The Dark Truth Behind The Star Wars Saga

We love Star Wars — a lot. We are some binge-watching, theorizing, cosplaying uber fans. That being said, there are some really interesting, dark asides to these films we should discuss. Darker than Darth, even. Stuff like ...

Luke's priorities are consistently whacko

We get that Luke's just a kid when A New Hope starts out. He has big dreams and isn't thrilled about helping out his Uncle Owen when he'd really rather be doing other stuff. But then, his aunt and uncle — who raised him pretty much from birth — get fried to a crisp by Stormtroopers. While Luke rushes home and sees his beloved aunt and uncle barbequed in the front yard, he ... looks a little bit downtrodden. A little downtrodden. He looks a little bit sad.

And that's all! This reaction is totally disproportionate in relation to his reaction to, say, Obi Wan's death. He was crushed, even though he'd known Obi Wan all of, what? A few hours? Days? A week, if that? He screams "NOOOOOOOO!" loud enough to alert every Stormtrooper in the solar system, while his family getting roasted to smithereenies warrants barely a sniffle.

That's not Luke's only crappy emotional call, either. In Episode VII, we learn Luke has taken off because some bad (albeit, really bad) stuff went down at Jedi School, and he leaves the map to where he is in two different pieces, spurring a whole movie devoted to finding him instead of, say, leaving a note in Leia's bag saying, "Ben went bad, off to mope on Temple planet, be back in a quarter-century. Dinner's in the oven."

All in all, Luke Skywalker, the hero of the Original trilogy, has all the emotional balance of an angry, drunken money. Our eight-year-old selves still want to marry him, though.

People had friends on that Death Star!

In Return of the Jedi, the second Death Star was under construction. If you saw Clerks, Randall argues that, because the thing was still being built, it was likely loaded with tons of independent contractors, who were "casualties of a war they had nothing to do with." They hammered together a few walls to pay the bills, and then the Rebels came to blow them up and leave their children parentless.

Lucas tried to get around that. There's a handy commentary on the Attack of the Clones DVD, where he mentions the Clerks theory. He claims that in Episode II, he added a schematic of the Death Star, telling viewers that people didn't construct the Death Star, but rather Geonosians, which were "large termites." Large termites have families too, you know!

But never mind who built the Death Star for a second: are all the people in the Empire evil, really? Leadership certainly is, but what of the regular people? The Death Star and Star Destroyer had to have had janitors, plumbers, electricians, package delivery people, Pilates instructors — these people were just doing their jobs, meaning the Rebel Force's actions are ... harsh, to say the least. Couldn't there have been an evacuation plan for the potentially not-so-evil work-a-days? If not, it's possible a whole mess of innocent people got blowed right the eff up.

Politics in the Star Wars universe are a hot mess

In Episode 1, we see a complex and corrupt system of government, and a not-so-cut-and-dry battle between one side of the argument and the other. Taxation of trade routes? Sure, in a movie set in space, where planets have inhabitants and those inhabitants trade with each other, we're sure some politicians would want to slap a tax on some of the routes. Or all of the routes. Or lower the tax on routes that serve their interests. Tax or tax not, there is no refund.

But the political scene we're presented with in Episode I is wacky to the nth. The Galactic Senate is made up of Senators. Some of them speak for different government agencies, others represent planets and planetary systems. One planet (Naboo) elects a Queen, and she's not a Senator, yet she gets to pass laws and stuff. It's doesn't make much sense, and pretty much just serves to move the plot forward. Episode III gets even wonkier, when Palpatine is the veritable puppet master and stirs up a bunch of stuff in the political space. Hey, we're not the only ones who think so. NPR says so too, and they kinda know their politics.

It goes on. On the surface, anybody with a high school history education can see that there are certain parallels between the Emperor and Hitler. Hitler was a member of the German Worker's Party, worked his way up through the changing organization, and ultimately was appointed to Chancellor (ahem, Palpatine), and then declared himself dictator (ahem, Palpatine). However you slice it, the politics are complicated, unsettling, and deeply disturbing.

The robots have it super-rough

Most of the droids in the Star Wars universe have artificial intelligence, along with distinct personalities. They're basically metal people. Once you realize that, you can see that some pretty messed up things happen to the droids.

In Jabba's lair in Return of the Jedi, droids are torturing other droids. Inventively, we might add. The little guy with his feet to the fire gets flipped upside down by a made-for-flipping-a-droid-upside-down-and-burning-his-feet machine and he actually says "OW" when it happens. So, droids can feel pain now? That's way more monstrous than the films get credit for! Why does nobody think of the poor droids?

Then there's R2D2, who has this really great personality, and obvious feelings. (He's depressed to the point of catatonia in Episode VII, a condition with only one known cure: "plot advancement".) His makers designed him with all that great stuff, but didn't give him the ability to talk? Feels like a raw deal.

Speaking of, C3P0 and R2D2 go through Episodes I-III with everyone, only to get their memories wiped because Lucas has to tie all this together somehow. So they have feeling, they have personalities, they get happy, they get sad, they can love ... but humans can just take that all away whenever their whims demand it? And the droids don't even get a say in this? You know what? Scrap The Last Jedi, and make Episode VIII a murder-revenge epic where the Droids go CRAZY with the vengeance. Terminator with lightsabers. You'd watch.

Obi Wan was stone cold, and really so are all the Jedi

Obi Wan was supposed to love Anakin. He was his brother! He set him on fire! He loved him! He cut off his legs! He's so sanctimonious about Anakin going Dark, he doesn't even try to save him from the Sith, or at least from dying a lava-hot fiery death. And when it's all over? Obi Wan just walks away. He doesn't even do his old friend the courtesy of mercy-finishing him off, leaving him to die slowly. On fire. With no legs.

Perhaps he was following the Jedi Code. After all, at the point where a red-eyed Anakin is legless and covered in burning lava, he's unarmed. It's against the Jedi Code to kill an unarmed opponent. So, Obi Wan follows code here, but that doesn't make the scene any easier to watch, nor does it make Obi Wan any less callous. He's put in a tough, almost impossible situation, and he follows his training. Which is to be a stone-cold, unfeeling Jedi.

Seriously, these are the heroes? In Episode I, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi Wan rescue Anakin from the slave colony on Tatooine, but they totally leave his mom behind. They didn't have enough money to buy both of them, which makes sense, but TEN YEARS go by before Anakin goes back to look for his mother. In the meantime, he's living in the Jedi Temple, with all the resources of the Jedis (and presumably the Galactic government ) — they don't once even think to go back and buy his mom out of slavery? Guess it slipped their mind ... or more likely, they didn't care. Too bad, because Anakin's rage surfaces when he takes revenge on the Tusken Raiders who killed his mom. It's, you know, pretty much the first time Darth Vader emerges. Thanks, Gon and Wan.

Then there's the potential death of innocents on the Death Star, Yoda giving zero effs about Luke's friends, and ghost Obi Wan defending his bald-faced lie Luke's father with that FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW nonsense. Well, FROM A POINT OF VIEW, if Luke had told ghost Kenobi to shut up and stayed with Yoda, the only truly moral Jedi around apparently, he would have been a better Jedi AND human. The green muppet is a better person than all the hero persons.

Kylo Ren's fight between the Light and Dark Sides is more brutal than you think

Kylo Ren is an angsty guy with real anger control issues, which was awesome to watch once you realize it's not just temper tantrums taken out on poor computer screens. In Episode VII's final fight scene, he gets blasted in the side by Chewbacca after Han gets the ultimate confirmation his son wants nothing to do with him. We see the blood drip on the snow, and as he fights, Ren starts punching his own wound ... on purpose.

This wasn't just another baby tantrum. He almost certainly did this because it hurts, and pain makes him angry, and anger leads to the Dark Side. It was subtle, but super powerful, because it underscores the struggle Ren's having as a pseudo-Dark Sider. Sure, he slaughtered younglings at Jedi school and does a lot of other harsh stuff (like the Han thing), but even Snoke questions his ability to fully commit to the Dark Side. So if smacking that bleeding wound channels his anger and hatred, and drives the Light away just that much more, he's going to do it. It's a hell of a thing to watch and a disturbing, yet oddly satisfying piece of cinema, one that'll pay off even more in the next film, when Ren is presumably much, much closer to being evil incarnate.

These are just a few of the dark, troubling things in the Star Wars universe that we like to think about while we're popping the popcorn for another viewing. Or polishing our Stormtrooper cosplay outfits. Or writing our Star Wars fanfiction. Don't pretend you don't do it too.