Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
The beginning of the film when C3PO and R2D2 escape with the plans for the Death Star, one wonders what all of this journey is about with these two robots. Luke Skywalker purchases the droids (and the “red” droid malfunctions to which C3PO recommends R2D2). All of this looks like coincidence for these droids to meet up with a young man who ends up saving the rebels. It is bit of irony (or poetic justice) that these same droids were built by Anakin Skywalker (Luke’s father – unknown to Luke). Anakin Skywalker has become Darth Vader and he is in pursuit of the plans. There have been many attempts to capture the rebels who have been trying to steal the Death Star plans. (This is the focus of the Star Wars Anthology future film Rogue One). Despite these attempts, the plans reach the rebel base. They are analyzed just in time to destroy the Death Star.
The Force is a plot device developed by George Lucas to instill a spiritual element in the films. As I have stated in another post (The Force Is a Belief in God), the Force introduces people to a spiritual element in which everyone can relate. While the Force is not completely Christian, there are Christian elements. For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi gives a definition of the Force to Luke Skywalker:
“It is what gives the Jedi his power. It is an energy field created by all living things, surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.”
Colossians 1:15-16 “In Him and through Him were all things created…”
At the end of the film, Obi-wan Kenobi (in spirit form, called a force ghost) communicates to Luke. He states various times throughout the film:
“The Force will be with you always.”
This is similar to Jesus’ statement near the end of His mission. Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 28:20: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The phrase “May the force be with you” is said throughout the film as a standard greeting. It sounds like a similar greeting “May God be with you.”
Good versus Evil
The film immediately begins with a set of rebels who are being hunted down by an Empire. The empire is modeled after the Third Reich of Germany during the 1933-1945. While the comparison is historical, the film does make a clear contrast between good and evil. Using elements from history, the film posits a group of rebels who fight an evil empire. The same contrast could be make spiritually. The film begins a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Yet the film speaks profoundly about the nature of good and evil in this world. As Christians we live in a physical world. Yet it is the spiritual setting for an evil empire which seems to be winning a spiritual war. God uses a group of rebels (Christians) to overturn an evil spiritual empire led by Satan.
Overall, Star Wars is a classic. All other films since 1977 have been affected by Star Wars. The company George Lucas created to make the special effects (Industrial Light and Magic) has produced CGI and special effects for a majority of the films made since that time. The Star Wars saga is about the Skywalker family. This is one reason the film and its subsequent films have inspired people of different generations. The introduction of the Force in this film helps to tap into the spiritual need we have for God. Star Wars continues to inspire people with the hope that everyone can be redeemed and that everyone can make a difference.