sábado, 28 de septiembre de 2013

Heroes and Scoundrels

When Star Wars was first introduced to audiences in 1977, it became a worldwide phenomenon. Many have argued looking back that it's success is largely due to the fact that it came at the right time. The United States had recently come defeated out of the Vietnam War, and was facing a scandal out of its previous president. The country was in a state of despair. Episode IV gave the public a sense of hope, and most importantly, it gave a group of heroes with a strong sense of morality: the Jedi. 

The Jedi ever since first being introduced, have been the central core to the saga, even if their appearance in Episodes IV-VI wasn't as prominent as in I-III. And part of the reason why they remain so iconic and important to the franchise, has to do with the image they represent: that of the moral hero. 
Part of the appeal of characters like James Bond, Boba Fett, Jack Sparrow and Han Solo has to do with the fact that they reflect a broken aspect of ourselves. When Bond was first introduced in the Ian Fleming novels, he was a guy who could sleep with a woman and later murder her and have no remorse over it (I'm talking about the character of the novels). In some ways, Bond was no better than the bad guy he was fighting against. And this is of course, part of why the audience like the character. 
Bond...James Bond
We live in a society in which several young kids are being raised by the television and the Internet, due to the fact that their parents are too busy working a full time job. Most of these times, these kids grow up to idolize the celebrities that were popular at the time. And it's a real shame, because as Joseph Campbell described it very well in The Power of Myth, ''One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society.'' This isn't to say that Han Solo is a celebrity per say, but that he is more of a selfish character...at least in most of A New Hope.

However, every now and then a hero becomes noticed by the popular culture, and makes us all realize and see the good within us as humans. Gandhi did that in the 40's. Martin Luther King did so in the 60's, and more recently Pope Francis has been receiving high level of appraisal and respect outside of the Catholic Church. In today's popular films, few characters embody the ideal moral hero better than the Jedi.

That isn't to say that the Jedi are perfect, by any means. But in several ways, they serve as great role models to both young boys and girls alike, in a time in which the world's traditional morals are more desperately needed than ever.

And  I'm pretty sure that more than one Star Wars fan has previously or still, wishes to have been mentored by the likes of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Qui-Gon, because ultimately, many of us wish to become wiser and see the best that is within our own potential. In several ways, I find that to be the reason for Obi-Wan's popularity, and one of the reasons why he is my favorite character: We get to see him mature from a young man into a wise old master. Few other film characters get that type of development, and it's one of the things I hope we can get from an old Luke Skywalker in Episode VII.

So, at the end of the day, even if scoundrels like Han Solo and Boba Fett are popular among the fans, their is a reason why the Jedi are the central part of Star Wars. 

2 comentarios:

  1. Funny, my next article is going to be about the flip-side of this.

  2. Star Wars was actually first introduced to audiences in1976, when the novelization of Star Wars was released. It was called Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, but later changed to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.