Skip to comments.Star Wars and neo-Nazis: George Lucas’ Empire Gets Its Revenge
Posted on 07/05/2005 6:49:01 PM PDT by CaptIsaacDavis
George Lucas Empire Gets Its Revenge
N.R. Archive. Boston -- May 2005.
The final act in the Star Wars cycle, titled Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, has laid bare creator George Lucas underlying left-wing critique of American Empire. For many Americans, the original Star Wars (1977), was an exhilarating portrayal of courage and heroic struggle against tyranny and an evil galactic empire (in that age, generally perceived as against Soviet imperialism). Indeed, for most of the 1980s the political discourse in our country over how America would meet the challenge of confronting a dying and desperate Soviet empire was polluted with allegories to the Star Wars franchise. Who can forget the never-ending media references to the Strategic Defense Initiative (S.D.I.) as "Star Wars," or Ronald Reagans use of the phrase "Evil Empire" (substituting a term more resonant in the American ear after Star Wars in place of a phrase more familiar to East European anti-Communists: the "Empire of the Anti-Christ")? The film offered a glimmer of hope in a decade marked by ugliness, depravity, cultural and economic "malaise," and even doubt, particularly among a cowardly minority of baby boomers, that Western civilization could out-last the "Evil Empire" of the 20th century (that Soviet prison of nations). However, there was a disconnect between what some viewers interpreted the film and tale as representing, and what Lucas wanted the films to represent. With time, and the emergence of new characters like the "multi-cultural" Jar Jar Binks (with a West Indian accent), the latter has become more transparent. Since Lucas has only hinted at what his "back story" is -- and tempted others to try to decipher it with public comments about the same, the following is only one man's attempt at deciphering it all.
While bloggers have written endless tomes about how the films supposedly represent everything from the struggles of the Confederacy (the term "rebels" gets them spinning off) to nihilistic struggle against a Leviathan, the names and costumes of certain characters, and George Lucas himself, in rare public comments about the "back story," offer a far more direct left-wing take on America under "neo-Nazi" Republican rule during times of war (from Richard Nixon [when the films were first conceived] to President George W. Bush). To interpret the "back story" clearly before we get to the text of Lucas recently reported comments to see if we are even close to the mark -- one must first dispense with pre-conceived notions and imagine how a Liberal in 1972 might have perceived the representations that eventually emerged in certain key elements of the story-line.
To start with, the character Darth Vader (in Plattdeutsch "Father" as in from the Lords Prayer) was originally a representation not of a Stalin or Brezhnev, but, by my interpretation, a dark knight dealing with internal conflicts (over loyalty) in his comically oversized Nazi-era German helmet [something Mel Brooks parodied in "Space Balls"], and surrounded by military officers for the first trilogy in both SS black and German "feldgrau" [field grey]. The term Sith appears to be borrowed from the Old English word for journey and death, which comes from the Germanic/Odinist concept of Seith, which can be used for the practice of black magic. See http://www.northvegr.org/northern/book/runes014.php, and then consider how much Palpatines solicitation to Anakin to journey to the dark side in order seek a magical power of raising someone from the dead compares to Odinism. Of course, no one could miss the point of having the racially pure "clone" army called "stormtroopers," that is, after the Nazi S.A. and having the Germanic stormtroopers come from a North Atlantic-like planet of Kamino. They were controlled not by Darth Vader, the dark knight, but by the Sith Lord that was Palpatine plotting the destruction of the Weimar Republic, or, as we find in Sith, a representation of our contemporary Republic and "democracy." In Sith, we see "Chancellor" Palpatine/Darth Sidious/Hitler taking power from the Senate, as Padme Amidala states:"this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause."
To even get to that opportunity, Darth Sidious had engineered wars and pitted alliances and interest groups against each other. He enlisted the help of Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus). It was Dooku who organized the sources of "evil" and "capitalism" in the "democracy" of the "Old Republic" the Trade Federation (run by creatures talking like Japanese businessmen), a Confederacy of Independent Systems (the more likely civil war parallel), Corporate Alliance, Commerce Guild, TechnoUnion, and InterGalactic Banking Clan (the latter groups according to LucasFilms starwars.com site). These forces organized to finance and build the storm-trooper army (with Jango Fett as the model). Jango Fett comes from a planet called "Concord Dawn" (perhaps April Morning, April 19, 1775, in Concord, MA), see the Lucasfilm site at http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/jangofett/. He is a hunter of escaped slaves riding a ship called Slave 1. So, those are supposedly pre-Civil War Americans behind those Stormtrooper masks under the command of a guy in a giant black Nazi helmet and a "Chancellor?"
Of course, the Jedi Knights were just what they were called "knights" of a religion (e.g., headquartered in the "Temple" of Coruscant, or "Han Solo" criticizing "hokey religions"). One might be tempted to see in them an allegory for the role of military orders in Roman Catholic Europe, based on Left-wing socialist realism that the Nazi experience was supposedly an outgrowth of them. However, they are a militarized party elite of a "scientific" religion (of a "Jedi" science [that is, they hold the "secrets" of knowledge about the scientific bases and uses of the "force" the hidden code of power]). That is, they operate like Marxists. Yes, some may see in their light-sabers a symbol of the sword Excalibur (and a simple sci-fi version of swords), but they would have missed the obvious point that both Jedi Masters and Sith Lords use lightsabres, and lightning that is, the widely used Nordic symbol of socialism (Mjolnir/Thors Hammer). This is not a guess. The character Darth Maul was just what his name promised - a wielder of a double-headed hammer (twin-lightsabre).
There are other possible allegories. As for "Padme," it may be borrowed from the Buddhist chant "Om-Mani-Padme." Padme herself was decked out for ceremonial purposes in some sort of Asian regalia (Japanese?). Alderaan is, of course, the old Arabic star name, while Jabba the Hutt also sounds suspiciously close to an old disused Arabic-language star name. "Endor" is probably from 1 Samuel 28, that is, the tale of how Saul, facing attack from the Philistines, seeks a spirit, the "witch of en-dor," to advise him on what will happen in the future. Is Yoda a seer from Jewish tradition (as Mel Brooks parodied in "Space Balls")? It was on the forest moon of Endor that we saw the Ewoks worshipping a golden false god and idol C3PO. The planet where the rebels face destruction in Episode IV is "Yavin-4" (Jewish/Russian). Now, anyone care to guess who the "Sand People" represent?
The long war shown in the films also has what are apparently obscure references to Eurasia and, most curiously, Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941). In Sith, we hear the Council making reference to a battle involving the walking bear-like Wookies (on a planet called Kashyyyk [Kashik were the imperial guard of the Mongolian Army], that is, by allegory, they are the Eurasian allies of the anti-Nazis in WW2 terms). There was also a single quick reference to a place pronounced something like "Otepää" (a location not described on the official Lucasfilm site starwars.com, so maybe I didnt hear it right). If accurate, Otepaa is actually a small, but locally famous, town in Estonia, where there is a fortress (built to fight the Teutonic Order) shaped like the head of a bear. We also find the winter battle for the planet "Hoth" in Empire Strikes Back, where "Hoth" is a name of East Prussian origin (and of General Hermann Hoth a key German commander in the attack on Soviet Russia) thus, no surprise that the rebels get overrun and pushed back in this film (like the Soviets trading space for time in 1941). Finally, and heres the punch line, the most direct reference to the Nazi invasion of Russia, and the associated extermination of commissars (here the Jedi [see below]), was the use of the term "Order 66" as the command to kill all Jedi in Sith. This appears to be a reference to Hitlers "Directive for the Treatment of Political Commissars" (that is, kill them all) issued on...June 6 (6/6), 1941.
So the Jedi are commissars? Possibly. In Sith, the "Council" is run like a central committee overseeing disciples trained in party discipline and ready to sacrifice everything for a supposed "common" good (and their power to control the fate of the Republic). They even have an organization of Younglings (a.k.a. Party Youth or Pioneer). The Jedi serve in combat roles comparable to Red Army political commissars giving orders to military commanders. In this last installment, a social democratic ("center-left") critique of Communism and Nazism emerges when even the purportedly "good" Jedi Council attempts a coup that is, the extremism of the Jedi, and a failed attempt on the life of Sidious/Hitler, empowers him further. It is at this point that the "Aryan" Anakin Skywalker (a former "slave" of a business-creature with ethnic Jewish stereotypes) turns against the democratic socialist Jedi Council, and becomes a disciple of a capitalist (having exploited the "Trade Federation" to gain power) and imperialist "Emperor" (Caesar/Napoleon/Hitler/Sidious). That is, even as Anakin believes he is merely trying to save the Republic from the Jedi conspiracy, and all of the capitalistic and separatist forces behind Dooku (the leaders of which Vader wipes out savagely in Sith to consolidate the Chancellors power a veritable night of the long knives [1934 redux]). The last two films produced for the cycle are all about Sidious maneuvering around and betraying various institutional interests, as well as pitting the Droid Army against the Stormtroopers. Sound familiar?
How the tables have turned in Revenge of the Sith! While the Nazi/anti-Nazi themes still resonate, there is no longer any room to see in the films a portrayal of anything other than a direct attack on Americas "democratic" empire. Revenge of the Sith is a dark film that offers nothing redeeming in its attempt to "spin" the tale into a critical tale about current Bush Administrations policies. The character Darth Vader is even transformed in Sith into a direct representation of President George "W" Bush via lines about how those who are not with him are against him. Vader:"If youre not with me, then youre my enemy." W:"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Lucas himself has publicly drawn the parallels between Vader and Bush, while promoting this film as a tale of the dangers inherent in a "democracy" that destroys liberty to ensure "security."
Now lets listen to George Lucas, who reportedly said in May 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival, when describing the "back story" to the films: "Why did the senate after killing Caesar turn around and give the government to his nephew? Why did France after they got rid of the king and that whole system turn around and give it to Napoleon? Its the same thing with Germany and Hitler." He also drew parallels to the film and both Watergate and criticisms of the Bush Administrations grab for wanton powers both examples of tyrannical power-grabs (the "evil") launched under cover of foreign wars: "One of the main features of the back story was to tell how the Republic became the Empire. At the time I did that, it was during the Vietnam War and the Nixon era. The issue was: How does a democracy turn itself over to a dictator? Not how does a dictator take over but how does a democracy and Senate give it away?...The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what were doing in Iraq now are unbelievable."
The center of Americas cultural evils, Hollywood, is striking back. If Sith has anti-Iraq war and anti-Republican propaganda as a "back story," then what on Earth is Lucas trying to say by having Sidious and Yoda duke it out in the Senate?
Aw heck, just enjoy the film. The special effects are wild enough to enjoy it without being bothered with "back story" propaganda, or wasting more time, like here, trying to decipher what that "story" is really trying to say.
That dude had too much time on his hands to research all that.
the movie sucked
Not only that, but the for the symbolism to be effective, it requires an audience with an education (especially in history) which, with the current state of lefty-dominated public schools, is very unlikely.
Lucas may think he's making a anti-Republican message, but the story of fighting evil even against long odds is a far stronger message.
bflr--this is too much. Literally and figuratively!!!
the movie opened in france two weeks before the vote on the eu constitution.
there is no way anyone watching that movie could have voted for the eu constitution--especially as the a vote for the constitution would have meant that the people voted themselves into irrelevency.
[an attempt at an in-joke]
Most artists would never recognize their motives in producting their works of art in those discussions.
Lucas' motive was in wrapping up the story line while he was still alive and kicking.
BTW, that's only the LATEST, not the LAST ~ in the end Darth Vader joins with Luke Skywalker in killing the Sith Lord who had become Emperor.
The military, whether they worked for the Republic or the Empire, pretty much did the same job.
BTW, "W" really doesn't remind me of a Sith ~ Chuckie Schumer has that role locked up tight!
"Sometimes a movie is just a movie."
Absolutely. I wish theses morons would quit trying to use this movie as a template for commentary on modern politics. Could not we take the Rise and fall of the Roman Empire and place it in our own context? Possibly. How about the many works of Shakespeare?
Like you said "Sometimes a movie is just a movie."
LUCAS POLITICIZING THE FILM -- CANNES COMMENTARY
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