George Lucas Lost His Faith
Written by Eric
First Posted: July 29th, 2009
Thou shalt not make crappy sequels of beloved classics that distort the things that made the originals so special.
George Lucas is responsible for two of the greatest movie series of all time, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. He did not direct or write all of the screenplays but he is responsible for all of the stories in both series. After a recent watching of Star War: The Phantom Menace and Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull I noticed an interesting thing about both films. George Lucas left religious faith, which was a staple in both frachises, out of them.
In the original Star Wars movie, the Force is based on a religious belief. It is referred to as a religion more than once. Han Solo calls it a "Hokey religion." Luke asks him, "You don't believe in the Force, do you?" Han Solo responds, "Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense."
Governor Tarkin says to Darth Vader, "The Jedi are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion." Admiral Motti also says to him, "Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fortress..." to which Vader responds, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
The word "faith" is spoken throughout the first three films. Faith is what Obi-Wan tries to instill in Luke, "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them." In Empire Strikes Back, when Luke says of Yoda's power, "I don't believe it." Yoda tells him, "That is why you fail." They want him to believe in something that is not tangible.
Obi-Wan describes the Force to Luke in this way, "The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together." Yoda elaborates, "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship."
In 1999, Lucas suddenly changed directions with what the Force was. Instead of it being a power derived from an unseen energy generating from living things around us, it became scientifically explained as a microbe called midi-chlorians that infest certain fortunate people. It can be measured. Anakin's midi-chlorian count, "Is off the chart." according to Obi-Wan in The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon Jinn tells the Jedi Council that "His cells have the highest concentration of midi-chlorians I have seen in a life-form. It was possible he was conceived by the midi-chlorians." Apparently size does matter Yoda. The size of the amount of midi-chlorians that is.
Whereas the power of the Force was at first explained by ones belief, acceptance and concentration, it changed to how many Midi-chlorians you have. Even if you want to argue that both faith in the Force and midi-chlorians can coexist then why did Yoda not bother to check Luke's count? The answer is that George obviously changed his mind on the origin of the Force.
Lucas also changed the religious views of the Indiana Jones movies. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jones finds the actual Ark of the Covenant. "Yes, the actual 10 Commandments, the original stone tablets that Moses came down out of Mount Horeb and smashed, if you believe in that sort of thing. Didn't you guys ever go to Sunday School? Look, the Hebrews took the broken pieces and put them into the Ark." By the end of the movie there is no question that it actually contains the 10 Commandments. The Ark has divine power. It burns the swastika off the side of the crate carrying it. It destroys the evil Nazis who dare open it. The plot to Raiders of the Lost Ark is based on Christian mythology.
In Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones goes after a sacred Hindu stone. He even finds himself speaking in a strange tongue talking about how the bad guys offended a God. In The Last Crusade he finds the real cup that Christ used at the last supper. It has the divine power to heal his father's wound. "The search for the Grail is the search for the divine in all of us. But if you want facts, Indy, I've none to give you. At my age, I'm prepared to take a few things on faith." Within the confines of these Indiana Jones adventures, Gods exist and have powers beyond mortal capacity.
In The Crystal Skull, Lucas again shows his change of religious conviction. Indiana seeks out an ancient skull that had been worshiped by an ancient civilization. However, it turns out that what were thought to be divine beings are actually just aliens. Again, Lucas has science replace spirituality. The movie even mentions Roswell. Science fiction was never a part of the Indiana Jones mystique. He always hunted ancient artifacts that had religious significance. Even the idol at the very beginning of Raider of the Lost Ark causes the natives to bow in reverence when it is raised.
I do not know why Lucas decided to change two of the greatest movie franchises faith, and thus destroyed much of what made them great. The Force was a mystery. It was spiritual, and the Jedi were like science fiction Ninja's. They worshipped nature, but could kick butt. Then George turned them into X-Men, superheroes who just needed to be taught how to use the powers in them. Indiana Jones made archeology exciting. Searching for ancient artifacts that answered important questions about the history of our planet as well as it's religions. Then Indiana Jones became the first member of the X-Files. I have no clue what George Lucas's religious/spiritual faith is, if any. But I do know that he should have left well enough alone. It was far too late in the game to change such important staples of both franchises.