College - Author 1
College of Liberal Arts
Department - Author 1
Degree Name - Author 1
BA in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
Matthew S. Hopper, College of Liberal Arts, History Department
In the case of a film franchise that features twelve movies, five television series, and various other forms of media by the time this paper was written, many people may be surprised to hear that Star Wars was actually inspired by one of the most questionable moments in American history. However, the time period in which Star Wars creator George Lucas first wrote what became this world’s ‘‘first step into a larger world’’ actually greatly reflected what ended up on the big screen. Even though the Star Wars movies take place ‘‘a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….,’’ it has been publicly stated in interviews that Lucas based both Star Wars media on the Vietnam War and their main villain, Darth Sidious, on former U.S. President Richard Nixon. Though there have been a few scholarly works since the first Star Wars movie was released in theaters in 1977 that have attempted to explore these parallels, none of them has directly explored how Lucas’s long-standing views on the Vietnam War affected certain key moments of the first six Star Wars movies. This thesis explores George Lucas’ antiwar activism before creating Star Wars to demonstrate how remarkably similar the films and related media of this franchise truly are to both various aspects of the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon’s rise to power.