On Star Wars

Introduction: Star Wars on Trial

Do Myths Teach Us? If So, What Have We All Learned From Star Wars?
By David Brin

Well, it’s done. The sci-fi legend of our generation is now complete. Our parents had Dr. Strangelove and 1984. Their parents were transfixed by H. G. Wells. The generation before that had Jules Verne.

And we got Star Wars, the biggest, most lavish, most popular and by far the most lucrative sci-fi drama ever. George Lucas’s grand vision gave us resplendent vistas and a spectacular sense of wonder, while portraying a vivid range of possibilities that science, technology and forward-thinking might eventually bring about–inspiring us and drawing our eyes toward a far horizon.

But what horizon?

After all the dazzling explosions and lightsaber duels, all the spaceship chases and cryptic-guru Yoda-isms, all the droids and special effects and obscure political story lines, did we–did anyone–learn anything?

George Lucas certainly claims that he’s been doing something more important than simply pushing eye candy. More valuable than just diverting the masses with some cash-generating entertainment. In various locales, spanning three decades, the Star Wars creator proclaimed that his epic teaches important lessons. For example, in a famous New York Times interview, he said: “Movies have a big voice, and what we filmmakers have to do is to set a good example.”

So, after tens of billions of dollars–and human hours–spent watching the films, playing the games, buying the toys, reading the books and buying even more toys, have we come away enlightened, even inspired?

Inspired to do what? To be . . . what?

Science fiction has never been modest about its  …

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