Some of the most beautiful kinds of stories to me, are the ones that challenge the protagonist’s ideas. Some type of dogma-altering discovery necessitates their adaptation to the new status quo, and they evolve. Armed with a more holistic knowledge of their world, they discover they are capable of overcoming their obstacles. These stories acknowledge that failure and ignorance can be necessary precedents to becoming who that character is meant to be.
These types of stories find a home in the Star Wars universe. Characters of all backgrounds look to the stars in hope and find challenges on their road and ultimately courage inside of their heart. I will use three characters from very different backgrounds to survey how belief manifests in the Star Wars universe and how it seems to keep them going on their path, despite hardship.
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The character of Obi-Wan Kenobi is defined by his allegiances. Some he was put into as a child and some he elected for himself. His belief in the sanctity of peoples’ rights to prosperity and his connection to the Force are the things that drive his character. In short, Obi-Wan lost everything. He lost his family, mentioning he vaguely remembers having a brother in Obi-Wan Kenobi. He loses the love of his life, Satine. He lost his best friend Anakin Skywalker. He lost his master and mentor in Qui-Gon Jinn. On top of all of this, he lost the Jedi Order and Republic, the two things his sacrifices were intended to preserve.
One of his most painful losses was his connection to the Force. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, we find Obi-Wan isolated, living in a cave. He finds ways of sheltering himself from the atrocities of the Empire. He even refuses to help a Jedi at risk of being caught by Inquisitors. This is just not who he is, but it's who the challenges in his life have made him.
After reestablishing his connection, saying goodbye to Anakin Skywalker, and freeing himself from the guilt that had reigned over him, he becomes who he is meant to be. Someone who attunes themselves to “the Living Force” in the words of Qui-Gon Jinn, someone who protects those that need it, and someone who will trust in the will of the Force when things seem dire. In order for him to connect with the Force, he had to go through obstacles, mental and physical, which granted him the clarity to connect with his old master.
A smuggler by trade, Han Solo is accustomed to accounting for risk early on in his life. A lot of this comes from his fate very often being under the thumb of other entities. In his youth on Corellia, Lady Proxima held a vice-like grip on many of the resources that were necessary for life. In exchange for his and his peers’ criminality, they could live. When we encounter him later in life on Mos Eisley he is negotiating troubles with Jabba the Hutt.
A conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals much of Han Solo’s idealism as being dismissive of “hokey religions” and putting confidence in yourself. This misrepresented the concept of the Force, as it is something that binds all living beings. His misunderstanding is reconciled with his interactions with Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. He would later confirm this to Rey and Finn that his famous declaration, “It’s true, the Force, the Jedi, all of it. It’s all true.”
For Han, it was not about him “not believing” in the Force. He lived much of his life at high risk, so he could not put any stock into anything that was not concrete. After he understood the nature of the Force from Luke and Leia, he welcomed it into his life.
We know little of Broom Boy other than the power of his symbol. The Force does not belong to the powerful, or anybody, it touches all. He lives subjected to abusive, inhumane working environments, however much like other characters in the Star Wars universe, he looks to the stars in wonder and hope. Something out there brings warmth to those still planet-side. Whether it is a desire for adventure, a hope for a better life, or a desire to bring freedom to all, a belief in something more carries these characters to spectacular places. The journey is never straight. However, the Force seems to have a way of reaching out to those that reach for it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Until next time, may the Force be with you!
Written by Ash Aranda
Syndicated from Culture Slate
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