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Tuesday
Feb262013

Star Wars Episode 7: All My Children?

This analog analogy is not very apt to a digital medium, but I'll deploy it anyway: the internet is lousy with speculation about the plot of Star Wars Episode 7. Most reports (such as this one) say that the story will revolve around the children of Skywalker, Solo and even--if this report is to be believed--Chewbacca.

I hope Disney/Lucasfilm have the creativity and courage to steer clear of this. If there is one feature of the prequels--and even of Return of the Jedi--that most undermined those films, it was Lucas's penchant for making everyone everyone else's relative. In a galaxy of thousands of star systems, most (it seems) teaming with life, there must be at least an ensemble-cast's worth of people to tell stories about who are not the offspring of Luke, Leia and Han. 

Why should we assume the old Star Wars heroes had children at all? Leia in particular strikes me as one for whom parenthood may have held few attractions. She's all business and dedication to the cause. People change, of course, but one of the compelling aspects of Leia's character is precisely that she is a female lead who is not a maternal figure. If Leia comes back in Episode 7 at all, I see her as a leader of Alderaan's tiny diaspora, having dedicated her post-Rebellion life to the memory of that people's genocide--not as the doting mother (or, by now, grandmother) of a new generation of Force-weilding superheroes.

It's nearly as hard for me to see Han and Luke as parents--or husbands, for that matter. Solo isn't an obvious candidate for Galaxy's Best Dad. And Luke's Jedi calling is seemingly not one that leaves a lot of time for nurturing relationships with one's wife and children. Obi-Wan and Yoda were both, it seems, bachelors. Indeed, the only example of a Jedi father in Star Wars is Vader--and we all know how that turned out. 

Star Wars is not the Cosby Show. (Sorry for the very dated reference. I haven't watched TV in about 25 years.) What I mean is, it's not a story about family life. Don't domesticate it. 

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