Page 50

The Dark Side The first three Star Wars films, from 1977, have also been interpreted as Vietnam protest movies, with the United States of America being subtly portrayed as ‘the Empire’. Niall Ferguson writes in Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (2004, page 102): “In Star Wars, George Lucas perfectly captures America’s yearning not to be expressed as the dark side of imperialism. It is not without significance that as his cinematic epic unfolds backwards a generation later, the arch-villain Darth Vader is revealed to have been an all American Jedi Knight in his youth.” Thus, the ‘Dark Side of the force’ represents, for anti-Vietnam activists like Lucas, the American Empire’s moral slide from engaging in noble projects in its preliminary years as the sole world superpower, such as the Marshall Plan (as represented by Anakin Skywalker’s original childishness and kindness), to becoming an occupying force engaging in acts of imperialist aggression, which is how many regarded the continuation of Vietnam (as represented by Darth Vader’s indiscriminate violence and lust for greater power and territory). Similarly, Anakin Skywaker’s moral descent from ‘chosen one’ to villain - that is his choosing to follow the path of the dark side - can be seen as metaphoric of how large great powers can abandon their initially benign motives in favor of a politics and lifestyle based upon sentimental self-aggrandizing, selfishness, and aggression. When Anakin Skywalker tells Yoda: “[I have visions] of pain ... suffering ... death” not speaking of himself, but someone he knows, this is representative of America’s desires, or indeed of any country’s desire, to intervene and attack a perceived enemy before they become capable of assault. Yoda tells him to be “careful when sensing the future” and that such thoughts are a “path to the dark side”; and acts

Profile for daniekl

A Fans Guide to Star Wars  

A Fans Guide to Star Wars  

Profile for daniekl
Advertisement