Star Wars on Trial: Charge #6

By October 16th, 2015
Charge Six

Star Wars Pretends to Be Science Fiction, but Is Really Fantasy

For the Prosecution: Ken Wharton
For the Defense: Robert A. Metzger
For the Prosecution: Bruce Bethke
For the Defense: Adam Roberts

Ken Wharton begins his essay by distinguishing between fantasy and science fiction. He claims that in real science fiction, asking a series of “whys” will eventually “lead to something we know about the real world.” He then puts forward the idea that the Force (an undefined, magical “energy field,” distinct from the “life-forms” that are midichlorians) is what truly makes Star Wars a fantasy film. Bruce Bethke adds in that the films (at least the three prequels) seem more like classic anime, where the human characters are simply “not important.”

Robert A. Metzger brushes aside several “sci-fi blunders” in the Star Wars films, arguing that errors hearing a spacecraft explode and being able to see laser beams are simply necessary to “bring people into the theater,” and are typical of many sci-fi movies. He then goes on to argue that many of the other issues in Star Wars, like lightsabers and parsecs, actually “reveal the true nature of our simulated reality.” Finally, Adam Roberts argues that “there are other forms of SF than the dull and the weighty,” and Star Wars simply fits into that “other” category.

Now it’s your turn—discuss this charge in the comments below by drawing from your own Star Wars expertise and utilizing new evidence from The Force Awakens. And be sure to always be respectful of your fellow Star Wars fans!

What is your judgment on Charge #6?

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  1. Ben

    Yes it is Sci Fi – it has space, aliens, robots, whacky costumes, improbable technology. But it doesn’t have to be SciFi. The entire set of films could be easily rethemed within feudal Japan and one would lose nothing of the main story regarding the father-son relationship. Actually I think it would be a better set of films if it was rethemed that way. In conclusion, it’s gratuitous Sci Fi.


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