Blast From The Past: Deflating Lucas

While cleaning out my mailbox I discovered an old message from April, 2002, that is of interest today. It addresses a Salon.com article criticizing the overblown mythos of the Star Wars saga, subtly titled "Galactic Gasbag". Here's my reply to the friend who pointed the article out to me:

Even my five-year-old son finds interviews with Lucas tiresome. I agree that his ingenuine inflation of the Star Wars mythos is as overwrought as when the camera lingered on the death of a single ewok at the Battle of Endor while stormtroopers died in scores. However, not all the points of the salon article are valid. I think that the archetypal story arc that Campbell describes *is* a pervasive one, *does* reflect some aspects of the Star Wars story arc, and is one that repeats in nearly every heroic epic, whether the writer was conscious of the fact or not:

1. The Call to Adventure
2. Refusal of the Call
3. Supernatural Aid
4. The Crossing of the First Threshold
5. The Belly of the Whale

1. The Road of Trials
2. The Meeting with the Goddess
3. Woman as the Temptress
4. Atonement with the Father
5. Apotheosis
6. The Ultimate Boon

1. Refusal of the Return
2. The Magic Flight
3. Rescue from Without
4. The Crossing of the Return Threshold
5. Master of the Two Worlds
6. Freedom to Live

The pattern repeats in myths, literature, pulp, and film because it offers a compelling heroic journey. And while the trash-compactor-as-whale analogy is admittedly ludicrous, I think it would be erroneous to try to fit every story to every component of the pattern.

Lucas is a huckster, and his high-brow claims don't delude me. Ths [sic] might surprise you: I can't wait until May 2005 when Anakin falls, the Jedi are exterminated, the saga is over, the DVDs are all bought, the LEGO kits are all on the shelf, and nothing more will be heard from the Skywalker Ranch but a faint chuckle and riffling of bills as George Lucas counts his great wads of cash.

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