The spirituality of Star Wars

To celebrate Star Wars Day (May 4th), here’s a summary of key points from a talk by Jon the freelance theologian on the subject of Star Wars.

Star Wars was released in 1977 and became a huge success, despite only initially opening in a limited number of smaller cinemas. By 1978 Star Wars fever was in full swing, with the ubiquitous toys owned by nearly every child old enough, and more merchandise than had veer accompanied a film release before.

Star Wars was titled ‘Episode IV – A New Hope’. It’s success meant creator/director George Lucas was given an increased budget for two sequels, episodes V and VI, called The Empire Strikes Back (released 1980), and The Return of the Jedi (released 1983). In 1999, some twenty years after the original films became such a smash, The Phantom Menace, the first of the prequel films was released, followed by Episodes II and III in 2004 and 2006.

This talk concentrates on the original trilogy, which I’ll be referring to as Star Wars, Empire and Jedi. The reasons I’m concentrating on these three is because a) they’re much better films, and b) their significance in shaping the cultural philosophy, particularly among men my age is quite important in the development in contemporary discussions of spirituality. (more…)