Friendship in Star Wars

Star Wars (in Spanish, Star Wars) is the title of a fictional saga created by the American screenwriter, producer and director George Lucas. First, episodes IV to VI were filmed (A New Hope, 1977; The Empire Strikes Back, 1980; Return of the Jedi, 1983) and sixteen years later episodes I to III (The Phantom Menace, 1999; Attack of the Clones, 2002; Revenge of the Sith, 2005).
George Lucas on the set of A New Hope (1977)

The action takes place at an unspecified time, in a fictional galaxy with an unknown name, the theater of a confrontation between light and darkness. Lucas paints us an old society “a long time ago” but very advanced in the technological plane. It is a mixture of the past (all the elements of a medieval feat appear) with the future (travel in space): a traditional black knight crosses the galaxy, a princess launches an SOS through a droid, a young man throws himself into the adventure with the sword the? being of his father …

The director relies for the creation of the Saga on various historical, cinematographic, literary and religious sources … He collects data from ancient Rome (the passage from the Republic to the Empire), but also? n reflects the recent history of World War II Germany. He is inspired by various film genres, from his childhood western to science fiction film serials, most notably Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. You can also see the influence of the Far East and Akira Kurosawa’s films and his passion for feudal Japan.

In literature, the most obvious reference is the mythological story. George Lucas says that his first motivation was to create his own mythology, in the style of Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. He wanted to stage large figures loaded with strong symbols that exalted the fight of good against evil, accentuating the limits of human nature and the will of man to overcome his mortal condition. The work is inspired by Noordic, classical and medieval mythologies, with an incredible network of references to fairy tales and fantasy novels from all times, Western and Eastern.

Lucas filigreely introduces what we now call New Age elements, a mix of confusing oriental influences, especially in the 1999-2005 trilogy. The characters who mainly embody these oriental ideas are the Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the Republic but who, in case of crisis, can become warriors using the Force and their swords-the? Being. Interesting is the mix of medieval monk (hooded cloak) and Japanese Samurai? S (kimono) of the Jedi. The spirituality of these Jedi “monks” is inspired by Eastern spirituality, more precisely from Buddhist. It is not a coincidence that the name Kenobi (Obi-Wan Kenobi) means “waist and sword” in Japanese. It is also no coincidence that George Lucas imitated a Samurai armor for Darth Vader’s costume.

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After this introduction, which helps us to better understand the theme of friendship in the two trilogies, we start from the fact that negative characters have no friends. Cicero had already written, in the mouth of Gaius Lelio:

“The first thing I think about friendship is that it cannot exist except between good people.” Friendship is an affective relationship that is established between two or more individuals, to which values ​​such as loyalty, solidarity, unconditionality, sincerity, commitment, among others are associated, and that is cultivated with assiduous treatment and mutual interest over time. Friendship is a form of love and it cannot be achieved by those who are totally closed to love or live in selfishness and individualism. True friendship, according to Enrique Rojas, requires three ingredients: affinity, donation and confidence (E. ROJAS, Amigos, Ed. Planeta, Madrid, 2009). Let’s see how these elements are embodied in the easternmost 1999-2005 trilogy and the westernmost 1977-1983 trilogy.

The one that men bond with each other? To make friends is an ideal inherent to the human condition, but the East and the West understand it very differently because they start from very different philosophies and conceptions of the world. In the eastern world, the human being lives inwardly and focuses on the ideas of renunciation, passivity, inner growth and introspection. Jedi look into their inner world, from the inside out, seeking harmony, serenity, and inner peace. There is a clear affinity between them which consists in sharing the same ideals, the same criteria and orientations. More still they are part of the same Order and are governed by the same Jedi code. Their reciprocal donation and dedication is also evident: they fight together to defend peace and maintain the balance of the Force in the galaxy, seeking the good and serving others. But don’t they communicate with each other? their inner world, nor do they share confidences and intimacy, essential elements for us in any friendship. This attitude is explained by his training and by his rule of life: a future Jedi begins to train in his childhood and all ties with the previous life are severed, leaving the Order and its members as a single family.

As he approaches adulthood, the student becomes the Padawan of a master to train for the rank of Knight. His aspiration is to use the light side of the Force, which includes all the ideals of Good, to reach a state of complete harmony. From there? that the Jedi meditate a lot to empty themselves of all emotions – or sensations, since passions are frowned upon and only some positive emotions such as compassion – or courage are allowed. So, they think that love can make a Jedi pass from the Light Side to the Dark Side. In their relationships, the almost total absence of external signs of sympathy and affection is obvious, and we can ask ourselves: isn’t something or a lot missing from the Jedi when they lack the hand of a friend, their gaze, their his voice, his complicity, his closeness and the entire company? What? far from the definition of a friend of Gabriel Garci? a Ma? rquez: “A true friend is one who takes your hand and touches your heart.”

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Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, despite the ties that bind them, do not express their feelings. The only indication of mutual appreciation is a hand on the shoulder and Obi-wan’s tears when his teacher dies, who seems to be surprised by this expression of affection from his Padawan. This lack of cordiality does not exclude loyalty, dedication, and self-sacrifice, yet the joy of mutual companionship does not show itself. Living together is more like disinterested companionship than true person-centered Western-style emotional friendship. In the oriental culture and mentality, especially the Japanese, the group prevails, the common good. Individuality is not that important.

In this same sense, the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker continues to puzzle us, where no outward sign of esteem and affection is perceived. Anakin, who lives a fateful conflict (how can he balance between remaining the good person he is and becoming the powerful Jedi who can save Padme ??) cannot find support, help and closeness? a necessary. Thus? It is required by the spirit and the code of the Jedi inherited from the East. The person who will contribute? to tear him from the depths of darkness, since Darth Vader cannot save himself, will it? your child, not your friend. In addition, within Anakin’s journey, a tragic hero who carries the burden of not having friends, this lack of affection allows him to highlight his loneliness. Another reason for the contrast between the two trilogies could be the change in mentality in those 22 years that separate episode IV (1977) from episode I (1999). Is it not perceived in other fields a loss of many human values? Hasn’t the theme of friendship, so central to the second trilogi? A, been partly replaced by special effects?

The difference with episodes IV to VI (1977-1983) is very notable. Here? There are many displays of affection: hugs, gestures of sympathy and support, looks, words … The theme of friendship is so central that it exists even between the robot R2D2 and the android C3PO. It is built on the unique and unrepeatable personality of each of the friends, for what each one is, for what each contributes and receives from the other, in the style of Michel de Montaigne talking about his friendship with E? la Boe? tie: “If you urge me to say why? I wanted it, I feel that it cannot be expressed except by answering: ‘Because it was him; because it was me ‘. ” (M. de Montaigne, Essays I, Ca? Tedra, Madrid, 1985). It is friendship as it is lived in the West, inherited from the Greek phili? A (φιλi? Α), an essentially masculine friendship, from the outside in.

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It arises between the two protagonists Luke and Han, and it is worth wondering who each would have been if they had not met the other. However, attraction and affinity are not spontaneous. The egotism and pragmatism of Han, cynical but sympathetic adventurer, are opposed from the first meeting, to the idealism of Luke who tries to improve the world. Their very opposite characters serve as a perfect counterpoint for the development of the action. Luke symbolizes the compassionate hero, Han the passionate hero. One cares about his neighbor, the other about himself. himself (hence his surname SOLO), but the shared experiences with their dangers and complicities, allow them to discover and appreciate themselves progressively. Of course, throughout the trilogy, the character of Han Solo goes from selfishness, self-centeredness and cynicism, to affection, compassion and yearning for a better world thanks to the influence of Luke. In this way, Han becomes a hero simply by being friends with Luke.

Thus? Miguel de Unamuno writes it: “Each new friend that we win in the race of life perfects and enriches us, even more so because of what he discovers about ourselves than because of what he gives us”, although a real reciprocal donation is also made. Luke receives from Han the support he needs to carry out the mission, especially after Obi-Wan’s death. In this trilogy, the confidence that consists of the disposition and the confidence to tell personal things, authentic secrets, appears explicitly. Making confidences occurs in deep friendships because it is always a risk to open your heart. It looks like Luke and Han are loyal to each other through the trials that afflict them.
Star War presents us with two visions of friendship, an Eastern (Buddhist) for the Jedi and a Western (Christian) for Luke and Han, with their common values ​​(unity of ideals, unconditional dedication in the fight for good and justice) and with their differences (the affectionate and close treatment, the personalist perspective). These differences correspond to two different concepts of the world and of man. The table below can help us understand it better.

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