“Star Wars: A New Hope”
George Lucas’ film “Star Wars: A New Hope” is definitely a unique film in that alongside it’s captivating storyline and whimsical galactic universes, it presents a an overarching transcendent spiritual element known simply as “The Force”. This resonates throughout the entire Star Wars film series and has become so popular among social circles that to hear “May The Force be with you” is commonplace to hear in conversations. At first “The Force” seems like a harmless catchphrase that turned out to be a good marketing scheme for the success of the series but it soon becomes clear that “The Force” is something spiritual and omnipresent in the Star Wars universe; attracting followers and even playing the task of balancing out good and evil in the entire universe.
George Lucas’ “Star Wars: A New Hope” best explains the element of “The Force” through the character of Ben Kenobi (Also popularly known as Obi-Wan Kenobi). There is a scene that happens not too long after Luke meets Ben where Luke asks Ben about the ancient magic called “The Force” that he heard existed long ago when the Jedi Knights, the followers, were all alive and part of the universe. Ben explains by saying “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together” (Lucas). This shows that “The Force” is an energy that manages right and wrong, maintains balance in the world and empowers it’s followers to do mystical and great things for their devotion to it’s teachings and practices. In “Star Wars: A New Hope”, George Lucas has “The Force” as something that presides over the entire Star Wars universe and portrays it as something that can be used for both good and evil. This is the dominant worldview in the “Star Wars” series.
Many different videos, blogs and articles have been asking about “The Force” since it was first mentioned in the Star Wars theories and most have figure out that it greatly resembles pantheism. ‘Pantheism’ as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “A doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe”. Ultimately, pantheism is the belief that everything in nature and the universe is one and are equal in divinity. George Lucas said in an interview in Ryder Windham’s book “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Scrapbook” about the series “I wanted a concept of religion based on the premise that there is a God and that there is good and evil. I began to distill the essence of all religions into what I thought was a basic idea common to all religions and common to primitive thinking…I don’t want to hurt other people. ‘Do unto others is the philosophy that permeates my work” (Windham 11). We see a lot of evidences of Lucas’ intent throughout the entire Star Wars series. One good example in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” is the scene where Darth Vader feels Obi-Wan Kenobi’s presence as intruders started boarding the Death Star. Darth Vader says that he feels Obi-Wan on the ship and then Governor Tarkin asks him how he can do that and Vader responds with “A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master” (Lucas). This shows that even though there is Darth Vader, who uses The Force for evil, and Obi-Wan, who uses The Force for good, they are somehow connected and can feel each other’s presence. It can be fairly assumed then that because they both are users/followers of The Force that they, and all other Jedi Knights both old and new, are all connected in some way or another as one. So much so that they can feel disturbances and changes in The Force as the universe goes on. Darth Vader makes reference to the connection of all Jedi Knights through The Force when he has an opportunity to see Luke Skywalker for the first time. This is when Darth Vader says those famous words that we still use today to describe someone who is strong or exceeds our expectation: “The Force is strong with this one” (Lucas).
Like pantheism, and most other religions, “The Force” a belief system that one chooses to adopt and uses to view the world and act in society. When Luke meets Obi-Wan for the first time, he is told about “The Force” and that it is something he needs to know in order to help Obi-Wan on his mission to rescue Princess Leia. As we see as the movie progresses, the more Luke meditates and accepts the spiritual power that is “The Force” the more balanced he becomes with it and can use it as he pleases. Because of his acceptance of “The Force” he starts to see the world in a way, which the Jedi Knights of old saw it; everything is one and there must be a balance of good and evil in the world.
I personally think that the pantheistic element of The Force is very dominant in both “Star Wars: A New Hope” and the entire Star Wars series. The entire worldview of the Jedi Knights, both new and old, can be summed up in saying that they believe that everything is one and that there must be a constant balance in the universe in order for it to go on. I think this worldview helps the Star Wars series a lot because it gives those who uses it a bit more meaning. I find that in “Star Wars: A New Hope”, Luke Skywalker becomes a very likable character due to his eagerness to learn the ways of “The Force” and it contributes greatly to his overall character development throughout the film.