Dieselpunks

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.

Tags: pulp, star, wars, wwII

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Jean-Luc, that was fantastic!!!!

Enjoy...

 

You found another great one! That's fantastic!

I agree totally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...with what, I'll leave you to figure out!  ;)

Personally, I've been thinking if Star Wars is space pulp, instead science-fiction.

 

Two elements particularly draw my attention for that: you have the presence of the Roguish Hero, a corsair, cynical and mercenary, with his loyal friend/servant, a brute from the the fringe of the so-called civilized world, that serve as his conscience and reminder he has a good nature, too. The second element is the old wise man, who is the last representant of an misterious and ancient tradition/sect who had mastered the powers of the mind - no wonder Lucas had tryed to hire Toshiro Mifuni for this role.

 

Star Wars and Indiana Jones came from the same inspirational source. Indiana Jones is just more obvious in that.

Star Wars is essentially a fantasy story based on the Hero's Journey archetype as outlined by Joseph Campbell, who Lucas was directly influenced by. Stripped down to the basics, it's just your standard "Chosen One meets mentor, discovers noble heritage / supernatural powers, goes on destined quest, achieves birthright victory / destiny" story that shows up in everything from Arthurian legend to The Wheel of Time to The Matrix. Pulp heroes (Conan, Prince Valiant, etc) and certain superheroes have taken a lot of influence from these older legends.

 

I'm not a fan of this monomyth, exactly. The origin of this sort of story is via the self-mythologizing of feudal lords, who would spin all kinds of fantasy bullshit to the masses to justify their bloodline's hold on the reins of power. It's awful hard to argue for democracy when your king is ordained to rule by the gods and has a magic sword to prove it, after all. The Hero's Journey is very pulpy but decidedly anti-punk.

In defense of Star Wars - not that Lucas really need that -, that maybe was the first time in modern pop culture the archetype is so completely represented, maybe to the point of becoming an stereotype.

 

And I agree with that. Fantasy seems to be more about Divine Right and Blue Blood, the miracles and the cool toys are for the few and the chosen.

 

Daughter of the Industrial Revo, Science-Fiction is about democracy, industrialization and access. All miracles will be understood and taught to whoever dedicates to know study it, as well the cool toys: the warp drive starships, studied and built by the masses, will take these same masses to the stars.

 

Even Flash Gordon was a people's guy. His prowess was of his own merit, not of any outside divine intervention.

JR said:

I'm not a fan of this monomyth, exactly. The origin of this sort of story is via the self-mythologizing of feudal lords, who would spin all kinds of fantasy bullshit to the masses to justify their bloodline's hold on the reins of power. It's awful hard to argue for democracy when your king is ordained to rule by the gods and has a magic sword to prove it, after all. The Hero's Journey is very pulpy but decidedly anti-punk.

 

Hmmmm.. Hadn't thought of it it quite those terms... but it explains why I liked the original trilogy FAAAARRRR more than episodes 1-3. The original trilogy HAD a hero - an ordinary mortal doing extraordinary things - Han Solo.... the prequels didn't...

 

Whatever the reason I've a;ways regarded the original 3 movies as the better ones of the series...

Star Wars is space opera. Really, it´s not that complicated.

In the Philosophy Group here at dp.org I came up with a concept of "Reconfiguration" as the taking of tropes and thoughts from older works/thoughts and using them as the buildingblocks of something new and relevant (see article there). SW and DP both, in my observation, make large use of Reconfiguration. In fact, Reconfig could be said to be at the heart of both! I see where you could call SW DP, but rather than being siblings I think the two are more cousins that share a core philosophy to make something new from the old. It's natural to see the similarities and I think there are many, but the two to me are two branches on the same limb in the tree of creativity.

 

Also, I really agree with Luiz about the Democratization of *punk as opposed to the inherent authoritarianism of the Hero's Journey, and think you captured what I've felt for years but couldn't express.

I really like your concept of "Reconfiguration", Cap'n. I think you're really on to something important in both Steam and Diesel.

Sounds to me like a form of revisionism, no? The term 'revisionism' is more commonly used as a pejorative for rewritten (and perhaps falsified) history, but in literary studies it's used to describe works that take the tropes and even the entire storylines of an older work and reinvent them into new works. One common example is the genre of Westerns, and how they've been subjected to revisionism with films like Unforgiven and books like Blood Meridian, which -- among other things -- use the tropes of Westerns to analyse the genre and the assumptions of that setting in ways that are quite brilliant.

 

If what you call reconfiguration matches up with that tack, then I'd agree it's a strong basis for dieselpunk and 'punk' genres in general. Maybe it's kind of a fiction-writer's analogue for the detournement of 'real' (i.e. political) punk.

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