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Darth Vader's Force Choke: A Deeper Insight Than You Think

Darth Vader’s Force Choke: A Deeper Insight Than You Think

Even before he stopped making “Star Wars” movies after “Revenge of the Sith,” George Lucas was vocal about the concepts, media, and real-life events that inspired the franchise. Lucas told the Boston Globe in 2005 (via History), “I love history, so while the psychological basis of ‘Star Wars’ is mythological, the political and social bases are historical.”

From the Jedi Code mirroring the samurai’s Bushido Code to themes referencing Greek mythology and a mentor training a student to face a bigger evil, “Star Wars” is derived from many different histories and ideas. Lucas mentioned in the same Rolling Stone interview that Anakin being fatherless isn’t directly related to just Jesus Christ from Christianity but is an idea found in all kinds of religious texts and stories. He explained that similar tales can be found in Hindu, Chinese, and Middle Eastern religions.

On the media side, everything from the Akira Kurosawa film “The Hidden Fortress” to “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien to Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and the “Flash Gordon” serials from the 1930s and 1940s have been cited as inspirations for Lucas’ creation of “Star Wars.” The franchise also draws from the real world, referencing the Vietnam War, Nazi Germany, and Ancient Rome as key inspirations of war and the battle of good and evil that shaped “Star Wars.”

Ultimately, many themes, concepts, and characterizations in the “Star Wars” universe, including the Force choke and breathing related to Buddhism, come from the real world, as Lucas intentionally wore his inspirations on his sleeves.

Lucas’ passion for history significantly influenced the thematic and structural composition of “Star Wars.” He masterfully wove in elements of various real-world philosophies, religions, and cultures to build a complex and familiar yet fantastical galaxy. The Jedi Code, for example, is a clear reflection of the Bushido Code followed by samurai warriors, emphasizing principles like honor and discipline.

Additionally, the narrative echoes Greek mythology, with the classical structure of a hero’s journey prominently featured through characters like Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker. The training of a young student by a venerable mentor to face colossal evils has its roots deep in ancient storytelling traditions, providing a timeless quality to the saga.

Lucas also drew inspiration from global religious stories. The concept of Anakin Skywalker being fatherless isn’t a singular reference to Jesus Christ but a synthesis of various religious tales. By incorporating similar themes found in Hindu, Chinese, and Middle Eastern religions, Lucas created an inclusive narrative mosaic.

Beyond ancient and religious texts, popular media significantly influenced “Star Wars.” Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” provided narrative structure and character dynamics, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” inspired the epic scope and fantastical elements. The space opera genre was further enriched by the wacky adventures and serialized storytelling of “Flash Gordon” and the intricate, politically charged universe of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”

One cannot overlook the profound influence of real-world historical events on the storyline. The Vietnam War, with its themes of resistance and authoritarianism, and Nazi Germany’s depiction of tyranny, offered stark contrasts of good versus evil. Additionally, the Roman Empire’s political machinations resonated within the story arcs, providing lessons in power’s cyclical nature.

In essence, Lucas designed “Star Wars” not merely as a piece of entertainment but as an amalgamation of human history and storytelling. His deliberate blending of different traditions and historical contexts enabled the franchise to connect with audiences on multiple levels, imbuing it with a sense of shared humanity and universal appeal.

Source: History, Rolling Stone