May the Fourth Be with You: Mythology Behind Star Wars

May the Fourth Be with You: Mythology Behind Star Wars
May the Fourth Be with You: Mythology Behind Star Wars
Posted at 2:30 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-05 07:57:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - May The Fourth Be With You! It's that time of year again. Star Wars fans are grabbing their light sabers, ready to celebrate everything in the galaxy far, far away.

The underlying themes of George Lucas' series are closely related to ancient mythology tales. That's only a small reason why people are drawn to the timeless Star Wars saga.

In 1977, filmmaker George Lucas created a new riff, on an old age story unlike anything seen before. Jedis, wookies, storm troopers oh my! Lucas created a world, that at the core, was an internal struggle for all those involved.

Back then, who knew we were jumping aboard the Millennium Falcon for a classic mythological tale. At the center of it all, Luke Skywalker, an unexpected hero.

Joe Fisher, a local Mandalorian Merc, says, "It's absolutely amazing because it follows the Joseph Campbell archetype of the young hero, the older mentor, and basically that story line. But it tells it in a way that's refreshing."

In classic mythology there’s a thing called a monomyth. That’s when, almost always, a hero reluctantly leaves home on a quest to fulfill his/her destiny.

Along the way overcoming a series of obstacles and learning special skills brought out by teachers.

Emma Jonas, who's a Tallahassee Nerds & Geeks member, says, "For example, there's a character in Greek Mythology. His name is Kyrene. He's a centaur and he's seen as sort of the adviser slash trainer of a lot of these great Greek heroes that you read about. And you see him in the form of Yoda, and in Obi Wan, you see this guide mentoring the hero until he's able to stand on his own two feet."

Jonas, who has a degree in Greek Mythology says, mythological tales have a female character, usually a goddess, who also helps the hero along.

In Star Wars, Princess Leia takes on the role of Athena. She's a strategist and diplomat, and incredibly war-like when she has to be.

Jonas says, "They took many ideas from those old, old tales and they wove it very well into the story, overall. But when you look at it, there aren't traits that are noticeably Greek or Roman mythology. It's something completely new."

Lucas' epic of galactic good and evil. Heroes using light sabers instead of swords. Star Wars has the same mythical qualities ancient storytellers used to fuel the imagination.

Fisher says, "Because they're movies, they're not trying to tell you a story. They're fantasy given to you in a way to spark your imagination. And that's why, I think, a lot of the fans are very involved with it is because they've poured themselves into it so they're very passionate about it."

Passion that continues to live through generations here and now and in a galaxy far, far away. 

To see the second  “May The Fourth Be With You” series talking about the visual effects of Star Wars, click here