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Post #1403551

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Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
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Date created
16-Jan-2021, 11:51 AM
Last modified
16-Jan-2021, 11:58 AM
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Originally posted in the General Star Wars Random Thoughts Thread. Reposted here with NeverarGreat’s permission.

NeverarGreat said:

This wonderful write-up got me thinking about an aspect of Star Wars that has recently been bugging me - technological advancement. In short, the technology of Star Wars sometimes seems to advance, but sometimes seems to retreat. In general, the appearances change while the underlying tactics and strategies stay the same. The Razor Crest can fight the much newer TIE fighters and win, Y-wings have a place in fleets for decades, Star Destroyers get little more than a makeover, etc. If there’s an increase in power, it comes at the cost of greater size such as the enormous Death Star and even larger Starkiller.

This all seems in keeping with the surrealist fantasy of Star Wars. Of course, there are notable instances where technology does evolve in this universe, such as Clones making droids obsolete, Hyperspace Tracking/ramming dramatically shifting the calculus of resistance, Death Star Destroyers making a mockery of the power scale rule, etc. Each case feels off for Star Wars because it cleaves to an otherwise realistic expectation of technology, but it violates the surrealist fantasy because it brings the technology from unchanging background to crucial foreground. We must focus on this disruption and that means that the game state of the world has changed; it no longer has the veneer of timeless mythology.

It has been traded away for mere science fiction.

ZkinandBonez said:

I really like that last statement. It’s a very succinct way of summarizing a lot of the frustrations I was trying to express in my essay post. Although the EU has often dabbled in trying to explain technological advancements, I’m glad that no Star Wars content has ever shown us a time in the galaxy when droids and spaceships didn’t exist. They’ve changed the aesthetic a fair bit in the different eras, with some looking even more fantasy-like than the movies, but similarly to how weaponry and building techniques almost never changes throughout Tolkien’s mythos, Star Wars has always had spaceships and droids as they are abstractions rather than straight up technological inventions.