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Star Wars Influences

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I read an interesting article that did an interview with George Lucas and they asked several questions about how he developed some of the concepts that exist in Star Wars, and he said that he took as models several people/incidents from history. Here are some of those:


1. The Storm Trooper and their various uniforms: These were clearly modeled after the Nazi' s, even the name Storm Trooper's is the same. Darth Vader's black outfit is reminiscent of those of the SS.

I think I also see a little Russian influence in the green/gray uniforms that some of the military personnel in Star Wars wore.


2. Palpatine/Darth Sidious. Lucas says this is based on two people: Clearly one is Hitler, who rose from Chancellor under the Weimar Republic to become an absolute dictator. The other is Richard Nixon who Lucas said influenced the politician who turned to the dark side. Lucas apparently had a very low opinion of Nixon and his motivations.


3. The Empire. Primarily based after Ancient Rome, which also transitioned from a Republic run by a Senate to an Empire/Monarchy run by a Dictator. (also a bit by the Weimar Republic to Third Reich transition). I don't think Lucas held Julius or Augustus Caesar in the same category as Hitler, but....a similar historical tract is there.



4. Pod Racing. Lucas took the Chariot race scene from Ben Hur as his model for the Pod racing scene.


5. The Ewoks. These were based on the Vietcong. Rural people with primitive weaponry fighting off a much larger stronger force. The Vietcong knew the lay of the land much better...as did the Ewoks.


6. The Jedi. The Jedi are basically a combination of Shaolin monks, Samurai, and Knights Templar. All three models lived their lives with austerity, devotion and moral purity. All three were semi military or at least martial in their training. The Knights Templar even had a 12 member council, like the Jedi, that ran the order.


7. The Jedi Purge. The scene in the Revenge of the Sith where Anakin Skywalker is ordered to kill everyone in the Jedi Temple (and all the other Jedi spread out elsewhere) is based on the events of October 13, 1307 where King Phillip IV of France orders the arrest and execution of all Knights Templar throughout France and beyond, including killing or arresting everyone in the Templar Castle


8. The original Star Wars came out during....perhaps not the height...but right in middle of The Cold War, and various things, such as the destructive weapons, and the rebel fighting the Empire were based on Cold War history


9. Other than Palpatine, the article did not mention that any of the other Star Wars characters were based on any particular historical people.....except loosely the Messianic/Christlike allusions of Anakin or Luke Skywalker. "The Chosen One" and all that. (of course, that title was later conferred upon Harry Potter as well)

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More allegory:


In addition to the purge of the Knights Templar, a similar thing occurred to the Shaolin Temple in the 1600s. The Qing dynasty destroyed it as being "anti-Qing Emperor".

In this case, it was believed that only 5 Elders of the Shaolin Temple survived to carry on the traditions of the Shaolin....and it martial arts training down to posterity.

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