Even early on, before I had a fancy word for this sort of thing (intertextuality), I could detect it. My childhood framework was the Empire=Nazi regime over against the struggling resistance. As a politically minded child, this David and Goliath epic intrigued me. Now I can see how much Star Wars (and here I am leaving out the prequels, which I almost always do for reasons that are clear to most) are like a Samurai Western Arthurian quest in Outer Space, from the dusty roads, to knights on their steeds, to the (clearly awesome) sword fighting.
George Lucas made some of the links for us; the “Jedi Knights” are a bit of a give away. In A New Hope, we see a shattered round table, the goodly knights scattered across the realm. The Father-Son (including the orphan/non-orphan theme, as well as rebellion and reconciliation) and Brother-Sister (hidden origins and temptations to incest) links draw us back to the Arthurian stories, especially as the orphan child (Luke) appears out of the swamp to seize the weapon and claim his right to leadership. Add in duels, adventures, honour and shame, mentorship, field battles, monsters, and the epic struggle of good and evil, light and darkness.
Despite working on a chapter for an upcoming Inklings and King Arthur volume, I had not taken the time to think forward to A Force Awakens and consider the Arthurian or medieval links. It wasn’t until I started working on some courtly love literature for a summer Signum University course, that I started to see what I was missing. As SWVII is an echo–even a remake–of SWIV, it is no surprise that Arthurian links abound. May 4th gave me the chance to hammer it out a little bit.
As there is no single “King Arthur Legend,” and as the Star Wars universe is now a huge, sprawling space gala, I would hesitate to make a lot of one-to-one links. There is no single Arthur, Mordred, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, Morgana le Fey, or lady (alian) of the lake. Instead, the film narratives play loosely with the characters and storylines while allowing these Arthurian tropes to emerge directly into the film.
Yet, the character links are there too. Instead of playing them out myself, ultimate Star Wars nerd and “New Media Rockstar” @fimo slams us through a number of references in just four minutes at the end of this little fan film. Go to 41:53 and see if you are won over by the internal intertextual links within the Lucas-Abrams Star Wars universe and their links back to the Arthuriana we know and love. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of the Sword/Sabre in the Stone/Snow! What other links are there that you would want to make that @fimo and his team leave out?