Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Star Wars - one of the original dieselpunk movies?

I jokingly posted a video a few days ago where someone had scene-by-scene taken the trailer for The Empire Strikes Back and juxtaposed old 50's video clips in their place. But in all seriousness, couldn't Star Wars be considered an example of dieselpunk?

I noticed this article on Wired.com today while I was searching for references for the Wikipedia article, and I got to thinking about it. Lucas did draw heavily on both WWII and pulp iconography when making Star Wars. The swashbuckling, ray-gun toting hero who shoots from the hip, the wise-cracking princess to be saved, the farm boy who makes good, the bigger-than-life villains, the comic "stooge" sidekicks... and the spaceship movements and radio chatter in the final battle were straight out of WWII films.

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Good point. The droids are the key to Star Wars. They're main characters of A New Hope (really, they get as much screentime as Luke, and more if you take them separately), they're the audience proxy, they're plot lynchpins -- and they're also essentially the 'punks' that give Star Wars its credibility in that field and make it more than just space opera.

The droids tell us a lot about Star Wars. They're a downtrodden underclass of labourers, perhaps slaves, treated like absolute dirt despite being clearly sentient and intelligent beings. (That C-3P0 looks the same as Brigit Helm's robot in Metropolis, which inspires a proletarian revolution in that film, isn't a coincidence). Luke is shown to be a compassionate person by his treatment of the droids, especially R2.

While The Hero's Journey is a traditionally aristocratic affair, always focused on destined patrilineal birthrights and feudal kingship (the opposite of punk), Lucas pilfers from the journey structure while changing the telling details into something subversive. At the end of Star Wars, the droids and rogues are hailed as heroes of a great revolution, the feudal fascist state is overthrown, and Luke does not seek power in the vacuum or become the new Emperor (unlike, say, King Arthur). A coalition of multi-cultural freedom fighters has literally taken down the legal ruling body run by old white guys and presumably replaced the state with a more equitable, progressive system. That's all important stuff. That's where Lucas differs from his own influences, which were mostly pro-status-quo stories.

On another topic: The tubes hooked up to the X-Wings are definitely intended to reference some kind of liquid aerial fuel, as of WWII bombers. The EU probably has some dumb handwavey explanation (it always does) but there's no need to go digging into that swamp...

Ooh, I like your way of thinking JR. Wonderful analysis of the Star Wars mythos. Well done!

"...and presumably replaced the state with a more equitable, progressive system."

Or helped re-establish an oppressive theocratic regime run by a priest caste, whose members are determined by birth rather than by merit. To me it still seems a space opera, with a few visual cues taken from old pulp shows.

If Lucas intended the original trilogy to be optimistic then no, I doubt he had that ending that in mind. The depiction of Mon Mothma as the Rebellion's leader (not a jedi, not a priest, not an old dude)  would seem to signal a different intent.

The 'oppressive theocratic regime' is covered by the Prequels, which are bad stories and bad filmmaking but have a couple clever bits. There's where Lucas cricitizes the failures of the hippie new-age liberals and examines how a dictator can rise from within their ranks to betray them all.

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