Star Wars. Just the name of the franchise conjures up images of Space battles, of jedi wielding their glowing lightsabers against the forces of evil. Upon the release of the first movie, at the time simply named “Star Wars”, sci-fi movies were few and far between, especially good ones. It could never have been guessed that, in 15-20 years, Lucasfilm would make 8 more movies, a few different tv shows, a few video games and countless action figures and toys. Star Wars has transcended the 9 movies, so much so that the franchise created two separate “canons” or official story lines. Today we’re going to focus on the 6 major movies, how they portray the story and how the other forms of media add or subtract from the main story.
The 9 main movies tell the story of the Skywalker family. The patriarch, Anakin, was adopted by the Jedi order at the age of 9, a relatively old age as the Jedi usually raise kids from the ages of 1-3. As he got older, he displayed great power in the Jedi, but also displayed dark side tendencies, the evil of Star Wars.
Those dark tendencies eventually culminated in him destroying the Jedi order, killing his wife, and bringing about the rise of the Galactic Empire. His son , Luke Skywalker would eventually bring about the fall of the Empire, ending the series with the establishment of the New Republic and the retreat of the Imperial Remnant to unknown space.
The movies do a good job of portraying the story of the Skywalker family. The great, and most obvious, thing about movies is that they are a visual medium. You watch it. Movies are able to use not only words and sounds to tell a story, but also visual storytelling as well. Take for example this scene from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
When watching this scene, you could see the fear on the Rebel soldiers’ faces. You can hear their screams of fear as Vader cuts them down. Books and other forms of media fail to achieve this level of straight terror that movies can portray. Movies also had a layer of suspense and horror that books just can’t compete with. In this scene in particular, Darth Vader doesn’t even need to say anything to invoke terror in the Rebel soldiers. All you see is his red lightsaber ignite and then all hell breaks loose. If you tried to recreate that in a book or novel, the effect would be lost on the viewer.
However, there are a few instances in Star Wars where the books completely outshine the movies. One of these examples is the novelization of the ebay star wars movie of all time, Revenge Of the Sith. in this scene Anakin, now the newly anointed dark lord Darth Vader, is tasked with hunting down and killing what remains of the Separatist council. In the movie, he is is depicted as nonchalant, doing what he’s told and not showing much emotion. See for yourself:
Now here is an excerpt from the novelization:
“Poggle the Lesser, Archduke of Geonosis, scrambled like an animal through a litter of severed arms and legs and heads…Shu Mai, president and CEO of the Commerce Guild, looked up from her knees, hands clasped before her, tears streaming down her shriveled cheeks. “We were promised a reward,” she gasped. “A h-h-handsome reward-” “I am your reward,” the Sith Lord said. “You don’t find me handsome?” “Please!” she screeched through her sobbing. “Pleee-” The blue-white blade cut into and out from her skull, and her corpse swayed. A negligent flip of the wrist slashed through her column of neck rings. Her brain-burned head tumbled to the floor…”
Excerpt From: Matthew Woodring Stover. “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Apple Books.
If it wasn’t clear, the sith lord is Anakin and he has completely lost it, but which version did you like better? Which version was more detailed or descriptive? I’d venture a guess you said the novel was better, and i’d agree with you. This is one instance where the book tells a better story than the movies, or on ei enjoy anyway.
Another instance where the books outshine the movies is the case of the New Jedi Order series. This series follows Luke Skywalker after the events of Return of the Jedi as he rebuilds a new Jedi Order. However, as he starts rebuilding, the Yuuzhan Vong, a war-mongering intergalactic species, attacks and kickstarts the Yuuzhan Vong war, a devastating conflict that saw trillions of sentient beings killed, and many, many more displaced and without a home.
The war culminated in the Battle of Yuuzhan’Tar, in which the New Republic, along with the new jedi order, defeated the Yuuzhan Vong and drove them from Curacao, the capital of the galaxy. It’s truly a fascinating tale and one that the people at Lucasfilm should SERIOUSLY consider making a film or show out of.
Another great piece of Star Wars media is The Clone Wars tv show. This show tells the story of the major conflicts of the Clone Wars, a grueling 3 year long war between the republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The shows is made in a “Arc’’ format, meaning that the show tells certain stories using only 2-4 episodes rather than the whole season.
It’s a very interesting story technique, as you are able to tell many different stories in the same span as one story in a normal tv show. It also allows for views to not have to watch the entire season or even show because they misused one or two episodes. The “Arc” format is an interesting and often under-appreciated form of storytelling.
Star wars is full of vast media, with much of that media being extraordinarily deep. it would take me ages to cover it all, but i hope i was able to offer a brief insight and overview of the different types of media of Star wars