Everything wrong with the Star Wars universe

As promised, here’s my post dissecting Star Wars. Personally, I don’t understand why SW has such a huge and loyal fan base. The original trilogy is widely regarded as one of the best ever, and SW is one of the gold standards of science fiction. And quite frankly, no idea why have I. Gaping plot holes, inconsistencies, poor writing, and the fact that Lucas had zero idea what story he was trying to tell are just a few of the reasons why SW is pretty undeserving of all the love it continues to get. So let’s get to it…

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Alright, right off the bat in the first ten seconds of the movie we have a problem. What the hell does this even mean? What kind of time frame could this possibly be referencing? Am I to assume that I’m being told the story in the present day, on earth, and that everything that takes place in the film happened previously in a different galaxy, despite the glaringly obvious fact that there are HUMAN BEINGS in it? Or should I assume that this story is being told from some point in the future? Should I assume that the story is told from the distant future, and that the galaxy is the milky way, and that all the humans are future versions of ourselves? My overall point is that this line makes zero sense and does absolutely nothing to establish any kind of time frame. This story could be set in the Milky Way or some other galaxy. The humans in it could be us. Maybe there are identical looking aliens in another galaxy with English names? It’s not clear what I, the viewer, am supposed to infer. The story could be taking place in the past from my perspective. Or it could be taking place in the future from the perspective of a viewer in the distant future. Who knows. It’s unclear and stupid.

“I’m going to make the jump to lightspeed!” Hold up. Here’s another problem. Lightspeed? As in, the speed of light? As in, how the hell are you supposed to get anywhere in the galaxy in a reasonable amount of time? How close are all these planets supposed to be? If we’re using any scale similar to how the actual universe is laid out, the speed of light isn’t nearly fast enough to make space travel practical. At the speed of light it would take 4 years for us to get to our nearest star. So if “lightspeed” is what SW is operating on, all of the space travel in the movie is impossible. And if they WERE traveling at the speed of light, then by the time anyone traveling on the spaceship got anywhere, the occupants of the ship would have outlived the people at their destination thanks to time dilation. Way to science, Star Wars.

Darth Vader and Princess Leia. This is something else that’s also bothered me. In the first movie, Darth Vader doesn’t know that princess Leia is his daughter. Yet he somehow knows that Luke is his son? In the first three movies, Darth Vader can sense Luke through the force–yet somehow he can’t intuit that Leia is his daughter? It’s well established in all of the films that force sensitive people can “sense” other force sensitive people. So why can’t Vader “sense” the force in Leia, his own offspring? Proof positive that Lucas had no idea that Vader was their father when he starting writing SW, or that Luke and Leia were siblings. Which leads us to…

The Kiss! Yes, the kiss. You know, the big old lip smacker that Leia lays on Luke in the second movie? The fact that Luke had a crush on Leia and that there was a love-triangle vibe between Han Solo, Leia, and Luke kind of took a weird turn in the third movie when Luke learned that Leia is his sister, a fact that is obviously unknown to him because Yoda has to tell him to his face. So why the weird incest? Because Lucas didn’t know what the f&$k he was doing, he was just pulling stuff out of his ass, that’s why.

The Force is stupid. Really, really, stupid. People with the force have the ability to foresee the future and locate other force sensitive people. Luke has visions of his friends in danger in cloud city all the way on Dagobah. So why couldn’t the Emperor foresee the destruction of death star…twice? Shouldn’t he have been able to have a vision about the exhaust port and what not? Luke can tell which ship Vader is on in the fleet when he’s sneaking onto Endor with the rebels (which the emperor allowed because he saw the future…but apparently only half of it). Shouldn’t Vader have been able to “see” Luke and locate all of the rebel bases at any point in any of the movies? If a Jedi in training like Luke can see accurate visions of the future, why can’t Sith lords like Vader or the emperor? In the prequel trilogy, why couldn’t any of the Jedi sense the dark side of the force in senator Palpatine, even while they’re standing right next to him?

Why doesn’t anyone recognize anyone else? The prequel movies have set up that Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, and Obi Wan all met each other before the events of the original trilogy. So why the hell did they all act like they’d never met each other before in the first movie? I guess maybe they could have wiped the memories of the droids…but shouldn’t Chewbacca and Obi Wan have recognized each other? You’d think they’d mention it, since Luke being part of the prophecy about bringing down the emperor is kind of like, a big deal. And another thing…

Obi Wan hid on the same planet he hid Luke on. Which kind of seems like a genuinely dumb thing to do–if they find Obi Wan, they find Luke. And I’m sure Obi Wan was the most wanted man in the galaxy after the prequel films. Again, I’d have to wonder why Vader or the emperor couldn’t sense Obi Wan through the force. After all, the prequel trilogy establishes that Obi Wan and Anakin had a deep connection and a substantial relationship. And if all the Jedi had been systematically killed, you’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to sense one of the only Jedi left in the entire galaxy. But maybe Obi Wan stayed close by to keep on eye on Luke, and to train him once he came of age. In which case, what happened to Leia? As Luke’s twin, she should be just as force sensitive as he is. But when they hid her she didn’t get a guardian. She didn’t get any special training. The prequels establish that Obi Wan knew Leia existed, that she was Luke’s twin sister, and even where she was hidden. So why not train both of them in the ways of the force? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to send two awesome Jedi knights to fight the emperor? Of course, they couldn’t lay the foundations for that because Lucas had no idea what the hell he was doing and was writing everything as he went just to sound and look cool.

Dagobah. In the expanded SW universe, it’s implied that Yoda hid on Dagobah because the planet has some special weird life force whatever that obscures the Force, and that’s why nobody ever found him. In which case I gotta ask…why didn’t they just hide Luke and Leia there to begin with. Problem solved! And then they could both be trained by Yoda, the wisest and most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, and they could have gone off together to defeat the emperor. But that would make too much sense, I’m guessing.

The movies did nothing to make me a better person. Perhaps this is a little subjective, but it’s why I believe that SW should not be considered the standard for sci-fi. Science fiction is supposed to make you think. After every time I watched Star Wars, I came away none the richer for the experience. There was nothing to make me reflect, nothing to make me think, nothing to make me wonder. There’s no revelation about humanity, what it means to exist, our place in the universe, no profound statement about anything. Contrast that with a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which predates SW by about a decade. And all of this is ultimately because…

Star Wars is essentially about nothing. What is the plot of Star Wars? Good vs evil. That’s it. It’s the rebels (good) vs the empire (bad). It’s father (bad) vs son (good). And that’s about all Lucas could think of. The plot of six films worth of storytelling is thinner than the paper is was printed on. There’s no development of any sort in Star Wars, both in terms of theme and characters. Lucas took the basest of plots–one of the oldest and simplest in cinema and literature–and just threw weird sounding names and lasers on top of it. There’s nothing revolutionary about it, nothing praiseworthy.

Now, I will say that the one thing that Star Wars DOES deserve kudos for is the special effects. Truly groundbreaking for the time. But the FX do nothing to advance the plot or the themes of the story, or the characters. It was all amazing Special FX work that did a lot for cinema…but Lucas doesn’t deserve credit for that, because he wasn’t the one who developed any of it. In the end, Star Wars is nothing more than a vehicle for showcasing special effects and selling merchandise. It was fun when I was a kid, but only because the plot and writing is child-like. There are many movies that serve as a much better benchmark for science fiction (and for cinema, for that matter).

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2 thoughts on “Everything wrong with the Star Wars universe

  1. I guess it’s the suspension of disbelief that makes Star Wars so great. I’ve always had problems with certain aspects of it, but can’t deny that I was hooked by the film’s intro and the musical score by John Williams. Despite the lack of plot and bad acting, there was something about it that captured my imagination. I was captivated by Luke Skywalker and his ability to use the force; Han Solo was such a cool character; Chewbacca was admirable; Leia was hot; Darth Vader sent a chill up my spine, and his voice was engaging; Boba Fett was the bomb!

    I don’t know exactly what it is, but I think it was a combination of great character interaction and imagination.

    I’ll defend “the kiss”. Yes, Lucas didn’t know it was coming, but neither did Luke or Leia. It may have been contrived, but it makes for a great conversation piece.

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