May The Force Be With You

Star Wars And The Bible.

At the time of writing, six Star Wars films have been released. I saw the original three films in the cinema back in the 1970s when the first film, later renamed Star Wars IV: A New Hope, was simply called Star Wars. It is this film that this article is about and the later addition to the title of “A New Hope” is quite apt for the context in which I am writing.

swI have been compiling, and continue to do so, a short series of articles about parallels between Grimm’s Fairy Tales with stories in The Bible. Well, Star Wars is really just another kind of fairy tale with which I am going to draw some parallels to the good book. I can almost see the immediate reaction of a few of you, that Star Wars isn’t a fairy tale, it’s science fiction or Sci Fi in the common parlance now, but that doesn’t man it can’t be a fairy tale too. Remember, Star Wars is not set in the future, as is often assumed. In the film’s opening sequence are the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.

For Star Wars, it is not so much specific stories in the bible I can pick out similarities with, as much as with people and historic events. You may agree or disagree or think some of my connections are tenuous at best, I am simply saying what I perceive and I know that a different viewer/reader would more than likely connect something differently, if at all, but if anyone else does find connections, I would be pleased to read about them if you would add them to the comments on this post.

Star Wars is set in a time when much of the populated galaxy, is under occupation by the despotic empire with the imperial storm troopers like the roman centurions, keeping order, albeit under a jackboot. Similarly in Jesus’ time, Israel and the major part of the known world, at least that known by the Bible’s authors, was under occupation of the Roman army and was being governed by dictat from Caesar, in Rome who delegated power to the local governor in the way that the emperor in Star Wars gave Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) authority to rule away from the home world; a Pontius Pilate like figure perhaps?

The first time we meet Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) he come walking out of the wasteland, like Jesus coming out of the desert. Obi Wan meets Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammill) and becomes his teacher, a mentor like Jesus was the teacher and mentor to his disciples. Luke after a short time with Old Ben Kenobi, begins to learn the ways of ‘the force’, the universal energy field that can be tapped by those with the knowledge and talent. In terms of Jesus’ disciples, I suppose Luke became like Peter; his heart was good but he was sometimes unsure of himself and made mistakes.

The other disciples in Star Wars I can see, perhaps strangely, is Han Solo and Chewbacca. Han and Chewie remind me of James and John, the disciples that Jesus called The Sons of Thunder, because of their impetuous nature, rushing in ‘where angels fear to tread’. Just think of the scene on the death star where Han chases a whole platoon of imperial storm troopers, on his own.

And how about the Holy Spirit, even he/she/it managed to get into the Star Wars movie. Our heros have been captured by inperial troops and imprisoned on the Death Star. For Luke, Han, Chewie and Princess Leia to make their escape from the death star, Ben Kenobi has to divert Darth Vader’s attention from the escaping captives. His only way to do this is a fight to the death, with light-sabres. Ben, on seeing that his ‘disciples’ were going to get get away and so would be safe, raises his light-sabre in salute. In this simple act, ben exposes himself to let the Lord Vader strike the killing blow. Ben sacrifices himself for the greater good, in a way like Jesus did, on the cross at Calvary.

Immediately before Ben’s death at Darth Vader’s hand, Ben warns Vader that “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” and so he does. Ben continues to help and guide Luke, like the Holy Spirit did the disciples after Jesus’ death and ascension, even enabling the odd ‘miracle’ along the way.

And what about Princess Leia, a touch of Mary Magdalene there do you think, or maybe Mary the sister to Martha and Lazarus. I’m not so sure about her but perhaps you have a thought?


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