After reading an interesting writeup, How Star Wars is based on the Third Reich I recalled how similar I had found the Star Wars series to many of the older Wild West movies that I've enjoyed. I think that this can be most easily seen in episode 4 - A new hope.

This episode begins with a country boy working on his uncle's farm on the planet Tatooine. The environment of this area is visually similar to that in many wild west movies, with deserts and canyons and desolate rocky areas. Beyond the visual similarities we find that one is continually at risk, and cannot depend on outside authority for any help - this is quite clearly shown when Luke gets into a situation with weird dudes only to be saved by Obi-Wan Kenobi. The characters in this environment are similar to those in a Western too. The shifty traders who sell the skywalker's some new drones to work on the farm are treated similarly to the untrustworthy scoundrel's you'd find running a trading post deep in the heart of Texas. And Obi-Wan is an aging man who wants to lead a quiet life in obscurity and beyond the reach of authority only to find that his past won't allow it.

It is interesting to note that the destruction of the skywalker farm and the brutal murder of his family breaks luke's ties to the land and makes him pursue his course of ultimately becoming a jedi knight. Contrast this with The Outlaw Josey Wales in which Clint Eastwood suffers the same sort of treatment from american soldiers before engaging in the orgy of gun shooting and horse riding we were all waiting for.

The other thing that struck me upon watching A new hope was the visual depiction of the frontier town our duo travel to in order to find a rogue to fly them around the joint: The town is full of domed and spired lowrise buildings spaced at distances from each other, bordering a wide & dusty road. Very much like an islamic Dodge City or Tombstone. The imperial troops practically wear sherrif stars. And where do they go to find someone to drive them around? The bar of course! And this bar isn't a pub, with people enjoying draught beer and a game of pool while eyeing the opposite sex and kicking back in the relaxed, uncaring ambience. Nor is it a club, with people either drugged up to their eyeballs, dancing or putting on a charade of coolness with varying degrees of success. Here we have a bar not from a postwar metropolis but the wild west, with raucous music and nervous tension filling the air as people speak in huddled groups or gamble over cards before a fight finally erupts.

If anyone can think of other parallels I'd be interested to read them.

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