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What's the "spirit" of Star Wars?

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Good vs. Evil - There is not much grey area in starwars for who is good and who is not. They have their own freakin theme songs. People can argue all they want but in all the movies there is a clear good guy and bad guy. Sometimes they switch sides *cough* Anikin *cough*, and sometimes you don`t know which side they are on until later but they are definately on one side or the other. Hell they even make you change your name when the switch sides. Start calling you Darth.

        I have the hardest time with this as I love grey areas. Sadly most my players are grey area players which makes moral dilema's for them practically non-existent. I mean how can you have a crisis of concience when you don`t have a concience?!

 

I agree with you, but actually, EoE is the best place to really explore this.  There are more moral greys when you have to make ends meet on the fringe.  I definitely feel the PCs are meant to be broadly the 'good guys', in that they have some moral compass. But they don't have to be 'heroes' and sometimes it's just necessary to 'shoot first'.

 

Mal's line in Firefly: 'I guess I'm just a good man...' sums up how I see EoE. This is still Star Wars after all, and doing bad stuff will come back to bite you. 

 

And personally, with the right group, I've found you can have shades of grey for both fringers and the Empire without sacrificing the essence of Star Wars.  It's tricky, but it can be done. 

Edited by Maelora

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Good vs. Evil - There is not much grey area in starwars for who is good and who is not. They have their own freakin theme songs. People can argue all they want but in all the movies there is a clear good guy and bad guy. Sometimes they switch sides *cough* Anikin *cough*, and sometimes you don`t know which side they are on until later but they are definately on one side or the other. Hell they even make you change your name when the switch sides. Start calling you Darth.

        I have the hardest time with this as I love grey areas. Sadly most my players are grey area players which makes moral dilema's for them practically non-existent. I mean how can you have a crisis of concience when you don`t have a concience?!

 

I agree with you, but actually, EoE is the best place to really explore this.  There are more moral greys when you have to make ends meet on the fringe.  I definitely feel the PCs are meant to be broadly the 'good guys', in that they have some moral compass. But they don't have to be 'heroes' and sometimes it's just necessary to 'shoot first'.

 

Mal's line in Firefly: 'I guess I'm just a good man...' sums up how I see EoE. This is still Star Wars after all, and doing bad stuff will come back to bite you. 

 

And personally, with the right group, I've found you can have shades of grey for both fringers and the Empire without sacrificing the essence of Star Wars.  It's tricky, but it can be done. 

 

Kind of sounds like everyday life.

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Mal's line in Firefly: 'I guess I'm just a good man...' sums up how I see EoE. This is still Star Wars after all, and doing bad stuff will come back to bite you.

 

Didn't Mal actually start that scene as a "great man" and end up, by the end, deciding he was just "alright"?

 

I agree, BTW, but I don't think the movies get into moral middle ground very much, though. Even the characters that start morally questionable end up heroic good or naughty bad real fast. Han Solo is the best example but Lando also falls into the category of someone that we're not sure about but are quickly shown as good.

 

Jabba is probably the best example of the opposite. My opinion might be affected by EotE but I think Jabba starts out pretty neutral. At the start, he's just a businessman. Maybe sending Greedo wasn't a good idea but Han and Jabba brush over that like it was business as usual when they meet in the docking bay. At that point, Jabba hasn't put a price on his head (Greedo only says that he will!) and he seems pretty willing to accept Han's promise of repayment. In fact, I'm just realizing that Han doesn't even disagree that he owes the money. He just wants Jabba to understand that he had to dump the cargo. Jabba was only looking to be compensated. He actually seems reasonable! But then we see him in RotJ and, within a minute, he's feeding a poor twilek dancer to his rancor... and from then on, he's naughty bad.

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Good vs. Evil - There is not much grey area in starwars for who is good and who is not. They have their own freakin theme songs. People can argue all they want but in all the movies there is a clear good guy and bad guy. Sometimes they switch sides *cough* Anikin *cough*, and sometimes you don`t know which side they are on until later but they are definately on one side or the other. Hell they even make you change your name when the switch sides. Start calling you Darth.

        I have the hardest time with this as I love grey areas. Sadly most my players are grey area players which makes moral dilema's for them practically non-existent. I mean how can you have a crisis of concience when you don`t have a concience?!

 

I agree with you, but actually, EoE is the best place to really explore this.  There are more moral greys when you have to make ends meet on the fringe.  I definitely feel the PCs are meant to be broadly the 'good guys', in that they have some moral compass. But they don't have to be 'heroes' and sometimes it's just necessary to 'shoot first'.

 

Mal's line in Firefly: 'I guess I'm just a good man...' sums up how I see EoE. This is still Star Wars after all, and doing bad stuff will come back to bite you. 

 

And personally, with the right group, I've found you can have shades of grey for both fringers and the Empire without sacrificing the essence of Star Wars.  It's tricky, but it can be done. 

 

 

Indeed. To be honest keeping the essence of Star was is the hardest part in my group because they typically don't associate that well with the DM's characters that well. Because I find that part of the essence of star wars is that, even amoung the dregs of society, that loyalty provides a clear moral compass. If they don't have any greater cause to fight for or to act for, then they do so for the loyality of the party and their close employers/trade partners.

 

Because I agree with this:

 

Mal's line in Firefly: 'I guess I'm just a good man...' sums up how I see EoE. This is still Star Wars after all, and doing bad stuff will come back to bite you.

 

Didn't Mal actually start that scene as a "great man" and end up, by the end, deciding he was just "alright"?

 

I agree, BTW, but I don't think the movies get into moral middle ground very much, though. Even the characters that start morally questionable end up heroic good or naughty bad real fast. Han Solo is the best example but Lando also falls into the category of someone that we're not sure about but are quickly shown as good.

 

Jabba is probably the best example of the opposite. My opinion might be affected by EotE but I think Jabba starts out pretty neutral. At the start, he's just a businessman. Maybe sending Greedo wasn't a good idea but Han and Jabba brush over that like it was business as usual when they meet in the docking bay. At that point, Jabba hasn't put a price on his head (Greedo only says that he will!) and he seems pretty willing to accept Han's promise of repayment. In fact, I'm just realizing that Han doesn't even disagree that he owes the money. He just wants Jabba to understand that he had to dump the cargo. Jabba was only looking to be compensated. He actually seems reasonable! But then we see him in RotJ and, within a minute, he's feeding a poor twilek dancer to his rancor... and from then on, he's naughty bad.

 

To remain terse, I firmly believe that context is everything. In the OT no one who is neutral stays neutral. Even in the old trillogy it is very black and white. Qui Gon, despite being "Grey" was firmly a good guy, Jango and Boba were firmly evil. There was very little "moral conflict",  for better or for worse.

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I do think there is obviously a strong sense of Good and Evil in Star Wars, but another aspect of the stories that I like is the way they deal with bureaucracy and politics as being a corrupting force.

 

Especially in the Clone Wars series, there are many places where the "Good" choice is clear, but people are preventing from making that choice because of bureaucracy or politics. The people of Onderon are suffering but the Jedi can't act, because the "official" leader of Onderon is allied with the Separatists. Or just many places where the Jedi are shown to be a little short-sighted or arrogant.

 

I think it shows that no matter how clearly the "Good" choice is, there are often powerful forces at work that prevent people from doing the right thing.

 

For me, the Spirit of Star Wars is in a lot of what has been said already--grand adventure, exotic locations, giant monsters, swashbuckling action, and a sense of heroism in the face of powerful opposition.

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In regards to the shades of gray conversation.  I don't have an issue at all with the game being gray at times.  It's those gray decisions and problems players agonize over.  The black and white ones are easy.

But it isn't the Grey that defines star wars. the Grey morality is an exception to the rule, not the rule that that the iconic star wars univerce tends to follow. Your good until you fall, then your bad, and you are bad until you have a change of heart.

The cloest one to embody complete Neutrality is Keria from the KOTOR games, since she has a complete absence of opinon despite being a sith and spends most of the game merely helping the apprentice, then firmly embraces being evil once more to completely erradicate the last of the Jedi so that the exile can reinstall a new, purified Jedi order.

 

I can't remember anyone else who is strictly Neutral, to be honest I don't really understand why some people think Qui-Gon to be a grey Jedi, he always struck me as a risk taking lightsider who left his gambles up to the force but firmly acted in the interests of the republic. That doesn't strike me as being neutral.

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Hello everyone,

today I have watched a documentary on the Star Wars Saga on the European TV brodcasting service "arte". In this documentary Episodes I through VI have been compared with classic literature (Greece Literature, Shakespearean plays, epic poetry), historical events (Roman Empire, Era of Napoleon, German Third Reich, other Dictatorships), Genres (Wild West, pulp adventures, Romantic Horror (especially Frankenstein)), and religious sources (especially texts from the old testament, and secondary religious texts about the Fallen Angel). And this documentary was very awesome.

Although I have some trouble believing or accepting that George Lucas had all these resources or sources in mind when he has developed and created Star Wars, I admit that there are plenty of parallels and references available - or at least "you may see them".

The bottomline of the documentary is that Star Wars is today's epic tale which is on par with the Greece Tragedy from the old ages, the tales from medieval times up to what Shakespeare's Tales were supposed to be in their times. And I am willing to accept this easily.

What's your take on this conclusion?

Best wishes!
Mad

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OT:

 

You may recognize that I have "liked" most of your postings. This does not necessarily mean that I share each opinion, although this is trues for most thoughts shared; my "likes" are more about liking each (valuable) of your contributions to this topic and the questions I have raised. I enjoy everyone's opinion.

 

Best wishes!

Mad

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I think Lucas may have had some of that consciously in mind when he wrote Star Wars (before it was A New Hope) but he was also just shamelessly borrowing left and right.

After the first movie everything was made up as he went along.

As for the spirit of Star Wars, Good vs Evil, larger than life, action! Or to quote Princess Leia's epigraph "They were in the wrong place at the right time, naturally they became heroes."

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I think Lucas may have had some of that consciously in mind when he wrote Star Wars (before it was A New Hope) but he was also just shamelessly borrowing left and right.

After the first movie everything was made up as he went along.

As for the spirit of Star Wars, Good vs Evil, larger than life, action! Or to quote Princess Leia's epigraph "They were in the wrong place at the right time, naturally they became heroes."

Whether he invented wookies or Martin did, I don't know.  But when I was 7 and found out Chewbacca was a first mate of a starship....that was cool.

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SW spirit for me in this years is...

 

Tons of hours discussing about scenes around a table with a group of awesome friends, watching the movies hundred of times, tons of parodies and voice act imitations, awesome FX sounds produced just with our mouth and trying to teach them to friends.

More discussions, more fun...

 

Oh and of course! Blasters, Starships, Aliens, Lightsabers, The Force...

 

Just wonderful years and wonderful friends :D

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I do think there is obviously a strong sense of Good and Evil in Star Wars, but another aspect of the stories that I like is the way they deal with bureaucracy and politics as being a corrupting force.

 

Especially in the Clone Wars series, there are many places where the "Good" choice is clear, but people are preventing from making that choice because of bureaucracy or politics. The people of Onderon are suffering but the Jedi can't act, because the "official" leader of Onderon is allied with the Separatists. Or just many places where the Jedi are shown to be a little short-sighted or arrogant.

 

I think it shows that no matter how clearly the "Good" choice is, there are often powerful forces at work that prevent people from doing the right thing.

 

For me, the Spirit of Star Wars is in a lot of what has been said already--grand adventure, exotic locations, giant monsters, swashbuckling action, and a sense of heroism in the face of powerful opposition.

 

While I do love the expansion on the Starwars Universe that the clone war series provides I can only watch so much of it. It definately plays alot more in the grey area and while I enjoy intrigue as much as the next it gets tiresome after the majority of the episodes begin and end as follows:

 

"Trouble in the republic!" We`re all going to die the Republic fleet has been sneak attacked and is being destroyed.

Jedi come up with a darring plan

Politics suck

Plan usually involving lots of clones biting it.

Jedi save the day and the Separatists are defeated enmass

*Repeat*

 

 I never served in vietnam but I get a sense it had much the same feel of no matter how much we win we`re never winning.

 

They must have a seriously nice recycling program cause the raw materials needed to keep a war going for these 5 (6?) seasons are immense. Plus it just gives players whom are thinking of being Jedi bad ideas. Might as well be called MTV's Jedi: Behaving poorly. Still it's a fun show, just not a good reasource as a whole (few episodes are pretty useful though).

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Plus it just gives players whom are thinking of being Jedi bad ideas. Might as well be called MTV's Jedi: Behaving poorly.

 

We had a Clone Wars era campaign going on in SAGA.  A massive part of the metaplot was the Council struggling to replace the Jedi as they were killed.  As our GM ran it, Jedi were being rushed through training, and the missions they were undertaking for the war effort were being counted as their Jedi Knight Trials.  For my character at least, it came to a head during a solo mission where I saved the life of senator Bail Organa:

 

“How are the Jedi faring in the war?” It was an innocent enough question, meant, I’m sure, to confirm their effectiveness and endurance. I could have said that we were rising to the challenge. I could have said many reassuring and true things, but my expression gave me away.

I confessed my fear that an entire generation of Knights were graduating whose talents were being focused only toward war and combat. I confessed my fears regarding the harsh decisions that long-serving Jedi were being forced to make, and the effect I'd seen this have on them. I confessed that even if we won, few Jedi who had fought could survive unchanged.

The war was forcing the Jedi to stop being Jedi. The Order was being destroyed from within.

 

Lots of fun.

 

Later, the group we were playing as during the Dawn of Defiance campaign were told that many in the Inquisition were failed, field-promoted Jedi Knights who'd fallen to the Dark Side.

Edited by Col. Orange

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I feel the same way about why the Jedi Order really failed. If they hadn't, things never would have progressed far enough that Palpatine would have been in a position to execute Order 66. Naturally, that was probably part of his plan. Sly bastard.

 

But that absolutely ties into my view on the spirit of the franchise. It could easily be that someone else finds it more comforting that the Jedi were incorruptible to the end, and were only caught off guard by dastardly subterfuge that was in no way invited by their own decisions.

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K, so, I'm totally late to the game (story of my life) on this one, but I swear it was my curling irons' fault and not that I overslept!

 

I think the reason that the "spirit" of star wars is so hard to pin down, yet so seemingly right there in front of you is that it's really based on Joseph Campbell's hero myth.

 

The whole idea of Star Wars, it's "spirit" is the journey of life.  It's the growing from one point in one's life to another - the maturity of the soul.  The reason why "hope" "love" and even "good vs evil" seem so rooted and at the same time all balled up in the spirit of Star Wars is because all those elements make up that journey that each of us take in our lives.

 

Star Wars is about being placed in a situation that is far beyond us, forcing us to realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things, but (more importantly) it forces us to grow into the situation around us.  It makes us take our place on a grander scale.  If we look at all the characters of the movie, each and every one of them grew into something more throughout.  Obi-wan even teased us with it in A New Hope.  He said to Luke "congratulations, you've just taken your first step into a larger world."   That single sentence defined the what all the characters would do; Han growing from the self-centered survivalist to galactic hero; Luke from timid farm-boy into heirophant to a whole religion, Leia from single minded crusader into maternal leader.

 

Through all of this, the tests to remain pure, to avoid quick, easy, and villainous actions hounded the growth of the characters.  Love threatened to derail the success of freeing the galaxy, the rash rescue of Han, the anger of Luke at the threat to his sister - but only by growing and maturing our definition of these passions where the heroes able to overcome the dangers.

 

Everything is an undercurrent of maturation - of overcoming obstacles and becoming something better for surpassing them.  Even Yoda, Obi-Wan and Vader all grew as characters through the original trilogy - Ben growing to trust in Luke, Yoda surpassing his physical self and becoming a being of light, and Vader maturing in his emotional turmoil to come out redeemed.

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Ya know ... this post really made me think about the movies in a new way, and I think I know what feels wrong with the prequels.  I mean, for a long time, I tried to pin down what made them wrong ... I mean, they're no worse cinematically than the originals were - the acting wasn't worse that some of the acting in the OT (let's be real, the dialogue and acting weren't that great in either the PT or the OT).   The special effects were just as over the top (for their time period) in both trilogies ... there's a million arguments for what went wrong, but they've all seemed a little trivial to the level of "wrong" that the PT has.

 

Thinking through it though, there was an interview with Lucas where he said that this was final parts of Anakin's journey, and it wasn't about a new story so much as finishing the old one.  When I think of it that way, I realize what was wrong with the whole thing - it wasn't a Hero's Journey at all.  The Original Trilogy was the Hero's Journey - all the characters went through growth with the backdrop of Galatic War.

 

While the Original Trilogy was a complete story, the Prequels weren't.   The Hero's Journey of the prequels was necessarily cut off to make room for the Original Trilogy.  The only characters that actually complete their Journey were Obi-Wan and Padme, arguably the only tolerable characters in the PT.  Anakin's arch is that of his descent, which is only half the Journey - Campbell talks about this part being the "descent into darkness," the great failure that forces the Hero to face himself (the same thing that is represented when Luke enters the cave on Dagobah and fails).  As we see in Luke's journey, that's about the halfway point - something that is also represented by the end of the PT.

 

This is the problem, then too - it's only half done.  While the Original Trilogy worked very hard to complete everyone's journey through the narrative, the Prequels only focused on closing the open journey that Anakin had.  That difference I think is what makes it feel so wrong - the feeling that the Prequels weren't "done" that there were too many unresolved characters.  We felt cheated by not getting the closure to the characters we had from the OT.

 

In Episode 4, we meet Han, Chewie, Artoo, Threepio, Obi-Wan, Luke and Leia - we are told that these are the characters we would follow.   In the first of the OT, we only meet a handful of characters outside of villians - Biggs, Wedge, Beru, Owen - that's it!  All of these would die save Wedge, and throughout the OT, all of the rest had defined arcs and growth:

 

     Han grows to be a hero

     Chewie grows to allow others into his social circle than Han (even hugging Wedge in the end!)

     Artoo becomes a hero in his own right, moving out of the shadow of merely being a droid

     Threepio finds his courage, and grows from passive observer into bard and hero

     Obi-Wan finds his faith in the actions of Luke, finding his redemption through Luke and Anakin

     Luke grows from timid farmhand to being the spiritual leader of the Jedi

     Leia finds the ability to put down her duty and learn to love and balance her life

     Wedge becomes a contributing expert, and in the end takes Luke's role in the Death Star assault (passing of the torch)

 

In Episode 1, we are introduced to Qui-Gon, Artoo, Threepio, Anakin, Padme, Jar-Jar and Obi-Wan,  but we also have a bevy of strange side characters; Boss Nass, Sabe, Palpatine, Vallorum, Shmi, Kitster, Captain Tarpals, Ric Olee, Captain Panaka, Yoda, and Mace Windu.  Of these characters, almost NONE of them get a complete arc or growth;

 

     Qui-Gon dies and is never heard from again (save for a dubious voice over and an off screen reference)

     Artoo is a Hero from the get-go - effectively starting at the same hero point he ENDS in the OT

     Threepio experiences NO growth as a character, staying pretty much the same as he is when we meet him in Ep4

     Anakin gets half-way through his Hero journey when the PT ends

     Padme completes the same journey that Leia takes, however this ends with tragedy (redeemed through Leia's journey)

     Jar-Jar is merely an afterthought in Episodes 2 and 3, while it's nice not to deal with him, it's terrible for the story

     Obi-Wan is the ONLY person outside of Padme to actually complete a Hero's journey, going from youth to mentor

 

In addition, the gajillion side characters get little to no resolution (even in death) outside of Shmi, Mace and Palpatine.  This leaves the PT feeling "unfinished" and confusing.  While the OT felt "lived in" because of the appearance of it, and the bustling in the background, it never felt "busy."  The PT on the other hand felt overwhelmingly large and cluttered - it seems to "dazzle" the screen as opposed to "fill" it.  In the end, that leaves one (it left me at least) feeling empty - as if I was waiting for something that never arrived.  It took this thread to make me realize that the lack of complete character arcs and the bevy of supporting characters combined to make the whole story "emptier" than the OT was.

 

This can most glaringly be seen in Lando Calrissian.  Here was a character introduced halfway through the second movie.  Yet even this character has a complete arc - going from self-serving scoundrel to dedicated leader, willing to sacrifice his own life for the betterment of the galaxy).  It seemed a focus of the OT to make sure everyone had a logical and complete story - even if it was minor in it's telling.

 

When I look to my campaigns, I find myself able to break the successful ones and not-so-successful ones along similar lines.  Stories where I have a boatload of NPCs always seem to fail whereas ones where I focus on only a small group of supporting characters always seem to last longer - and they're always more well-liked.

 

It's an interesting thing to consider, and I want to thank everyone for bringing up this thread, as it's really taught me a lot!

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