Marking this day, AntiquityNOW is launching a Science Fiction section on antiquitynow.org to explore how ancient motifs have influenced this popular genre.
Today is International Star Wars Day. May the Force (that’s right, it’s a spin on May 4th) be with you. What is the enduring power of these movies? Is it the storytelling, the intergalactic characters or perhaps the dazzling visuals? Yes to all. But there is more at play. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series, has spoken frequently of how his personal interest in the metaphysical has informed his movie-making. Having been a long-time friend of the late American mythologist Joseph Campbell, Lucas found a mystical purpose in the magic of film. “I’m telling an old myth in a new way,” he said in a 1999 interview about Star Wars with PBS TV’s Bill Moyers. He describes this telling as a “kind of immaculate realism in a totally unreal and fantasy world.” Many have suggested that his films are embedded with a religious undercurrent. But Lucas professes the most ecumenical embrace of spiritual ideals and dismisses any ties with a particular religion. For example, the Force was never intended to represent a specific religion, but rather a catalyzing idea that could awaken young people to the possibilities of a spiritual life. He wanted them to question and seek their own perspectives of the unseen world.Yet his dialog can seem profoundly religious and even vaguely familiar to those who are among the faithful. As the powerful Jedi master Yoda said: Continue reading