Jedi Theocracy

What if priests and monks could physically manifest their connection with God through the use of telekinesis? What if the Pope was a little green man and the Vatican Council promoted the use of laser swords for settling religious and political debates?

Well, we’d be living in the universe of George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” of course, where the only alternative to strict religious rule and mind-numbing political bureaucracy is an evil, democratically empowered despot of pure evil who patriotically promises to protect his followers from terrorist-like attacks from infidels.


Yoda Pope (image courtesy of tribal_tiger).

At the F13.net forums, a chap named Litigator clarifies the subconscious feelings of Jedi-haters everywhere:

Here’s the thing about Star Wars: the Jedis were never cool. Han Solo is cool. That’s why Han got the girl and Luke got his hand cut off. If you saw Star Wars and wanted to be a Jedi, you are a fucking loser.

The whole new trilogy sucks by definition because there is no Han. Fictional galactic politics is stupid, especially since Lucas’s conclusion is that society is best left in the hands of a bunch of religious fanatics who wave around huge glowing phallic symbols. Harrison Ford cruising around in a space hot-rod with a giant gerbil sidekick shooting stuff and shagging babes with weird hairstyles is cool. Without him, Star Wars takes itself too seriously.

You can’t even blame George Lucas. He had a pretty good idea of the thing to start out with, and it’s been ruined because it’s now taken too seriously. I blame the fans for this. The problem was that a lot of dorks decided they wanted to be Jedis, and started pretending that they were. They created a huge demand for more star wars stuff, and, of course, it all had to be internally consistent because their fantasy lives inhabited the star wars universe, and anything that jeopardized their suspension of disbelief might cause somebody to have an asthma attack.

was great when it was about a midget in a trash can, a giant in a monkey suit, and Harrison Ford being cool and spouting off cool one-liners. The [original] trilogy, including the Jedi [storyline], is some of the best entertainment ever laid on film. Now that it’s dork-porn for people who hate their lives, nobody can enjoy it anymore. The fan community is the reason the new trilogy sucks, and is probably also responsible for George Lucas’s chin receding into his neck.

My big beef with Lucas is that he is altering the original films to be more consistent with the wretched masturbatory nerd fantasy that the Star Wars franchise has evolved into. He’s been seduced by the Dork Side. And he gave the nerds exactly what they wanted in the new trilogy, but they can’t realize it because nothing would satisfy them. They’ve merely adopted the observation by film lovers, who are kind of geeky, but not nearly as pathetic, that the new trilogy are poor movies.

Actually, as a kid I wanted to be a Jedi. But then again, I was also on the chess team. Reexamining the situation, I'd have to agree that Han Solo is cooler than any conservative Jedi celibate. But damn, those lightsabers are copacetic...

Another F13.net user notes what many a sci-fi cinephile has repeated endlessly since seeing the dreck that was “Star Wars, Episode I: Battle of Whiny Kid and the Silly Robots.” Says Riggswolfe: “My perfect prequel trilogy would have had Anakin at Luke’s age or a little older. Episode 1 would have been what is currently Episode 2 with maybe a 15-minute flashback showing young Anakin. Episode 2 would have covered what we only have in cartoons currently, ‘The Clone Wars.’ And Episode 3 would be... well...Episode 3.”

Well said. Besides Jar Jar Binks being one of the most cloying, one-note characters in film history—and the often yawn-worthy political-debate sequences, the badly handled Immaculate Conception concept, the stultifying performance by the usually competent Natalie Portman, and the ham-handed plotting—it was the choice of turning Episode I into a fart-joke lovin’ little kids film about a pratfall-prone hovercraft hotrod prodigy that really destroyed the potential of the “Star Wars” prequels.

Instead of mucking about with digitally adding new, unnecessary sequences to the original trilogy (and stopping Han Solo from shooting Greedo first!), Lucas should go back and completely re-edit Episodes I and II. Chop down the bits that seem like videogame commercials. Give it some edge. Flesh out the bad guys. Add a love triangle between Obi-Wan, Princess Amidala, and Anakin. Replace Jar Jar with Chewbacca, Han Solo, and/or Lando Calrissian-type characters.

Wait... Like the chaps at F13.net and the hundreds of other Star Wars fansites out there, I’m revealing more dorkiness to the nth degree. Let’s just say this: Despite the failures of Eps I and II, the final installment of the prequel tril will certainly clean the bank. Because unlike the political and religious realities of our world, the universe of “Star Wars” has a beginning, middle, and end. And everyone loves closure. It’s irresistible. With the tale’s conclusion, we can take solace in the completion of a myth, even if theocracy is its twisted final theme.

Of course, the religion of Star Wars is also one of self-empowerment and intuition, and not just doctrinaire theology. So remember: I am “Star Wars,” hear me roar.

***

See also:

“The Apocalyptic Cosmology of Star Wars” (as a religious text; and technology versus the natural human).

“Star Wars and the Goals of Mankind” (how Christians can become corrupted when they learn to achieve personal satisfaction through the teachings of Star Wars).

“Religious Themes in the Star Wars Saga” (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity in the S.W. universe).

“The Naming of Jedi” (Muslim, Buddhist, Chi, and Joseph Campbell influences on Jedi naming conventions).

“Star Wars Religion Doesn't Make Census” (Australian, English, and New Zealand believers in the Jedi).

“Religion in Science Fiction” (links and resources).

***

Kevin Smith discusses the secrets of "Revenge of the Sith" in a spoiler-filled, sweat-soaked memo. (Anakin wouldn't really do that to the Jedi toddlers, would he? Amazing...)

3 comments:

Wendy said...

But I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if Lucas had just left it alone and never made the first three episodes. Episode I was awful, and Episode II wasn't much better. I am beginning to have very little faith in Episode III being worth much. I didn't need the back story. I know I would have been happier without it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm the only one, but I liked Ep I better than Ep II. I thought Darth Maul was inspired though underused, Qui-Gonn was a much more interesting and kickass Jedi than Obi-Wan ever was (I like Ewan and Alec G., but let's face it, he's a milktoast character), and the Podrace was a lot of fun.

Yes, Jar Jar sucked. Yes, the scripts of EpI had the corniest lines, and hamfisted acting. And the kid was annoying to the nth degree. But Ep II is worse -- it's embarrassing and dull. For the first time, I was bored and cringing through the whole middle third of a SW film. The romance was worse than cliche -- it was juvenile. The fight between Obi-Wan and Jango had some potential, but was poorly edited. And the swordfight between Yoda and Dooku looked like a something out of "The Last Starfighter." Geez.

I read the book for Ep III. It's gonna suck, but I'll be there. Hope springs eternal.

It just makes me ill that Lucas chose the low road on these films, and wouldn't pay for a decent writer. What made the originals great was the characters. And the mythology -- which he totally abandoned. If he'd made these three films an aping of Arthurian legend, like they should be, it would have ROCKED. But he has no respect for his audience anymore. What a shame.

Jedi Juggalo said...

our religion is not a nerd religion but a philosophy