Star Wars Frontiers

I came across a video by Sincerely Truman, from their Dear JJ Abrams campaign which aims to “Make Star Wars great again” (presumably a reference to the disappointing Star Wars prequals).

While it is a very clever and well put together video, the emphasis on ‘the frontier’ stood out to me. The first of the four ‘rules’ they chose to highlight to make Star Wars great again was a geographical concept. The original Star Wars took place on the periphery, the frontier: “It happens out here. Away form civilisation. Amidst smugglers and bounty hunters. Star Wars is a Western.” This presents an inherently spatial understanding of Star Wars. An element of the excitement and danger of the original trilogy was the settings: in mob-controlled territories, frozen hideouts and swampy retreats.

Indeed, the connection between Science Fiction and Westerns is rather well developed, from Gene Roddenberry’s supposedly selling Star Trek as a western in space and Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe beautifully marrying the two (see my previous post discussing geographical aspects of Firefly/Serenity Universe).

While the argument may rest on simplistic tropes – an urban civilised core versus a wild adventure edge – it is still a good point which draws attention to the role of place, even in deep space.

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