Was Carl Sagan‘s criticism of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1978 correct? A recently surfaced video suggests he was!
A video recently surfaced of Carl Sagan being interviewed on a talk show in 1978. Carl Sagan was an astrophysicist that was most famous for hosting the original Cosmos. And is a respected and legendary figure in the science community.
In 1978, Star Wars was just around for about a year, and nobody knew what a juggernaut it would someday become. However, Sagan was not impressed with it, claiming it was scientifically inaccurate. He noted that humans are the main characters in the story and that it was silly that they lived in another galaxy. He claimed that even if the conditions for Earth were replicated, it would still be very unlikely that humanity would rise as it did. And that the chances of humans coming to be in another galaxy was highly improbable.
Star Wars always takes liberties with its “science.” But there was a planned book called Alien Exodus, where humans were said to have migrated through time and space from the Milky Way to the Star Wars galaxy. Of course, Sagan would never think that way as it breaks all the known rules of science. However, the biggest takeaway from the interview is Sagan pointing out that Star Wars is all white.
For someone in 1978 to speak out against racial inequality in media, shows how ahead of his time Sagan was. And how that would be something that would be more at home in a 2021 interview. The Original Star Wars only had Caucasian actors. But that was rectified by 1980, with the introduction of Lando Calrissian in Empire Strikes Back. Now in the Disney era, Sagan would be much more content as it hosts a ton of people of color.
Lastly, I could not help but laugh when Sagan pointed out that Chewbacca did not receive a medal at the end of the movie. This has irked fans for decades, and Sagan jokingly calls it racist. While funny, the anti-alien sentiment was a big theme in Star Wars during the Legends era. And Sagan was once again with his finger on the pulse. Sagan died very young at only 62 years old, and this interview just re-inforces what an insightful, brilliant man he was. Had he lived to 2021; would his opinion of Star Wars change for the better. Check out the video and decide for yourself.
Do you agree with Caral Sagan’s assessment of the galaxy far, far away? Leave a comment below. We love hearing your feedback!
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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!