Christians believe that Christ was the Messiah. Jews are still waiting for their Chosen One, the Messiah, who “will bring balance to the Force”. Anakin Skywalker was able to destroy Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine in Return to the Jedi episode and “bring balance to the Force”. The Messiah will destroy the Devil at the End of the Age, or Last Battle. This will also bring balance as there will be “no more pain, crying, or death”.
Anakin Skywalker, a main character of the Star Wars sci-fi movie, is just like us in many ways. Before he became Darth Vader, he used to be very good, as good as Adam and Eve who were created by God. However, when Anakin turned and became Darth Vader it was very similar to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. At the end of Return of the Jedi Darth Vader turns good again. Luke Skywalker helped him in turning his father, and Christ helps to turn us, humans. We are lost and evil just like Anakin. Anakin was a puppet of the Emperor, and we are the puppets of the Devil. Same as Luke turned his father, Christ’s death on the cross turned us. As Obi-Wan said of Anakin, “he is more machine now than man; twisted and evil”. That line also describes people before Jesus “turns” them. We are “twisted and evil”, so to speak.
The Light Side of the Force is like the Holy Spirit. The Force gives Jedi the power. Yoda was an old short green creature. But when he uses the Force, he is the most powerful of all the Jedi. Actually, he is weak by himself, but when he is given the Force, he becomes much stronger. Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jin, Luke Skywalker, and other Jedi are all very weak without the Force, but once they have it, they are very strong. We can draw a parallel here to the fact that without the Holy Spirit the Christian population is very weak. Just as the Holy Spirit is essential to Christians, people adore watching sci-fi movies due to their enigmatic technology that, when employed, enhances the life of these individuals. As a result, a larger number of people tend to associate themselves with such movies.
Moreover, the Force has been likened to Eastern Religions as it has various aspects of Buddhism and Confucianism in it. It is very similar to Taoism, according to which, the Tao can fit into anything and it is like water. The Force can also fit into anything. The Yin and the Yang comes from Taoism and Confucianism. The Force is a lot like Yin and Yang as well. The Tao has some good and evil in it. The Yin and the Yang have good and evil in it too. The Fore does also have similar characteristics. Darth Vader’s suit is all black and his part of the Force is the Dark Side. This is the dark area called the Yin. Yoda and the other Jedi are part of the Light Side of the Force, they are good representations of the Yang. Just as Anakin was tempted by the dark side and eventually fell, he used to be good at one time and he later also becomes good again in Jedi. The Yin still has some white color in it. As Luke Skywalker in Jedi and Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones were both tempted by the Dark Side, the Yang still has some black color in it (Schneider 67).
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An argument could even be made that Hinduism shows up in the movies. At the end of Jedi, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker all show up as “spirits”, which form part of the Force. They are sitting on the fence in the Ewalk village. They are all part of the Force. It looks like they have been reincarnated, which is also a Buddhist belief. Perhaps, they have been released from the Wheal of Shamasara and became one with nature. They reach Nirvana. Possibly, the Force has released them also or they have become one with the Force. After all, in A New Hope, Obi-Wan says to Darth Vader, “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine”. Maybe this was also a paradise idea that came from the religious belief of Christianity. Darth Vader says “I find your lack of Faith disturbing” as he uses the Force to choke someone. Faith is essential to any religion (Kuisma 2001).
This brief look at the religious meanings behind Star Wars reveals the surface theme of the movies. There are many more. One needs to have a PhD in religion, or Star Wars, or both to get all of them. George Lucas, who wrote the adventure and even directed a few of the films, said that he purposely “borrowed” multiple themes from different religions when creating the Star Wars Saga. Sir Alex Guinness, who stared as the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, was once asked by a fan to explain the Force, he answered that he knew nothing about it, but that if the fan wanted to know about Jesus Christ, Guinness could have told him.
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Besides numerous religious borrowings in the saga, there are also many historical facts and figures that are hidden. Empires are found in various places in the world. These may represent world history on various issues such as politics, religion, or even economy of various countries. Empires range from Egyptian to Roman as well as from Mongol to the British. Evil that is associated with the Empires is most linked to the Nazis. Emperor Papiltine was a senator from Nabo before he was elected to be the chancellor. Nabo and other star systems were in big trouble for the Trade Federation, Count Duku, and others. And if to draw a parallel, Adolf Hitler was elected as chancellor of Germany, and Germany was in dire strains after World War I (Schneider 45).
Papiltine used his election to tighten his grip and gain more and more power. Hitler, accordingly, did the same. Before long, Germany was invading the neighboring European countries like the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia and Poland, rounding up Jews, who were waiting for their Messiah to “bring balance”, and joined forces with Mussolini in Italy and the Emperor of Japan. The three of them wanted to divide the world into three. Paplitine further continued to be dead serious and had Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and others help him. In A New Hope, Princess Leia pleaded to Obi-Wan: “Help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope.” Obi-wan and Yoda trained Luke Skywalker to be the “New Hope”. Eventually, Luke was able to turn his father, Anakin Vader, back and brought “balance to the Force”. Accordingly, at the end of World War II, the cronies defeated the alliance and brought balance to the world.
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After World War II, a rift started between the Soviet Union and the United States. This rift led to the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Furthermore, this led to the famous “Space Race”. The Soviet Union was the first nation to launch a satellite and even a man into space; but the United States was the first nation to land on the Moon when Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, set their feet on the Moon in 1969. In the various books that have spun off from the Star Wars Saga, once the Empire was defeated, different groups tried to bring the Empire back or fight for their own desires, ignoring the Republic. The battle between the USSR and the US was called the Cold War. In the 1980’s, President Ronald Reagan and his defense strategists tried to make a space army calling it Star Wars.
The fact that many star systems in the Star Wars Saga rebelled against the empire makes us think of our real world, where there are situations when people find the government repressive, keeping them down, and doing things that they do not agree with, as a result of what they rebel. The Rebels in Star Wars are good examples of this scenario. During the Revolutionary War, the British called the Americans who were fighting for freedom “rebels”. Although basic logic tells us that they were fighting for an unjust cause, those who fought against the Union in the Civil War were also called “rebels”. In the recent problem facing Libyans, those who were fighting for freedom against the unjust dictator Muammar Gaddafi were rebels. Sometimes rebels are good and sometimes they are actually bad.
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The symbols displayed on helmets and ships in the Star Wars Saga can also be analyzed as historic symbols. For example, those that fight for the Emperor have almost a Nazi symbol while the Rebels have a symbol that can represent good. When A New Hope came out in 1977, models and puppets were used. By the time of Revenge of the Sith in 2005, computer graphics had replaced models and puppets. Many Star Wars purists were even upset when Yoda, who was a puppet in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi, was replaced by computer graphics in 1999’s The Phantom Menace.
Lucas started a company called Industrial Light and Magic. Many movies that are made today come from his company. Moreover, several governments intend to employ his ideas. Reagan’s intention of creating Star Wars was to keep the world safe. Even cell phone technology has been affected by the impact brought by Star Wars. It gave us the concept of com-links and holograms. Computers have also been affected by the movies. The utilization of computer graphics by corporations serves as an example of the impact brought by these movies.
The general influence brought by this movie is immense. Technology has advanced in a speedy manner and this has ensured the improvement of the human lifestyle. It has affected us in so many ways. Its influence can be seen on TV today, weather you are watching CNN or the latest programs; sitcom -characters in sitcoms often quote from the Star Wars Saga. Its influence can also be seen at school and work. Star Wars has such a profound impact on society and it will continue to do so for many years to come.