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  1. #1
    Mighty Member hawkeyefan's Avatar
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    Default Themes of Each Episode

    So Iíve always been of the opinion that when a story is about something....when it has a theme of some kind...itís generally better than when it does not.

    Some friends and I had a conversation after watching Episode 9, and this topic came up. And oddly enough, it seems very hard to find a theme for most of the films.

    So if you had to pick a theme...a lesson or metaphor or allegory...for each episode of Star Wars, what would it be and why?

    Pick an episode and give the theme and explain your reasoning.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    I don't think Star Wars movies as a whole have just one theme. So any attempt to reduce it to just one is going to be hard.

    When people use the word "themes" they say it without really understanding what that means or how it's supposed to work. Not all attempts at dealing with themes are meaningful. Simply stating a theme isn't having a theme. Movies can be said to have say a philosophical or spiritual theme, and a social or political theme. The former addresses universal stuff the latter deals with more real-world stuff.

    The Original Trilogy
    -- Had an overall Philosophical Theme of overcoming darkness within and rising to a higher cause. In the first movie it was Han Solo who did that when he "Changed my mind, kid", the second movie had that with Lando, with Vader, and also Luke Skywalker who is tempted by darkness and the dark side but rises to become a Jedi.
    -- In terms of social or political theme, the Original Trilogy is largely about the generation gap between Greatest Generation types and Baby Boomers. Elders like Obi-Wan and Yoda lie to Luke Skywalker about the real nature of the war, Luke finds out that Daddy wasn't a war hero but a war criminal. So that theme of generation rebellion but also forgiveness and redemption was a part of the OT.

    The Prequel Trilogy
    -- The major philosophical theme is the "fear of death", since Anakin's attracted to the Dark Side by the promise of overcoming death, driven not by the fear of dying by himself but the fear of losing others.
    -- The social and political theme, is complacency about institutions. The Jedi are all smug and comfortable as is the Republic in their fancy city and so on. So the movies are about institutions not being able to adapt and reform.

    The Sequel Trilogy
    -- I think the theme is "legacy" and trying to live up to it, or dealing with that. At least that's what people have said behind the scenes.
    -- Social and Political theme, is I guess generation discontent again, only now it milennials/Gen-Z versus Baby Boomers.


    On the whole I think the OT and PT are fully worked out emotional realizations of their themes. The Sequel Trilogy isn't.

  3. #3
    Mighty Member hawkeyefan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I didn’t mean that each movie could only have one theme, but was just asking for one.

    I think you hit on some overarching ones for the trilogies. I think “fear of death” is likely a theme in Revenge of the Sith. I don’t know if it applies to all three movies in the trilogy, though.

    The idea of redemption seems to fit Return of the Jedi, I think. Again, I don’t think it’s present all that much in the earlier films in the original trilogy.

    I think the sequel trilogy has some overarching ones too. The second film in particular seems to me the most thematic of the whole series. The others are...more general, leaning on the ideas of legacy and destiny and choosing one’s own fate. Which is also likely at least a little relevant to most of the films.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
    I think you hit on some overarching ones for the trilogies. I think “fear of death” is likely a theme in Revenge of the Sith. I don’t know if it applies to all three movies in the trilogy, though.
    IN terms of Anakin's character its a running theme. In The Phantom Menace, he loses Qui-Gon who is a father figure to him. In AOTC he loses his mother Shmi, and then in ROTS it's the fear of losing Padme that drives him.

    The idea of redemption seems to fit Return of the Jedi, I think. Again, I don’t think it’s present all that much in the earlier films in the original trilogy.
    Well the basic idea of the OT is that anyone is capable of becoming a hero and changing. In ANH, someone as cynical as Han Solo, "not in this for your revolution" and so on, comes to the rescue and saves Luke when all hope is lost, attaining a measure of redemption and crucially proving Obi-Wan wrong. Obi-Wan earlier in the movie bristled at Han and didn't seem to think there was more to him, but Luke's friendship with Han got him to change. So that's a minor key of what turns out to be Vader's arc. Where again Obi-Wan believed Anakin was a lost cause but Luke believed he could change and he did.

  5. #5
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    Someone more eloquent than me can kind of refine this, but I think another theme (related to the legacy one, but more encompassing) of the ST is overcoming who you could have been. The two legacy characters - Rey and Ben/Kylo - both have direct heritage pulling them in one or more directions. Rey could have been a true Palpatine, evil and horrible. She could have been a loner who goes back to Jakku after Finn and BB-8 got to Maz. Ben could have been a great Jedi like Luke*. Kylo could have been the heir to the Sith. Finn was supposed to be a stormtrooper but made a choice (and obviously could have been a padawan Kylo killed if he'd been found by Luke instead of the First Order). Zannah the same. Zorii and Poe were smugglers who (at different times) showed up when it mattered. Luke, Lando, and Han had all fallen off their heroic paths but chose to jump back into it.


    *We're going to need a MUCH better detailing of Luke and Leia's failure with Ben at some point - he had darkness in him is such a cop out for a series with more nuance to the whys of the characters who have been tempted by the Dark Side. Was Ben teased about being Vader's grandson? Did he get confused about how Luke lionized Anakin's redemption while underplaying his awfulness? Or was it the expectations of being Luke's nephew? How did Snoke get involved with Ben in the first place? I assume the Kylo comic will cover some of this, but this is a big open question.
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  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob/.schoonover View Post
    *We're going to need a MUCH better detailing of Luke and Leia's failure with Ben at some point - he had darkness in him is such a cop out for a series with more nuance to the whys of the characters who have been tempted by the Dark Side.
    More or less the main reason why the ST is not a full emotional realization of its chosen themes.

    There's no logic here, just convoluted mess. Luke, Leia, and Han grew, changed, and overcame legacy at the end of the OT, then they become s--ty parents and a s--ty uncle respectively. But somehow in the end they are still glorified as heroes because...reasons. Han and Leia being crappy parents needs an explanation. Did they not co-parent well? Were they divided by career? Was "Ben Solo" an accident? It invites a range of questions and ideas that Star Wars just isn't built to handle. It's not supposed to deal with real-world issues of parenting and child-rearing.

    Was Ben teased about being Vader's grandson? Did he get confused about how Luke lionized Anakin's redemption while underplaying his awfulness? Or was it the expectations of being Luke's nephew? How did Snoke get involved with Ben in the first place? I assume the Kylo comic will cover some of this, but this is a big open question.
    Exactly. We needed to know clearly who Ben Solo was at some point. I mean that's why The Phantom Menace is important. We get to see Anakin as a kid and we know for a fact that this was a good child, so we know clearly that he wasn't inherently evil or born that way. Whereas the movies seem to imply that Ben Solo was born evil, but then in TROS it's all "it was Palpatine who made him evil" so that means Ben Solo has no agency or responsibility. That makes no sense.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    The novel Bloodlines stated that Ben wasn't told about his grandfather until it got 'leaked' to the senate about five years before TFA (Basically, Bail had recorded a message to Leia about her true past). Around the time he had started his training with Luke. Han & Leia are still married at this point but starting to drift apart a bit (He's running some races on the side). The novel eventually ends with Leia beginning to form the resistance as she's figured out that there's some Imperial remnant out there up to no good (and had a part in leaking the info about her father).

    The novel featured some input from Rian Johnson according to the writer-the part about the First Order getting arms thanks in part to war profiteers who gamble in TLJ is also mentioned in the book.
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  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Pix or it didn’t happen.

    EU and so on don’t count until it shows up on screen. The current Disney EU will become Legends eventually

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Pix or it didn’t happen.

    EU and so on don’t count until it shows up on screen. The current Disney EU will become Legends eventually
    Maybe, but until then, we must follow the Code, as they say in Pirates of the Caribbean.
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  10. #10
    Astonishing Member PwrdOn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    More or less the main reason why the ST is not a full emotional realization of its chosen themes.

    There's no logic here, just convoluted mess. Luke, Leia, and Han grew, changed, and overcame legacy at the end of the OT, then they become s--ty parents and a s--ty uncle respectively. But somehow in the end they are still glorified as heroes because...reasons. Han and Leia being crappy parents needs an explanation. Did they not co-parent well? Were they divided by career? Was "Ben Solo" an accident? It invites a range of questions and ideas that Star Wars just isn't built to handle. It's not supposed to deal with real-world issues of parenting and child-rearing.



    Exactly. We needed to know clearly who Ben Solo was at some point. I mean that's why The Phantom Menace is important. We get to see Anakin as a kid and we know for a fact that this was a good child, so we know clearly that he wasn't inherently evil or born that way. Whereas the movies seem to imply that Ben Solo was born evil, but then in TROS it's all "it was Palpatine who made him evil" so that means Ben Solo has no agency or responsibility. That makes no sense.
    Han is the way he is in Ep. 7 because they needed him to come back as the Han Solo we know and love, not some henpecked sitcom dad, though that actually makes sense in a way because the dynamic that made Han and Leia compelling on screen also seems pretty unsustainable in an actual relationship. As for Luke and Leia, that ultimately comes down to the actors, because while the characters are supposed to be these paragons of virtue and honor in universe, in real life you have one actor who basically hasn't had any real work since the original trilogy, and another who was a recovering drug addict, and both are just too kooky and weird to adequately portray the kind of the dignity and gravitas that the Skywalker name should carry in universe.

    Frankly, one of the biggest problems of the sequel trilogy was that they were too scared to let the new cast take center stage and leaned way too heavily on the old cast despite the fact that those actors are way past their expiration dates by now and, with the exception of Harrison Ford, never great performers who could carry a movie to begin with.
    Last edited by PwrdOn; 12-30-2019 at 11:22 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    Han is the way he is in Ep. 7 because they needed him to come back as the Han Solo we know and love, not some henpecked sitcom dad, though that actually makes sense in a way because the dynamic that made Han and Leia compelling on screen also seems pretty unsustainable in an actual relationship.
    They could have made them like Fraser and Rachel Weisz in the Mummy movies, especially the second movie where they are a married couple with kids and their banter and interactions is consistent to their courtship but also more mature since they are a long-married couple there.

    As for Luke and Leia, that ultimately comes down to the actors, because while the characters are supposed to be these paragons of virtue and honor in universe, in real life you have one actor who basically hasn't had any real work since the original trilogy, and another who was a recovering drug addict, and both are just too kooky and weird to adequately portray the kind of the dignity and gravitas that the Skywalker name should carry in universe.
    Not sure what that has to do with anything. The ST isn't a referendum on Hamill's and Fisher's careers. And for that matter Ford's (who hadn't had a major hit since AIR FORCE ONE and WHAT LIES BENEATH in the 90s and had appeared in a lot of crap in-between).

  12. #12
    Mighty Member hawkeyefan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    IN terms of Anakin's character its a running theme. In The Phantom Menace, he loses Qui-Gon who is a father figure to him. In AOTC he loses his mother Shmi, and then in ROTS it's the fear of losing Padme that drives him.
    That's an interesting point. I agree that death has been a major factor in Anakin's development. I don't know if the fear of death is used as theme in any of the movies, though, with the possible exception of the third in the trilogy. By that point, his fear of losing what he has plays a major part, and the fear of losing also plays a part in how the republic ultimately falls.


    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Well the basic idea of the OT is that anyone is capable of becoming a hero and changing. In ANH, someone as cynical as Han Solo, "not in this for your revolution" and so on, comes to the rescue and saves Luke when all hope is lost, attaining a measure of redemption and crucially proving Obi-Wan wrong. Obi-Wan earlier in the movie bristled at Han and didn't seem to think there was more to him, but Luke's friendship with Han got him to change. So that's a minor key of what turns out to be Vader's arc. Where again Obi-Wan believed Anakin was a lost cause but Luke believed he could change and he did.
    Yeah, Han's redemption from scoundrel to actual hero would qualify, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob/.schoonover View Post
    Someone more eloquent than me can kind of refine this, but I think another theme (related to the legacy one, but more encompassing) of the ST is overcoming who you could have been. The two legacy characters - Rey and Ben/Kylo - both have direct heritage pulling them in one or more directions. Rey could have been a true Palpatine, evil and horrible. She could have been a loner who goes back to Jakku after Finn and BB-8 got to Maz. Ben could have been a great Jedi like Luke*. Kylo could have been the heir to the Sith. Finn was supposed to be a stormtrooper but made a choice (and obviously could have been a padawan Kylo killed if he'd been found by Luke instead of the First Order). Zannah the same. Zorii and Poe were smugglers who (at different times) showed up when it mattered. Luke, Lando, and Han had all fallen off their heroic paths but chose to jump back into it.
    Yeah, questions of identity are present throughout the sequel trilogy. The first movie is probably the least thematic in that sense, but it has the heavy lifting of establishing the characters. The second film really begins to toy around with the idea of legacy and fate, and how free we are to decide those things for ourselves. The third actively presents duality and the question of choosing one path over the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob/.schoonover View Post
    *We're going to need a MUCH better detailing of Luke and Leia's failure with Ben at some point - he had darkness in him is such a cop out for a series with more nuance to the whys of the characters who have been tempted by the Dark Side. Was Ben teased about being Vader's grandson? Did he get confused about how Luke lionized Anakin's redemption while underplaying his awfulness? Or was it the expectations of being Luke's nephew? How did Snoke get involved with Ben in the first place? I assume the Kylo comic will cover some of this, but this is a big open question.
    I don't know if we really need that. The child of a politician and a military leader....I think we can easily see how he may not get all the attention he might want. Add to that the fact that his uncle is a religious guru, who was probably overeager to prove himself a worthy teacher.

    I honestly think it's pretty easy to imagine how all three of them could let Ben down in some way. Not that it had to be so, but I can certainly understand it.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member PwrdOn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Not sure what that has to do with anything. The ST isn't a referendum on Hamill's and Fisher's careers. And for that matter Ford's (who hadn't had a major hit since AIR FORCE ONE and WHAT LIES BENEATH in the 90s and had appeared in a lot of crap in-between).
    That wasn't my point, the success that Hamill and Fisher had with the original trilogy alone is more than the vast majority of actors will ever have in their careers and they deserve all the credit in the world for that. It's just that a huge part of the story of Star Wars is seeing the twins grow from these brash young hotheads into distinguished elders looked upon with reverence and awe by an entire generation, and I just don't think the actors have the chops to convey that. Nor should anyone expect that when Daisy Ridley eventually gets called back to play Jedi Master Rey in Episode 15 or whatever, that she'll be able to pull of the wise old master any better than Hamill did.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    Han is the way he is in Ep. 7 because they needed him to come back as the Han Solo we know and love, not some henpecked sitcom dad, though that actually makes sense in a way because the dynamic that made Han and Leia compelling on screen also seems pretty unsustainable in an actual relationship.
    I think they did a decent job with Han in TFA, giving him a story arc of sorts and showing him to have changed since the original movies, even when he's trying to be his old smuggler self. I also agree that the canon depiction of Han and Leia having a long-distance relationship that lead to a separation makes a lot of sense with the original movies.

    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    As for Luke and Leia, that ultimately comes down to the actors, because while the characters are supposed to be these paragons of virtue and honor in universe, in real life you have one actor who basically hasn't had any real work since the original trilogy, and another who was a recovering drug addict, and both are just too kooky and weird to adequately portray the kind of the dignity and gravitas that the Skywalker name should carry in universe.
    I would point out that both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher delivered fine performances in the sequels. Also, Fisher did a lot of writing and script doctoring over the years and far from doing any real work, Hamill made himself an impressive voice acting career (among other things, being one of the definitive Jokers for DC).

    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOn View Post
    Frankly, one of the biggest problems of the sequel trilogy was that they were too scared to let the new cast take center stage and leaned way too heavily on the old cast despite the fact that those actors are way past their expiration dates by now and, with the exception of Harrison Ford, never great performers who could carry a movie to begin with.
    See above for Hamill and Fisher's acting. IMHO, the legacy characters were used well, acting as the mentors to the new generation and I saw nothing about them being too afraid to have the new guard take center stage.
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  15. #15
    BANNED Beaddle's Avatar
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    As usual with most modern Disney movies, the themes of their movies are hard to pick point because these are not the driving force of their stories. As a kid,I preferred a new hope to return of the Jedi but when I got older, I grew to love return of the Jedi more even with the Ewoks because return of the Jedi had a stronger theme of Father and son and redemption.

    I can pick point richly the themes of 7-9, they are all blurred.

    episode 7 theme is adventure and escape

    episode 8 theme -downfall


    episode 9 theme- seriously I can't say, the movie barely had a story. perhaps, redemption? even if it felt rushed. The character of Rey still does not make sense to me. her ending also is more confusing.

    this new star wars movies are mindless action fantasy movies.

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