Does Eragon and Star Wars Have An Identity Crisis?
Max explores the parallels between Star Wars and Eragon
Star Wars was created in 1977, and George Lucas fully intended to tell a story about a knight who rescues a princess from a dungeon, only with lasers and spaceships. However, Lucas also envisioned a story set in a setting full of advanced technology with the special effects wowing people and blowing Star Trek out of the park. George also liked dogfights but that’s a separate issue. Or really?
Anyway, after 1977, many talented storytellers like Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo emerged and started crafting their subsections of Star Wars; yet I feel that they made a major misinterpretation when approaching the mythos. They felt Star Wars was not sci-fi and because of the strange plateaus in various branches of science, the only tech they seemed to acknowledge as “important” were holograms, artificial intelligence, and directed energy weapons. Most of everything else is archaic and they have no intention of getting into the nitty-gritty details. Star Wars is fantasy, they would cry. Technology only exists when the story needs it. All this BS. Yes, I prefer stories of the mystical Jedi; but the average Star Wars character does not have the power of the Force. They solely rely on science and tech (just like us in the real world) and it seems silly to stymy it.
My approach to Star Wars is that something may look like a steel crate but in reality, it’s saturated in nanites that keep it strong and hard to get dirty. The All-Climate Tent from Lords of the Sith is ultra hydrophobic, among other things. That’s the way it should be. Some of the writers of the ’90s and ’00s understood George’s original vision and introduced the Yuuzhan Vong and their advanced biotech almost bested the powers of the Jedi. The Force didn’t even work on them! ’20’s Star Wars is a sci-fi series that thinks it’s a fantasy series.
Now, I also wanted to look at the reverse phenomenon of Eragon. Eragon is the flagship book of the Inheritance Cycle; 4 books telling a tale of a boy named Eragon who bonds with a dragon, learns magic, and saves his land from an evil emperor. Sounds familiar? Yes, Eragon is basically Star Wars, but with a dragon, and many critics have called out the “copycat”. Christopher Paolini wrote the first book when he was 15 which is an impressive feat, so I don’t believe that he should be vilified. The books are highly enjoyable and do have some stark differences, yet the problem I have with Star Wars echoes in Eragon as well.
Eragon is a fantasy series. It has a magic system, takes place in a medieval land and humans share the land with elves, dwarves, and magicians. Yet, Paolini feels the need to interject science into the mix and I feel this is an inverse mistake. The king of Surda likes to experiment in the lab. The elves teach Eragon all about science. Eragon learns that life is not abiogenesis and that an afterlife is not supported by science. The island that the evil King Galbatorix devastated is said to be poisoned and it is very much implied, that a nuclear explosion was to blame. Nuclear to us, but still magic to this primitive race of people, and admittedly caused by a spell. Why do you need to bring radiation in it? Why does Eragon have to learn real science? WHY?
Eragon is a fantasy series that wants to be sci-fi. Paolini is done with Eragon but Star Wars lives on. I would like to see people like Claudia Gray and James Luceno continue to write Star Wars where it is supposed to be; in a SCI-FI universe.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he shares his love of the Force frequently!
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!