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One of the key things that marks the Disney era of Star Wars out from what came before is its willingness to put everyday heroes front and centre: a shuttle pilot, a stormtrooper, an engineer etc. Compared with the Jedi, senators and royalty that dominate so much of the saga, these are nobodies caught up in the galaxy’s shifting socio-political tides. The Jedi served to protect the Republic as an idea, an institution, rather than the individual people themselves, while the Empire — and, later, the First Order — sought totalitarian control, citing the people’s safety as their directive. …


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There are plenty of fundamental ingredients simmering away in the crucible of Star Wars: myth, samurai cinema, westerns, thirties sci-fi serials, politics. Yet one of the key things that gets routinely overlooked in this concoction is comfort.

I recently put a question out to the Twittersphere asking what Star Wars film respondents found most comforting. Although there were some predictable answers — your Empires and New Hopes — there were just as many that said The Last Jedi (TLJ), Solo and, like me, The Phantom Menace. …


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Perhaps the only way of achieving a definitive answer to the long-standing ‘nature versus nurture’ debate is through human cloning. Setting aside the ethical dilemma, using clones would enable genetic copies of the same child to be raised in myriad settings to see whether they grow up different or the same.

As Attack of the Clones (AOTC) established, Boba Fett is a perfect genetic copy of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. The latter served as the model on which the Republic’s entire clone army was based. On top of his financial payment, he asked for an unaltered clone to raise…


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To say that Star Wars means a lot to me is an understatement. My daughter’s middle name is Amidala, my wife walked down the aisle to ‘Across the Stars’ and my home is filled with various merchandise, collectables and memorabilia. Even in the off weeks where my fandom wanes, not a day passes that I’m not met with something Star Wars or other — from the Tatooine pot I keep my coffee in, to the plushies in my daughter’s room. My point is that I’m pretty invested in this franchise and my natural inclination is to like every piece of…


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The names given to Star Wars characters, like the names we give to our own children, are often heavy with meaning. The tender shoots of their creators’ plans for them, and beyond that the role they are destined to play in the galaxy. In this, Padmé Amidala’s name is no different. It isn’t merely the name of a queen. In Sanskrit, ‘padme’ (or rather ‘padma’) is the lotus — Buddhism’s symbolic bloom of wisdom, purity and rising above the mud of mortal greed and desire. And the lotus flower is only the root of it.

Om mani padme hum

This…


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For all Star Trek got right over the years in terms of representation and tackling important social issues, there are many areas where the franchise could have done better. One in particular is the portrayal of pregnancy.

Deanna Troi and the ‘mystical pregnancy’ trope

In ‘The Child’, the season two opener of The Next Generation (TNG), ship counsellor Deanna Troi is impregnated with an amorphous alien lifeform because it was curious. In order to understand humanity, it wanted to go through the entire lifecycle: to be born, grow and die. The lifeform, however, never asked permission or consent and the scene in which it flits up the…


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The Borg are the ultimate enemy because they defy definition. They are whatever the plot requires them to be, from a frightening new adversary to even an ally. Since they were first introduced to Star Trek canon in The Next Generation episode ‘Q Who?’ in 1989, the Borg have served as a foil for The United Federation of Planets, a dark reflection of Starfleet ideals.

These lofty ambitions of exploration and interstellar reconnaissance are only possible thanks to technological advancement, which is the epicentre of Borg culture. Both are also post-consumer societies, having grown beyond the need for money, and…


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Even before The Last Jedi shook up the status quo, it was clear that Star Wars was always about much more than heroes and dynasties and the evils of right-wing ideology. The story threads woven throughout the saga films and the auxiliary story materials was as much a canon of everyday heroism, a testament to little acts of bravery that stacked up and echoed down through the ages. Perhaps the bravest of all of these little rebellions, these seemingly insignificant choices, is Shmi Skywalker bidding her son farewell.

It remains unclear whether Shmi herself was born into slavery, but it’s…


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Names in Star Wars range from the ridiculous to the sublime, combining marketing fun and in-jokes — Elan Sleazebaggano, I’m looking at you — with the pantomime stylings of Sidious, Grievous and Tyrannous. From a linguistic perspective, many names across the saga offer subtle clues and insights into character. Palpatine, for example, is likely derived from the word ‘palatine’ meaning a high-ranking court official dating back to Roman times. But names also reveal deeper truths, indicating a current position in a character’s journey, their relationship with the self and to the world around them.

In Rogue One, Jyn Erso is…


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I must be allowed to speak,” Luke Skywalker demands of Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi. Historically peacekeepers and diplomats, the voice and spoken word are as important to the function and philosophy of the Jedi as their lightsabers. Having already struck out in anger against the Emperor in ROTJ, Luke pulls himself back from the precipice of the Dark Side, lays down his weapon and confronts him again, only this time with his voice: “I’ll never turn to the Dark Side. You’ve failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”

This understanding can…

Raising a Rebel

We are what they grow beyond

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