Star Wars ' Saving Return

By Dr. John C. McDowell


1. Abbreviations: SW = Star Wars ; ANH = A New Hope (1977); ESB = Empire Strikes Back (1980); ROTJ = Return of the Jedi (1983); TPM = The Phantom Menace (1999); AOTC = Attack of the Clones (2002); ROTS = Revenge of the Sith (2005).

2. Dale Pollock, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, the Creator of Star Wars (Hollywood, New York, London, Toronto: Samuel French, 1990), 143.

3. See Pollock, 269.

4. See Orson Scott Card, ‘“ Star Wars ” Our Public Religion,' USA Today (17 March 1997), 13A.

5. See, Robert G. Collins, ‘ Star Wars : The Pastiche of Myth and the Yearning for a Past Future', Journal of Popular Culture 11.1 (1977), 6; and Richard Grenier, ‘Celebrating Defeat', Commentary 70.2 (1980), 58.

6. Peter Lev, ‘Whose Future? Star Wars, Alien, and Blade Runner,' Literature/Film Quarterly 26.1 (1998), 30-37 (31f.). For broadly dualistic readings see Mark Rowlands, The Philosopher at the End of the Universe (London : Ebury Press, 2003); Dick Staub, Christian Wisdom of the Jedi San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, 2005). Cf. Hannah Pok, ‘The Star Wars Trilogy: Fantasy, Narcissism and Fear of the Other in Reagan's America,', consulted 18-05-05; Terry Christensen, Reel Movies: American Political Movies From The Birth of a Nation to Platoon (New York and Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987).

7. Ian Nathan's anticipation of ROTS complaining that the “Three prequels have added nothing to the original, bar hype and overkill” is thus carelessly misplaced [Ian Nathan, ‘R2D2, Where Are You?.' The Times Review (14 May 2005), 14].

8. Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (New York: Princeton University Press, 1949), 30.

9. Carl Gustav Jung, ‘On the Nature of Dreams,' The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: The structure and dynamics of the psyche , vol.8, ed. Herbert Read et al. (London : Routledge & K. Paul, 1960), 293.

10. Thomas Horn problematically understands this as a new age messianism, one produced by the belief that God is animistic or pantheistic and that humans are divine members of the whole that God is [Thomas Horn, ‘Lucas' Star Wars Depicts New Age Messiah,', consulted 26-05-05].

11. George Lucas, interview on (14 May 2005).

12. Pollock, 211.

13. “Buddha was tempted in the same way. It's all through mythology. The gods are constantly tempting.” [Lucas, interview with Bill Moyers, cited in Michael J. Hanson and Max S. Kay, Star Wars: The New Myth (Xlibris, 2001), 213]

14. This theme plays a highly important role in the soteriology of Irenaeus, C2nd bishop of Lyons , and much of the thinking of the Church [see Irenaeus, Against Heresies, consulted 01-01-05].

15. George Lucas, ‘The Beginning: The Making of Episode I,' TPM DVD 2 (1999).

16. Several of these, and a few more, can be found in Alice Alfonsi, Star Wars: The Skywalker Family Album (London : Scholastic, 2002).

17. Notice that even the movies in which these parallels take place are equivalently placed in their particular series of trilogy.

18. Mark Rowlands badly fails to understand this meaningful typology when complaining about the fact that Padmé is an echo of the character of Leia [213].

19. There is a notable eschatological feel about the end of the action in ROTJ . See Christopher M. Brown, ‘“A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy”: Star Wars and the Problem of Evil,' in Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl (eds.), Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine (Chicago and LaSalle , Ill. : Open Court, 2005), 69-79 (78); Roy M. Anker, Catching Light: Looking for God at the Movies (Grand Rapids , Mich. : William B. Eerdmans, 2004), 238.

20. “In the years since 1977 Americans have become primary consumers of Eastern philosophies and ancient mythologies-dumbed down for popular consumption and dressed up for a media age. … Conspicuously absent from Mr. Lucas's cosmology is anything connected to biblical Christianity.” [R. Albert Mohler, ‘Faith Vs. the Force', World Magazine 21.1 (Dec 31, 2005),, consulted 26-05-05].

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