The Space Cowboys of Star Wars
By Niall Roche

The background of how George Lucas put together that original vision for Star Wars is one of the most fascinating parts of the great background story of these movies and it accounts so why Star Wars was so innovative and unique. It was the unique and fresh approach to science fiction movies that made Star Wars such a huge hit and turned millions like you and I into lifelong Star Wars Fans.

Lucas brought in elements from opera, literature, religious writings and many movie making genres that had nothing to do with a space adventure to give Star Wars its unusual feel. One genre that gives Star Wars a tremendous sense of fun was the classic western movie. The feel of Star Wars being a great space cowboy adventure is strong in the first three films. Some of the elements of a really good cowboy movie that stand out in Star Wars include...

The camaraderie of Luke, Leia and Han has that same "exiles around a camp fire" feel of the great westerns.
Heroes and villains are carefully well defined. Luke is completely good whereas Darth Vader is completely evil.
The "renegade cowboy" has that all American appeal of being a rebel with a heart of gold.
Great costumes, lots of "ride em cowboy" action.
The love interest is innocent and whimsical but always second to the adventure.
The central bad guy is so evil that he is even despised by his own men. But he reports to an unseen bad guy who is even worse than that.
The feel of the conquest of a frontier is underneath the entire show even though it isn't dominant in the show.
The "maiden in distress" who also happens to be a spunky cowgirl herself.
The wise old sheriff, in this case Ben Kenobi has sage advice for the impetuous young bucks but in the end puts himself into the battle for good versus evil.
The climatic ending of "let's blow this thing" is a classic cowboy "salvation from out of the blue" drama.
The bad guy returns to his own heart of gold inspired by the true good he sees in the good cowboy.

Star Wars is in every way an American film much as the really great cowboy movies demonstrate that American spirit of adventure, irrepressible spirit, the desire to colonize and the ability to have fun no matter what. And like the great westerns of decades ago, the cowboy movies are beloved by Americans because they watch Star Wars and it touches part of their own spirit and makes them proud of their American heritage.

The success of Star Wars around the world is only further testimony that a movie that pays homage to such a great and endearing movie genre will be loved by all movie going audiences. That rough and tumble, nobody gets us down, all American boy and girl spirit that is so proudly on display in Star Wars is beloved around the world. And just as people loved John Wayne and Randolph Scott, the Star Wars characters just became a modern version of a great movie making idea - the classic western.

You always wanted to be a jedi when you were growing up didn't you? The only thing that was stopping you was owning your own real lightsaber - why not own one today?


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