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Star Wars in Historical Context

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by Pobody's Nerfect, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi General

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    Greetings, scum and villany!

    There have been a lot of really good threads about Star Wars and mythology. Several of you Cantina patrons have written about how Star Wars borrows themes from other stories. But I haven't seen a thread devoted to understanding what the original Star Wars movie meant to America in 1977. And although I'm no expert - I was only ten years old back then - I'd like to start the discussion.

    First, the creation of Star Wars began in 1975. (I'm talking about the production of the movie here, I know the story was formulating in George Lucas's head before then.) 1975 was also the year the United States left Vietnam.

    In Star Wars a group of rebels, guided by the wisdom of ancient mystics and the Force, takes on the full might of the greatest military-industrial complex in the Galaxy. Some died, some were imprisoned, but those who stayed and fought did the impossible and changed the course of history. In America a group of rebels, guided by the philosophy of Native America and Buddhist mystics and hallucinogenics, protested the might of the greatest military-industrial complex in the world. Some died, some were imprisoned, some fled to Canada, but those who stayed and protested... well, they didn't actually change much unless you count Nixon's impeachment. In that way Star Wars is kind of a hippy revenge fantasy, much like Django and Inglorious Basterds were revenge fantasies.

    Second, I mentioned hallucinogenics and the Force. The parallels should be obvious. A pathway into a much larger world, a way to see without using your eyes, a threat to the government that must be stamped out by violence, and if you give a stormtrooper a dose of the Force he won't notice the contraband droids he's looking for and will let you move along.

    Third, the Rebellion was a big tent. Ben Kenobi and Han Solo didn't agree on much, but they teamed up against the Empire. Wookiees and droids and people from a variety of systems stood up against the Empire together. The hippies had a big tent, too. Rock 'n' Rollers, civil rights advocates, anti war protesters, pot heads, free love flower children, and nature lovers all joined together to denounce what they saw as Big Brother.

    So what do you guys think? Was Star Wars as much a product of its time as it was a product of the mythologies that George Lucas read as a child?
     
  2. ATMachine

    ATMachine Rebelscum

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    Of course it was! Lucas' original model for the Emperor was Richard Nixon. As he wrote in his notes, "The Empire is America ten years from now."

    But you've got your dates wrong -- Star Wars really began in 1973, with the Journal of the Whills story outline and the other story synopsis for a standalone film (based on The Hidden Fortress, but with strong elements of Sanjuro, The Hobbit, and Dune).

    And let's not forget the 1974 rough draft script -- where, in true Seventies fashion, Princess Leia is bare-breasted during the third act.
     
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