Culture Films

Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Is it the New Lord of the Rings?

So after all the hype it has finally arrived.  The reviews have been excellent, the toys have been prepared, its Christmas and its time for the renewed Star Wars, The Force Awakens.   I was genuinely quite excited about going to see this – especially since it was on at our favourite cinema, the DCA, and was delighted that Mrs R. agreed to go and see it with me, although I was sure it would not be her kind of film.  Ever since Lord of the Rings becoming a Christmas tradition I have been looking for a replacement….did The Force Awakens justify my expectations?
In several ways it is a good film.  I loved the cinematography, the music, the action sequences and the return of some of the old characters.  It was a reasonable nights entertainment.  However, (and here I feel as though to Star War devotees I am committing blasphemy), it was not a great film.  I won’t be rushing to see it again, or buying it on video.  Sorry if this goes against the general hype but I was somewhat disappointed.
CleanThe Force Awakens is clean.  There is no mess.  Every thing is neat and tidy – including the plot.  It is clean also in the sense that there is no swearing, no sex and the violence is largely cartoonish.   But for me the whole thing was sanitised.
Childish – Disney are brilliant at making films for children that also appeal to adults.  The Force Awakens is more like a film for adults that appeals to children.  It is simple.  The good guys win, the bad guys lose.   There is little character development, the plot is totally predictable (I have not put any spoilers in here – but suffice it to say if you know the Star Wars films I doubt anything will take you by surprise), and everything is seen through the eyes of  a disneyfied gnosticism.   The worst thing for me is that I found it quite boring….it could have easily been 30 minutes shorter and lost nothing.
Commercialised –   Someone in Disney described Star Wars as the biggest licence to print money in toy industry history.   That is why this film is so safe.  And boring.  The advertising and trailer teasers have been superb.  The marketing wonderful and the film itself does not disappoint those who are looking for a rerun of the first three Star Wars films.  But the commercialism of the whole thing leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
To be fair, most of the other reviews I have read have praised The Force Awakens. And much to my surprise, Mrs R loved it! (perhaps because the previous week we had sat through the depression of Sunset Song).  Maybe I’m getting old…or maybe its just a world weariness.  I prefer things with a bit more depth.     I know that many Christians will be able to get ‘spiritual’ lessons and analogies out of it (mainly because almost all good human stories reflect the great biblical themes of darkness vs light, good vs evil), but I will stick to the greater depth and beauty of Lord of the Rings.  This is certainly not LOTR – the storyline is shallow and predictable, the characters pretty much the same.  Perhaps the Force just was not with me.


  1. Thanks for the review. I won’t be bothering with it for now. I love Tolkien but reading the books not the films.

  2. Is it the new Lord of the Rings?

    I would suggest, perhaps there is not like for like between the two. Yes Star Wars has become something formulaic with little surprises (however *spoiler alert * with what happened to Hans solo how could they?!). But then the same could be said for James Bond so why was it for me that The Force Awakens was OK and I got thrilled with Spectre?

    Both have the fight between good and evil where who is good and who is evil is prescribed, and our heros/heroinies facing life threatening challenges involving winning light sabre fights and throwing baddies out or moving trains while the forces of evil are defeated.

    So what is it about it for me that is the difference? The only thing I can think about is that in one Aston Martins are involved and a 47 yeah old hero gets to be with a 30 year old heroine. For this single 51 year old guy it gives hope.

    Having said that, perhaps a comparison between the recent offering of Sar Wars to it’s 70’s original counterpart is also not a like for like comparison. Yes the special effects have moved on from then and one might say the acting has improved but it is impossible to recapture that first moment of encounter with the Millennial Falcon and the love interest between an intergalactic smuggler turned good and a princess.

    So a replacement for Lord of the Rings as a Christmas tradition with depth, beauty that is not boring and with character development in it? Maybe one could do worse than going for one of the classics – It’s a Wonderful Life perhaps?

  3. I have just been reading a number of fascinating – and sometimes disturbing – quotes from George Lucas that give some insights into his beliefs:

    SCHELL. What do you mean “the primary word is romantic”?

    LUCAS. In terms of stories, I think the word suggests a humanist perspective on things — an emotional point of view. That’s really the primary focus of everything I do.


    SCHELL. So where did all the strange characters and ideas come from?

    LUCAS. I took off from the folk side of things and tried to stay with universal themes apart from violence and sex, which are the only other two universal themes that seem to work around the world. My films aren’t that violent or that sexy. Instead, I’m dealing with the need for humans to have friendships, to be compassionate, to band together to help each other and to join together against what is negative.

    SCHELL. You sound awfully Buddhist to me.

    LUCAS. My daughter was asked at school, “What are you?” And she said we’re Buddhist Methodists. I said, well, I guess that’s one way to describe it [laughs].

    LUCAS: But there’s probably no better form of government than a good despot.

    SCHELL. And, in a sense, is that what you’re trying to be here at Lucasfilm?

    LUCAS. Possibly. Yeah, at least in my little kingdom. But I rule at the will of the people who work for me.

    SCHELL. But let’s say you have a leader who’s only pretty good and does some shady things. Do you think that the media should be more discreet about investigating and looking into what he is doing? Basically, do you think certain things should be off limits in order to maintain the heroism of a leader?

    LUCAS. Yeah, I do. I think that the media should look at the situation in the larger sense — at what is necessary for the culture as a whole rather than exposing and tearing everything down all the time. That will not bode well for people’s confidence in the institution. After all, a society only works on faith. If you lose that faith, then your society will crumble and it will be hard to get a consensus on anything.

    SCHELL. But isn’t that a slippery slope, one that quickly leads to what we have seen in countries like the Soviet Union and China, where in the name of positive role models it becomes unacceptable to criticize the leaders or the country?

    LUCAS. That’s sort of why I say a benevolent despot is the ideal ruler. He can actually get things done. The idea that power corrupts is very true and it’s a big human who can get past that.



    In a letter to the makers of “Lost”:

    Congratulations on pulling off an amazing show. Don’t tell anyone …but when ‘Star Wars’ first came out, I didn’t know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you’ve planned the whole thing out in advance. Throw in some father issues and references to other stories — let’s call them homages — and you’ve got a series.



    What George Lucas’ version of “Apocalypse Now” would have been like if he had stayed on the project:

    “The film would take a pro-war, action-oriented approach while at the same time while at the same time supporting and clarifying the “unconventional warfare methods” of the U. S. Army Special Forces… What Milius and Lucas was thinking about is suggested by the first scene… The idea is that American troops will have fun and win the war by adopting, Green Beret-style, guerilla methods. Milius later noted that he and Lucas were “great connoisseurs of the Vietnam War”; one imagines young boys with an enthusiasm for all things military.”

    SOURCE:“george lucas” pro-war “star wars”&source=bl&ots=9gOp8926QM&sig=GKA6_35GJ-ELeuyN3zHsc7W77WY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mwsrVY7eNovgao7fgcgL&ved=0CEkQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=”george lucas” pro-war “star wars”&f=false

    Lucas mentions his anti-pacifist ideology when discussing the Episode 1 soundtrack:

    “… His [John Williams’] music had to help tell the story of a pacifist Queen who confronts the need to fight for the survival of her people, a mother who must give up her son so that he might achieve his true potential, and noble Jedi faced with the rise of an unimaginable evil. Once again, John has exceeded my expectations and produced a lavish, rich, moving and thrilling score. Every fan of Star Wars – and of great music – is in his debt.

    George Lucas, Director”


    Very disturbing discussion with film-maker James Cameron, particularly in light of all those people who put “Jedi” as their religion on census forms. I am sure 95% of them are doing it tongue-in-cheek but here Lucas really seems to be actively encouraging this kind of thing. Starting to believe in his own publicity/delusions of grandeur?

    Lucas: Everyone hated it when we started talking about midichlorians in The Phantom Menace. A whole aspect of this film is about symbiotic relationships. It’s about recognizing that we’re not the boss. There is a whole ecosystem there.

    Cameron: There’s a whole ecosystem called microbiome inside that we’ve just started getting to know.

    Lucas: The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.

    Cameron: You were creating a religion, George.

    Lucas: Back then, I used to say it means we’re just the cars, the vehicles of the Whills they’re traveling around with. We are the vessels of Whills. And the connection is via the midi-chlorians. The midi-chlorians are the ones who communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in the general sense, are the Force.

    Cameron: But in fact you’re just drawing a surface, a facade of science around an idea that is timeless, namely, the mind, the soul, the sky, the cause of all being. In your world, you’re accessing the basic archetype, the mind, a deity, and all that.

    Lucas: I worked this whole concept with the Force, the Jedi, and everything from beginning to end. I just never had the chance to finish it and tell people about it.

    Cameron: It’s a creation myth, and without a creation myth you can not build a world. Every religion, every mythology is based on it.

    Lucas: If I’d held on to the company, I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course a lot of fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would have been told.



    There are many more interesting quotes on this three-page thread, including more on George Lucas pro-war/anti-pacifist views/glorification of the military and his politics, including the fascist overtones of the films (the final medal ceremony of the original 1977 Star Wars film was inspired by Leni Riefenstahl’s techniques).

  4. For whatever it’s worth, here are some more interesting quotes from George Lucas about his religious views:


    MOYERS: Is one religion as good as another?

    LUCAS: I would say so. Religion is basically a container for faith. And faith in our culture, our world and on a larger issue, the mystical level–which is God, what one might describe as a supernatural, or the things that we can’t explain–is a very important part of what allows us to remain stable, remain balanced.

    MOYERS: One explanation for the popularity of Star Wars when it appeared is that by the end of the 1970s, the hunger for spiritual experience was no longer being satisfied sufficiently by the traditional vessels of faith.

    LUCAS: I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people–more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system. I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery. Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question, “Is there a God or is there not a God?”–that is for me the worst thing that can happen. I think you should have an opinion about that. Or you should be saying, “I’m looking. I’m very curious about this, and I am going to continue to look until I can find an answer, and if I can’t find an answer, then I’ll die trying.” I think it’s important to have a belief system and to have faith.

    MOYERS: Do you have an opinion, or are you looking?

    LUCAS: I think there is a God. No question. What that God is or what we know about that God, I’m not sure. The one thing I know about life and about the human race is that we’ve always tried to construct some kind of context for the unknown. Even the cavemen thought they had it figured out. I would say that cavemen understood on a scale of about 1. Now we’ve made it up to about 5. The only thing that most people don’t realize is the scale goes to 1 million.

    MOYERS: The central ethic of our culture has been the Bible. Like your stories, it’s about the fall, wandering, redemption, return. But the Bible no longer occupies that central place in our culture today. Young people in particular are turning to movies for their inspiration, not to organized religion.

    LUCAS: Well, I hope that doesn’t end up being the course this whole thing takes, because I think there’s definitely a place for organized religion. I would hate to find ourselves in a completely secular world where entertainment was passing for some kind of religious experience.

    MOYERS: You said you put the Force into Star Wars because you wanted us to think on these things. Some people have traced the notion of the Force to Eastern views of God–particularly Buddhist–as a vast reservoir of energy that is the ground of all of our being. Was that conscious?

    LUCAS: I guess it’s more specific in Buddhism, but it is a notion that’s been around before that. When I wrote the first Star Wars, I had to come up with a whole cosmology: What do people believe in? I had to do something that was relevant, something that imitated a belief system that has been around for thousands of years, and that most people on the planet, one way or another, have some kind of connection to.I didn’t want to invent a religion. I wanted to try to explain in a different way the religions that have already existed. I wanted to express it all.

    MOYERS: You’re creating a new myth?

    LUCAS: I’m telling an old myth in a new way. Each society takes that myth and retells it in a different way, which relates to the particular environment they live in. The motif is the same. It’s just that it gets localized. As it turns out, I’m localizing it for the planet. I guess I’m localizing it for the end of the millennium more than I am for any particular place.

    MOYERS: What lessons do you think people around the world are taking away from Star Wars?

    LUCAS: Star Wars is made up of many themes. It’s not just one little simple parable. One is our relationship to machines, which are fearful, but also benign. Then there is the lesson of friendship and symbiotic relationships, of your obligations to your fellow- man, to other people that are around you. This is a world where evil has run amuck. But you have control over your destiny, you have many paths to walk down, and you can choose which destiny is going to be yours.



    TB: Here’s an oddball question: This exhibit plays off the science of “Star Wars” and its physical underpinnings, but what’s your stand on “intelligent design”? After all, you’re the god of this particular universe.

    GL: (laughs) It’s obviously a very hot-button issue. I find that it’s a matter of definition. The way I define “intelligent design” is that when people started out we wanted to make sense of the world we lived in, so we created stories about how things worked. The end result, obviously, was to create spirits or gods of one form or another that functioned beyond our knowledge — that would explain why the sun went down at night, why babies were born, and that sort of thing. You didn’t have to explain it yourself. You just had to say, “Well, there’s something there that explains all that, and if you just have faith in that, you’ll be fine.”

    That’s always the way it’s been. But I think that God gave us a brain, and that it’s the only thing we have to survive. All life forms have some advantage, some trick, some claw, some camouflage, some poison, some speed, something to help them survive. We’ve got a brain. Therefore it’s our duty to use our brain. Because we have an intellect, part of what we do is try to understand the “intelligent design.” Everything we don’t know is “intelligent design.” Everything we do know is science.

    In other words, evolution is a product of “intelligent design.” There’s absolutely no conflict between Darwinism and God’s design for the universe — if you believe that it’s God’s design. The problem for me is that I see a very big difference between the Bible and God. And the problem they’re getting into now is that they’re trying to understand intelligent design through the Bible, not through God. Our job is to find all the “intelligent design,” and figure out how He did everything, and I think that’s consistent with science.

    All we’re doing in our own fumbly, bumbly, human way with our inadequate little brains is trying to figure out what He did. And once we figure it out, we say “Ooh, that’s great!” And then we just continue on. Will we ever figure out everything? I don’t know. There’ll always be that faith there that there’s something more to figure out.

    TB: When you’re in there creating the nitty-gritty of the “Star Wars” universe, figuring out how an inhabitant of a given planet might evolve a given way, do you feel like you’re playing god?

    GL: Well, I started out in anthropology, so to me how society works, how people put themselves together and make things work, has always been a big interest. Which is where mythology comes from, where religion comes from, where social structure comes from. Why are these things created? Now we’re getting into more of the social sciences side of the things, but the biological side is starting to float into that. I’m looking forward to the evolution of neuro-anthropology, because I want to see our genes affect how we build our social systems, how we develop our belief systems in terms of our social beliefs and cultural beliefs. We’re at an exciting time.



    When George Lucas was 8, he asked his mom, “If there’s only one God, why are there so many religions?” He’s been fascinated by that question ever since, and has come to the realization that when you strip all religions and mythologies down to their very basic level, it’s really all about compassion.

    And that, Lucas says, is what “Star Wars” is really all about. Sure, there are also larger themes like what makes someone a hero, what is friendship, and what makes people sacrifice themselves for something larger, but really, it’s about compassion, and loving people.

    “It’s still…you know…basically [just] don’t kill people, and be compassionate,” Lucas said in an interview with Charlie Rose at the Chicago Ideas Festival earlier this month. “Love people. That’s basically all ‘Star Wars’ is.”


  5. I should add that I have been trying to find a good Christian-themed science fiction television show or film for a while, without much success.

    Star Trek had some Christian themes, most notably and overtly in the episode “Bread and Circuses” and some of the episodes written by Gene Coon had strong pacifist themes but the whole series and its various subsequent spin-offs were overshadowed by Gene Roddenberry’s secular humanism.

    Space: 1999 was more overtly spiritual than Star Trek but a lot of its episodes seem to trend more towards erotericism/the occult/New Age mumbo-jumbo.

    Battlestar Galactica (original version with Lorne Greene – I haven’t seen the remake) was slightly closer to Christianity as its creator, Glen A. Larson was a Mormon and imbued the show with Mormon themes so insofar as there is some overlap between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity we can maybe relate to it.

    The Prisoner, created by Patrick McGoohan, seems to be the closest match as McGoohan was a devout Roman Catholic although those who knew him said his beliefs were closer to Calvinism to the extent that his nickname was Puritan Pat. His beliefs are reflected in the show.

    Other than those, I cannot think of any other options. Blake’s Seven was more nihilistic. Some Dr Who slightly touches on religion in a positive way, mainly in the earliest days under Hartnell and, in the new show, Tennant’s Doctor was sometimes symbolically Christ-like.

    Tarkovsky’s version of Solaris is probably the most Christian big screen science fiction film. Tarkovsky managed to slip in a huge amount of Christian (specifically Eastern Orthodox) symbolism into his film, under the noses of the Soviet censors. He ended up creating one of the best films – of any genre – in the history of cinema thus far.

    I really wish someone would one day make movie versions of C. S. Lewis’ trilogy of space novels though (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength). It would be fascinating to see them adapted for tge big screen.

  6. Bad typo: for Space: 1999, I meant “esotericism”, not erotecerism!

    Another honourable mention is the original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is strongly pacifist and alludes to a creator deity with power over death. Other than those examples, screen science fiction isn’t really notable as a genre in which overtly Christian themes have been explored to any great degree.

  7. Sigh… This is only a rumour at this stage but a gent named Jason Ward who runs a website called which has a good track record for reporting accurately on upcoming Star Wars films is claiming today that Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker (due out in December) will feature a lesbian kiss between two female Rebel soldiers.

    “The kiss that Jason knows about in this film is between two unnamed female Resistance fighters. “It’s not a big deal. It happens, and it’s just there.””


    I know there was some controversy about the recent Han Solo film too with hints that Lando was “pansexual” so it seems that, if the allegation true about the latest film, Disney is really pushing this agenda to be trendy.

    As you can imagine, I am personally opposed to this on multiple levels: I am strongly pacifist in general but I generally turn a blind eye to the warfare in things like Star Wars and LoTR because they are so entrenched in fantasy and removed from the realities of war, the human suffering it entails such as refugee crises and the true nature of soldiering.

    However, I am especially opposed to females in the military and I am obviously opposed to glamourization of homosexual activity, especially from a company like Disney that has reputation for being a trusted brand for children.

    The Star Wars fanbase is apparently traditionally quite conservative, too, so I wonder if this move will backfire on Disney and alienate a large chunk of the series’ core following?

  8. Sigh. The lesbian kiss in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has now been confirmed by people who have seen the film’s red carpet opening in Los Angeles tonight. 🙁 🙁 🙁

  9. I just came across this YouTube video warning about the “Satanic” side of Star Wars.

    In my humble opinion, a lot of the claims are hysterical nonsense:

    1. Luke is nothing to do with Lucifer but is a play on Lucas’ name (“Luke S”). Besides a Luke wrote one of the Gospels.

    2. Stormtroopers do not have white armour to represent a twisting of light and evil. Rather it was to symbolise the fact that the military, blindly obeying orders, saw the world in black and white terms. I do grant though that it is interesting that the Christ figure, Anakin Skywalker, who is even prophesied and has a virgin birth, is the character who is “resurrected” as the epitome of evil. I wondered about that a long time ago, before I even saw this video. I do wonder exactly what George Lucas is trying to say there. It seems distasteful, at best.

    3. Rebelling against empire is not always evil. Christians should not follow commands that go against Christ’s teachings. Surely the churches learned that lesson the hard way from the mistakes made in Nazi Germany. Maybe this guy thinks the story of Robin Hood is Satanic, too, on that basis.

    4. I cringed when Joseph Campbell mixed up the Tower of Babel and Flood stories.

    That said, there are some really interesting things in there that make the video worth watching: the Jewish symbols on the original Vader costume, the comments on Gnosticism and more insights into Lucas’ own worldview. He really does seem to believe in the “Force”.

    Anyway, I hope some readers find the chap’s video interesting and thought-provoking, even if you have to take large chunks of it with a grain of salt.

  10. Yes, I’ve gone right off Star Wars over time. We know now there are a lot of occult references in the films like the planet named “Geonosis” being a reference to gnosis.

    Now this week we learn this about Lucas’orihinal plans for the sequel trilogy:

    “Hardcore fans will know that Lucas originally meant for the saga to be a tale from a fictional bible known as the “Journal of the Whills,” but we never got an explanation of the Whills in the film. Lucas says he originally would have explained more about them in the prequels, but decided not to after the poor reception over the midi-chlorians lore. Simply put, Whills are “a microscopic single-celled life-form” that have a symbiotic relationship with the midi-chlorians and who feed on the Force. They gave the command to the midi-chlorians to make Anakin, with Lucas stating he was touched by God, who in this case “happened to be one-celled animals”.”

    So God is a bunch of amoebas in the Star Wars universe?! Very pantheistic (and downright daft!).:(

    By the way, I also went off Star Trek when I learnt that in Roddenberry’s proposed film, “The God Thing”, it would be revealed that Jesus was an alien machine who had posed as the various gods throughout earth’s history and that Captain Kirk would ultimately punch out Jesus on the bridge of the Enterprise. Thankfully, a Catholic studio head at Paramount Pictures vetoed Gene Roddenberry’s proposed film due to its blasphemy.

    There are many sources for this story on the web. Here is just one of them:

    Good, moral science fiction and fantasy can be VERY hard to find but there are examples like the original version of the Day the Earth Stood Still, 1960s-era Doctor Who, Tolkien and CS Lewis and some of the Christian actor Kevin Sorbo’s stuff.

  11. There is an interesting discussion about gnosticism in Star Wars here:

    This CNN piece talks about how SW reflects religious fashions from New Age to mindfulness meditation and how Yoda was deliberately created to evangelise for Buddhism:

    Occultism in Star Wars from some Christian academic journal:

  12. One more, from a Christian film review website:

    “Much can be made about how the “Star Wars” films touch upon New Age concepts and covert occult-like symbolism, and I do not deny their existence. However, I believe that the themes that resonate most with people are those that touch upon undeniable truths, and the most powerful one addressed in the film is that of our ‘sinful nature.’”

    This next article is a bit extreme – the author thinks science fiction is evil because it is not real and therefore a violation of Philippians 4:8! He apparently has no understanding whatsoever of how writers think, or of literature or art!

    However, he does make a few good points about SF’s relatively frequent use of occult elements.

    He notes:

    “The popular Star Wars trilogy is a prime example in which much of the occult and Eastern mysticism can be seen. By using the ‘Force’, one is able to see the future (similar to occult divination). One can also jump higher, dodge laser blasts and perform other supernormal feats. And those who are ‘strong with the Force’ are able to supernaturally move inanimate objects (psychokinesis). Writer and director George Lucas sums up the applications of the Force: ‘If you use it well, you can see the future and the past. You can sort of read minds and you can levitate and use that whole nether world of psychic energy.’30 Also occultic are the metaphysical phenomena such as the after-death appearances of Obi-Wan Kenobi. All the above phenomena are somehow made possible by using the Force—a universal, impersonal energy field which surrounds, permeates and binds all things. Thus, the religion of Star Wars might be described as Western occultism with an Eastern pantheistic twist. Philip H. Lochhaas, an authority on religions and cults, comments:

    ‘The entertainment industry must be seen as a primary vehicle for promoting occult New Age views. Films are powerful instruments for influencing millions of minds. The Star Wars trilogy was only the first among many films to make statements about a pantheistic “Force” that represents deity, intuitive communication with “the other side” and “ascended masters” that form a hierarchy for bringing humanity into the New Age.’”

  13. There is a bit of chat about Geonosis/gnosticism on Star Wars forums. Of course, one more very odd name choice is Endor. I wonder why Lucas chose this name, so associated with the occult and necromancy in the Bible, yet depict it as a beautiful forest world? Of course, in Star Wars, it is the “good guys” who commune with the dead. 🙁

    With all this talk of creating a new religion, depicting the “Whills” as a “god” and drawing on gnosticism and Campbell’s muddled New Age comparative religion claptrap, I feel like George Lucas is taking his own kid’s story far too seriously. There seems to be more than a little of L. Ron Hubbard to him in his attempt to create a new religion. 🙁

    It has really put me off Star Wars and I grew up as a huge fan of the three original films, especially Empire Strikes Back, in the 1980s. There always did, however, seem to be something that made me uncomfortable about a few elements of it as a Christian kid, especially the Force and the ghosts. Once I became a cynical teen, I was more annoyed by the poor artistic merit of the films (bad dialogue and acting, glamourisation of war) and the extremely commercial nature of the project (like all the merchandising). Now, on returning to the films as a nostalgic adult, I am concerned to see how the very dubious “spiritual” elements have taken more and more precedence in the later films and these bizarre quotes by George Lucas, where he seems to be taking these hokey kids’ films of his far too seriously and has sought to create something downright idolatrous as a result. 🙁

    I am really uncomfortable about these films now. If I had kids, I think I’d have to refuse to let them watch them, which is a shame as children deserve to have a fun, innocent, escapist space opera to watch and act out with their friends. 🙁 What a tragedy SW is so sullied by its occult elements.

  14. Okay, one last post on Star Wars. Someone on a Star Wars discussion board has the new book already. Here is what he says about Lucas, one-celled “gods” and spirituality (this is really long):

    “Symbiosis is key. Everyone is comprised of lots of tiny lifeforms that make up your body and soul. Likewise, everyone with everyone else is just a tiny part of a universal being/soul. Be it all life that makes up Earth (the Gaia hypothesis) or even larger, the galaxy and entire universe and God herself. That is what I called in my other posts, before Archives even, a fractal universe. Macrocosm and Microcosm are very much alike. Or for religious folks, as above, so below.

    The Biology:
    We know from science that lots of bacteria and other micro-lifeforms are essential for our body and that lots of cells have to come and work together to create us and keep us alive.

    The Spirituality:
    Not just our physical body follows that principle but also our soul and spiritual makeup. We are the sum of many parts working together. If every lifeform has a soul, then every microlifeform comprising us, has its own soul. Thus if we are the sum of all the biology within us, likewise their souls kinda in summation are what we are, our soul and very being.
    Likewise, each human has a soul, so all human, anima, planet, etc. souls together may inform and shape the planetary Gaia soul, or the galactic soul, or the universal soul some do call God.

    This basically is the micro to macro scale of how we, life, the universe works.

    The other division is between Life and Death:

    Since birth the Biology transforms energy for our Life purposes and upon Death that energy is released back to the universe. Life is short, just a period of time, before and after it religions claim heaven and hell or a netherworld to be. Others claim rebirth being possible or even that a soul can choose if it wants to be reborn or not and the ideal is to reach a state free of the rebirth cycle.

    Now, if there is a plane where souls come from and return to, and if rebirth or a physical life in general is optional for them, then we can surmise that not every soul chooses to be born into a body. Therefore there maybe are a lot more bodyless souls than incarnated/embodied souls. Likewise if that plane of existance as religions clame has all those that died and are there now probably outnumber the living any day.

    Head spinning already? Have some quotes:

    George Lucas:
    “This is the cosmology. The Force is the energy, the fuel, and without it everything would fall apart.

    The Force is a metaphor for God, and God is essentially unknoweable. But behind it is another metaphor, which fits so well into the movie that i couldn’t resist it.

    Midi-chlorians are the equivalent of Mitochondria in living organisms and photosynthesis in plants – I simply combined them for easier consumption by the viewer. Mitochondria create the chemical energy that turns one cell into two cells.

    I like to think that there is a unified reality to life and that it exists everywhere in the universe and that it controls things, but you can also control it.
    That’s why I split it into the Personal Force and the Cosmic Force. The Personal Force is the energy field created by our cells interacting and doing things while we are alive. When we die, we lose our persona and our energy is assimilated into the Cosmic Force.
    If we have enough Midichlorians in our body, we can have a certain amount of control over our Personal Force and learn how to use it, like the Buddhist practive of being able to walk on hot coals.”

    “The Jedi will train you to connect to your Personal Force, and then to connect to the Cosmic Force. You don’t have much power to control the Cosmic Force, but you can make use of it.”
    (…)Now we move on to the Whills finally, I promose!

    George Lucas:
    “The Whills are a microscopic, single-celled lifeform like amoeba, fungi, and bacteria. There’s something like 100.000 times more Whills than there are Midichlorians, and there’s about 10.000 times more Midichlorians than there are human cells.

    The only microscopic entities that can go into the human cells are the Midichlorians. They are born in the cells. The Midichlorians provide the energy for human cells to split and create life. The Whills are single-celled animals that feed on the Force. The more of the Force there is, the better off they are. So they have a very intense symbiotic relationship with the Midichlorians and the Midichlorians effectively work for the Whills.
    It is estimated that we have 100 trillion microbes in our body and we are made up of about 90% bacteria and 10% human cells. So who is in service to hom?

    I know this is the kind of thing that fans just go berserk over because they say, “We want it to be mysterious and magical”, and “You’re just doing science.” Well, this isn’t science.

    This is just as mythological as anything else in Star Wars. It sounds more scientific, but it’s a fiction.

    It’s saying there is a big symbiotic relationship to create life, and to create the Force, but if you look at all the life-forms in the universe, most of them are one-celled organisms. I think of one-celled organisms as an advanced form of life because they’ve because they’ve been able to travel through the universe. They have their own spaceships – those meteorites that we get every once in a while. They’ve been living on those things for thousands of years, they’ve been frozen, unfrozen, and can survive almost anything.

    The once-celled organisms have to have a balance. You have to have good ones and bad ones otherwise it would extinguish life. And if they go out of balance, the dark side takes over.”
    Well there you have it finally…

    Some comments from me before I let your brains process it all for a while:

    While he talks about tiny once-cellular lifeforms he describes the physical side of his cosmology, the biology. At the same time, underlying this concept is a spiritual one, that mirrors lots of religious and esoteric concepts about souls, Gaia, etc. This one is more evident in TCW and his other works. In that regard I think, the Whills/Midichlorian relationship is more like the one between the Celestials/Ones/ForcePriestesses. There are many, only some become these special ones and interact with other lifeforms via incarnation in some shape or body temporarily.

    George Lucas is a man loving his esoterics, even Indiana Jones is based on that side of his reading instead of proper hard science archeology. And I notive plenty of esoteric currents and works he must have studied but tries to reframe and rephrase for general audiences in more understandeable or accepteable versions, distilling them down like he did with history and mythology in his Modern Myth Saga.

    The OT is the Modern Myth, where he distilled history, mythology and many old works, be it fiction or based on real events for modern audiences.

    Likewise he intended the PT to continue the trend and include way more than previously science and spirituality, especially esoterics too distilled down for general audiences to make the stuff more accessible and spread the truths.”

    The more I learn about Star Wars and George Lucas, the more disturbing his esotericism/spiritualism becomes. This is a long way from his early days of creating a mock-up , pulpy pastiche of Flash Gordon, fairy tale, western and samurai films. Something has gone very wrong in Lucas’ life for him to want to expose children to spiritism and esotericism in what are, essentially still kids’ films. 🙁

  15. Yet more discussion on the occultism, astral projection, etc, in the Star Wars films:

    This occultist is even using it as a teaching primer!

    🙁 🙁 🙁

    Another aspect I haven’t mentioned yet that was discussed above is that Anakin Skywalker is obviously modeled after Jesus with the prophecy of the coming of the chosen one, his virgin birth, miraculous powers, etc, yet he is the character who ends up becoming corrupted and the epitome of evil in these stories. He is a “Messiah” who is corrupted by the “satanic” Emperor.

    Since George Lucas obviously takes this stuff way more seriously than most fans do with the comments about starting a religion, I am starting
    to see him as an L. Ron Hubbard-type figure of a hack SF writer turned guru, with the difference being that Hubbard’s religion was more of a money-making scam whereas Lucas has already made more money than anyone could ever possibly spend in a single lifetime. The most disturbing thing is this is all marketed at young kids. 🙁 🙁 🙁

    I think if I had children who wanted to see a space opera, I’d direct them towards Filmation’s (animated) New Adventures of Flash Gordon series which I also loved as a child and is very innocent compared to the New Age/spiritualist/occult stuff so obviously promoted in the latter films of the Star Wars series.

    Okay, that is enough obsessing over this topic from me now. I won’t post on this again unless more evidence comes out about Lucas’ plans for the sequel trilogy or his religious opinions.

    1. These are good comments. No, I don’t think you are reading too much into it or anything hiven Campbell and George Lucas have openly expressed their interest in gnosticism, eastern teligions, etc.

      I also read something else the other day that was interesting: Anakin’s first words to Padme are the rather odd line, “Are you an angel?” which must have been chosen deliberately and his last words to her are, “You brought him here to kill me!” They were pointing out tge occultic meaning of this and how Padme is an angel of death for Anakin. Of course, she brings about his doom while they are on the hell-like volcano world, Mustafar yet Anakin’s death is also his rebirth there.

      There is a lot of material in Star Wars that makes me really uncomfortable as an adult too. 🙁 I think Lucas believed in his own piblicity way too kuch and he lost sight of the story’s roots as a Flash Gordon parody. If uou read the very earliest draft of the first Star Wars film (readily available onljne), the Force is mentioned in it a few times so it is vaguely present as a religion but the Jedi and Sith do not have any supernatural powers and there are no Eastern or gnostic concrpts at all except for the fact that a recurring motif is that characters sacrifice themselves to save others so there is a strong theme of the noble suicide for the good of the collective which didn’t feature in any of the films until the Last Jedi with Holdo and Luke’s deaths and Finn’s (prevented) suicide run at the laser.

      Anyway, it is clear from the early draft that Lucas didn’t really start out intending to build up a religion in his films around occulyic and gnostic ideas, despite what he claims now.

  16. Yes, there is a lot of occult and gnostic stuff in Star Wars. George Lucas was influenced by Joseph Campbell who had some gnostic ideas.

    George Lucas also opposed using a piece of merchandising, the Star Wars Christmas album “Christmas in the Stars” to evangelise fans:

    “So now the album’s done, it’s over. Why? George has serious concerns about any mixture of the metaphor of the Force with Christianity. I said, so, the problem is my song, “The Meaning of Christmas.””

    A Christian would surely leap at the chance to evangelise to a worldwise audience like Star Wars had garnered by that time. Lucas grew up in California in the 1960s so there is a lot of spiritualism and New Age hippie ideals in his thinking that I am afraid permeate Star Wars from necromancy/communing with the dead to soothsaying to a planet named Endor to a fallen Christ-figure in Anakin to the Manicheasm of the Force to name but a few examples of many.

    As for Battlestar Galactica, in an interview on Youtube the show’s creator notes he was as much influenced by Erich von Däniken’s “Chariot of the Gods?” pseudoscience – which he takes seriously – as he is by the Mormonism of his youthful upbringing.

    “Space 1999” does allude to a deity but it is full of occult and metaphysical/spiritualist themes as well.

    Truly, the only two Science Fiction shows that area truly Christian in my opinion are The Prisoner with Pat McGoohan and the original 1980s version of Quantum Leap. Both are thoroughly permeated with a Christian worldview.

    Neither show featured space travel which is interesting to me given that real life space exploration had deeply occultic roots:

    1. I know it has a reputation for being very woke and promoting the LGBT movement but apparently the Jodie Whittaker era of Doctor Who has been much more respectful of religion than any other era since the show’s relaunch in 2005. Here are some articles discussing the phenomenon:

      I agree that real life space travel’s occult roots are disturbing.

      Some Christians, including myself, believe that Psalm 115:16 and Genesis 1:28 implicitly firbid humans from venturing into space. Also C. S. Lewis praised God for the “cosmic speed limit” of light speed that prevents us from spreading our sinfulness to other worlds.

      1. Here are some more of my thoughts. First of all, I can understand the Pastor’s enthusiasm for the Force Awakens from a theological perspective. To me, it was almost Calvinistic in places, such as when the evil Kylo Ren complains about the Light Side calling to him. That reminded me of the notion of irresistible grace.

        It is a pity that the Last Jedi saw a return of the necromancy of early Star Wars, along with the introduction of new occult elements like out of body experiences/astral projection and the lesbian kiss at the end of the Rise of Skywalker.

        If George Lucas had had his way, the sequel trilogy would have been even more eccentric with God revealed to be “one celled animals” (ie, some kind of amoebas):

        Far too weird and blasphemous for me. 🙁

        On a happier note, judging from this evidence, the original version of Quantum Leap spunds great!

        Finally, if people are desperate for a Christian spaceship-based science fiction show, I do have a possible suggestion but I am not going to formally endorse this since I haven’t watched it. It just might be worth investigating.

        According to a user comment on this Star Trek forum discussion thread, season 5 of the show, Andromeda, is as close to “Christian scifi” as you can get:

        Andromeda started out as a typical sci fi show, infused with some spiritualist/occult themes. In fact, it was probably worse than most because demons were presented as the “good guys” while “angels” were the villains, so it was calling good evil and evil good. 🙁

        However, the head writer who was responsible for all of these ideas was sacked half way through season 2. It went through myriad staff changes and, by Season 5, the well-known Christian actor, Kevin Sorbo, was exerting the most influence over the show’s direction. If the Star Trek forum comment is to be believed, he must have taken the show in a much more Christian direction.

        The good news is, from what I gather, Season Five of Andromeda is functions as a standalone “add-on” to the main series, so you don’t have to have seen any of the previous seasons to be able to follow it.

        If any Christian is willing to investigate Andromeda Season 5 further and let us know if Kevin Sorbo really did turn the series around and make the last season into a Christian-themed science fiction show, I and many others on here I am sure would be very grateful to know.

        God bless.

      2. I found out a bit more about Andromeda from someone’s (hostile) IMDB review. Here is an abbreviated quote:

        20 February 2017
        The first season and a half actually shows promise. The original premise of the show is based in a fascinating Gnostic/Cathar cosmology. Basically we are fooled by a powerful-being/god who we are tricked into thinking is good and loving but is actually a fascist rule obsessed control freak. The entities fighting this control freak (like Trance) are persecuted and labeled as “devils”. Very little of this actually emerges on screen though we get tantalizing hints about this fascinating back story throughout season one…

        Sadly Christian-nutter Kevin Sorbo is horrified by the meta=plot and manages to take over and remove the long term story-line…”

        I still can’t find put why someone would describe Season 5 as an extremely Christian piece of sci fi though. I cannot find any discussion on the web of the themes, symbolism or narrative of this season that indicate why the poster on that Star Trek forum thought it was so. Most discussions of Season 5 are mainly about technical aspects – the smaller budget, at-times weak writing and the fact it is tacked on to the main series as a kind of addendum or reboot, making it quite separate in terms of both its story from the narrative that had gone before and in its style which is apparently also distinct from the rest of the series.

        I am curious about it now, so I would like yo find out more.

        To change the subject back to real-life space flight, no discussion of the disturbing roots of both the American and Soviet programmes is complete of course without mentioning their roots in the Nazi V2 programme and the use of slave labour by the Nazi scientists which led yo horrific deaths. 🙁

        After Werner von Braun was brought to the United States under Operation Paperclip, he claimed to become a Christian and even a kind of creationist, no less. I only hope, for the sake of his soul, his claim was sincere.

        Regardless, I do maintain my belief that human spaceflight is sinful and that we have no mandate from God to venture beyond the Earth given the two verses I cited above. I realise the number of Christians who hold this view are seemingly in the minority though. I don’t know where I stand on unmanned missions and Earth-orbit satellites at this stage. At the very least ee can say that, like all technologies, they have brought great advantages in terms of satellite communications, GPS systems and the like but also new terrors (spy satellites and the possibility of orbital weapons and who-knows-what classified military technologies currently up there.)

        God bless.

      3. I finally found out a bit more about the supposed Christian link with Andromeda from an old Reddit exchange:

        A person writes:
        “Andromeda wasn’t very good, as a show. It had way too many religious undertones. Dylan, in his flying Bible, brings back “light” to the galaxy after sleeping for 300 years. They liked to say “In Dylan we trust”. They even had a race called the Nietzschians, one of who “comes around” to Dylan’s side. They had a mystery character who could really only be described as an Angel (sorry, a “star”)… they fought the Magog…”

        [Another person mentions a staff of some kind they use on the show.]

        The first person responds again:

        “‘Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness,
        I fear no harm, for You are with me;
        Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.’

        Darkness. Staff/rod. So much religious imagery…”

        If they use the religious imagery in a respectful way and do not twist the theology to make good evil and evil good as they evidently did in tye furst two seasons, ot might be worth checking out, irrespective of how cheesey or poorly written it is. Beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to Christian sci fi. There is such a paucity of it out tyere we will just have to take what we can. If the message is there, I might be able to overlook the lack of artistry in the sgow or at least cringe my way through it if it is as bad as they say. Failing that, I’ll have to stick to the Prisoner, Quantum Leap, William Hartnell-era Doctor Who and maybe, just maybe, Jodie Whittaker-era Doctir Who for my fix of Christian television science fiction.

        God bless.

      4. Ironically, having posted the above about science fiction shows and real life space flight, I just learnt the line berween the two is now going to be blurred as the first feature film shot in outer space is about to be released:

        The Russian government is sponsoring it. While they are butchering the Ukrainians, they are also putting this material out. Ostentatious propaganda for the Russian state? An extravagance while people suffer and die on earth?

  17. I just watched a lovely documentary on Foxtel about Christian science fiction.

    The narrators noted the genre is often hostile to Christianity as it frequently exhibits a materialist or scientist worldview but there has always been a subversive sub-genre of Christian SF which engages with theology in a thoughtful way.

    The writers discussed were:

    * Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)

    * Victor Rousseau (The Messiah of the Cylinder)

    * C. S. Lewis (The Space Trilogy)

    * Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time). [L’Engke faced some criticism when her book was first published for being too universalist in her Christian views.]

    * Tolkien was also encouraged by Lewis to write a sci go book but it was never completed. It would have apparently involved time travel.

    Opponents of Christian S. F. included the Fabian socialist, H. G. Wells and the materialist, George Orwell.

    The documentary was well worth watching.

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