“Star Wars” is known for its rich visuals and even classic, mythological imagery and icons. The great expert on world mythology, Joseph Campbell, extolled the virtues of the George Lucas created sci-fi universe as being full heroes and of setting goals and personal sacrifice. Campbell wrote on such things in his classic book, “The Hero of a Thousand Faces”. He talked about a hero’s journey and how such an irresistable trek and exploration is a universal and necessary concept in all human societies. Campbell was really onto something, however, sometimes those cool “Star Wars” characters are merely familiar and fun. They touch us in emotional ways, and in ways which make us feel right at home.
C3PO – The Classic English Butler
This droid may be annoying, or even downright irritating to many, but he’s a pretty handy and loyal electronic servant to Luke Skywalker. Unbeknownst to the fans in the first movie “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977), C3PO has a more direct connection to the characters than he at first appears. Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) builds C3PO out of old spare parts, and then he meets his future partner in crime, R2D2, in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”. C3PO demonstrates classic traits of a proper English butler. He’s always polite – never to R2D2 of course – by calling Luke and others Sir. He’s a good communicator as a translator and a protocol droid, and he always tries to keep his co-hort in line – the ever adorable, but irascible R2D2. He may never actually serve tea, but British actor Anthony Daniels – the man inside the suit and voice – morphs C3PO into the butler we think we need, but may not be able to stand after too long.
R2D2 – The Loyal Family Dog
This roundish, even downright chubby, droid may not bark, but he exhibits all the cute traits of Rover or Fido scurrying in and out of his doghouse or doggy door. His beeping and bleeping come close to growls or barks, and owner Luke Skywalker always knows what he’s saying or means – isn’t that the case with most clever, well connected dog owners in real life when dealing their own shaggy buds? Our pets don’t speak a human language, but we usually fully know what they want or need. With dogs, this is especially the case over say the feline citizens of the pet world, who act more like the arrogant and devious dark Sith Lords.
Chewbacca – The Cuddly Teddy Bear
Some say Han Solo’s ‘Chewie’ is more like a dog, and his face is certainly canine looking, however Chewbacca serves much more like a cuddly teddy bear. Granted, he’s a teddy bear capable of neatly ripping off one’s limbs if he’s provoked enough, but there’s no denying his cuddle factor. Han Solo likes to affectionately call him ‘fuzzball’, and we all love the nickname. Much like R2D2, nobody understands Chewie save for Han Solo. Now, I’m not implying that Han Solo takes Chewie to bed as a cuddly toy like Teddy Bear, but there are worse fates for a roguish type like Solo.
Yoda – The Kindly Grandfather
He’s teacher, martial arts master or even mystical shaman to Jedi knights in training like wet behind the ears Luke Skywalker. When all is said and done, he comes off like the patient, wise grandfather. Yoda spouts advice, homespun tips and grand, operatic war stories of long ago, epic battles enshrouded in the mists of time and outer space. It’s natural for someone like Yoda to wax nostalgic about his youthful Jedi days, after all, he’s many hundreds of years old. To top it off, the original Yoda was a muppet operated and voiced by the multi-talented Frank Oz, who also brought to life another icon – none other than Miss Piggy of The Muppets.
Jar Jar Binks – The Clownish Jester
The world needs more clowns, or jesters, or even fools. Fool should be emphasized in a most broad and comic sense – a dim witted fellow who smells the lapel flower, only to get a squirt of water or worse. From the prequel “Star Wars” movie, “The Phantom Menace”, Jar Jar’s a character most of us didn’t love to hate – we just basically loathed him. It’s said many kids do like the floppy eared clown, which may be a good thing, since his antics are strictly for the pre-school set. In medieval times, the King’s royal court relied upon jesters and clowns to alleviate political tensions, but in later movies, Jar-Jar becomes a politician himself. Is George Lucas mocking the more clownish political leaders of our own time?