I am a big Star Wars fan, so clearly I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about it on Star Wars Day. Let’s jump right into what we can learn about writing and creating from Star Wars. How does this relate to writing and creating? By addressing the fails and successes of the franchise.
The biggest fails include poor dialogue and a few underdeveloped plots, mostly found in the prequel trilogy. While die-hard fans will still watch the movies, the low quality development effects the movies. The plots have beginnings, middles, and ends, but are missing the emotional impact. Deep development of story lines allows deeper meanings and themes to be woven into the plot, creating a stronger story.
The heroes are ones you should admire, bad dialogue, however, doesn’t portray intelligence, or inspire admiration. Dialogue is an incredibly important way to reveal character. Because of the undeveloped dialogue, a myriad of opportunities was missed to develop the characters. This results in less connection to the audience.
A few characters were just comic relief with no other purpose, particularly Jar Jar Binks. As a kid I loved the goofy gungan, but he actually pulled my attention away from the story and didn’t add anything but humor. For adults, unfortunately, Jar Jar tends to be more obnoxious than humorous.
Now, to contradict the mentioned fails. The Mandalorian series on Disney+ is very cheesy, but it works as a spoof of spaghetti westerns. It takes the cliche and turns it around, making the cliche a bit of a joke. While it still feels cheesy, it has enough of a new spin on the lone ranger portrayal to keep it interesting.
The biggest success of Star Wars is creating not just a world, but an entire galaxy. Escapism is the largest reason for any success in entertainment. As people, we want to escape from our own problems and life for a while. As writers, we can learn from Star Wars in how to create a fictional place to explore.
Every planet is different with new challenges in the local government or the creatures that live there. The variety, mystery, and details are what makes each planet so enticing. Tatooine, Hoth, and Naboo fairly well known planets with completely different sets of challenges and societies.
Unique and memorable characters that became iconic. This strength of Star Wars is clearly something other creators should learn from. Even if the creation isn’t a story, the icons represent a memorable and unique lasting impression. A wookie is so different that it and the language can be recognized anywhere. Han Solo has haunted the actor throughout his entire career. And Princess Leia has a signatures hairstyle, regardless of wearing her hair in a number of other ways throughout the franchise.
The basics of a character can be found in this blog post. But Star Wars certainly has a lot more detailed lessons to teach about creating memorable characters. I only have a few things listed, but this galaxy of stories has a lot more to teach.
What have you learned about writing and creating from Star Wars?