Star Wars did something never done before its creation, it took all the most popular subjects of science fiction and synthesized them into one universe.
Star Wars succeeds for many reasons, and one is Lucas was the first that took all the most popular subjects of science fiction movies and put them together in one universe. His vision included aliens, strange new worlds, spaceships, clones, robots, futuristic cities and technologies of all kinds. Then he wrapped them up in a story filled with action, mystery, and adventure in a way never attempted before its creation.
Star Wars single hand-idly revolutionized and elevated the genre of science fiction above its usually mostly “B” movie ratings and made it into something better. Star Wars gave the genre a new validity and a more respectable place in pop culture.
George Lucas was smart enough to tap into the Jungian archetypes and Freudian relationships that connect with the deeper levels of the human psyche and played with primal mythologies that Joseph Campbell referred to as the heroes journey, the archetypal odyssey, and incorporate it into his stories. After all, what’s more fundamental to storytelling that the eternal battle between good and evil? The never ending struggle between heroes and villains in stories never grows old despite its ancient origins. Lucas found an eager fan base that was ripe at the time his movie arrived, and they ate it up.
Other archetypes played a role as well, such as the well-worn trope of the damsel in distress, which Lucas was smart enough to update into Leia, an intelligent and formidable warrior woman who is no less a hero in her own right. The late Carrie Fischer was unforgettable in the role.
The Jedi too is an exciting and engaging addition to the mix. The warrior/priests represent the mystical and spiritual aspects of existence. Their ancient order is similar in ways to both druidic religions, and eastern disciplines like Zen Taoism that offer enlightened insight and the ability to manipulate the universe is esoteric ways not understood or available to everyday women and men. Their use of the force is similar to the Tao of Zen. The Jedi and Sith represent both good and evil as opposite sides of the same coin. They symbolize both the cleansing and corrupting effects life can have on us all. The movies are much deeper than many people realize and delve into areas that many are not aware of to varying degrees.
Lucas also had the incredible luck or uncanny ability to find just the right people to be in his films. There can be little doubt that the casts of his movies helped make them what they are by crafting the iconic characters and relationships we still enjoy today.
The various ingredients that go to make Star Wars so wonderful were masterfully presented using new technologies that arrived at the same time, things like Dolby Stereo and surround sound were unheard of before that. Coupled with the work that Lucas’ own Industrial Light and Magic was doing, helped seal the deal.
Starting with the robots; never before in the history of science-fiction movies had any portrayed such a delightful myriad of original, intriguing and sometimes amusing robot designs. Lucas was smart enough to revolutionize and update our technological helpers in the genre by collecting a group of artists and craftsmen that contributed to making Star Wars into something unusual, unique, and unlike anything seen before.
The same is true about the spaceships. Once again, here, Lucas and the talented people he hired did some amazing work designing ships in all shapes and sizes that once again revolutionized science fiction films and influenced every one made that followed afterward. The outer space battles in Star Wars are some of the most remarkably impressive sequences on film, still unsurpassed in spectacle, action, and scale.
The visual artistry and the art direction of these films are remarkable. They are all visually stunning and leave a lasting impression that pulls you back to watch again, and again like a siren’s call. Whether it was dumb luck, intuition, pure genius, or a combination of all three, one thing’s for sure George Lucas revolutionized our favorite genre in a way that remains unsurpassed. He deserves a hero’s honor wherever he goes for the rest of eternity here or in a galaxy far, far, away.