Star Wars: The Sequel Trilogy
The Star Wars series of books are based on a fictional mythology set in the space opera. The movies reflect themes, symbols and motifs employed to acquaint people with the creatures of outer space. Themes used include myth of the hero’s destiny, mystery of power and force and superiority of nature over technology. Symbolism is observed through light sabers and Luke’s cybernetic hand. Motifs that drive the film include orchestral soundtrack and use of color for the objective of characterization. Based on the trailer, the new movie will command its audience better since there are new interesting characters coming into play.
Myth of the hero’s destiny is sustained by the journey of Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi Knight.
Luke is cast as an orphan, unsure of his purpose in the world and of his identity. Despite his uncertainty, he is guided by Ben and Yoda, both of whom assume the role of wise elders counseling a young lad into the right path. He is confronted by many adversaries, but he struggles mostly while attempting to learn self-mastery, which he keeps learning from every battle he faces. Luke encounters his father to replace him on his abandoned position as a Jed Knight and as the head of the family. He fights Vader (his father) mainly to protect his sister, Leia. Eventually, not only does he succeed in overthrowing his father, but also he saves him from the brink of death. This marks his attainment of maturity, wisdom and virtuousness that his father failed to achieve. Luke Skywalker’s journey defines a man’s progress in maturation and defining his identity in the world, which sustains the myth and quest of a young hero.
Mystery and power of the force is staged both in the books and in the movies. For instance, Ben and Yoda enlighten Luke that the force is an energy field generated and sustained by life present in the cosmos. The force is presented as being omnipresent, connecting the universe and everything in it together. It can be operated and regulated by a trained Jedi, or by an evil equal such as a Sith, and it is the source of a Jedi’s extraordinary powers. The Force can guide a Jedi’s actions. For instance, when Luke lets the force guide his aim and destroy the Death Star. It is mostly signified as fostering and gentle in nature, however it has a dark side too which is portrayed through anger, aggression, and hatred. Ultimately, the force provides a spiritual element to the accomplishment of the trilogy.
The superiority of nature over technology is widely upheld in the movies. The Jedi believe in using their senses and beliefs over technology, however they still keep in touch with technology when it is necessary. They strive to sustain an environment conscience in order to preserve nature. “When Luke encounters Ben and Yoda in their homes, he finds these Jedi masters living austere lives, close to the land. Also when Luke must destroy the Death Star with one shot, Ben’s voice encourages him to shut off his targeting computer, relying on his own senses, his intuition, and his connection to the Force” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005). The way of life of the Jedi is a direct contrast of their antagonist counterparts, the Sith. This is depicted by Darth Vader who bears robotic limbs and an intrinsic life support. When the Ewoks (who use weapons of a primitive nature i.e. sticks, stones, arrows and spears) confront the Empire on Endor, who are technologically advanced, they defeat them despite their use of sophisticated weapons such as laser blasters.
Symbols are important in enhancing understanding of mythology since they are visual illustrations of complex ideas. “The lightsaber is, as Ben teaches Luke, the traditional weapon of the Jedi” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005). The light saber is passed on among the leaders of the Jedi and each Jedi Knight (the leader) eventually creates his own lightsaber and releases their predecessor’s lightsaber when they attain maturity. This make it apparent that the lightsaber is a sign of leadership and power among the Jedi. Notably, the Jedi’s lightsabers are blue which symbolizes tranquility while the Sith’s lightsabers are red symbolizing anger, however Luke’s lightsaber is green probably in awe to his trainer, Yoda, who has green skin.
Luke’s cybernetic hand is another significant symbol. When Luke’s right hand is sliced off by Vader in their battle on Bespin, he gets a cybernetic prosthetic as a replacement. This accident is a symbol of Luke’s transformation to be like Vader whose body bears multiple technological modifications. “With his father’s example before him, however, Luke abstains from revenge, becoming a true Jedi Knight” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005).
Orchestral soundtrack used in The Star Wars trilogy is a strong motif that complements the movies since they amplify the performance and intensify the disposition of the audience. “In many ways, the full orchestral accompaniment provided by Williams and powerfully performed by the London Symphony Orchestra is a throwback to the symphonic scores of classic Hollywood films, at a time when pop music was being used more and more in film soundtracks” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005).
The use of certain colors for the objective of characterization is another motif employed in Star Wars. Darth Vader’s all-black suit is a significant characterization objective to show his dark side while Luke’s all-white attire signifies his peaceful and noble character as the Jedi leader. Leia’s white attire shows a link to her brother too. Obi-Wan and Yoda wear brown which signifies monk’s robes and also the color of the earth. “In Empire, for example, when Luke journeys to Bespin to rescue his friends, his fatigues are a light gray, showing that Luke has traveled a bit from the innocent idealism of his youth and that he has placed himself in peril of straying to the dark side” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005). In the return of Jedi, Luke assumes a black robe that signifies his connection with his father and his worries for him.
In the recently debuted trailer on the content that is in the future movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens which will be the first of the sequel trilogy, it is apparent that there are new characters in play. These include a droid called BB8 with an alpha-numeric designation, Poe who is an X-Wing pilot, Finn who is apparently escaping from an enemy, Kylo Ren who is predictably a Sith who has just reignited his lightsaber and Rey who is a heroin who slashes through darkness. All these characters promise the audience an interesting plot with unpredicted twists in the sequel trilogy and new themes, symbols and motifs in the series. Overall, the new movie will indeed bridge the suspense from the original trilogy.
SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNote on Star Wars Episodes IV–VI. Retrieved December 15, 2014 from http://www.sparknotes.com/film/starwars/.
Bortolin Matthew, (2005). Reprinted from “The Dharma of Star Wars” with permission from Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144 USA. www.wisdompubs.org Republished by Lions Roar Staff. (November, 2014) May the force Awaken-and Luke. Skywalker’s wisdom-“Awaken” with you. Retrieved December 15, 2014 from www.lionsroar.com.
Echo-07. (December, 2014) What’s In a Name? Decoding the Symbolism behind Star Wars Names. Retrieved December 15, 2014 from http://www.starwars7news.com.
Agar, Chris. (December 2014) Star Wars: ‘The Force Awakens’ New Character Names Revealed. Updated December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2014 from http://screenrant.com/star wars/.