The Humor of Star Wars - Arizona State University

The Humor of Star Wars - Arizona State University

The Humor of Star Wars By Don and Alleen Nilsen As an over-the-top melodrama, Star Wars is a parody of science fiction, as well as a Comedy of Humours. The exaggerated characters are sanguine, bilious or phlegmatic, i.e. named after the humours that long-ago physicians viewed as the liquids of the body, which when out-of-balance would cause unique traits to develop.

Star Wars is also a Romance, in which the characters are placed into one of two categorieseither the dark side, or the light side. Because these humours characters are so exaggerated, they can also be classified as Eccentrics, and in some cases, even as Grotesques as seen in the following slide where one normal woman stands out simply because she is so ordinary. Grotesques The Importance of Names

Names are the only part of a language that speakers can invent for themselves. The creators of Star Wars were so good at inventing names that we come away feeling we have figured out a foreign language (or several foreign languages) when we toss around such character names as, Boba Fett, Adi Gallia, Hu Yang, and Gardulla the Hutt, along with such place names as Naboo City and Coruscant. Some of the invented names follow authentic patterns of English word development, as with Darth Vader for Dark Father, and Luke Skywalker, where Skywalker describes Lukes job, and Luke relates to words meaning light (as in Latin luc and luk) and in Greek leukis meaning white). However, most of the created names are just suggestive of an English meaning

which in a slipshod fashion helps the audience connect the name to either the characters appearance or actions. The Wookies and the Ewoks For example, our familiarity with the concept of chewing tobacco may trigger an almost subconscious mental association to Chewbaccas brown, hairy fur, while his species name of Wookie, might trigger us to

think of Whoops! In contrast, Ewoks are short, violent cannibals, which look like Teddy bears but act like savages so that if we should happen to run into one we would at least think Eek! Some names are obviously created as descriptors as with

Hevy who during the Clone Wars carries the heavy guns. Other names are just easy to say and to remember as with Yoda, whose name is just one letter away from yoga. Yoda is an important character in

video games. And, surely viewers are waiting for Jar Jar Binks to blink his eyes. In spite of their prominence, hes always bumping into things. More Grotesques

Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia Jabba the Hutt jabbers as he smokes marijuana from a hookah and speaks a strange language that requires sub-titles. We can understand his names of people and places, but even they are pronounced in a strange fashion. He is a cruel mountain of lava, who makes Princess Leia his Slave Dancer

and freezes Han Solo in carbonite Dramatic Contrasts When numbers and letters are used together in a name, we know that machines are being personified. For example, C-3PO is a tall, shiny android who walks stiffly and gingerly, while speaking with a British accent.

R2-D2 is a squat metallic grey robot who rolls as he squeaks and whistles. Ironically English speakers can make sense out of these squeaks and whistles. BB-8 is a recently developed astromech droid, the newest name for androids. His domed head stays in place, while his body is a round ball that can roll in any direction. The Names of Androids

In Android naming, a hyphen separates the first name from the last name. Thus we have C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8. On the Lava Planet Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. This is another example of a dramatic contrast. The Merchandising of Star Wars Icons Collecting Souvenirs is a Fun Way

to Be Involved The items shown in the previous slide all came from a neighborhood Dollar store: A shopping bag, A poster, A memo pad and pen, A box of stationery, A coloring book, A sticker book and

boxes of macaroni and cheese. We spent just a little more than $8.00. Our most surprising find was a display of boxes of macaroni and cheese, each adorned with a portrait and the message, COLLECT

ALL 8 BOXES. They were sold out except for Yoda, C3PO and Darth Vader. We were proud of our shopping until we went online and found what people with higher levels of taste spend on jewelry, costumes, conventions and original art work. On Pinterest, Star Wars has 5.9 million followers. Our specific temptations included: A British postage stamp featuring the Star Wars Storm Troopers.

A sleeping bag that would disguise one of us as R2-D2 once we were zipped inside. The idea of waltzing through airports looking as if we were shepherding R2-D2, instead of dragging a carry-on bag. Directions for building our own BB-8 with Lego. A Death Star fire pit for barbecuing in our back yard.

A Poster of Princess Leia choking a man who had confused Star Wars with Star Trek. An attractive poster that clearly showed the timelines and the relationships of the films through 2019. Complete plans for a Star Wars party. John Williams Leit Motif for Darth Vader The Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy In the original Star WarsTrilogy we are shown how Emperor Palpatine seduces Anakin Sky Walker to join the dark side. Anakin had lost his mother at a very early age. Now, Anakins wife is pregnant with Luke Sky Walker, and the wicked Emperor Palpatine convinces Anakin that he will lose his own wife in child birth. Emperor Palpatine convinces Anakin Sky Walker that in order to save his wife, he will

have to come to the dark side, which he does. The Prequel Trilogy showed how Anakin had lost a light-saber fight on the Lava Planet, and his body had ended up so damaged that he had to wear a respirator wherever he went. Thus, Anakin Sky Walker became Darth Vader. Coruscant: A Futuristic City in Star Wars The Senate Building is the mushroom building in the background.

This is where the Jedi Forces meet to discuss the future of the Galaxy. In contrast, Naboo City, where Anakin Sky Walker was born, is nothing like Coruscant City. Even when he was young, Anakin Sky Walker had amazing skills.

He won races against much older and skilled opponents driving much better racing vehicles. English Speakers in Star Wars All of the human-shaped characters in Star Wars speak English. But they have the uncanny ability to converse with non-English-speaking Wookies who only grunt and

groan, and androids who mainly squeak and whistle. Its very much like listening to one end of a telephone conversation. Han Solo and Luke Sky Walker are both on the light side, and they both speak English. Obi Wan Kenobi Obi Wan Kenobi was Anakin Sky Walkers Jedi Master.

He trained Anakin well, but was forced to fight him on the Lava Planet. He could have destroyed Anakin, but didnt, which is why Anakin can later return as Darth Vader. Yoda Yoda is Luke Sky Walkers

Jedi Master. He is very old, very small, very oriental, and very green. He has big ears, and is amazingly agile as a fighter with light sabers. Emperor Palpatine: The top picture shows himas a Hologram; the bottom picture shows him as an Evil Emperor

In the beginning, Emperor Palpatine appeared to be one of the good people, but then he saw the power of the dark side. He took his Empire with him, so the Jedi forces had to become part of the rebellion. He is one of the few on the Dark Side who speaks English.

Princess Leia and Storm Troopers In this picture, Princess Leia is being Held captive by some Storm Troopers. Princess Leia is actually Lukes sister and Anakin Sky Walkers daughter. In the first two trilogies it is

suggested that she has special powers. In The Force Awakens she has become a General of the Rebel forces. Storm Troopers In one episode, the Federation learns how to clone Storm Troopers, creating a formidable

enemy against the Jedi Rebel forces. Star Wars Weapons The light saber is the weapon of choice in Star Wars. The light saber comes in green and red, and it makes dramatic whoosh

and sizzle sounds as it deflects bullets and clashes with other light sabers. Death Star The Death Star has only one function Destruction of the Rebel forces.

Hover Craft The Good Guys fight the Bad Guys in these straddled hover crafts. The riders have to avoid trees and other obstacles as they try to outmaneuver each other in the dense forests.

Lambda Shuttle Craft The wings on this craft move up and down. It is very much like a butterfly. Millenium Falcon Han Solo and Chewbacca pilot the Millenium

Falcon. Han Solo is something of a space pirate. But he has good intentions. Walkers The Walkers are commanded by people who ride in the heads of each Walker. The Walkers have a wide range of vision,

but theyre very unstable. Such inventions resemble vehicles in the new genre of Steam Punk. One of the functions of Steam Punk is to suggest how the world would have been if machines had evolved differently. Instead of tanks with tracks, we might have had tanks with long legs in this alternate reality.

The Sequel: The Force Awakens: Poe Dameron, Ren and Finn TIE Interceptor Poe Dameron flies a TIE Interceptor in Star Wars The Force Awakens. Finn is with him. Finns name is a clipping from a longer name.

Finn, Rey and BB8 Here is a picture of Finn, Rey, and BB8. Finn was a Storm Trooper before he saw the light. Kylo Ren Kylo Ren is a bad guy. Dont you think he looks

like a bad guy? Lando Lando is a good guy (sort of). Landos co-pilot is a grotesque character. Poe Dameron Here is Poe Dameron and

his TIE Interceptor. John Williams Music for Star Wars Opening Theme

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