There’s been so much written about Star Wars and mythology that I feel like I’m beating a dead Tauntaun even approaching the topic. As many of you know, George Lucas has openly credited Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces as a key influence on the final drafts of the original trilogy; the dream imagery of Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader to find his own face beneath Vader’s mask is clearly illustrative of Jung’s concept of the Shadow (the dark parts of ourselves that we try not to see, and project onto others), and the Force itself takes the whole story out of the framework of science fiction into the matrix of folklore and mythology. There’s a whole cottage industry that spins itself around analyzing this mythos, which is why when my Sith Lord (my wife) commanded me to write this article, I was duty bound, but troubled.
My Lord, This Has Already Been Done.
So that begs the question – is there anything new to bring to this discussion?
My first thought was cool, but quite frankly, started taking a little too long to implement: I though about mapping Star Wars onto the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Luke Skywalker making the Journey from Fool to Magician; Darth Vader as Death, and the Death Star as the Tower. The Millennium Falcon as the Chariot; carbonite frozen Han Solo as the Hanged Man. You get the idea; I was over half done before I realized it was far too ambitious for a single post.
I considered doing a Taoist analysis based on Yin and Yang, or what pioneering anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss called binary oppositions (for more on that, look up structuralism). One of things that differentiates Star Wars’ mythos from many other science fiction realms is the clear dualism that demarcates good and evil, light and dark. The Force doesn’t appear to enjoy shades of gray (hardcore Warsies will bring up the so-called Expanded Universe, but May the Mouse Ears be with you, those tales have gone the way of the Gnostic Gospels, in Disney we trust). Still, that type of analysis been done, starting a long time ago, in a basement far, far away.
For A Second Time, I Have Failed You, My Lord.
Finally, I considered viewing Star Wars from the vantage of the dynamics of power exchange. Something Focault-ish, or at the very least, French sounding. Is the Force as egalitarian as it presents itself? What about all the politically neutral migrant aliens working on the Death Star when it went Kabloom? What kind of benefits does the Rebellion offer? What is the Empire’s stand on Affordable Health Care? And is anyone going to do something about those pesky Sand People – sorry, I meant Tuscan Raiders (you’d be surprised at the number of rural Tatooine voters Anakin picked up after his desert rampage)? Deep, troubling, important questions…
For A Third Time, I Have Failed You, My Lord.
In other words, I got nothin’ new to add to the conversation regarding the intersection of Star Wars and myth…except…
Live Long And Prosper (Holy Sith, I couldn’t even get that right!)