The Force

Discussion in 'Star Wars Mythology' started by theS0UND, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. theS0UND

    theS0UND Jedi Master

    This thread is to begin a discussion about the nature of the Force throughout the Star Wars series. From the Films to the EU and within the fandom, the ideas about The Force have been expanded on many times in various ways. I'm going to start with my own view but I want to hear any and all opinions and views on the Force.

    First let me say, I'm 26 years old. I was 7 when The Phantom Menace came out. I was introduced to Star Wars with the Original Trilogy, (thank the maker) but I grew up with the Prequels and during that time I loved them. As I've gotten older I have enjoyed them less and less but do still value them for the childhood nostalgia, (mainly TPM). Especially in the years leading up to the release of TFA, I have become something of an OT purist. Don't get me wrong, I'm not elitist. I love Star Wars in the most general sense and can find something to enjoy in any and all things Star Wars, but for me the unaltered Original Trilogy is the ultimate authority and any other mythology, (atleast directly connected to the "Skywalker Saga") must harmonize with it. Unfortunately I haven't found that to be the case with the Force in practically any story after RotJ.

    So here's the meat and potatoes. My view on the Force is directly and solely defined by the OT and what we learn mostly from Obi-Wan and Yoda. I believe the Force is simply an energy field that connects all living things and binds the galaxy together. I believe that there are those that are born with either more or less natural ability to sense, interact with and manipulate it and that most anyone could, with training, engage with it in some way. I don't believe it has to do with blood or family lineage. Luke's RotJ dialogue about the Force being strong in his family is no different than saying a natural talent for playing music runs in my family. So of course, I don't accept midichlorians in my personal canon and I believe that it's a bunch on nonsense that Lucas came up with, which deviates from the original intentions. The Prequels, for me, completely destroy the mysticism of the Force.

    I also don't believe there is some type of inherit morality or benevolent God-like intelligence to the Force. I don't believe the Force has a "will" or plan for the galaxy. And I think the idea of "Balance" in the Force is nonsense. This termionology is never found anywhere in the OT. Now, I do appreciate that the Sequels have gone to the effort of ditching the pseudo-scientific crap from the Prequels and attempted to restore the mystical qualities of the Force, however they have held onto the "Balance" thing and also capitalized on the completely fan-concieved idea of the "Light Side" of the Force. Again, this terminology is found no where in the OT or even in the Prequels and I've never been able to figure out why it has prevailed in the fandom. I strongly dislike the idea that the Force is somehow neatly divided into two moral halves with a middle ground between.

    To put it simply I believe there is the Force, which is a neutral energy that binds and connects all living things in the galaxy. I believe the Dark Side is a corruption of it that is brought about by evil beings who seek to use it for power, control and destruction, while the Jedi seek to use it for peace, harmony, knowledge etc.

    That's it. No bloodlines, no balance, no prophecies. I know it probably seems a little contrarian but, I just disagree with almost every attempted expansion on the nature of the Force, outside of the original films. That being said, I'm open to hearing other opinions!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  2. williarob

    williarob Administrator Staff Member

    I agree. I think the force is completely neutral, nether light nor dark, and therefore those who "turn to the dark side" have become corrupted by their own power and greed, rather than being seduced by the force itself.

    There is an interesting discussion on the origins of Lucas' Force in the book The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski. Here are a few snippets from the book:

    The name and concept behind the Force can also be vaguely traced in influence to experimental Canadian filmmaker Arthur Lipsett’s 21-87, one of the most influential films on Lucas during his years at USC. In one of the film’s more memorable moments, the life-energy of the universe or god is referred to as a “force,” again showing that the term and concept were common amongst counterculturalists long before Lucas made it famous. The audio clip Lipsett sampled comes from a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and cinematographer Roman Kroitor. McCulloch argues that living beings are simply highly complex machines, but Kroitor replies that there is something more to the universe: “Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God.”

    "[The Force] is a product of the 1970s culture itself, when such notions were “in the air” and especially common amongst young people, artists and those in the area in which Lucas was living. “The ‘Force of others’ is what all basic religions are based on, especially the Eastern religions,” Lucas once said, “which is, essentially, that there is a force, God, whatever you want to call it.”
     
  3. theS0UND

    theS0UND Jedi Master

    Either most of us pretty much agree with this assessment or this topic is more uninteresting to people than I assumed. Lol I shall try to come up with a new topic of discussion posthaste!
     
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  4. TrumpyAl

    TrumpyAl Initiate

    I recall having the same reaction to being smacked in the face with the concept of Midi-chlorians with no warning!

    I assumed that it was a personal preference of Lucas, wanting to move away from the religious feel of the Force and towards science. I can, sort of, appreciate the idea that the Jedi's were more educated on the nature of the force back then - but then how did Obi-wan get so ignorant after a decade or so in the desert?
     
  5. williarob

    williarob Administrator Staff Member

    Lucas just needed a way to make it obvious the boy was special - a way to measure his force abilities so that Yoda and the council (and the audience) could be convinced of his power, rather than just Qui Gon's "feeling" that the force was strong in this one. Thus Midichlorians. Simple as that.
     
  6. GZK8000

    GZK8000 Jedi Master

    Not only Kaminski's book makes it clear that some of current day's narratives regarding Lucas' early influence before and during the making of Star Wars (like supposely Joseph Campbell) are nonsensical (the reality that most people don't want to admit is that Star Wars's biggest influence was pulp fiction), there's also a good passage somewhere in the book where, back in the day, Hamill himself asked Lucas where the idea of the Force came out, and Lucas admitted it was based on thousands of comics and books and (IIRC) that there wasn't really anything special.
     
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  7. camroncamera

    camroncamera Jedi Master

    I was visiting with my neighbor the other day, he had recently returned home from Las Vegas where some buddies had taken him to his first Star Trek convention. (He thought he was going to meet and greet William Shatner, having no idea such photo ops were $250, paid in advance.) Like many, he grew up watching reruns of The Original Series in the 70's and he was inspired to start rewatching the old episodes on Netflix upon his return home. I caught most of the second pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before", originally aired as the third episode, though any person familiar with TOS could see that the show was still not yet quite in its final form: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_No_Man_Has_Gone_Before

    Having not actually watched any classic Star Trek episodes in many years, what stood out to me immediately was the Jedi/Sith Force-like powers gained by the villian, "Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell" (played excellently by Gary Lockwood of 2001 fame): ESP, Telekinesis, Superhuman strength & reflexes, annnnd.... shooting lightning from his hands towards the Good Guys in order to incapacitate (and demean) them.
     

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