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Saga SW Saga: Traditional Fantasy or Contemporary Tale? What's your preference?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by MOC Vober Dand, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    Not long ago a poster here put forward the suggestion that much of the disagreement which arises around Star Wars comes down to how willing people are to accept the ‘mystical’ or that which can’t be readily explained or understood. How willing people are to perhaps just ‘go with the flow’. The standing joke is that any plot hole can be covered up by the explanation that the Force did it! I agreed with this idea and suggested that maybe it goes even further than this, and in many cases comes down to enjoyment or otherwise of what could be considered traditional fantasy genre elements in the story.

    Many of the ongoing ‘old chestnut’ debates seem to me to have an element of this to them. The Chosen One / Will of the Force / Prophecy storyline for instance. Padme’s seemingly inexplicable death as a result of losing the will to live. Even Anakin’s appearance as a young ghost.

    Even beyond the mystical elements of the story, there are times when Star Wars feels like a traditional fantasy story and times when it feels very contemporary. Anakin and Padme’s relationship for instance. Even aside from what happens to them, the way they speak to each other is very formal, mannered and old fashioned. Some would call this wooden, others would call it genre appropriate. Whatever the case, I can’t imagine Padme ever calling anybody ‘Fly Boy’ or a ‘walking carpet’.

    Today I was considering my list of favourite characters and realized that most of them, both trilogies, would be non-force users. I also realized that most of my favourite elements from the saga could be described as human, rather than super human or supernatural.

    So what do you reckon? To what extent does one’s taste for the fantastic and mystical affect one’s perception of the many and varied issues arising from the saga?
    Pensivia likes this.
  2. Seagoat

    Seagoat Music and PT Section Sentinel star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 25, 2013

    I couldn't help but laugh from irony

    I once sat down with my dad and we watched the saga I-VI and almost every time he asked a question about the physics or seemingly plot-convenient circumstances, that's what I'd tell him xD
    Sarge likes this.
  3. squir1y

    squir1y Jedi Master star 3

    Feb 1, 2003
    A pet peeve of mine is when people look for logic in action, sci-fi, fantasy and horror movies. I'm just like,"Dude, it's a fictional piece of work. Not a bleedin' science documentary!" (Yes that's how I talk)
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  4. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    I'm one of those people who would peeve you! I'm okay with mysterious, mystical and supernatural, but if I can't discern some degree of logic from those elements, I'm likely to lose a bit of interest.
  5. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    It's clearly got elements of both which I think is great. I am one that has no problem with religious/mystical elements as long as they make sense. I have faith but I also like to think and if I don't find something credible or feasible it will turn me off to at least that element. That's why it's often the presentation of things I take issue with.
    Sarge likes this.
  6. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    This. Although I can make quite a few allowances for lack of logic as long as the story is entertaining.

    If it isn't entertaining, no amount of explanation of how "it's fantasy" or "it's supposed to be poetic" can make up for that.
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  7. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    I'm not bothered much by logic when it comes to technical things like whether a certain ship could physically get off the ground or whether parsecs should be used to measure speed, time or distance. My brain's not really wired that way so it's neither here nor there for me. However, some people I know, more your sci fi aficionados, have a major problem with that kind of stuff.
  8. Darth Maul Apprentice

    Darth Maul Apprentice Jedi Knight star 4

    Jan 27, 2014
    Well, it helps if things make sense. Things in movies don't have to obey all the scientific laws we know. A lot of stories have their own logic, and as long as what you see doesn't betray that, people most likely will go along with it. Most genres can get away with that although with science fiction it helps to have some grounding to our reality. I see SW as more fantasy than sci fi, so things have more leeway than watching something like Star Trek.
  9. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    All fiction is a subset of fantasy. But at the same time I sure as heck wouldn't call Star Wars a "contemporary tale" despite Han Solo being (or trying to be) a way cool dude and some viewers pointing out the political agendas they perceive in the narrative.

    So I guess Star Wars is what it is, plot holes and poetry included. Some elements emerge from modern slang, and others from chivalric romance.
  10. DRush76

    DRush76 Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 25, 2008
    I don't know if I can regard "STAR WARS" as a contemporary tale. Even the political aspects of the tale does not strike me as particularly contemporary. I think a student of history would view it as timeless.

    Frankly, I view Han Solo as "trying" to be cool. I find him a bit infantile at times.
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  11. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    There is no trying. Han was the best character in Star Wars, hands down.

    As far as the politics, I see a lot of caricatures that could be derived from modern politics. I see it especially in the prequels but there is some in the OT as well, relating to the Vietnam era.
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  12. only one kenobi

    only one kenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 18, 2012
    This is an interesting question. I think it is neither traditional fantasy nor a contemporary tale. I think, in fact, that I have argued before that it is perhaps that I am more inclined toward Science Fiction as a genre than fantasy that moved me away from elements introduced with the PT but I think it is a little more subtle than that. Actually I think some science-fiction can bog itself down too much with the explication of the science aspect of the story. I agree with ezekiel22x that all fiction is a subset of fantasy. The art of fiction is to draw someone into the story and so a level of believable and resonant narrative, as well as believable character development, is necessary. There is an art in keeping the story going while not breaking the spell. The more fantastical the setting, the more fantastical the story can be - but that can come with the temptation to 'overspend', to invent powers etc. that solve one problem but which must then be forgotten in order to create tension in some other scene.

    Anyway, that aside, I think that traditional fantasy is a turn off for me, personally, because it tends toward tales of great deeds done because of some specific inherited ability to do them. Either sons of great fathers (known or unknowingly) or of demi gods (known or unknown) and it is that, particularly, that I find disquieting and off-putting. Initially probably just because it is such a predominant trope but, more recently, also because I understand the historical significance and grounding of those tropes.

    That trope doesn't even make any sense. Look at some of the greatest positive developments of the Twentieth Century. How many were brought about by leaders who were the sons of great leaders? Take a look and what you will find instead are ( as a random choice) a Swiss patents clerk, son of an engineer whose own business failed; a convicted terrorist who spent his childhood herding cattle (though he was a minor, non-inheriting member of a royal family); the son of a merchant family in colonial India; the son of a Baptist preacher in the deep South of the USA; the son of peasant workers on a collective farm in Stavropol.

    I like LOTR, which many might consider traditional fantasy, but the hero is an obscure, seemingly insignificant hobbit. I'll go further and say that the real hero isn't even the main protagonist - himself a seemingly insignificant hobbit - but his sidekick Samwise Gamgee. In Star Wars I thought that the culmination (ROTJ) gained immense power because the power that Luke had was to save his fallen father. Any god-like superpowers we might have been put in awe of earlier in the movies are shown to be impotent in the battle he face at the end. It is his human qualities, compassion, and his selflessness that win a personal battle; and the ordinary beings - including the seemingly insignificant Ewoks - who, against the odds, defeat the Imperial fleet.

    I guess what I'm saying is, we all have stories that resonate with us individually and..I don't think the setting is that important.
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  13. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    Agree to disagree and all that about Han. Agree about the politics, but even with the obvious (and not so obvious) parallels to modern events, I still wouldn't go so far as to call Star Wars a contemporary tale. For me a contemporary tale directly engages with such events, rather than applying the perils and lessons of those events in a manner that comes across in the more timeless or universal terms befitting of a fantasy epic. In other words, I don't doubt Lucas was indeed influenced by concurrent events while crafting ROTS, but overall I doubt his primary goal was for audiences to come away specifically thinking about them.
  14. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    only one kenobi, I think next time I start a thread I might hire you to write the OP. Excellent observations and exactly what I was driving at.

    The culmination of ROTJ has always appealed to me for exactly the reason you've stated. When Luke threw down his lightsabre he was effectively throwing aside all the superhuman, mystical stuff which had been introduced throughout the trilogy and putting forward his human character as his strongest weapon. Kill me if you will, but you'll never get to me with all this dark side, destiny BS. That's always been my take anyway.

    In a similar vein, another favourite element for me is Han changing his mind and coming back to assist with the Death Star attack in ANH. Luke may have been using the force when he 'pulled the trigger', but without the conscience of a regular guy at play, he likely wouldn't have had the change to do so.

    ezekiel22x, I agree with your take on the political references. I think there's plenty in there which alludes to fairly contemporary political issues, without it being a major driving influence. The ambivalence of the electorate in major democracies, government by fear, 'primitives' overcoming advanced technology etc etc.
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  15. Samnz

    Samnz Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 4, 2012
    Extremely important. Just consider how many people won't even give any Sci-Fi/Fantasy film a chance because they simply can't deal with "supernatural" stuff.

    In essence, I agree with this.

    I always find it quite amusing to observe from distance that, in America, both Obama supporters/opponents and Bush supporters/opponents have used prequel references as a commentary supporting their respective views. This certainly shows that the political events in Star Wars are portrayed in a rather broad way that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Which is good, I think. That's why I'd also call it "timeless", although Lucas has always drawn parallels to Ronald Reagan.
    This article ( also shows how different one can see the political aspect of Star Wars. While I agree with many points, I find some relatively "far-fetched".

    Then Han: This might be repetitive, but I've always considered Han to be one of the "not so human" characters. I always see him as a character who was written from an audience's POV instead of the character's POV. Being "human" does not equal being sarcastic. Human life is also ackward and painful and vulnerable and even irrational at times, which is why I find characters like Anakin, Padmé, also Ben in the OT more "human" than Han.
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  16. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    I can't help but agree with you.

  17. Yanksfan

    Yanksfan Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 3, 2000
    Hey, Samnz! I bet it won't surprise you in the least that I strongly disagree with this. ;)

    "Being human does not equal being sarcastic"--I disagree. There's no argument that Han puts on a certain sarcastic facade at times, but I don't think we're supposed to see it as anything but a facade. Han IS vulnerable. Everyone is at times. That's just his way of disguising it. And I think there's plenty of examples in ESB and ROTJ where we see this vulnerability/pain/awkwardness come out. First scene in the command center/carbonite scene in ESB, his jealousy and insecurity over Luke/Leia in ROTJ--and those are just to name a few.

    You act like he's impervious to feeling anything negative. That he's just strolling through the films wise-cracking at every turn. I'd argue that that's clearly not true. Aww, even his crestfallen expression when Leia slips off after their first kiss. Aw, so cute…..wait, I'm getting sidetracked here. Better quit while I'm ahead.
  18. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 1, 2011
    I can't speak Samnz, but one reason I've never really been able to appreciate Han's character (or really missed his presence in the PT) is that I don't feel he's very well contextualized. What I mean is, we know almost nothing about his history or background (unless you read the EU, which I don't). We know that he's friends with Chewie, that he used to smuggle things for Jabba, and that he was friends with Lando (from whom he got the Falcon) but that's really about it. He has no backstory for us to understand him by. And that makes him much less interesting to me. For example, what does Han fear? What are his hopes and dreams? I can't really answer that based on the films. We know that he joined the Rebellion, but not really why. Did he dislike the Imperials because they were interfering with his business dealings? Was it solely due to his attraction to Leia? Was it because he made a lot of friends there (such as Luke)? Or did he come to believe in their ideals (although he never really says as much)? For me, it's something I would really like to know.

    A lot of people, for example, don't like that Boba Fett was shown as a child in the PT. On the contrary, I really liked it because I felt it fleshed him out and made him more interesting. It made his death make more sense --> that he would hate the Jedi so much that he would jump into the melee without thinking. It made more sense to me that he and Vader got along considering they had similar backgrounds (in many ways) -- both had only one parent, had that parent brutally killed and die in front of their eyes, were separated from that parent at about age 10, and had known that parents' love before having it taken away. They were fighters from a young age and also considered "special" among the groups they were in -- Anakin as the "Chosen One" and Boba Fetta as the only unmodified clone among his countless brothers.

    People say that Han is more relatable, but I don't really know what they mean. Is it his skepticism? Because I have to say, if I could get telekinetic powers from believing in the Force, I don't think I would be disinclined to believe in it. But I'm not really sure where we are supposed to relate to him. With Anakin, I can relate a lot to his fear of loss, of ending up without the ones he loves. And the same is true for Luke, Padmé, and Obi-Wan in different ways.
  19. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 7, 2012
    Star Wars is myth, which can be both. I think the traditional fantasy elements speak for themselves, but the saga is equally, inherently contemporary in that it is a work of cinema, one inspired by visual, musical and dramatic elements of 20th century pop-art. Furthermore on this point, Star Wars is inherently technological, both in its space-aged setting and how Lucas and Co. pushed the medium in expressing as much: leaps in editing, visual effects and digital. These aren't just tools, but characteristics.

    Putting aside trivial plot-holes and the fundamental limitations in fanciful premises/make-believe universe (i.e., nothing can ever be fully cataloged or completely explained rationally), issues of story logic are simply predicated on thematic through-lines. Wherever a theme is negated or cut short is where we can talk about the story not making sense.
    FRAGWAGON likes this.
  20. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    It’s amazing how many of these threads become discussions about Captain Solo!

    Personally, I find Han very relatable. Although it’s not spelt out, I find that just from what's presented in ANH we get a good idea about the character and it’s a character I’m very familiar with from an Earthly point of view.

    We know he’s a smuggler. He hangs out in seedy bars in Mos Eisley and he deals with the likes of Jabba the Hutt. He’s wary and on edge all the time because he never knows who or what is just around the corner or on his tail. We can conclude, for whatever reason, that Han sails close to the line between legitimate and otherwise. He lives by the sword; potentially dies by it at any moment. Makes sense to me in an 'Earthly' context.

    We know Han isn’t a spiritual guy. He poo-hoos the Force, just as many on planet Earth poo hoo religion and spirituality, feeling that it's never assisted them in their lives. He wants to be independent and self contained. To rely on just himself. He thinks that with a decent blaster at his side and some credits in his pocket and this can be achieved. His experiences with the kinds of people he’s associated with would logically lead to him taking this position. Yep, I buy that. When people haven't treated you so well, you don't have much faith in people.

    As is suggested above, Han’s tough guy, smart ass demeanor is a defence mechanism, which allows him to survive in the seedy world in which he’s found himself operating, and prevent those who frequent it from thinking they can take advantage of him. This makes sense to me. Plenty of people do this at some stage or another. Fake it til you make it.

    Despite all of this, in the course of the OT, Han is revealed to be more sensitive, caring and compassionate than his background or his tough guy façade would initially suggest. Yanksfan has mentioned a couple of situations above which portray this. He realizes, gradually, and with a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, that he can be a better, happier person by letting his guard down a bit and letting some others into his life, while at the same time giving more of himself to them.

    So for me, at least, a great, relatable character who’s well developed.
  21. Yanksfan

    Yanksfan Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 3, 2000
    MOC Yak Face --well done, good sir. I could not have said it better myself. =D=

    PiettsHat, you can just take most of my reply right out of MOC Yak Face's post. I agree with everything he said. But I did want to directly respond to a couple of your queries….

    I think you just answered your question, which is "yes" to all of the above. And I can infer that from what is presented to us in the movies. We already know in ANH that Han is "no fan of the Empire" and that they did interfere with his smuggling deals. The threat of being boarded by them led him directly to his debt with Jabba. And yes, we know by ESB that he's attracted to Leia so it's easy to assume she played a part in his sticking around--but I will concede she's not the *only* reason. And yes, he's clearly VERY loyal to Luke (I mean, you don't volunteer to go spend a night in the snow at great risk to yourself for just *anybody*). So, yeah, we can comfortably assume that they're close buds at this point. And yes, I think we can also safely say that Han came to believe in the ideals of the Rebellion, at least a little bit. I say this because he's clearly taking an active role in it by the time we meet him again in ESB. He's going on patrols with Luke, he's the first to volunteer, without even being asked, to go check out the probe droid. And by ROTJ he accepts a position as general and leads an important mission. So, I don't think it's a stretch to say he grew to believe in the cause. (I mean, he's probably already "getting the goods" from Leia by ROTJ, so we know it couldn't have been *all* about her at this point :p)

    It's all there in the films. It's not always spelled out in dialogue (thank god---who needs that?), but it's clearly shown through the character's actions and emotions.

    No, I think it has more to do with his "everyman" status. Han is one of the few main characters in the saga who does not either hold high political office or have some "otherworldly" Force abilities. He's a normal guy, of normal status, who's just trying to get by on his own wits and birth-given abilities. Many people in the audience can get that. That's what makes him relatable.
  22. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 1, 2011
    See, this always confuses me. I'm not spiritual in the slightest. Very much a naturalist here. But if I saw half of the things that Luke could do, I would be all "sign me up for that ***" or, if I couldn't actually use such Force powers, I would want to study the heck out of them. I mean, in Star Wars, there is empirical evidence for the Force and it gives you amazing abilities. Which is a far cry from what spirituality/religion offers or presents to us in our world (there's a reason "faith" is such a big part of religion, after all). Han not wanting to get in on that doesn't make him a skeptic or an "everyman" -- it makes him ignorant. Look at all of the Star Wars fans who would give their right hand to have Force abilities. And Han actually lives in a universe where they exist and has them demonstrated right in front of him. And he's not interested. Boggles. My. Mind.

    But…the issue I have is that Han was willing to leave initially and when he came back, it wasn't clear why. Was he worried about Luke or did he want to help stop the Empire? I just feel as though very little is shown that indicates that Han truly believes in the cause. He doesn't seem passionate about it. He cares about Luke and Leia and stands by them, but he never really gives us any indication that he believes in what the Rebellion stands for. And, well, it seems to me a bit odd that he hates the Empire for the whole smuggling business. Han is working for Jabba so I doubt he's in any legitimate sort of business. Considering Jabba keeps slaves, I don't doubt that whatever Han is buying and selling for him would likely be illegal under the Republic (or a new Republic) as well.

    That, and I don't feel we get a real understanding of Han's position within the Rebellion. Why, for example, is he chosen to lead the mission on Endor? He's a smuggler and it's never indicated that he has any military experience. Why wouldn't Leia lead it considering she's a princess and likely has had more political and tactical training than he? It just comes across as entirely arbitrary, simply because he's a main character.

    I don't really see how "holding high political office" or such makes someone less relatable though. Why would having superpowers or an important job make a character less compelling? Why is a smuggler more relatable than a politician? I would say that, unless someone is a drug dealer, their day to day life would probably resemble that of a politician's as much as a smuggler. Seriously, how many people live similarly to Han -- initially, with no responsibilities to anyone, on the run from the law, dealing with slavers/gangsters, and then falling in with a Rebel group against an oppressive fascist government? I don't really see how Padmé or Anakin's lives are any more fantastical than that. Anakin having superpowers doesn't make him less susceptible to fear or to the pain of losing someone he cares about.

    That's where Han seems less than fully human to me. He displays no crushing weaknesses. And he's given positions that he is, quite frankly, unsuited for. Being a member of the Rebellion -- that I can believe. Being a leader…not so much.
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  23. Yanksfan

    Yanksfan Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 3, 2000
    Whoa--slow down, sister. First off, Han only voices this strong skepticism for the Force in ANH. This is before Luke has shown any ability whatsoever. As for there being all this "evidence to the contrary" flying in his face, I'd argue no, there is not. Remember, in ANH the Jedi "are all but extinct", so I doubt Han's had much experience with Force users at all. To him they are probably nothing more than a myth or urban legend. So, that's not some willful ignorance. He's just basing this on evidence that has been presented to him so far.

    Can't it be both? And do you really need everything blatantly spelled out for you? I'd argue that in ANH, he came back mostly for Luke (and maybe a little for the princess and the cause), but mostly for Luke. Why? Because Luke is the strongest bond he's forged so far, besides Chewie (at least that we've seen). And because when Luke tries to get him to "Stay and fight" it's obvious that Han feels guilty for turning him down. Does he turn to Chewie and say, "I feel guilty for letting the kid down?" No, but it's easy to infer that from his emotional reactions to Luke, and the defensive way he turns to Chewie "….I know what I'm doing…."

    Again, sometimes you just have to read between the lines. Han doesn't give us a big monologue about his devotion to the Rebellion, but he shows us through his actions that he is somewhat committed. I've already listed examples of this in a previous post.

    Yeah, he's not in a legitimate business. That's why the Empire was always in his way. From a purely monetary standpoint (which in ANH, would be a very big deal to Han), the Empire is a pain in the ass. By ROTJ, I think it's safe to say that whatever happens after the war, Han won't be returning to his previous line of work anyway, so the New Republic's stance would be irrelevant at this point. But whatever. You can throw out that reason if you want, I don't care. You're the one who introduced it as a possible motivation to begin with.

    I actually don't disagree with you here. And yes, I think Leia should've led the attack. But that has less to do with our conversation on Han's character development, and more to do with flaws in the ROTJ script.

    See, you're changing the conversation again. You asked why Han was more "relatable" and I just gave you a list of reasons. "Compelling" was never a part of the discussion. But returning to the "relatable" argument again, how many high-ranking political people do you know in your personal life? Me? I know none. How many Force-weilding, or other-super-power-holding friends do you have in your inner circle? I don't know about you, but I have none. It's not necessarily Han's "smuggling" that makes him relatable, it's his social status and lack of super powers. Mass audiences can relate to that, because most of them probably fall into the same class as him. And I'm assuming, like me, most of them can't make objects fly into their hands on command (Believe me, I've tried this with my TV remote on several occasions). That's why he's "relatable", because people can "relate" to him.

    What? Huh? We're not talking about them though….

    I'd argue differently. I'd say he's displayed crushing weaknesses for money, princesses and carbonite. *badumppadum!* No, seriously, I don't know what you mean by that. I've already listed several examples of him displaying vulnerability and jealousy, aren't those forms of weakness? Maybe?

    EDITS: Sorry, half my post disappeared the first time I put it up for some reason.
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  24. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    ^^^ This.

    Also, I have to agree with Yanksfan that 'compelling' and 'relatable' aren't the same thing. A princess or a senator or a demigod, in Anakin's case, may well be the former, but I for one can't really relate to those characters in the way I can someone like Han.
    Yanksfan likes this.
  25. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 1, 2011
    But see…that's exactly my point. He sees Luke block those remote bolts with his eyes shielded and attributes it to luck??? Honestly, if it was one bolt, I might buy it, but Luke is completely blind and perfectly follows the pattern. Still boggles my mind that he would insist a good blaster is all you need. I'd be all over that like white on rice.

    It can be, of course, but there's never a good indication either way. And later on, his interest seems to be pretty much on Leia. I just feel like the film leaves us a bit in the dark as to what Han's ties to the Rebellion are based on. A lot of that, I feel, could have been remedied by providing him a more thorough backstory so we could contextualize his actions.

    See…I don't know. Because I think a lot of Han's actions are easily interpretable as devotion to his friends rather than a political cause. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but I do feel it makes Han's characterization a bit more opaque.

    Yeah, but who is to say the new Republic would be any better? What I mean to say is, there's no indication that Han particularly believes in democracy or is for the restoration of the Republic. His ideals, if he has any, aren't readily apparent to us in this regard. And motivation is one of the most interesting components of a character, I would argue.

    I agree, but I think it speaks to the difficulty in giving Han a proper arc throughout the trilogy. Part of that, I think, is due to the uncertainty as to whether or not Harrison Ford would be coming back.

    Well…maybe this is just me but I lived in Washington DC for 4 years so I got to know a lot of politicians. One of my professors had a husband in the Secret Service. A person I worked with directly interacted with the President. I had a ton of friends who interned on Capitol Hill and knew Congresspeople. I met and spoke to quite a few of them as well (and members of government departments) when they spoke at political clubs. But…politicians are people. They really aren't that different from you or me, despite the sleaze. ;)

    But I think you're missing the point. How many smugglers do you know? How many princesses turned Rebel leaders? How many freedom fighters? They're probably more distant and less relatable to you and me than a politician would be. I mean, I can't imagine working directly for someone who participates in slavery. It's not even a few steps removed, Han directly works for/talks to a guy who feeds his slaves to the Rancor.

    It's not so much about the superpowers, but in terms of their characterizations. Otherwise, why would anyone ever relate to, say, Batman? An orphan billionaire who is trained by ninjas and goes out at night to beat people up with his fists while spending millions of dollars on the best tech he can buy and goes on "vacation" with the entire Russian ballet. But a lot of people do relate to him. Because he has a backstory and clear character motivations -- we know what drives him, what his goals, fears and weaknesses are.

    With Han, we don't know any of that.

    It's also why I can relate to someone like Anakin, even though I don't have Force powers. Because I know what it's like to be a kid and wonder why people seem so unwilling to help each other out. Or to be singled out when you enter a new environment. Or to have only a few people who love you (and whom you love) that you are terrified of losing and how you would be willing to do anything to escape that pain. That's relatable to me.

    Well they kind of fall under the umbrella of politicians and Force-users, right? :p

    See, to me, a weakness has to be something that is used within the story to get the character into trouble and has real consequences. It's why I don't consider something like clumsiness to be a weakness because, more often than not, it's just used as an endearing character trait. For example, Leia can be a little harsh sometimes ("walking carpet" for instance) but this isn't a weakness. Because no one is ever really bothered by it or calls her out on it. All of the men she interacts with -- Luke, Han, Lando -- are all immediately attracted to her and not put off in the slightest by this character trait. So I wouldn't say it's a flaw or weakness.

    Han, in the beginning of ANH, certainly has a weakness for money. But it's largely gone by ESB (where he hasn't even paid Jabba back). And, likewise, his "weaknesses" for princesses never gets him into trouble (not sure what you mean by weakness for carbonite -- I would think everyone is susceptible). A good example in the OT of a character flaw leading to real consequences is how Luke's impetuous nature causes him to lose a hand when he rushes off to face Vader. It's a moment where we see that Luke has to face up to his actions and his unpreparedness. Comparatively, I don't feel such moments really exist for Han (or even Leia).
    Visivious Drakarn likes this.