What are the politics of Star Wars? Let’s get something clear right up front: those movies have been jam-packed with political messages since the very first film in 1977. They’re called Star WARS after all….

While they’re beloved by millions, the political messages of the films, and there are many, seem to fly right by a great many viewers. Well, in this video essay we’ll be teasing out what the political message of the franchise is, and in particular, the ideas put there by George Lucas in his original trilogy.

In the first episode of The Politics of Star Wars, we’ll take a lens to the mythological structure of George Lucas’s Star Wars Original Trilogy, exploring the reasons why it was adopted as well as the works of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.

Then, we’ll dive into the aesthetic and historical influences that inspired the OT and the real-world political situations that Lucas decided to use his brand of space opera sci-fi to draw attention to: Vietnam and US imperialism, baby, strap in!

Later we examine the philosophical and spiritual elements that define the Force as depicted in the Original Trilogy (particularly Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Yoda), tracing these traits back to real-world inspirations in myth and philosophy, and briefly discussing a look the tenets of Taoism, which inform a great deal of the Force’s defining traits.

Finally, we’ll examine whether Lucas succeeded in crafting the modern myth (spoiler: he did) and why it’s so important that he did.