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Why Star Wars is more a Western genre than Science Fiction

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > STAR WARS Discussion
Why Star Wars is more a Western genre than Science Fiction

Chiricahua's Avatar


Chiricahua
01.09.2012 , 05:39 AM | #1
I think in his early interviews George Lucas admitted as much. I have always been a fan of Westerns, and to me the whole western mystique permeates everything about Star Wars. If I want science fiction then I'll read a Michael Crichton book, or watch 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Macheath's Avatar


Macheath
01.09.2012 , 10:56 AM | #2
It has some wild west in it, but it's not set up like any western I've ever seen. Maybe if the central figure was Han Solo, you could make that argument (established and respected outlaw, comes in to save the day and turn hero for a while.) Star Wars is more the classic fantasy hero's journey, complete with the wise old sage to mentor the protagonist, the dark knight, the evil wizard, the damsel in distress, etc., and Luke even slays a fantastical beast (albeit a mechanical one) at the end to save the day.

-Macheath.
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ibage's Avatar


ibage
01.09.2012 , 02:51 PM | #3
Star Wars is actually a Space Fantasy and not a science fiction film. There is a difference between the two.

That said, it has some elements of a space western but it's not fully a western. In fact, much of the concept and philosophy was based on Yojimbo which was a movie from Japan.

TL;DR Star Wars is a mishmash of genres all rounded up into some awesome movies.
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Onager's Avatar


Onager
01.09.2012 , 02:58 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by ibage View Post
Star Wars is actually a Space Fantasy and not a science fiction film. There is a difference between the two.

That said, it has some elements of a space western but it's not fully a western. In fact, much of the concept and philosophy was based on Yojimbo which was a movie from Japan.

TL;DR Star Wars is a mishmash of genres all rounded up into some awesome movies.
This exactly. Star Trek is Science Fiction, in that there are real scientific theories used to create most (not all) of the situations that happen.

Star Wars offers no scientific reasoning for how their warp drive engines work, or whether or not blasters are hypervelocity projectile weapons or directed energy, or *** it even means to make the Kessel run in parsecs, etc etc.

The Force itself isn't explained as psionics or magic or clairvoyance or anything in particular. It exhibits deific traits but is itself not sapient or even sentient.
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jarjarloves's Avatar


jarjarloves
01.09.2012 , 03:19 PM | #5
it's 100% fantasy for gods sake you even have a KNIGHT trying to save a PRINCESS. Add in the fact you have magic in it and bam it's very clearly fantasy.

ibage's Avatar


ibage
01.09.2012 , 04:04 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by jarjarloves View Post
it's 100% fantasy for gods sake you even have a KNIGHT trying to save a PRINCESS. Add in the fact you have magic in it and bam it's very clearly fantasy.
This isn't what makes it a fantasy really. Many movies have scenarios similar to this without giving the titles to the characters. The titles the characters have don't dictate the genre itself. It pulls from many different genres but ultimately it's considered a Space Fantasy or Space Western by most people.
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Hanscholo's Avatar


Hanscholo
01.09.2012 , 07:36 PM | #7
U only need to listen to the title track of the first movie...its a cowboy theme.

Rikalonius's Avatar


Rikalonius
01.09.2012 , 09:28 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Chiricahua View Post
I think in his early interviews George Lucas admitted as much. I have always been a fan of Westerns, and to me the whole western mystique permeates everything about Star Wars. If I want science fiction then I'll read a Michael Crichton book, or watch 2001 a Space Odyssey.
2001 is overrated as a science fiction movie. It basically says supernatural aliens will eventually make us supernatural. It is intelligent design. It shows the monoliths pushing evolution along. Not a bad film, but way to high on everyone's science fiction super lists.

George Lucas, being a big Kurosawa, fan wanted to do for Hidden Fortress what Magnificent Seven did from Seven Samurai. Rather than make a scene for scene western version of it, as Magnificent Seven had done, he decided to put it into a space opera setting. He then borrowed a few other concepts. The opening crawl from old Flash Gordon serials, of which he was a big fan. Guns of the Navarone, i.e. the Death Star, and the final space battle, which was pretty much a scene for scene reshoot of the final raid in the film Dam Busters. The Jedi are basically space Samurai.

I do agree completely that Star Wars is not science fiction, but its fun none-the-less.

Rikalonius's Avatar


Rikalonius
01.09.2012 , 09:42 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by ibage View Post
Star Wars is actually a Space Fantasy and not a science fiction film. There is a difference between the two.

That said, it has some elements of a space western but it's not fully a western. In fact, much of the concept and philosophy was based on Yojimbo which was a movie from Japan.

TL;DR Star Wars is a mishmash of genres all rounded up into some awesome movies.
It wasn't Yojimbo. Yojimbo was a ronin who pitted two criminal gangs against eachother. It was much closer to Hidden Fortress. The princess and the general, two squabbling peasents who were the inspiration for R2-D2 and C-3P0. Even the epic spear fight between Mfune and his former student, which is still more epic than any of the films lightsaber duels. Lucas had wanted Mifune to play Obi Wan, but the decision to go with Sir Alec Guiness came fom on high.

PartVI's Avatar


PartVI
01.09.2012 , 11:07 PM | #10
Always dig Seven Samurai. Always a no-fail plot no matter where it's borrowed.

But yeah, proper sci-fi tries to remain grounded in our current knowledge.

Call Star Wars a bit of space opera with a dash of western, a pinch of samurai martial arts epic and an some muppets thrown in.

And if you don't like muppets, **** you.