Discussion The meaning of "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Episode VII and Beyond (Archive)' started by Spam Bot, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. Spam Bot Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2012
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    Something that has been taken more or less for granted by most Star Wars fans is the setting. We take the opening text on face value; the story being set in the distant past of a remote galaxy, separate from ours. This literal interpretation, which one would expect to be of some interest, hasn't really been explored by the SW universe (even when including the EU), even though the premise raises some questions, for me the most prominent being 'Why are there humans in a far off galaxy that predate us by "a long time"?'

    Of course, it could be some artistic license on Lucas' part, eschewing the logical problems with the presence of humanity in such a remote point in space and time for the sake of having characters more accessible than aliens, though it still causes one to wonder, if this is the case, why there should be a need to place the story in the past when it might not have lost any of its merit or charm by placing it in the future?

    I am aware that in early drafts of the first Star Wars (IV), the story was set in the very far future of our own galaxy (33rd century). The explicit mention of this was dropped, though I hesitate to say that it's actual placement in time was moved; it still could be set in the future without any mention of it.

    An idea I've come across (which I've accepted in my own personal canon) is that the opening text isn't a literal statement. Rather, it is the "space" equivalent to the common introduction to fairy tales; 'Long ago, in a far away kingdom, there lived a princess etc.' So, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" is the cliche opening to fables in the SW galaxy, thereby displacing Star Wars from its commonly accepted point in the past to anywhere in the future. It isn't as direct of an interpretation as having it literally in the past, but to me, it is more sensible than taking it literally.

    Perhaps it is the past to the "Whills", who GL has said (in at least some early drafts) were observing and recording events for their "Journal of the Whills". The opening line of text may be meant as an extract from said journal.

    Regardless of whether SW is set in the past or the future or if the line is meant to have been written by the Whills, the question I mean to pose with this thread is this: Will the sequels touch at all on the time and place of the saga in relation to our "present" day?
  2. Darth_Zidious Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2001
    star 4
    I've heard Lucas comment on this in the past. It's just a very short and direct way to say "This isn't happening on Earth, past, present or future."
    LWSwann, KevinM1, SnakeWesker and 3 others like this.
  3. DARTHSHAME Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2003
    star 4
    Agree, I think he simply wanted to establish that we should not think the story has anything to do with Earth or its history.
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  4. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    Wow I've never really thought of it that deeply! I just take it as the beginning of telling a fairy tale that's set in space. As for why are there humans in another galaxy far away from our own in the distant past? That's kind of like asking why are there elves who are immortal living side by side with men in some place called Middle Earth? There just are because its fantasy, it's escapism. If someone watching finds it hard to suspend their disbelief and buy into it. Then fantasy ain't for them. And erm..who are the Whills? I'm sorry but I've never heard of them?
  5. Iefan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2013
    star 1
    I've always liked the fact that the placement of Star Wars in the universe has always somewhat mysterious, and I'd like it to remain that way. I don't like it when people try to force science onto what I perceive as magic, or in this case rationalizing the the setting of Star Wars. I like your idea that it is could easily just be a cliched opening and homage to the classic fairy tales, which after all, is what Star Wars IS. But I think it's open to individual interpretation. It's part of the charm.

    Tolkien said about Middle-Earth being set in a different Era of time:
    I like to view Star Wars in a similar way.

    I would like them to not bring it up in the ST. Let the fans imagine what they want to imagine. Don't give me more Midichlorians.
    Last edited by Iefan, Mar 20, 2013
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  6. Krueger Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2004
    star 4
    I’ve always loved it. The first film came out in 1977, so how long ago is “Long Ago”? The beginning of our time? Even further back? The fact that it takes place in a Galaxy very far from ours is another thing I like about it. Makes it so much more mysterious. None of it matters, anyway. I’ve always taken it as the sci-fi version of “Once Upon a Time”.
    Last edited by Krueger, Mar 20, 2013
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  7. Sum-Wan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2013
    star 3
    As for the question if the sequels will ever take place in our present I would say I don't think so... just because the "long time ago" gives me the sense of maybe billions of years considering that we're talking about another galaxy in this 13.7 billion year old universe. A few decades ago would be nothing in this scale...
    Lord Tuvitor likes this.
  8. bstnsx704 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2013
    star 3
    It means that Star Wars has nothing to do with, and never should have anything to do with, Earth. It is completely irrelevant in Star Wars.
  9. darklordoftech Force Ghost

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    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    They taught Qui-Gon how to become a force ghost and and all 6 movies are what R2-D2 is telling them.
    TheManFromMortis likes this.
  10. bstnsx704 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2013
    star 3
    The Whills have never been mentioned in a film, so its highly unlike that they, whatever the are, are the ones who taught Qui-Gon how to transcend death.

    Heck, I've heard the name 'Whill' thrown around a million times and I don't even know what they are...
  11. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    The script, novelization, and Blu-Ray deleted scenes of ROTS state that the Whills taught Qui-Gon how to become a force ghost. http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-Revenge-of-the-Sith.html
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  12. bstnsx704 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2013
    star 3

    Interesting. Thank you very much for the link!
    darklordoftech likes this.
  13. Darth Chiznuk Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2012
    star 5
    It's the Star Wars equivalent of "Once Upon a Time..." I don't see any reason why it should be explained in the ST. It is pretty self explanatory. The story takes place long ago in a galaxy far away from our own. Don't see what more needs to be explained.
    Last edited by Darth Chiznuk, Mar 20, 2013
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  14. Garrett Atkins Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2013
    star 4
    "A long time ago but somehow in the future..."
  15. chris hayes Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2012
    star 4
    It takes place sometime in the past further away than the moon.......
  16. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    It should never be explored. That mystery is part of it's charm.
  17. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    Ie midichlorians
    Captain Tom Coughlin likes this.
  18. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    Exactly
  19. ForceJumpAnakin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2006
    star 3
    A long time ago (when?) in a galaxy far far away (where?). Remember the basics: who, what, where, when, why. All that remains is who, what, why. Who is Skywalker and Friends, What is the Force and stuff, Why is to make money realizing his ideas, and maybe win some fans.

    Please refer to the Book of Lucas, Chapter 11, Verse 38: And I shall paint thee house, white. Thou shan't concern thyselves with whispers of complaints. Lo and behold, the devil cried "but my lord, any other color will brighten the features of the house, making it look pretty." Ah, but Lord Lucas in turn replied "I may paint this house with a color, can I not? Is white not a color? Dear child, do not concern yourself with cries of heresy and ill will. Popularity is not key".

    And so, as the Lord shifted his talent from puppets to CGI, he accomplished that which was impossible several years prior: "Alas! Pure digital work. This should garner the attention of fans as they pour their heart and soul (also translates to money) into my creation. May the dialogue stiffen as hard as a wooden bat. Amen"
  20. Ryus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2013
    star 4
  21. Sith_Knight087 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 1
    Another time... another galaxy... another universe!!
  22. Luukeskywalker Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 1999
    star 4
    "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" is Lucas' space fantasy-esqe way of saying "once upon a time". No more, no less. Can't read into it more than that.
  23. EHT Manager: New Films

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    It's the SW equivalent of "once upon a time in a far away land...". Making it the past and not the future, and making it far from Earth, removes it as much as possible from our world and from us thinking about whether this could happen someday. So we are free to just enjoy the story without concerns about history, technology, etc., yet still able to connect emotionally with its universal themes of good vs. evil, family ties, etc.

    I also find it interesting that the earliest commercials for Star Wars (ANH) had a voiceover narrator saying something like "somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now." Uhh... no. That's not how the movie's creators actually wanted people to feel, so it's funny that that got through and into ads even though the movie itself always started with "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away....".

    And all but one of the movies (ROTJ, IIRC) had four dots after "away", not the usual three. :-B
    Darth Chiznuk likes this.
  24. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 7
    Because... "Once upon a time" is so cliche.
  25. bluemilkcheesypuffs77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Wait. So my "stormtrooper accuracy" thread gets locked and this gets to continue limping along!

    Wheres PrincessKenobi when you need her?! She's pretty hot though, wish she'd reply to my emails...
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