Editor’s Note: This list post is presented as part of NewsReal Blog Weekend Double Feature. The original of this list can be read here. Check out the other half of this double feature — Walter’s list on the political themes in “Star Trek” here.
Science fiction and fantasy have always been ideal genres for exploring controversial political, religious, and philosophical ideas. The absurdity of circumstance in which such stories are set serve to detach an audience from reality, creating a kind of hypothetical laboratory for exploring thoughts which might be rejected elsewhere.
As a libertarian conservative and a life-long Star Wars fan, I was somewhat taken aback by 2005’s culminative installment Revenge of the Sith. Politics had dominated much of the prequel trilogy, but had been kept within the context of the story. Sith was different, as New York Times film critic A. O. Scott noted.
Mr. Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, ‘If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.’ Obi-Wan’s response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: ‘Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.’
Indeed, Lucas has indicated on more than one occasion an underlying leftist sympathy which shaped his popular saga. As a fan, I find this ironic, since my perception of Star Wars has always affirmed my conservative ideals. Here are a handful of elements from the saga which propagate principles of the Right.