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What are the themes of the Star Wars movies?

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I don’t mean overall but rather of each individual movie.

The Prequels all seem to cover roughly the same ground with corruption and the quest for power, between Anakin and Palpatine, as well as the failure of the Jedi.

The originals…I got nothin’. RotJ is about family, I guess? There’s a recurring motif of Luke wanting to save his friends, if you can make anything of that.

TFA is about confronting the past. Finn must confront his past as a stormtrooper, Rey must accept that her parents are never coming back, and Han must confront his fallen son.

TLJ is all about failure and learning from it. Yoda is pretty on the nose about this one. Finn learns to fight the good fight by failing to save the fleet. Poe learns to be less impulsive by failing to mutiny.

TRoS is…also about the past. Geez, Abrams, show some creativity. Poe must confront his past as a spice runner on Kijimi, currying parsley and paprika to grocery stores across the Galaxy. Finn must deal with his past as a stormtrooper on Kef Bir, where he meets a former company of stormtroopers. Rey must deal with why her parents left her and…groan…her heritage as a Palpatine.

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I agree with you on most, adding to the list:

TPM - Believing in yourself and learning to work with / trust others.
AOTC - Uhhh not sure. This is a really poorly made movie so it doesn’t really have a theme: the closet is love finds a way, but that only covers the Anakin/Padme stuff, the Obi Wan and Geonosis parts have no story besides a series of setpieces.
ROTS - Love used as a corrupting influence (actually a really cool concept, a shame it’s executed so poorly).
ANH - Faith.
ESB - The real world isn’t a fairytale.
ROTJ - Trusting in friends and believing in someone’s inner good/the power of love.
TFA - Cowardice and Moving on from the Past.
TLJ - Failure and Learning from it.
TORS - Trusting in friends and Moving on from the Past (two stolen themes).

Maul- A Star Wars Story

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Truthfully, I think the two of you have already put more thought into it than Lucas ever did.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

You’re killing me, Smalls.

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Truthfully, I think the two of you have already put more thought into it than Rian Johnson ever did.

Can we be less mean?

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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I think both Johnson and Lucas overthought it.

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Most likely scenario.

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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Meanwhile, JJ Abrams is asking “Theme? What’s that? You mean like the music?”

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 (Edited)

Hey, think fast!

throws lens flare

Peace is a lie
There is only passion…

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 (Edited)

TPM - People helping people, symbiotic relationships, and the dangers of fear and greed.

AOTC - Distrust and further corruption of power.

ROTS - That even the purest of motivations in love can be twisted into doing dark deeds.

ANH - Hope.

TESB - That things don’t always go as we hope and sometimes there’s hard truths.

ROTJ - Love and faith ultimately triumphs. Redemption.

TFA - No idea.

TLJ - Failure and learning from the past.

TROS - No idea.

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TPM - Selflessness Defeating Desire

AOTC - Selflessness Corrupted by Desire

ROTS - Desire leading to Destruction

ANH - The Will to Confront Evil Without

TESB - The Horror of Realizing Evil Within

ROTJ - Overcoming the Evil Within

TFA - The Wounds of Isolation

TLJ - Confronting the Failure which caused Isolation

TROS - Somehow, Palpatine Returned

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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Trying to give an honest, unbiased answer to the question, not influenced by my opinions on the movies:

ANH: Anyone can be a hero.
ESB: One must learn how to deal with failure.
ROTJ: Everyone has good inside them.
TPM: Coincidences can result in enormous change.
AOTC: Evil can sometimes hide in plain sight.
ROTS: Too much attachment results in greed.
TFA: Evil will always return, but so will good.
TLJ: The old ways are flawed, but they still have value.
TROS: Friendship can be a powerful ally.

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NeverarGreat said:

TPM - Selflessness Defeating Desire

AOTC - Selflessness Corrupted by Desire

ROTS - Desire leading to Destruction

ANH - The Will to Confront Evil Without

TESB - The Horror of Realizing Evil Within

ROTJ - Overcoming the Evil Within

TFA - The Wounds of Isolation

TLJ - Confronting the Failure which caused Isolation

TROS - Somehow, Palpatine Returned

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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NFBisms said:

I think both Johnson and Lucas overthought it.

Having been on board since 1977, I don’t think Lucas started to give it any thought at all until after the single small story he had written started to make tons of money at the box office. Honestly, he didn’t even have a sequel idea, let alone some deeply thought out mythology.

Johnson just seemed bent on the angle of “I’m going to shake up the Star Wars franchise and turn it on it’s ear”. Where did he get off deciding the franchise needed shaking up? What it needs are great characters and stories.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

You’re killing me, Smalls.

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Anchorhead said:

Johnson just seemed bent on the angle of “I’m going to shake up the Star Wars franchise and turn it on it’s ear”. Where did he get off deciding the franchise needed shaking up? What it needs are great characters and stories.

Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. See: The Empire Strikes Back.

He didn’t “get off” anywhere, I don’t think? Not looking at all the behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, at least. It seems like the “angle” he was bent on WAS “great characters and stories.” If that happened to “shake up” people who watched it, all the better, but the idea he superficially went in to trash Lucasfilm’s hotel room seems weird and unfounded to me. He’s not Josh Trank or anything, LOL.

But it seemed like a fairly traditional Star Wars movie to me in most aspects. For as controversial as the film’s since become, there isn’t much in it that you can’t source back to earlier films setting precedent.

Anyway, the themes of the Star Wars movies are:

The Throne Room
The Imperial March
The Forest Battle
Duel of the Fates
Across the Stars
Battle of the Heroes
The Scavenger
The Resistance is Reborn
We Go Together

Special mention to The Asteroid Field, TIE Fighter Attack, Luke & Leia, and Han Solo & the Princess.

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Can we just create a separate thread for the best music of the Star Wars movies? I’d vote for:

ANH: TIE Fighter Attack
ESB: The Imperial March
ROTJ: Luke and Leia
TPM: Duel of the Fates
AOTC: Across the Stars
ROTS: Anakin’s Betrayal
TFA: March of the Resistance
TLJ: The Spark
TROS: We Go Together

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I almost put down “The Spark” for TLJ but while that’s my favorite musical bit in that movie I don’t think you could call it the movie’s theme. Same with Asteroid Field and ESB.

I also really like The Droid March as it was heard in Attack of the Clones. That piece could have been the PT’s “Imperial March” - I guess it kind of is, but it could have been MORE so. But that would have necessitated writing the droid army completely differently, I think.

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Broom Kid said:

I almost put down “The Spark” for TLJ but while that’s my favorite musical bit in that movie I don’t think you could call it the movie’s theme. Same with Asteroid Field and ESB.

I know, I was just listing my favorite musical pieces in each movie, not necessarily the main themes.
If I had to select the main themes for each movie, it would be:

ANH: Princess Leia’s Theme
ESB: The Imperial March
ROTJ: Luke and Leia
TPM: Duel of the Fates
AOTC: Across the Stars
ROTS: Battle of the Heroes
TFA: Rey’s Theme
TLJ: The Rebellion is Reborn
TROS: The Rise of Skywalker