30 November 2015

Building the Star Wars universe

[Image from here.]

I like Star Wars well enough. More precisely, I love episodes IV and V (the original film, "A New Hope," and "The Empire Strikes Back"). I'm lukewarm on episode VI (everything until the Ewoks appear on screen is fine, especially the opening story involving Jabba the Hut). Like most sensible folks, I prefer not to think about episodes I-III at all. Overall, I find Star Wars to be a mixed bag. So I'm not exactly a 'fan'.  But I am looking forward to the new films. I hope that they recapture the spirit of the first two films.

This article on the new Star Wars franchise is quite good.  Not only does it discuss what is happening with the forthcoming films, in a broad sense, it also has a nice discussion of shared 'world building'.

Here are a couple of passages:
"All these people are describing more than just a franchise. What they’re talking about is a paracosm, psychology-speak for an imaginary world. Lots of little kids have them—especially creative ones. So do writers. Think Narnia or Yoknapatawpha County. J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is an obvious example, with its multiple languages, cultures, and thousands of years of history." 
"Lucas was the original keeper of the Star Wars flame, but now we all live in his paracosm. And come to think of it, maybe comics aren’t the best analogy; this is more like Dungeons & Dragons. (I mentioned: nerds.) Shared universes are distributed paracosms. The allusions frame out a world, and our imaginations build the rest—so we become invested in that alternate reality, not only as consumers but as participants."
Only a few more weeks until the new 'episode'!


  1. "Like most sensible folks," ....hmmmm. http://19thlevel.blogspot.com/ has been doing a great job at looking at these movies with an unbiased eye, which has helped remind me that I actually enjoyed these movies (that, plus my young son has really put all of Star Wars in proper context).

  2. Perhaps my sweeping generalization was a *bit* uncharitable!

  3. I like Return of the Jedi (even the ewoks) but I agree that Episodes IV and V are the best. Mark Hamill doesn't get enough credit; his performance as Luke is crucial to the credibility and success of those films and in my opinion he never puts a foot wrong. It will be fascinating to see him again in the new one.

    As for the prequel trilogy: I liked the pod race, and... er, that's it.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.